For us at Grassroots Jerusalem, mobilisation is not only an act of resistance to the occupation, it is the practice of Sumood, a guiding Palestinian value loosely translated as ‘steadfastness’. To have a future, in their capital Palestinian Jerusalemites must have job opportunities, good education systems, health services, fair planning and housing policies, community organizing opportunities and healthy urban development and growth. In Jerusalem, Grassroots works not just to resist dispossession but to support development in these areas through networking and identifying local resources.
International response to decades of Zionist colonisation in Palestine has created an NGO-ised Jerusalem. Too many Palestinians have become dependent on these external bodies to create change. At Grassroots Jerusalem we believe that Palestinians must take the lead in our struggle for equal rights.
At Grassroots Jerusalem, we believe that Jerusalemites are the experts on this city’s future. Jerusalem communities are neither passive nor incapable; there are significant local resources to leverage such as knowledge, information, and experience that communities can exchange with each other.
Grassroots initiatives are created and led by community leaders and organisations throughout the city, leading social change and resisting the occupation. To overcome the restrictions and challenges arising from occupation policies, they need support that is grounded in an understanding of the obstacles they face and an awareness of the resources available for them in Jerusalem.
At Grassroots Jerusalem, we welcome and appreciate the support of NGOs with the understanding that true change must be locally led and implemented through a bottom-up participatory approach.
Grassroots Jerusalem’s Local Mobilisation pillar has three main goals:
- Amplify the tools and resources available for Jerusalem communities to mobilise within their neighbourhoods and villages, addressing immediate, community specific challenges.
- Create networks between the different Jerusalem communities, so they can: a) exchange experience and knowledge, b) cooperate around issues of mutual concern, and c) coordinate in addressing Jerusalem-wide challenges.
- Establishing networks between Jerusalem and other communities and organisations in Palestine - as well as in the Diaspora - putting Jerusalem back on the map as the capital of Palestine.
We do not stop at asking how to end the occupation but also ask:
“What does the day after the occupation look like… in your organisation, your community, your city?”