Grassroots International

Middle East

Grassroots International supports the human right to land, water and food sovereignty for everyone. Access to and control of these resources is critical for achieving Palestinian self-determination and for an enduring and just peace with Israel.

Under occupation, Palestinians face the confiscation and destruction of land, homes and water resources; checkpoints and roadblocks; and the expansion of settlements and bypass roads exclusively for Israeli settlers. The Wall in the West Bank and restricted access zone in Gaza further impinge on land and livelihood as Israel continues to unilaterally expand its borders.

Violence and land grabs in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, have escalated in recent years, including increased closures, cordons, and checkpoints and continued home demolitions and land confiscations. Meanwhile Gaza continues to endure an ongoing siege that prevents basic building materials and other essential items from reaching the region still devastated after the 2014 Israeli attack on Gaza that killed over 2,000 civilians, injured 10,850, leveled whole neighborhoods and damaged 18 power plants and nine of Gaza’s water and sewage systems. In 2017, the UN reported that Gaza in fact has already passed the “unliveability” threshold, with Palestinians there living in perpetual crisis.

Within Israel, Palestinians face the challenges of racism and discrimination, with a separate and unequal system of laws that unfairly impacts their own rights to land, water and food sovereignty. Though Israel touts itself as “the only Democracy in the Middle East,” in reality, Israel is far from being a multi-ethnic modern state with equality under the law for all its citizens. Israel has codified in its basic law (similar to a constitution) that it is an exclusively Jewish Nation-State, essentially dismissing non-Jewish Israelis as second-class citizens. This same law also considers the expansion of Jewish-only settlements to be a national value. The settlements are in Palestinian territory and are illegal under international law.

Through funding and solidarity, Grassroots International supports grassroots initiatives led by Palestinians and stands with the nonviolent Palestinian struggle for self-determination and human rights, particularly the human rights to land, water and food sovereignty.

In particular, Grassroots International prioritizes support for Palestinian-led projects such as those listed below:

  • Services to address the mental health needs of people traumatized by relentless violence in the form of bombings and shootings, an ongoing siege, and despair in Gaza;
  • Campaigns and documentation to protect human rights, promote the rule of law and advance democracy in Palestine and Israel;
  • Non-governmental programs and community-led popular committees — including of youth and women — focused on stopping and dismantling the Wall in the West Bank, resisting Israeli occupation and land confiscation, and defending Palestinian land rights;
  • Efforts by Palestinian farmers to develop food sovereignty, protect land and water resources and encourage economic opportunities;
    Cultural, social and artistic activities for youth in refugee camps;
  • Leadership training and cultural awareness programs for Palestinian youth;
  • Programs to build the capacity of women’s collectives to promote women’s leadership and community livelihoods;
  • Advancing urban agriculture to enhance community food security and well-being in Gaza;
  • Support for Palestinian prisoners, many of whom are held without charges, without trial, and for indefinite periods.