Issa Amro (عيسى عمرو) is a Palestinian activist based in Hebron, West Bank. He is the coordinator and co-founder of the grassroots group Youth against Settlements. Amro is a spokesman for and practitioner of Palestinian resistance against the Israeli Occupation of the Palestinian Territories. He advocates the use of nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience focused on the city of Hebron.
In 2010, he was declared “human rights defender of the year in Palestine” by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights In 2013, the United Nations Human Rights Council expressed concern for his wellbeing and safety due to numerous accounts of harassment from Israeli soldiers and settlers and a series of arbitrary arrests. At present, Amro is being indicted by the Israeli military court with 18 charges against him. In May 2017, Bernie Sanders along with three U.S. Senators and 32 Congressmen wrote to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to urge Israeli authorities to reconsider the charges against Amro.
• You are coordinator of Grassroots group tell us about this group and activities?
Youth against Settlements is a nonviolent direct action group, which seeks to end the building and expanding of illegal Israeli settlements through non-violent popular struggle and civil resistance. YAS is based in Hebron, one of the hardest hit areas of the Israeli occupation, where fundamentalists Israelis that have forcibly established a settlement right in the heart of Hebron. In order to protect illegal settlers, the Israeli state has imposed on the Palestinian residents of the city a regime of forced evictions, curfews, market and street closures, military checkpoints, and subjection to military law. Palestinians face frequent random searches, detentions without charge, and rampant settler violence. As a result of this, approximately 13,000 Palestinian civilians have fled their homes in Hebron’s city center, turning the city center into a virtual ghost town. Through empowering and educating Palestinians, especially young people, YAS encourages the population of Hebron, especially in the H2 area under Israeli military control, to remain in the area, stand firm, and mount nonviolent resistance and resilience campaigns. Vision: A 100% non-violent, mass Palestinian uprising of civil disobedience that pressures the Israeli government to dismantle the settlements and end the Occupation. Strategies: Establishing direct contact and continuous follow up with Palestinians in threatened regions. Raise awareness through newsletters, advertisements, broadcasting, media, workshops, and conferences, and more. Collecting information about settlement activities and organizing, archiving, and distributing it. Pursuing legal avenues, such as filing complaints and bringing court cases to Israeli and international courts. Building an active network of supportive local, Israeli, and international organizations. Non-violent direct actions and civil disobedience like demonstrations, protests and defying racist laws of the occupation. Recruiting all sectors of the Palestinian community to resist and stand against colonial activities on their lands. Spreading the importance of economic and non-economic boycott of settlements, such as labor in settlements, trade with settlers, and buying settlement products. Our Goals Study Israel’s strategy of colonization, development, and expansion of settlements. Raise awareness level in the local and global community about Israeli methods of land confiscation and theft from Palestinian landowners. Resist all the stages of Israeli colonization, from settlement planning to construction and expansion. Expose Israel’s settler colonial plans and strategies. Support the presence of the Palestinians on lands vulnerable to confiscation by Israel. Build connections between local Palestinians and Palestinian associations and governmental and non-governmental organizations that work to study and resist Israeli settlement-related activities. Guiding Principle: Believing in and committing to our goals and means of struggle. Nonviolent direct action, media attention and advocacy work to resist the occupation Voluntary work to achieve our goals No cooperation with settlers or other parts of the occupation; no participating in any actions or activities that normalize or support settler colonialism. Rejection of claiming any of YAS activities for a partisan or individual goal Rejection of any kind of cooperation with fundamentalistic partisan or individuals. Respect for the beliefs, traditions, and general values of Palestinian society. Recognize and respect women as equal to men in all sectors of society and in all our work with resisting the occupation. Respect every person’s individual religious beliefs
• Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has been with dissatisfaction and opposition. Do you think Trump with this recent stance, made a fundamental change in imperial politics? And is it against the other imperialist governments?
It was very bad decision, he made immoral fundamental change, and it is against the international consensus.
• Earlier Israel and Palestine seeking for peace talk, what is your opinion about peace talk and relation with move US embassy to Jerusalem? Are these talks a showcase?
Israel used the peace talks win time to build more and more settlements, Israel never being serious to make peace with the Palestinians.
• How do you assess a role of Saudi Arabia in moving US embassy to Jerusalem?
The Saudi king is close to Israel, they used them to stop any Arab hard position against trump declaration, and it affected the Muslim country positions too.
• Considering that apart from Palestine, other countries have been oppressed by Zionist lobbyists and oppressive powers. How can religions and peoples to stop this tyranny?
We should shift the conversion for religious conflict to Rights demands.
• Which countries especially Arab Countries have fully supported Palestine?
All Arab people support Palestine, officially many supports, Tunisia, Algeria, Jordan, Lebanon, and many others.
• How many Jews are opposed to the Israeli regime?
And are calling for an end to these conflicts? I know that 80% of the American Jews are against that.
• Has the Syrian crisis had an effect on the internal situation in Palestine?
Yes for sure, the world attention moved to Syria, we lost a lot of support because of that.
• Palestine loses support which countries after Syria crisis?
Palestinian house became not priority for Europe and other countries
Interview by TruthNGO