In response to our current situation and adhering to our principles of justice, inclusion, and nonviolence, Sabeel has been moved to act. After months of collaboration with local Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals, Sabeel is excited to introduce the Kumi (Rise Up) project. We wish to invite local and international individuals and organizations to join the Kumi project in order to work as a united force as we launch this fall .
The ugly reality of the present situation has created a feeling of hopelessness for many Palestinians. In our attempt to stand firm in the face of oppression, many believe that we have no chance of success and rightfully feel that we have reached rock-bottom. From global to local levels, we are disheartened by the current reality.
- First, at the highest level, the United Nations continues to prove that they are not capable or willing to implement their own resolutions when it comes to Palestine, nor are they able to pass new resolutions to protect the Palestinian people living under military occupation without being blocked by a veto from the United States.
- Second, the major players in the international community, including the European Union, UK, China, and Russia, have not shown real political will to help Palestinians achieve their rights.
- Third, the United States of America, considered the superpower of the world today, continues to disregard international law and ignores the call to stand for Palestinian rights. Both Democrat and Republican governments have failed to advocate for justice and lasting peace in the land.
- Fourth, Israel has become a captive of its own fears and fundamentalist views.
- Fifth, we Palestinians feel overwhelmed with what is happening in the Arab World. From the failure of the Arab Spring to bring true and lasting reform, the escalating sectarian wars, the disrespect of human rights, to the growth of religious extremism, we do not expect help from our Arab brothers and sisters.
- Sixth, we witness the lack of true coordination between human rights organizations in Palestine, Israel, and around the world developing a clear road map so that a solution based on justice and international law is achieved.
- Finally, the internal divisions and disputes among Palestinians have restricted our ability to resist as one united people. These divisions have not only broken our resistance but have also broken our spirits, making us feel completely helpless in the face of oppression.
Despite the many reasons for hopelessness, Sabeel, inspired by Palestinian liberation theology and in particular a Bible study on Mark 5:21-43, feels that giving up as a people on the margins is not an option.
In partnership with this broad network of support, the Kumi project is founded on these three values:
- inclusivity: everyone is welcome to join the movement.
- justice: based on international law, ending the occupation (including Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem), the right of return, and equal rights for all citizens of Israel.
- nonviolent resistance: a commitment to using nonviolence as the only form of resistance.
With these principles in mind, each week following the initial launch date, the Kumi project will highlight a different organization working to raise awareness about specific issues in Israel-Palestine, provide information about a specific issue of injustice through the stories of those effected, and promote a creative nonviolent advocacy action. Our goal is to raise awareness on Palestine and exert pressure on the powerful decision makers of the world to do what is right in order to end the occupation in order to build a just peace.
Organizations taking part in this project include a diverse combination of Palestinian, Israeli, and international organizations. Those who are a part of this Palestinian international solidarity movement work on a wide range of issues affecting Palestinians and span from faith-based to secular organizations. Sabeel addressed each organization individually on the basis of their commitment to nonviolence, equal rights, and respect for international law.
At this time, we wish to issue a global invitation to all individuals and organizations concerned about justice for Palestine to support and join the Kumi project. We look forward to launching the Kumi project this fall as a united global force to end the occupation.
Working for justice, through inclusion and nonviolence,
Rev. Naim Ateek