Journeying to Palestine

By Steve Pavey

Dear Friends,

I am writing you with an invitation to partner with me as I join a delegation to Palestine and Israel this May. This unique delegation will focus on human rights issues surrounding incarceration and the political persecution of human rights defenders in the larger context of the ongoing and unjust occupation. Not only is this delegation unique because of its focus, but also because of the commitment required of participants to ongoing advocacy work together.

The delegation is sponsored by Interfaith Peace-Builders, which has been leading delegations to the region since 2001. The goals of the delegation are more broadly to bear witness to the ongoing conflict and occupation, to support local human rights activities in the region, and to return home to engage in advocacy efforts that include educating Americans about the unjust occupation and our government’s involvement in the region. Just this month, a UN top official, Rima Khalaf, resigned when she refused to concede to political powers demanding she withdraw a UN human rights report that accuses Israel of apartheid.

The primary goal of this delegation and our ongoing advocacy work is to join the struggle against the human rights violations caused by Israeli military courts, incarceration and militarized policing that target activists and traumatize children. The delegation will go to Hebron where CODEPINK’s dear friend Issa Amro, founder of Youth Against Settlements, is facing 18 charges in Israeli military courts for his human rights work. We will also assist in advocacy efforts of the No Way to Treat a Child campaign organized by Defense for Children International. Each year the Israeli military arrests and prosecutes around 700 Palestinian children, often with no legal or parental presence in court. My friend and lawyer Azadeh Shahshahani was on a similar delegation in 2014 that produced this important report called Prisoners of Injustice.

I am joining this delegation from May 13th – May 26th to bring my photography and storytelling skills to our delegations’ collective efforts to advocate for a just peace. I will also be publishing my own articles with Truth-out and IMM Print on what we learn from the actual experiences of those who have been criminalized and incarcerated under the occupation. I will be extending my stay for an additional 13 days beyond the time of the delegation to follow up with more in-depth storytelling of the incarceration and policing of Palestinians. This will be part of a larger book project I’m working on that bears witness to the global struggle against state-sanctioned violence among indigenous, black, undocumented and migrant communities.

Most importantly, we will be listening to local Israeli and Palestinian advocates and communities, to hear how they envision that U.S. activists and advocates can be most effective. I hope that by being present with other peace-seekers, I will add our voices of the Fig Tree Revolution to those working to end the current violence.

I need to raise $5,500 to cover my participation in this delegation. Your financial support will help cover the trip expenses that include my plane tickets, delegation fees, food, transportation and accommodations. Those of you who know my work of accompaniment through Hope in Focus and now jointly with the Fig Tree Collective, know that I work without an income trusting the expenses of the work will be provided through kinship with my community and all those who are seeking a loving way of life together. I am humbled and grateful to be part of this collective work that takes all of us partnering together.

I’ll be sending out emails while there about our delegation activities: please let me know if you are interested and I’ll add you to the list. When I return, I would love to either invite you to a presentation on my experiences or to present one especially tailored for you and your community.

If you have any questions about the trip, please feel free to call me (859-967-9736) or send me an email.

Please consider making a tax deductible contribution at the following link.  Or alternatively, make checks payable to “Hope In Focus,” write “IFPB delegation” in the memo, and send to:  c/o Steve Pavey, 215 Rand Avenue, Lexington, KY 40508.

Thanks so much for your support!

Steve Pavey

Hope In Focus (Tax ID/EIN: 20-05370015) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Contributions are tax deductible.

Steve is a documentary photographer, applied anthropologist and contemplative activist, all of which come together in the vocation of cultivating a way to see, in order to bear witness to the world both as it is, and as it could be. His creative process is deeply shaped by accompanying and being accompanied by humanity living on the margins of empire, documenting and creating images with those shrouded in “otherness” towards the goal of collective action and mutual liberation. Steve’s photography focuses on hope – hope found in the struggle and dignity of becoming more human. You can see more of Steve's work at www.stevepavey.com and to get in contact with Steve email him at stephencpavey@gmail.com. Steve works with Hope In Focus, which bears witness to the world as it is and as it could be through activist photography committed to walking alongside the world’s oppressed and marginalized, finding hope together in the collective struggle for human dignity and justice.

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