Dear Friends, Supporters, and Fellow Advocates,

In response to the ongoing occupation of Palestine and adhering to our principles of justice, inclusion, and nonviolence, Sabeel has been moved to act. After months of collaboration with local Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals, Sabeel introduced the Kumi Now (Rise Up) initiative in October of 2018. The struggle continues, and we wish to invite local and international individuals and organizations to join the Kumi Now initiative in order to work as a united force against occupation and discrimination in Palestine. 

The ugly reality of the present situation has created a feeling of hopelessness for many Palestinians. In our attempt to stand firm in the face of oppression, many believe that we have no chance of success and rightfully feel that we have reached rock bottom. From global to local levels, we are disheartened by the current reality.

At the highest level, a lack of true coordination exists between the United Nations, major players, and superpowers in the international community, and human rights organizations around the world. Those wishing to help Palestinians achieve their rights and implement a peaceful solution based on justice and international law are prevented from doing so. At the national level, we continually witness administrations of the United States of America ignore the call to stand for Palestinian rights and instead propose supposed peace plans that ask Palestinians to give up their rights, lands, and identities. We watch as the politics of the state of Israel move toward the far right, becoming captive to its own fears and fundamentalism as it worships a false god of security and land. At a regional and local level, we recognize disunity in the Arab world and internal divisions among Palestinians, restricting our ability to resist as a united people. 

Despite the many reasons for hopelessness, Sabeel, inspired by Palestinian liberation theology and in particular a Bible Study on Mark 5:21–43 (see page 7), feels that giving up as a people on the margins is not an option. 

In partnership with this broad network of support, the Kumi Now initiative is founded on these three values: 

Inclusivity: everyone is welcome to join the movement.

Justice: based on international law, ending the occupation of 1967 (including Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem), the right of return of Palestinian refugees, and equal rights for all citizens of Israel. 

Nonviolent resistance: a commitment to using nonviolence as the only form of resistance. 

With these principles in mind, each week of Kumi Now highlights a different issue facing Palestinians in Israel-Palestine, provides information about the issue of injustice through a short essay and the stories of those affected, and promotes a creative nonviolent advocacy action. Through the essays, actions, and our online posts and publications, we will connect our activists to the many organizations that are a part of the initiative. Our goal is to raise awareness on Palestine and Israel as well as to exert pressure on the powerful decision makers of the world to do what is right in order to end the occupation and build a just peace.

Kumi Now organizations include a diverse combination of Palestinian, Israeli, and international organizations. Those who are a part of this Palestinian international solidarity movement work on a wide range of issues affecting Palestinians and span faith-based and secular organizations. 

At this time, we wish to issue a global invitation to all individuals and organizations concerned about justice to support and join the Kumi Now initiative. We look forward to working with you as part of a united global force to end the occupation.

Working for justice, through inclusion and nonviolence,

Rev. Naim Ateek