Palestinian farmers now have an independent social movement that represents them
Ramallah - Gaza - The eyes of the Palestinians and the free people in the world are turning toward the Palestinian Farmers' Movement (La Via Campesina- Palestine) and its role in the struggle for the rights of farmers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the face of the colonial policies pursued by the Israeli occupation since 1967. These policies include settlement expansion, judaization, uprooting of trees and control over natural resources, particularly land, water and natural resources. Attention is also drawn to the expected role of this movement in the confrontation of economic and social policies adopted by the Israeli and Palestinian authorities against farmers and fishermen in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
On December 19, 2018, 260 farmers in the West Bank and Gaza strip, representing hundreds of farmers who joined the movement over the past years, elected 22 members for the movement's secretaries, who in role will elect 13 members to serve as the movement's secretariat in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. By this, we can announce the ending the role of the founding body of the movement, which worked during the past year.
The efforts for the establishment of an independent progressive Palestinian social movement for Palestinian farmers have started since 2013, i.e. since UAWC won the membership of the International Peasant Movement (La Via Campesina) representing Palestine, which was considered the first Arab member in the movement.
UAWC was then assigned by the Secretariat of the International Movement to establish a branch of it in the Arab world. Agricultural organizations from Tunisia and Morocco joined the movement, and other organizations from Algeria, Mauritania, Egypt and Sudan are expected to join. Further efforts were made to encourage other Arab countries from Asia to join. This could lead to the announcement of the region as one of the movement's regions in the world.
It should be noted that the La Via Campesina was established in 1993 by farmers' organizations in Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. This movement advocates for the adoption of sustainable agriculture as a mean of promoting social justice and dignity. In addition, this movement strongly opposes agriculture led by monopolistic companies that produce pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and genetically modified foods, which destroys people and nature. The La Via Campesina is an independent movement that opposes the policies of globalization, global capitalism and monopolies of the markets. It also advocates for sovereignty over food as a political concept that requires sovereignty over land, resources, water and the right of states as well as peoples to exploit their resources.
The establishment document of the Palestinian movement adopted in the last conference stated that the Palestinian movement is fighting for a liberation development that can ensure farmers rights, strengthen their steadfastness on their lands, and maintain their food sovereignty.
The prerequisite for food sovereignty is represented by the right to access lands and water resources, freedom of choice the type of agriculture that suits the needs of society and achieves the concept of safe and sustainable agriculture and environmental protection.
.Furthermore, the Palestinian movement is struggling for economic, financial, social and cultural policies that are compatible with the strategic status of agriculture and can ensure social justice against neoliberal and colonialist policies in Palestine.
In this context, the movement's branch in the Gaza Strip organized a demonstration with the participation of thousands of male and female farmers and fishermen against the internal division and calls for national unity as a gateway to food security. Noting that a recent report by the World Food Program indicated that one-third of the Palestinian people suffer from food insecurity, 70% in Gaza Strip only.
The elected secretariat of the Palestinian Farmers' Movement confirmed that the doors are open for any farmer or fisherman who would like to join the movement and participate in the struggle against neoliberal policies of the Palestinian Authority, and colonial policies of the Israeli occupation, and who would like to join the struggle for the social justice. Furthermore, the elected secretariat pointed out that it is working on a plan for the year 2019, which will include a range of activities and events that emphasize the presence and role of poor Palestinian farmers in the field of economic and social rights as well as the national public issues.
Finally, it is noteworthy that the administration department in UAWC confirmed its continued embrace and support of the nascent social movement stressing that the Israeli incitement against it will not force UAWC as part of Palestinian civil society to stop its developmental and national role.