Eran Efrati, 28, was born and raised in Jerusalem. After graduating high school he enlisted in the IDF, where he served as a combat soldier and company sergeant in Battalion 50 of the Nachal Division. He spent most of his service in Hebron and throughout the West Bank. In 2009, he was discharged and joined Breaking the Silence, an organization of veteran Israeli soldiers working to raise awareness about the daily reality in the Occupied Territories. He worked as the chief investigator of the organization, collecting testimonies from IDF soldiers about their activities. He also guided political tours and to the West Bank and worked to educate Israeli youth about the reality of being a soldier in an occupying army. His collected testimonies appear in the booklet “Operation Cast Lead” and their most recent release “Our Harsh Logic”. Since leaving Breaking the Silence, his investigative reports appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Guardian. Today he is active with the Israeli groups Anarchists Against the Wall and Boycott from Within.
Maya Wind, 24, grew up in Jerusalem during the second Intifada. She joined the Shministim movement and helped to establish the 2008 refusenik group. She refused to serve in the Israeli army and was sentenced to military prison and detention, and was exempted in 2009. After her release she co-lead the Jerusalem alternative education program of New Profile, the feminist movement for the demilitarization of Israeli society. She also guided political tours in East Jerusalem and the West Bank for the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions and worked against displacement in East Jerusalem with Rabbis for Human Rights. Today she is active with the Israeli groups Anarchists Against the Wall and Boycott from Within.
Anarchists Against the Wall
AAtW is an Israeli direct action group established in 2003 to resist the Annexation Wall being built by Israel on Palestinian land in the Occupied West Bank. They support Palestinian civilian resistance to massive confiscation of land and denial of freedom of movement caused by construction of the Wall. AAtW activists have joined thousands of demonstrations against the Israeli Occupation in dozens of villages throughout the West Bank and have worked to raise awareness within Israel. Under the banner of AAtW actions are made that are diametrically opposed, not only to the occupation, but also to its root causes; to the personal perspectives and political systems within Israel that sustain it, military and civilian. AAtW deconstructs the ideological frameworks that sustain the occupation and uses direct action as its central methodology. AAtW cooperates with local popular committees established in villages resisting the wall. These are autonomous non-partisan committees that initiate and coordinate the demonstrations.
Direct action and joint struggle are at the heart of AAtW. The group’s inception can be traced back to the fusion of parallel undercurrents in Palestine and Israel during the al Aqsa Intifada, the second Palestinian uprising. In Israel, the failure of the Oslo Accords led many to permanently let go of the coattails of the Zionist left. Meanwhile, in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the second Intifada contained widespread instances of popular struggle and civilian resistance, such as direct actions, protests and demonstrations, independent information and media efforts, youth projects, boycott campaigns, and civil disobedience, usually led by local popular committees. Marginalized by IDF violence and increasing Palestinian Authority hierarchical centralization, these efforts nevertheless managed to put down roots, and eventually bear fruit.
AAtW was a product of those two undercurrents coming together in 2003, one year after Israel began construction of the Wall, at a protest camp formed by Palestinian, Israeli and international activists in the village of Mas’ha. This camp became a focal point for a new form of struggle: joint, civilian, directly democratic and community based. Although consisting of few Israeli activists, AAtW took part in this new development intensively, alongside an ever widening number of Palestinian villages whose livelihoods were threatened by the wall: from Mas’ha to Budrus to stand up to injustice. AAtW will continue its struggle to construct a more just reality and to build real bridges of peace.
For further reading or to get involved, please check out the links below!
To learn more about our collective, Anarchists Against the Wall : http://www.awalls.org/
For photographs documenting the occupation and resistance to it: http://www.activestills.org/
To better understand the economics of the occupation: http://www.whoprofits.org/
For IDF soldier testimonies from the Occupied Palestinian Territories:
To get involved in the United States:
US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation: http://www.endtheoccupation.org/
Jewish Voices for Peace: http://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/
Students for Justice in Palestine: http://sjpnational.org/