Huwaida Arraf

Huwaida Arraf (born 1976) is an American Palestinian Christian human rights activist, lawyer and co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), a Palestinian-led organization focused on assisting the Palestinian side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict using non-violent protests. Her law practice is based in Ramallah.
Arraf co-founded the  (ISM) in 2001, while living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. She founded the ISM with members of two Palestinian foundations with strong international ties, the Holy Land Trust and the Rapprochement Centre. At the ISM, she has participated in the training of thousands of volunteers from around the world in non-violence and in human-rights monitoring and reporting.
Photo Johnny Leo Johansen(c)
Arraf  earned a J.D. at American University‘s Washington College of Law. Her focus was on International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, with a particular interest in war crimes prosecution.

As a law student Arraf conducted research for the Public International Law and Policy Group, which provides pro bono legal assistance to governments involved in conflicts. Arraf also worked with the International Human Rights Law Clinic at the Washington College of Law, where she represented clients before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on issues ranging from indigenous lands rights to cross-border abductions and irregular rendition.

Arraf chairs the Free Gaza Movement, the organization behind the Gaza Freedom Flotillas – a series of groups of ships carrying Pro-Palestinian activists that were organized to break Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. She was aboard the 2008 Free Gaza boats as well as the 2010 flotilla that was raided by Israeli commandos on May 31. Using a satellite phone on board, Arraf stated that their plan was to have the boats keep heading toward Gaza “until they either disable our boats or jump on board.”

At the time of the raid, Arraf was aboard the Challenger 1, one of the smallest ships (30 feet) of the flotilla. On Thursday, 3 June 2010, she provided her version of the events on Challenger 1 in an interview on Democracy Now.

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