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Occupation End Notes | March 3, 2005 Volume 2 Number 10

In this issue...

1.  Upcoming Days of Action:  March 19-20 – The World Says End the War!; April 13 – International Day of Action Against Caterpillar

2. US Campaign Update: UFPJ National Assembly – Report Back; US Campaign Launches 109th Congressional Report Card; New Orleans Regional Conference; Congressional District Coordinator Update

3. New Members of the US Campaign

4. Member Organization of the Month: Middle East Policy Advisory Committee

5. Resources & Education: New Divestment Statements – World Council of Churches and New Profile; World Bank to Fund Israeli Checkpoints; Professor Rashid Khalidi Under Fire – Take Action; New Report on the Wall and the Impact on Healthcare by Doctors of the World

6. Events: Conference: Wheels of Justice Tour; Stop the Wall Tour; Yonatan Shapira Speaking Tour; United for Peace and Justice National Assembly – St. Louis, MO; Rachel Corrie Memorial Concert – San Rafael, CA;

7. Upcoming delegations to Israel and Palestine: F.O.R. Interfaith Peacebuilders; South West United Church of Christ Association

Special notes:

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*March 19: Fayetteville, NC
The World Says End the War!  To commemorate the second anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq the US Campaign is joining United for Peace and Justice’s call for a mass mobilization in Fayetteville, as well as decentralized mobilizations all over the country.  On March 19th the US Campaign will be educating about the linkages between the occupations of Iraq and Palestine.  Mark your calendars and begin organizing an event in your community today.  For more information about this national day of action visit http://www.unitedforpeace.org/article.php?id=2688

To download fact-sheets highlighting the links between the occupations of Iraq and Palestine, visit: http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=1052 and http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=314

March 19th will be a great opportunity to build up momentum to end US support for Israel’s occupation. Sign up to collect petition signatures on March 19th and after for the US Campaign’s “Weapons Watch” program to halt US arms transfers to Israel.  Visit: http://www.endtheoccupation.org/modinput4.php?modin=79

*April 13: Various locations.
The International Day of Action Against Caterpillar.  It’s not too early to begin organizing in your community!  Join cities all over the world -- from San Francisco to Stockholm, from
Mobile to Chicago -- in a day of action against Caterpillar human rights abuses.  On April 13th Caterpillar shareholders will meet in Chicago and will discuss a resolution on sales of bulldozers to Israel.  The national organizers of the Caterpillar Campaign are calling on groups to organize local demonstrations at CAT-related locations, such as board of directors' offices or CAT dealerships, to send a strong message that cooperation in human rights abuses is unacceptable.  For more information, to get ideas about action, and to sign the Declaration Against Caterpillar Human Rights Abuses visit http://www.catdestroyshomes.org



*From February 19-21 the US Campaign attended the 2nd National Assembly of United for Peace and Justice in St. Louis, MO.  The assembly, which was attended by about 500 participants, drew activists from all over the country for a weekend of strategizing and networking.  We are particularly pleased to announce that the membership of UFPJ voted to adopt the US Campaign’s “Weapons Watch” petition as part of its regular activities and also to endorse the national day of action against Caterpillar on April 13th.  Kymberlie Quong Charles, the US Campaign’s Membership Outreach Coordinator, was elected to UFPJ’s Steering Committee, continuing the US Campaign’s leadership role in the country’s largest peace and justice coalition.  We would like to congratulate the peace and justice movement on the strides that it has taken in recognizing the occupation of Palestine as part and parcel of the US agenda for hegemony in the Middle East, and we thank the membership of UFPJ for voting to work with the US Campaign in holding the US responsible for its military assistance to Israel. 

For more information on “Weapons Watch”, see: http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?list=type&type=150

For more information on the Caterpillar day of action, see: http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=901

*On Monday, February 23 the US Campaign launched its newest resource – the 109th Congressional Report Card.  The redesigned Congressional Report Card has all new features that make it easier for you to find information about your Members of Congress and organize to educate them about the need for the United States to end its support for Israel’s illegal military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem and support peace, justice, human rights, and international law instead.  New features include pictures of your Members of Congress and Congressional district maps, data on money received from pro-Israel political action committees in the 2004 election cycle, and quick links to Congressional District Coordinators in each district.  Visit http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?list=type&type=89 to begin using the 109th Congressional Report Card!

* Join us from April 2-3 in New Orleans, Louisiana for the next US Campaign regional organizers conference.  We’ve teamed up with New Orleans Palestine Solidarity to bring you a weekend of grassroots education, skills-building workshops, and regional strategizing.  More details and registration materials will be forthcoming.  Save the date!

* The Congressional District Coordinator Network (CDC) is growing quickly.  We now have 183 CDC’s in 38 states and 168 Congressional districts!  If you would like to learn more about the CDC network and volunteer to organize grassroots advocacy in your district, visit http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?list=type&type=41



* The US Campaign is growing! We now have almost 200 member organizations in our coalition. The following organizations recently became members of the US Campaign’s national network of organizations working to end US support for Israel’s occupation:

-     Harrisburg Middle East Justice and Peace Group – Harrisburg, PA
-     Middle East Policy Advisory Committee (MEPAC) – Oakland, CA
-     Northwest Middle East Peace Forum – Tacoma, WA

* To become a member of the US Campaign please visit
www.endtheoccupation.org/modinput4.php?modin=2 to sign our Call to Action and pay membership dues.  Join today!

* To view a complete list of organizational members of the US Campaign visit www.endtheoccupation.org/groups.php


Middle East Policy Advisory Committee (MEPAC) – Oakland, CA

MEPAC is a coalition of Bay-area organizations that came together to support Congressional action that promotes a just peace in Palestine/Israel by resolving injustices in accordance with international law.  MEPAC convened for the first time for a meeting with Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-9) in 2004, during which members of our group representing Jewish Voice for Peace, Rebuilding Alliance, Tikkun, International Solidarity Movement, Friends of Sabeel, Faculty for Israeli Palestinian Peace and Arabs Building Community gave a presentation on the Wall.  As a result of the initial meeting MEPAC has established an on-going relationship and dialogue with Barbara Lee's office. In Barbara Lee's district at least, MEPAC has established itself as a counterforce to AIPAC, which is one of the coalition’s initial objectives.

As a coalition that has been successful at getting the ear of its Congressional representative, MEPAC offers the following tips:

1. Try to find a sympathetic ally that is close to the Congressperson with whom you would like to communicate. 

2. Make sure that you go into the meeting with as many groups representing as many people, including constituents, national and international membership/supporters, as possible.  Members of Congress want to see 'numbers' so they know there's support for them if they take unpopular stands on issues such as Israel/Palestine.

3. Don't ask for too much too soon. Take things a bit slowly to establish the relationship. Members of Congress want to know they can trust you and that your group is in it for the long haul. That takes time.



* In the last several months there has been an upsurge in calls from various institutions and organizations to divest from companies that are profiting from the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip.  In the last issue of End Notes we highlighted the Israeli Committee Against House Demolition’s recent statement on divestment.  This week we are pleased to pass on two more divestment statements from the World Council of Churches and New Profile, respectively.

On February 22, 2005 the World Council of Churches, the main global body uniting non-Catholic Christians, issued a statement calling on its membership to divest from companies that profit from the Israeli occupation.  To read Ha’aretz coverage of this development visit  http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/spages/543924.html

New Profile is an Israeli organization that works for the rights of Israeli citizens to conscientiously object to service in the Israel Defense Forces, and for the transformation of Israel from a highly militaristic society to a civilian society dedicated to equality of gender and ethnicity and firmly based on universal human rights.  They recently released a statement calling for selective divestment from companies that “that contribute to the continuation of the Occupation by supplying arms, other equipment, or staff.”  For more information on New Profile and their positions visit www.newprofile.org

* The US Campaign was alarmed to learn of recent report in Common Dreams, a progressive online news source, indicating that the World Bank may be preparing to fund Israeli checkpoints under the guise of improving the Palestinian economy by easing the transfer of goods throughout the occupied territories with more efficient checkpoints.  According to some watchdog groups, the project would violate international law since some of the proposed checkpoints by the Israelis are on and around the separation wall, which annexes Palestinian land.  The US Campaign intends to pay close attention to these developments and will keep you updated.  To read Common Dream’s full report visit http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/0225-08.htm

*The director of Columbia University’s Middle East Institute, Professor Rashid Khalidi, will be prohibited from participating in a secondary school teachers’ training on the Middle East by the New York City Department of Education because of his criticism of Israel.  Khalidi’s colleague, Professor Joseph Massad, has also come under fire because of claims that he promotes pro-Palestinian views, disparages Israel, and intimidates pro-Israel students in class, according to a report from the Chronicle of Higher Education.  If you would like to write letters in support of Professor Khalidi, here are the addresses for Joel Klein, Chancellor of the NYC Dept. of Ed., and Lee Bollinger, President of Columbia University:

Mr. Joel I. Klein, Chancellor
New York City Department of Education
52 Chambers St.
New York, NY  10007

President Lee Bollinger
Low Memorial Library
Columbia University
535 W. 116th Street
New York NY 10027

* Medicins du Monde (Doctors of the World)-France, recently released a new report on the impact of the Wall on the Palestinian healthcare system, including its socio-economic and psychological impact.  To read the English version of this report visit http://www.reliefweb.int/library/documents/2005/mdm-opt-14feb.pdf



*Ongoing: Wheels of Justice Tour
Members of Voices in the Wilderness, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, the Middle East Children's Alliance, and affiliates of the International Solidarity Movement take to the road in a colorfully decorated full-size school bus for nonviolent education and action against war and occupation in Iraq and Palestine and for justice and universal human rights.  For more information and to view the Wheels of Justice itinerary visit http://www.justicewheels.org

*Ongoing: Stop the Wall Tour
The Stop the Wall Campaign and Tour traveled to 45 cities last summer and fall.  The Wall trailer and full scale models, together with films, Power Point presentations and lots of handouts and maps had a remarkable impact on those that saw them.  View the new spring tour schedule at http://www.localendar.com/public/stopthewall?style=M0

*February 20-March 11: Various locations
In February and March the Refuser Solidarity Network will be conducting a speaking tour with Yonatan Shapira, a signer of the 2003 “Pilots Letter” in which 27 high-ranking Israeli pilots refused to serve in the Occupied Territories.  For a complete tour itinerary visit http://www.refusersolidarity.net/

*March 6: San Rafael, CA
Rachel Corrie Memorial Concert to aid the Rebuilding Alliance's Rachel Corrie Rebuilding Project.  2:30 pm, Unitarian Church, 240 Channing Way, San Rafael.  Suggestion donation is $15-$20 at the door.  For more information contact jewellcj@jewellfamily.com



*May 21-June 5, 2004 *and* July 30-August 13: Fellowship of Reconciliation Interfaith Peace Builders
Interfaith Peace-Builder sends delegations to Israel and Palestine so that U.S. citizens can see the conflict with their own eyes. Participants have the opportunity to learn directly from Israeli and Palestinian nonviolent peace/human-rights activists, to spend time in Palestinian and Israeli homes, and to experience the situation of Palestinians living under military occupation.  For more information visit http://forusa.org/programs/ipb/default.html

*April 29-May 8: Southwest United Church of Christ Association
The Southwest Association of the United Church of Christ is developing a partnership with Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem and the International Center of Bethlehem.  As part of this partnership, two trips to Bethlehem are being planned for 2005.  The spring trip will focus on the work of the Health and Wellness Center/and Dar al Kalima School, two of the ministries of Christmas Lutheran Church.  Cost for each trip will be approximately $2000 depending on cost of airfare.  The group will be staying in the International Center Guest House in Bethlehem –except for optional side trips.  For further information or to register people for this gathering, please contact either Bonnie Van Overbeke, pastor of Memorial UCC at pastorbonnie@sbcglobal.net or by phone at 608-273-1008, or Bob Mutton at swwaucc@globaldailog.com or by phone 608-244-3350.


Occupation End Notes is the US Campaign bi-monthly newsletter designed as a tool for activists. For this newsletter to be successful, we need your participation. Use us to promote events, give feedback on recent actions, recommend resources, or just learn from other activists in the movement. If you or your organization are planning an event aimed at ending the occupation, or you have information for the Newsletter, please contact the US Campaign at outreach@endtheoccupation.org


The US Campaign aims to change US policies that sustain Israel’s 37-year occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, and deny equal rights for all.

Donate to the US Campaign. Visit http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=84