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“Solidarity with Palestine” means to us that we are with the two million(ish) innocent people in one of the most densely populated areas on earth being unjustly cut off from basic needs to survive and indiscriminately slaughtered.

Just as Palestine has a right to exist, so too does Israel. 

We do not stand with Hamas; we are with the people, as we are anywhere in this world where injustice and violence faces them. 

All innocent lives have equal value. Love knows no vengeance. War strategies can come in many forms, and blindly supporting a side without questioning its strategy and tactics to achieve the shared goal in this situation can lead to a global war with far more innocent people dying than we could ever imagine. I’m afraid Israel and the U.S. have taken the bait, losing focus on human rights and diplomacy to bring about the change they require.

Nearly 2000 children have died in Gaza since Oct. 7. All access to water, fuel, food, electricity, and medical supplies have been cut off.1 Fewer than 60 trucks of aid have crossed the border into Gaza in the past 20 days. (UN officials indicate around 100 trucks would be needed daily to meet the needs of the now 1.4 displaced in Gaza.)2 

What I’ve noticed in the U.S. media is offering a horrifically biased reporting of the war. It reminds me of the Black Lives Matter movement, where many would misdirect from the core issue by asking “what about blue lives, all lives, etc.” Our response was simply that we want all to believe that Black Lives Matter as well. 

By expressing “solidarity with Palestine” we are making a similar statement. Until the world recognizes the value of innocent Palestinian lives as equal to that of Israeli and other lives, until an end comes to the continuous slaughter of thousands of innocent people locked in a dense land jail without access to the basic necessities to survive, we must stand up and be on the right side of history.

This does not mean we are against the right of the state of Israel to exist or that we are on the side of Hamas. 

Hamas has committed beyond fathomable massacres that cannot ever be justified. 

Nor can be justified the atrocities of the IDF indiscriminately bombing thousands of civilians while starving them of every key element required to survive - water, shelter, food, medicine.

Stating “Solidarity with Palestine” means we are with the people of Gaza. 

If bombing were to rain down on innocent people of Israel and cut them off from the basic necessities to survive for 20 continuous days as the world stood by, we would have up on our window “Solidarity with Israel.”

With too many Palestinian and Israeli friends experiencing the horrific hell, I just don’t feel okay being complicit with silence. These horrific injustices are starting to seem genocidal and increasingly look like a strategy of ethnic cleansing, both in Gaza, and now in the West Bank. 

This is a situation that I never could have fathomed happening. It is horrific. The whole thing. Both sides, Hamas and IDF, illegal antagonistic violent settlers, etc. 

I find solace in reflecting on the message from last Thursday’s On the Ground fundraiser from two very close friends we’ve spent a large amount of time working with in Palestine & Israel and here in the U.S. 

Nasser from Canaan Fair Trade had traveled from Ramallah to be with us, landing in Madison the day of the horrific slaughter in Israel. Check out what Joshua Davis (Jewish - American) and Nasser Abufarha (Muslim - Palestinian) had to say about their feelings on the situation. I tend to look to them to help guide myself and HG through these so twisted, horrible times. The part starts at 1:01 in this video.

Join us at The Alluvion on November 9th at 6 pm for a viewing of the documentary The People and the Olive followed by discussions and gathering in compassion. A light buffet of fine Palestinian food will be provided by Hexenbelle


Chris Treter co-founded Higher Grounds Coffee 20 years ago after completing his graduate thesis on the impact of commercializing coffee in the Mexican state of Chiapas. He is a founder of On the Ground Global, an international NGO addressing the root causes of poverty in coffee farming communities around the world. He is also a founder of Saveur du Kivu, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s annual specialty coffee cupping competition and value chain conference. Together with community leaders in Traverse City, Michigan, where HG is headquartered, Chris spearheaded and co-founded Commongrounds Real Estate Cooperative, the only multi-use, community owned real estate cooperative in the State of Michigan. Chris is the former interim General Manager of Cooperative Coffees, the only green bean importing cooperative in the world, and as such Higher Grounds is an owner. Chris holds a Masters degree in Organizational Management for Social Change from the School for International Training.

  1. CNN. 2,000 children killed in Gaza, aid group says, as tempers flare at UN amid ceasefire calls. CNN. CNN,
  2. Mohamed, Yusri, and Michelle Nichols. “Third aid convoy enters Gaza, UN warns fuel about to run out.” Reuters, 23 October 2023, Accessed 25 October 2023.