All of us, partners of the Fair Trade Fair Peace project believe that real solutions for conflicts in the Middle East are generated by creating real local economic opportunities. In order to support the most vulnerable populations, such as Palestinian artisans and Arab women in Galilee, we have come together. We share a strong vision of peace and are convinced that no solution can be achieved without full Israeli withdrawal from the occupied lands.
The joint grassroots movement promotes the vision that peace can be achieved only when justice is its guide.
Israelis and Palestinians have deep combined roots, but have become polarized through policy. Each side sees the conflict as a zero-sum game. Fear of the “other” pollutes the vision of how peace can benefit all. In this joint grassroots movement,
we have manufactured a new line of products, mainly thanks to women’s commitment, that demonstrate mutual interests of nations. We hope that these products will find their way particularly to the hearts and minds of Israelis and Palestinians, but also to hopeful individuals from around the world.
The Fair Trade Fair Peace Project:
- Increases the instruments and equipment of BFTA and Sindyanna
- Improves the services offered by BFTA and Sindyanna, through professional training for staff and artisans
- Promotes the culture of peace and the principles of solidarity economy through public events and exchanges between the Israeli and Palestinian partners and artisans
- Creates a joint line of Fair Trade handicraft products, by the cooperation between the two organizations, Israeli and Palestinian, that is a pilot experience in this sector
- Distributes and promotes in Palestine, Israel, Italy and other countries the joint Fair Trade product line, through specific marketing and promotional initiatives, thanks to the collaboration among cooperatives and Fair Trade shops, NGOs and civil society networks, Local Authorities and other stakeholders.
The beneficiaries of the project, together with their families, are marginalized in their territories:
- 2 groups of disabled youth from Bethlehem area: about 50 persons
- 20 women from Deishe refugee camp in Bethlehem area
- 200 artisans, men and women, and their families from Bethlehem area and other Palestinian areas
- 150 women and their families from the Arab minority in Galilee
Bethlehem Fair Trade Artisans (BFTA) in PALESTINE is an organization founded on the principles of Fair Trade and is focused on improving the lives of local artisans and craft workers. At BFTA, we are focused on opportunities serving women, individuals who are brand new to the craft market and others with limited economic opportunities. We do this by working directly with individuals and cooperatives to provide retail and wholesale access to both the local tourist market and the global international market.
At BFTA, the well-being of the artisans has always been our primary concern. In recent years there has been a decrease in tourism due to restricted movement. Unfortunately, this has resulted in a lack of new job opportunities and has left many artisans in the area struggling to support their families. It is our mission to aid these men and women as much as possible. In order to achieve this, we provide our artisans with educational resources for improving product quality and market appeal, as well as basic business skills and other types of necessary skills. As a result of our professionalism and work, BFTA has recently been approved as a member of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO).
Sindyanna in ISRAEL has been active in the Arab sector since 1997, with the aim of creating economic opportunities and places of work for women. The organization operates according to Fair Trade principles, marketing quality olive oil, olive oil soap, herbs, and traditional foods and crafts to the local and international market. Sindyanna of Galilee also helps farmers upgrade their land plots by connecting to irrigation and using modern agricultural methods, including organic farming.
The basket-weaving project and Visitors Center in Kufr Manda, a village of Galilee, trains Arab women in a profession, in running the workshop, and in presenting their achievements to potential buyers.
The Center enables its guests to meet the weavers face to face, so that they get to know “the person behind the basket,” thus promoting dialogue between Arabs and Jews.
In ITALY, the Palestinian and Israeli organizations are supported, and their products are distributed, by an active network composed by Fair Trade local cooperatives and shops, civil society organizations and public institutions:
- COSPE: Cooperation for the development of emerging countries
- Cooperativa Commercio Equo e Solidale in Lecce
- Cooperativa Ex Aequo, in Bologna
- Rete di Economia Etica e Solidale,
- in Marche region
- Province of Ancona
- Province of Lecce
- Institute for the Mediterranean Cultures in Lecce
- WOMEN, Women of Mediterranean, East and South European Network
These organizations collaborate in the Fair Trade Fair Peace project under the general coordination of COSPE. Since many years they are active in their territories and fields of action, for the cooperation, dialogue and peace among peoples, the recognition of human rights, the promotion of sustainable and human development, the mainstreaming of the social and fair economy.