< Report Three:  Final Observations >

African Heritage Delegation to Palestine/Israel
November 30, 2012

This delegation traveled concurrently
with the Olive Harvest Delegation > > >

Our delegation has returned home. Now we turn our attention to the work we must do in our own communities. The following final observations have been offered by individuals on the delegation.  



In the Business of Change, Not Charity!
By Aisha Truss-Miller

"If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”

- Lilla Watson (Indigenous Australian Freedom Fighter, Scholar & Artist)

The 2012 African Heritage Delegation came to Palestine to learn and expound on the resistance of people and communities who persevere and live beyond simply existing. Yes, resources are needed here, like other places we are familiar with, people are in dire need of accessible clean water, adequate electricity, quality medical supplies, healthcare, and a gamut of resources and services. Unsurprisingly, these are the impacts of colonization, imperialism, exploitation, religious bullying, and governing in fear and from hate.

It’s a privilege to be aware of these [not so] foreign issues and think beyond daily struggles in America to explore roles as allies in solidarity with Palestinian Liberation, Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) Movement-Building against Israel, and the struggles for human rights worldwide.

Our delegation witnessed remarkable people surviving horrible conditions, yet who still found room to embrace us and our struggles and exchange knowledge and narratives.

Palestinians, African refugees, and Ethiopian and Black Jews, and Israeli citizens against or unaware of the impact occupation and militarization have been victimized - but they are not victims by any means. They are survivors of genocide and race, class, and faith-based violence and oppression.

We communed with them - diverse people with the privilege of knowing their rich histories and cultures, practicing, building strong-willed, hospitable families, developing communities composed of wise and brave women and men, mothers and fathers, youth and elders, farmers and businessmen, clergy, artists, scholars, activists, and everyday people who challenge the injustices imposed by the Israeli government, military, and other entities (including the United Nations, U.S. government, and various corporations) endorsing and enforcing the occupation, seizure, and destruction of land already inhabited.

Freedom fighters and compassionate community members treated our Delegation with the upmost respect. They learned and identified with the plight of Black peoples and immigrants in the Americas, while exchanging their knowledge and experience of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Many folks I met spoke of President Obama’s political hands being tied and manipulated on an international and economic issue that predates his birth.

It was ironic and fitting to resort to facilitating teaching moments, ignite political conversations, spur debates, and organize strategy sessions with locals and tourists on the streets, at bars, over hookah, during meetings, on the bus, over meals, while bartering, visiting “Holy Sites”, and on the sands of a Bedouin encampment threatened with destruction alongside the highway. We met with amazing people, who are resilient, who have chosen to stand against the tyranny of Zionism and Israeli Occupation.

Our brothers and sisters afar humbly appreciate gifts and donations, continue to support them. However, they have asked us to exercise our privileges by tapping into our networks, by utilizing our voice and sharing our encounters in Palestine/Israel, they want is to tell their stories to everyone. They trust us to hold ourselves accountable and press boundaries, to teach and learn with and from the people, to demand change within the American and Israeli political machine and regime. They expect us to take action and be the change we want to see, and make the change we want to see in Palestine, in Israel, and across the world.

Our sympathy and anger will only make us stagnant, if not push us backwards. Even if our charity and donations are needed the buck doesn’t stop at giving, economies won’t survive on donations and pity. We must be willing to motivate ourselves and others to educate, mobilize, and take action for peace and human rights anywhere, especially for Palestine, because justice will continuously be threatened everywhere. We are grateful to those who supported our delegates.



Feeding money into a fear based system when we can be feeding dollars and sense into the minds of people
By Jennifer Lee

Traveling to Palestine with the African Heritage delegation and obtaining a firsthand account of the travesty and tragedy that is occurring in Palestine further opened my eyes to how emotions, self-entitlement and negativity can spread its wrath on a peaceful people and their land.

The fact that I heard with my own ears an Israeli settler say "Palestine does not exist and only exists in the minds of people who want to destroy Israel" is sickening and saddening.

The fact that i heard with my own ears an Israeli settler say "we appreciate the money that the USA is giving to Israel but the money is being funneled back" is empty and narcissistic.

I would like to know when this paradigm shift in the minds of countless people developed and what formed its basis? I would like to know when it became acceptable to annihilate and eliminate a people from the face of the earth; as the world watched and practically did nothing? I would like the United States of America to tell me and other concerned folk why the USA is providing Israel with at least 3 billion dollars a year for this destruction of a people. I would like the United States of America to tell me and other concerned folk why they give Israel more money than all of Africa! I would like the United States of America to tell me and other concerned folk why this money is being given to Israel when approximately 48% of people living in America are unemployed or underemployed.

We have to stop giving this money to Israel when there are an increasing number of Americans who have lost their homes; who have no work; who cannot afford to attend college to make a better life for themselves; who are more dependent on social service programs because of the economic decline; and who are losing hope in the government and the electoral process (90 million eligible voters in the USA did not vote on 11-6-12).

The USA has to stop giving this money to Israel when currently 76,000 veterans are homeless in the USA. The USA has to stop giving money to Israel when the USA is 16.2 trillion dollars in debt.

Does this make sense and does this add up? We have to stop the corporate machine. We have to attain and maintain solidarity; while telling the government of the USA to stop these expenditures and invest this money back into the USA!


VIDEO: A Discussion of International Law and Property Rights in East Jerusalem
by Jamie Witter

The following video was taken at a meeting with the Al kurd family outside their home in East jerusalem's Sheik Jarrah neighborhood. The meeting discussed Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem as well as international law and property rights in the city.

Click here for additional video from the 2012 African Heritage Delegation.

Click here for additional video from the 2012 African Heritage Delegation

We invite delegation participants to comment on and react to the experiences they have during our Israel/Palestine delegations in written Trip Reports.

Individual delegates contribute pieces to these reports.  As such, reports are not comprehensive accounts of every meeting or experience, but impressions of those things that most impact individuals.  Submitted reports may be edited for clarity or brevity. Trip reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Interfaith Peace-Builders, trip leaders, or delegation partner organizations.  We hope you enjoy reading and we encourage you to share these reports with others.


Nothing better prepares activists to work on the conflict than eyewitness experience. Your donation will further the education and engagement of new participants and build a larger, more diverse movement! Click here to donate online!


Your participation as an eyewitness will enrich your understanding of the conflict and empower your work back in the United States! Click here for information on upcoming delegations.

Select a report to view: Announcement | 1 | 2 | 3 | statement | ACTION