Machsom Watch was founded in January 2001 in response to repeated reports in the press about human rights abuses of Palestinians crossing army and border police checkpoints. The excessive Israeli response to the El Aksa Intifada, the prolonged closure and siege of villages and towns on the West Bank provided the stimulus and the motivation for what at first seemed an impossible mission. The initiative of three women – Ronnee Jaeger, a long time activist with experience of human rights work in Guatemala and Mexico, Adi Kuntsman a feminist scholar who emigrated from the former Soviet Union in 1990 and veteran activist Yehudit Keshet, an orthodox Jewess – Machsom Watch now boasts 400 women all over the country. The goals of the group are threefold:
- To monitor the behaviour of soldiers and police at checkpoints
- To ensure that the human and civil rights of Palestinians attempting to enter Israel are protected
- To record and report the results of our observations to the widest possible audience, from the decision-making level to that of the general public.
Machsom Watch is open exclusively to women. Our, quiet but assertive, presence at checkpoints is a direct challenge to the dominant militaristic discourse that prevails in Israeli society. It demands accountability on the part of the security forces towards the civilian estate, something hitherto almost unheard of.
Machsomwatchers comprise a wide spectrum of ages and backgrounds, with a definite bias towards mature, professional women. All members are Israeli. The group is politically pluralistic within the context of opposition to the occupation and a commitment to human rights.
Physicians For Human Rights-Israel was founded in 1988 with the goal of struggling for human rights, in particular the right to health, in Israel and the Occupied Territories. Human dignity, wellness of mind and body and the right to health are at the core of the world view of the organization and direct and instruct our activities and efforts on both the individual and general level. Our activities integrate advocacy and action toward changing harmful policies and direct action providing healthcare. Today Physicians For Human Rights-Israel has more than 1150 members, over half of whom are healthcare providers.
Physicians For Human Rights-Israel works in co-operation and in solidarity with other organizations, Israeli, Palestinian and foreign.
Rabbis for Human Rights was founded in 1988, in response to serious abuses of human rights by the Israeli military authorities in the suppression of the Intifada. The indifference of much of the country’s religious leadership and religiously identified citizenry to the suffering of innocent people seen as the enemy was a cause of concern toRabbis for Human Rights organizers.
Rabbis for Human Rights reminds and demonstrates to both the religious and the non-religious sectors of the public need to be reminded that Judaism had another face. Human rights abuses are not compatible with the age-old Jewish tradition of humaneness and moral responsibility or the Biblical concern for “The stranger in your midst.”–even in the face of the danger to public order and safety which the uprising represented.
Rabbis for Human Rights membership includes some ninety ordained rabbis, plus a number of rabbinic students, and has no affiliation with any political party or ideology. Its members are Israeli citizens.
Rabbis for Human Rights brings specific human-rights grievances to the attention of the Israeli public and to pressure the appropriate authorities for their redress. Rabbis for Human Rights is involved in ecumenical dialogue and educational activities. In addition to dealing with violations of human rights of West Bank Palestinians and Israeli Arabs.
The Refuser Solidarity Network (RSN) was formed in April of 2002 to provide support for the growing Refuser Movement in Israel. The initial impetus for the establishment of the RSN was the publication in January 2002 of the Combatant's Letter by a group of 52 reserve officers, which later became Ometz Le'sarev or Courage to Refuse.
The overall objective of the RSN is to support all Israelis who refuse to serve Occupation. This means that we support the work of Courage to Refuse, but also Yesh G'vul, the Shministim and New Profile. We support reservists who refuse to serve over the Green Line. We support men and women conscripts who refuse to serve entirely in the IDF in their opposition to Occupation.
We work to build support for and visibility of the Refusers and their movement, because we believe that these voices, these courageous stands against the folly of Occupation, are crucial to convincing the people of Israel that a new course must be chosen if there is to be lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
Who Profits from the Israeli Occupation?
Announcing a new on-line database: www.whoprofits.org
Now, more then ever, Israeli activists need a powerful global movement to help us build a just peace in Israel/ Palestine. Looking for effective tools for ending the occupation, we have launched a new website listing companies directly involved in the occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights. The grassroots initiative, of the Israeli Coalition of Women for Peace, includes a database and an information center, and reflects an on-going two-year effort, rigorous research, documentation and site visits.
Established in March 2005,Yesh Din is comprised of volunteers who have organized to oppose the continuing violation of Palestinian human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The Yesh Din mission is to achieve a long-term structural improvement in the human rights situation in the OPT. Yesh Din works for an immediate and meaningful change in the Israeli authorities' practices by documenting and disseminating accurate and up-to-date information about the systematic violation of human rights in the OPT, by raising public awareness of such violations, and by applying public and legal pressures on government agencies to end them.
Yesh Din is currently devoting its time and resources to promoting law enforcement of settler violence in the West Bank.
Yesh Gvul (“There is a limit !”) is an Israeli peace group campaigning against the occupation by backing soldiers who refuse duties of a repressive or aggressive nature. The brutal role of the Israeli army in subjugating the Palestinian population places numerous servicemen in a grave moral and political dilemma, as they are required to enforce policies they deem illegal, immoral and ultimately harmful to Israeli interests. The army hierarchy demands compliance, but many soldiers, whether conscripts or reservists, find that they cannot in good conscience obey the orders of their superiors.
Yesh Gvul arose in response to the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, as growing numbers of soldiers grasped that the campaign, with its bloodshed and havoc, was an act of naked and futile aggression in which they wanted no part. Yesh Gvul is a small group with limited resources, human and financial. But the unique thrust of its campaign has galvanized the broader peace movement, inspiring it with the moral example set by individuals prepared to suffer for their convictions. Some peace movements confine themselves to verbal protest, balking at refusal and its direct challenge to authority. But Yesh Gvul rejects the “shoot-and-cry” syndrome; its own slogan advocates action: “We don’t shoot, we don’t cry, and we don’t serve in the occupied territories !” - setting the group in the vanguard of the Israeli peace movement.
With members drawn from a range of political views, Yesh Gvul is not bound to any specific peace program. Its overall aim is to combat the misuse of the IDF (Israel Defense Force !) for unworthy ends, and terminate the occupation. The group is united on the “two-state” solution, as the key to peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in the interests of both peoples.