Reviving Hope: Israelis and Palestinians Marched and Stood Together in Burqa

Last Friday, we accomplished something huge together. It had been years since the peace camp witnessed such unified action in the West Bank from both Israelis and Palestinians. Through this march, we successfully brought Israeli-Palestinian collaboration against the occupation back into the spotlight, and for us, this is just the beginning. 

During the coordination meetings with representatives from the Palestinian village of Burqa, we realized that we were organizing a historic event—a revival of the political connection between Israelis and Palestinians. When we saw the nine buses filled with Israeli protesters in the morning, a glimmer of hope ignited within us.

Approximately 400 dedicated activists from Peace Now and other organizations joined forces to embark on a historic march towards the West Bank outpost of Homesh—a symbol of the challenges we face in our pursuit of ending the occupation. We successfully mobilized new crowds of hundreds of people to demonstrate in the occupied territories, with many participants attending for the first time or after long periods of absence from protests beyond the Green Line.

As passionate advocates for a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we believe in the power of nonviolent action and the importance of raising our voices to effect change. The march towards Homesh served as a powerful statement, calling for an end to illegal settlements and outposts and a future built on mutual understanding and coexistence.

Despite facing hurdles along the way, our determination remained unwavering. As the march organizers, we diligently notified the military about the march well in advance, requesting that they ensure a safe and peaceful event, uninterrupted by settler violence. However, only after we began the march,  the military informed us that they had decided to prevent us from marching due to alleged “security concerns.”

Undeterred, our brave activists disembarked from buses near the village of Ramin, a few kilometers away from Burqa, and continued the journey on foot. Our steps were guided by the unwavering belief in the urgency of our cause.

As we approached Burqa, we encountered IDF and Border Police forces, who attempted to hinder our advancement by presenting an order declaring the area a closed military zone. However, we stood firm, and walking through olive groves, symbolic of peace and resilience, we forged ahead.

In response to our determined march, the IDF resorted to using stun grenades, which inadvertently ignited fires amidst the olive groves. We witnessed the power of our peaceful resistance, knowing that even in the face of adversity, our message was being heard. One of our fellow protesters was held by the military for a short period of time, only to be released later.

Joint action poses the greatest threat to the occupation. How do we know we hit the mark with our joint action? It was evident in the determined efforts of the IDF soldiers on the field, doing everything within their power to prevent our meeting with the residents of Burqa.

Throughout the day, our collaboration with the Palestinians from Burqa went beyond mere cooperation; it fostered a sense of unity and compassion. They extended their unwavering support by providing essential supplies, including water, ensuring that every participant in the march remained hydrated under the scorching sun. Moreover, they took it upon themselves to care for the older members of our group, offering their own vehicles to transport them and assisting them in rejoining the march. Their kindness and dedication exemplified the spirit of solidarity and reinforced our shared vision for a future founded on mutual understanding, justice, and lasting peace. Together, we strived to demonstrate that collaboration and empathy can bridge divides and pave the way for a better tomorrow.

Our Palestinian partners were thrilled to witness the participation of over 400 Israelis, both women and men, from all corners of the country, standing in solidarity with them against the establishment of Homesh. This march showcased the immense desire for joint action from both sides, and it is evident to us that this event marks just the beginning of a larger movement.

Peace Now stands united and resolute, committed to challenging the status quo and working towards a future where peace and justice prevail. We will not be deterred by obstacles or violence, for we know that the path to peace is paved with relentless determination.

We extend our deepest gratitude to each and every one of you for your unwavering support. It is through your commitment and belief in our cause that we are able to make a difference.

Together, we will continue to march towards a brighter, more peaceful future.