Machsom Watch is a volunteer led organisation of Israeli women, who run educational tours and document events surrounding freedom of movement for the residents of the West Bank. They support the Palestinian’s basic human rights and the entitlement to move freely within their land. Since 2001 they have been observing and reporting the events on the Occupation on a daily basis, by monitoring the West Bank checkpoints, separation fences, agricultural gates, military courts and Palestinian villages.
They strive to inform the public in Israel about the severe conditions faced by the Palestinians under Israeli occupation. This is done with the help of their own investigations and reports from those affected.
Machsom watch carry out a series of actions to help ease the Occupation. These include assisting Palestinians who are blacklisted from entering into Israel for a varied range of reasons. In many situations, the Palestinians are unaware that they are on this list until they have reached a checkpoint. Machsom watch attempt to discover the exact reason why someone has been blacklisted and resolve it.
They help Palestinians living in the seam zone come in and out of the checkpoints with more ease. The seam zone is the area in between the green line and physical barriers that are built up. Palestinians wanting to live in this area must apply for a permit from the Civil Administration which is very hard to obtain. Local village councils also receive guidance on how to deal with the Civil Administration.
Machsom also watch provide information to help them deal with their lack of educational opportunites in the West Bank. They organise educational and social activities between themselves and Palestinian women and children. This allows the Palestinians to encounter Israelis without a military presence.
They are also very keen to educate foreigners as well as Israelis. This involves conducting tours in the West Bank, virtual tours in community centers and private homes, organising lectures and providing information to those interested in learning about the Occupation.
They are very passionate about their work as is necessary in order to understand the reality of life under the Occupation.11
This year Machsom watch is LJY’s charity of the year. I think they are a very inspirational organisation as they are taking an active role in pushing for peace through education – thus making them a very appropriate charity to support.
Dawn White, Shanttie