In December 2001 Ted Curtis traveled to Beit Sahour, a small town near Bethlehem in the West Bank, to participate in non-violent Direct Action against the Israeli occupation of Palestine, then in its 35th year. From there he traveled all over the West Bank with the International Solidarity Movement in little more than a week; joining in demonstrations, helping to dismantle illegal IDF roadblocks, and listening to stories of terror from the occupation. Initially a history buff, he was moved to read around the subject following this experience and he returned to Bethlehem just in time for the mendaciously named 'Operation Defensive Shield'. This is some of his story - a gripping mixture of eyewitness reportage, and analysis.
Who We Are
The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) is a Palestinian-led movement committed to resisting the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land using nonviolent, direct-action methods and principles. Founded by a small group of activists in August, 2001, ISM aims to support and strengthen the Palestinian popular resistance by providing the Palestinian people with two resources, international protection and a voice with which to nonviolently resist an overwhelming military occupation force.
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Click here for Frequently Asked Questions
Occupation is not going to be defeated by words alone; occupation, oppression an domination are going to be dismantled the same way they were erected — through people’s action. The Israeli army and the Israeli occupation can be defeated by strategic, disciplined unarmed resistance, utilizing the effective resources Palestinians can mobilize — including international participation.
In April 2002, with help from Palestinians, international activists were able to outmaneuver the Israeli military during two of its biggest military operations, entering and providing support to those trapped inside the Presidential Compound in Ramallah and the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. More recently, ISM has supported strong Palestinian-led, nonviolent resistance movements against Israel’s Apartheid Wall in villages like Budrus and Biddu. In these villages peaceful community marches have succeeded in altering the Wall’s path and even stopping Wall construction.
International participation is important for a number of reasons:
- Protection: An international presence at Palestinian civilian actions can ensure a degree of protection for Palestinians engaged in nonviolent resistance.
- Message to the mainstream media: The Palestinian struggle is not accurately reported by the mainstream corporate media. The mainstream media portrays Israelis and Palestinians as two equal sides who can’t live together fighting over a piece of land, instead of an Israeli military occupation and a Palestinian struggle for freedom, self-determination and human rights. People from all over the world that join us can reach out to their respective media and help dispel this notion.
- Personal witness and transmitting information: International civilians joining Palestinians can bear witness and return home to talk to their communities about what is happening.
- Break isolation and provide hope: The occupation isolates Palestinians and cuts them off from the rest of the world and from each other. International ciivilians coming in, despite restrictions, send a message to the Palestinian community – "we see, we hear and we are with you." Hope that people acting together can change things is a cornerstone of our philosophy and message.
Internationals with the ISM are not in Palestine to teach nonviolent resistance. Palestinians resist nonviolently ever day. The ISM lends support to the Palestinian resistance to the occupation and their demand for freedom through the following activities:
- Direct Action – challenging crippling checkpoints and curfew, confronting tanks and demolition equipment, removing roadblocks, participating in nonviolent demonstrations, accompanying farmers to their fields and protecting families whose homes are threatened with demolition.
- Emergency Mobilization – escorting ambulances through checkpoints, delivering food and water to families under curfew or house arrest, assisting the injured or disabled to access medical care and walking children to school.
- Documentation – documenting and reporting to local and international media about the daily life under occupation and the countless human rights and international law violations by the Israeli military.
ISM offers many ways for you to get involved in the struggle for Palestinian freedom. Whether you’re thinking of traveling to Palestine to work with us, or you’d like to work to educate your community about the reality in Palestine, we welcome your involvement. Please visit the websites of the support group nearest to you. Links to our international support groups are found to the left, and on the contact page.
If you would like to get information and updates from us, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or:
ISM Media Office: +972 2 297 1824
Online Contact Form: Contact
The ISM is not an organization, but rather a movement which all organizations, groups and/or individuals who agree our principles can join. The ISM is based in Palestine and is led by Palestinians on the ground. Many ISM support groups around the world assist the ISM by dissemenating information, recruiting and training individuals to join us.
To join the ISM in Palestine, you must adhere to the following principles:
- Belief in freedom for the Palestinian people based on all relevant United Nations Resolutions and international law.
- Using only nonviolent, direct-action methods, strategies and principles to work towards our goal.
The ISM is non-hierarchical. Actions on the ground are ccoordinated with the larger Palestinian community and moved through a core group of committed activists. The core group is open to all activists, Palestinians or otherwise, who make a commitment to ISM’s work and take on coordinating responsibilities. The ISM uses consensus decision making in all of it’s activities.
International volunteers who join the ISM are responsible for paying their own way and covering all their expenses in Palestine. The ISM does not receive any funding from any state, government or association. We rely on donations from average people all over the world that support peace and the Palestinian struggle for freedom.
Support groups abroad fundraise to help activists who need assistance to come to Palestine. In Palestine, we use our funds to coordinate work on the ground — communications, transportation and legal fees are our major expenditures.