Occupation End Notes | May 19, 2005 Volume 2 Number 15


In this issue...

1. US Campaign Day of Action: June 5, 2005 – 38th Anniversary of the Occupation of the Gaza Strip, West Bank and East Jerusalem.

2. US Campaign Update: Upper Mid-West Regional Conference – Madison, WI; SAVE THE DATE!; 4th Annual National Organizers’ Conference – Atlanta, GA; Four New Resolutions Added to Congressional Report Card; CAT Campaign Update; Get Involved with the US Campaign!

3. Member of the Month: Philadelphia SUSTAIN! (Stop US Tax-Funded Aid to Israel Now!) http://www.sustaincampaign.org

4. New Members

5. Resources & Education: United Church of Christ to Vote on Divestment; Church of England Considers Divestment; Naji al-Ali Book Now Available from Al-Awda

6. Events: Conference: Wheels of Justice Tour; Stop the Wall Tour; Philadelphia Palestine Film Festival; Bereaved Families Speaking Tour; AIPAC Protest; ADC National Convention

7. Opportunities to Visit Israel and Palestine: South West United Church of Christ Association; F.O.R. Interfaith Peacebuilders; Faculty for Israeli-Palestinian Peace; Middle East Children’s Alliance Delegation; Palestine Summer Camp;  Bethlehem University Educators’ Conference; Holy Land Trust Summer Activist Camp; Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions Summer Work Camp


1.  UPCOMING DAYS OF ACTION

* Mark your calendars now! June 5, 2005, the 38th anniversary of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip, is the next national day of action for which the US Campaign will be mobilizing. On this anniversary of the occupation we are calling for

1. A national letter-writing campaign. In the days leading up to June 5th, monitor your local paper, radio, and TV stations, and work with members of  your group to monitor the national media. By Friday June 3rd, write a letter to the editor to your chosen media outlet that refers to some news item they've just carried on the Middle East. things you can mention:

- the 38th anniversary of the Israeli occupation of Palestine,
- the responsibility of US policy in  sustaining the occupation through military aid and vetoes at the UN,
- the role of corporations like CAT and arms manufacturers in providing the equipment that demolishes Palestinian homes and destroys Palestinian lives.
- Call for a US policy that supports justice and peace in Palestine and Israel based on international law and UN resolutions.

Draw on the Campaign factsheets on the Wall (forthcoming this week), US policy http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=1076  , and the law http://www.endtheoccupation.org/downloads/fact_sheet_2.pdf but use your own words and keep it short! Let's get the message out there!

Palestine Media Watch provides tips on letter writing at http://www.pmwatch.org/pmw/tools/T_WritingLetters.asp and print media contacts at http://www.pmwatch.org/pmw/contact/media.asp to assist you in your letter writing campaign. 

2. Nation-wide teach-ins, and placing a special educational emphasis on the Wall. If you would like a US Campaign steering committee member  or staff person to conduct a teach-in for your community on June 5th, email outreach@endtheoccupation.org. More information on action for this day will be forthcoming. It's not too early for your group to begin planning an event!

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2. US CAMPAIGN UPDATE

* The US Campaign, in cooperation with the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project, will be conducting an Upper Midwest Regional Organizers’ Conference in Madison, WI from June 24-26.  A draft agenda and online registration are soon to come, so save the date!

* SAVE THE DATE!  The US Campaign’s 4th National Organizers’ Conference will take place on the weekend of July 29-31, 2005 in Atlanta, GA.  The National Organizers’ Conference is an opportunity for activists from around the United States to network, strategize, and share skills.  It is also the time when our membership elects a new steering committee and votes to set the agenda for the upcoming year.  Further details will be forthcoming.

* Over the past few weeks, a number of new resolutions having to do with Israel/Palestine were introduced in the House of Representatives.  The US Campaign has added these four new resolutions to our Congressional report card (columns 5-8 in the House of Representatives).  The US Campaign’s Congressional Report Card is located at: http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?list=type&type=89

Below are the numbers and descriptions of these resolutions:

5. H.R.2036--Attempts to have the United States 'unrecognize' the PLO. Last major action: Referred to House International Relations Committee, 4/28/2005.  Scoring: -2 for sponsor, -1 for cosponsor.

6. H.Con.Res.144--Condemns attacks on US citizens by Palestinians, but fails to condemn attacks on US citizens by Israel.  Last major action: Referred to House International Relations Committee, 5/4/2005.  Scoring: -2 for sponsor, -1 for cosponsor.

7. H.Con.Res.149--Recognizes the anniversary of the creation of Israel, but fails to recognize the destruction of Palestinian society that it entailed.  Last major action: Referred to House International Relations Committee, 5/11/2005.  Scoring: -2 for sponsor, -1 for cosponsor.

8. H.Res.279--Condemns the British Association of University Teachers for boycotting Israeli universities that maintain campuses on illegal settlements and stifle their professors' right to speak against Israel's human rights abuses.  Last major action: Referred to House International Relations Committee, 5/16/2005.  Scoring: -2 for sponsor, -1 for cosponsor.

For the full text of these resolutions and to see if your Member of
Congress has sponsored these resolutions, please visit our report card at:
http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?list=type&type=89

There you can also find contact information for your Member of Congress in case you would like to contact him/her about any of these resolutions.


* CAT Campaign Builds Up Momentum
By Nancy Murray, US Campaign Steering Committee Member

One of the encouraging things about the CAT campaign is the way it is developing its own proactive momentum, as activists around the country explore ways to put pressure on the Corporation and simultaneously educate the public.  Below are examples from US Campaign member groups in Buffalo and Boston. 

In Buffalo the Taskforce for the Peaceful Resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict of the Western New York Peace Center first sent a letter to the local CAT dealership, and followed it up with a phone call.  Then, on April 13, they demonstrated in front of the dealership, and were covered by two television stations, two newspapers and one radio station.  Their next step is to ask members of the public to call the local CAT dealership in the first week of June, culminating in another demonstration outside the dealership. 

Members of the BootCAT campaign in Boston (a project of the Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights) have tabled at events over the past 4 months, passed out over 10,000 flyers and got 1,800 signatures on their petition.  One of their members, who bought Caterpillar shares for the purpose, presented the petition signatures at the shareholders' meeting in Chicago. The campaign has also reached out to student organizations and organized a student teach in.  It has held five demonstrations at the CAT dealership outside of Boston, which received both local and national media attention.  Members wrote letters to contractors that have construction bids with their local towns, urging them not to use any Caterpillar equipment while working in these communities, and have also been in contact with the Department of Public Works in each of the towns, asking them not to accept bids from any company that uses Caterpillar equipment.   On April 13 the campaign held an informational session about Caterpillar followed by a high visibility rally in Harvard Square.  Participants included Israeli peace activist Mikado Warschawsky and Noam Chomsky.  Check out its website http://www.bootCAT.org  to see how you can find out if CAT boots, T-shirts, toys and other products are sold in your locality - if they are, you may consider initiating a boycott of these products.

These and other members groups may be timing some of their public actions to coincide with the US Campaign National Day of Action on June 5th, the 38th anniversary of the occupation. The US Campaign priority area for education on June 5 is the Wall that Israel is illegally constructing on Palestinian land.  Caterpillar bulldozers have been actively used to build the Wall and destroy Palestinian orchards and homes.

*Now there are more ways than ever to get involved with the US Campaign!

1-Become a member of the US Campaign
Join with more than 200 organizations nationwide in building a grassroots movement to end US support for Israel’s occupation.  To become a member of the US Campaign please visit http://www.endtheoccupation.org/modinput4.php?modin=2 to sign our Call to Action and pay membership dues.  Join today!

2-Become a Weapons Watch volunteer 
“Weapons Watch” is an ongoing program of the US Campaign to hold Israel accountable for the killing of innocent Palestinian civilians with weapons provided by the United States.  Sign up to become a “Weapons Watch Volunteer” today and distribute action alerts and collect petition signatures by visiting: http://www.endtheoccupation.org/modinput4.php?modin=79

3-Become a Congressional District Coordinator (CDC)
The Congressional District Coordinator Network is the primary link between community activists in local Congressional districts and the US Campaign's nation-wide advocacy initiatives.  They will be responsible for disseminating to the grassroots of their Congressional district national advocacy initiatives and reporting on progress about their efforts with their Members of Congress.  For more information and to become a CDC visit http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=81

4-Join the US Campaign Media Taskforce
The Media Taskforce volunteers work with their local media outlets to provide accurate reporting on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.  They do this by monitoring their local media, writing op-eds and letters to the editor, and cultivating relationships with their local editorial boards.  The Media Taskforce is facilitated by Palestine Media Watch, a member organization for the US Campaign.  For more information and to join the Media Taskforce please email raniaawwad@yahoo.com

5-Join the Non-Violent Direct Action Taskforce
The Non-Violent Direct Action Taskforce is a network of volunteers who organize and participate in direct action in response to a national day of action and other calls for emergency action.  Volunteers are trained in different types of direct action.  For more information and to join the Non-Violent Direct Action Taskforce please email abuemma@gmail.com

6-Join the Resources Taskforce
The Resources Taskforce works to create and compile resources from our member organizations and makes them available on our website for public use.  For more information and to join the Resources Taskforce please email outreach@endtheoccupation.org

7-Support our work by joining the Olive Branch Club
Join the Olive Branch Club today by making a monthly donation to the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.  Your membership in the Olive Branch Club will provide us with a steady stream of income to continue our work of educating, organizing, and mobilizing the public to end US support for Israel's military occupation.  For more information and to join visit http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=876


3.  MEMBER ORGANIZATION OF THE MONTH
Philadelphia SUSTAIN (Stop US Tax-funded Aid to Israel Now) www.sustaincampaign.org

SUSTAIN is a non-hierarchical, grassroots organization with chapters around the United States which are committed to supporting and sustaining the Palestinian movement for justice, human rights and self-determination.  SUSTAIN is building a campaign against US military and economic aid to Israel so that US tax-dollars do not support the abuse of human rights.  The Philadelphia chapter of SUSTAIN was founded in March 2003 and one of its first major activities was a demonstration at the Israeli Consulate in Philadelphia to protest the killing of Rachel Corrie.

Philadelphia SUSTAIN is one of the groups spearheading the Philadelphia Palestine Film Festival (PPFF), a free week-long celebration of Palestinian culture and society.  From May 15-22, the PPFF is screening thirteen Palestinian films and will be conducting several special presentations and events in addition.  For a list of films and schedule visit http://www.philadelphiapalestinefilmfestival.org

In addition to putting together a fantastic week of film screenings, one of the major successes of the PPFF project is that the main organizers have been able to bring a huge coalition of local organizations on board as co-sponsors.  Among the 23 co-sponsors of the film festival are student groups, women’s groups, faith-based groups, and more.  They have also managed to raise enough money to make the entire festival free to the public.  We congratulate Philadelphia SUSTAIN and the organizers of the Philadelphia Palestine Film Festival on a successful film festival and thank them for their wonderful efforts to humanize the face of the Palestinian people in their local community. 


4.  NEW MEMBERS

* 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 coalition of organizations working to end US support for Israel’s occupation:

-Memphis SUSTAIN – Memphis, TN http://www.sustain-memphis.org
Stop US Tax-funded Aid to Israel Now! SUSTAIN is a non-hierarchical, grassroots organization committed to supporting and sustaining the Palestinian movement for justice, human rights and self-determination.

-Third Coast Activist Resource Center – Austin, TX      http://www.thirdcoastactivist.org/
The Third Coast Activist Resource Center was created to help people in the Austin area in their efforts at sustainable organizing. The Center's two main goals are (1) to distribute educational resources and organize community events about U.S. policy around the world, and (2) to strengthen the local activist network that is part of a national and international movement for global justice.

-TransAfrica Forum – Washington, DC     http://www.transafricaforum.org/
TransAfrica Forum is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the general public – particularly African Americans – on the economic, political and moral ramifications of U.S. foreign policy as it affects Africa and the Diaspora in the Caribbean and Latin America.

-The United States Green Party – Washington, DC     http://www.gp.org/
The Green Party of the United States is a federation of state Green Parties committed to environmentalism, non-violence, social justice and grassroots organizing and renewing democracy without the support of corporate donors.


* To become a member of the US Campaign please visit
http://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 http://www.endtheoccupation.org/groups.php


5. RESOURCES & EDUCATION

*On July 1-5, the United Church of Christ General Synod will vote on two resolutions regarding divestment.  Visit http://www.ucc.org/synod/resolutions/gs25-15.pdf  to read “Selective Divestment From Companies Involved With Israel’s Occupation Of The West Bank And Gaza, The Building Of The "Security Fence," And The Israeli Settlements Within Palestinian Territory.”  Visit http://www.ucc.org/synod/resolutions/gs25-3.pdf to read “Calling for a Study of Divestment of Church Funds from Companies that Profit from the Perpetuation of Violence and Injustice in Israel and Palestine.”  Letters of support can be sent to:

Diane Ford Jones, Justice and Witness Ministries, 216-736-3704, jonesd@ucc.org
Ron Buford, Office of General Ministries, 216-736-2180, bufordr@ucc.org
Martha Cruz, Pension Boards, 800-642-6543, info@pbucc.org
Nelson Murphy, United Church Foundation, 877-806-4989, info@ucfoundation.org
Rod Mundy, Local Church Ministries, 216-736-3804, lcm@ucc.org
Jan Aerie. Wider Church Ministries, 216-736-3204, aeriej@ucc.org

*On May 16th the leadership of the Church of England met to consider divestment from the Caterpillar Corporation.  To read the press release by the UK-based organization War on Want, visit http://www.waronwant.org/?lid=10126

* Al-Awda (The Right of Return Coalition) is now distributing a rare collection of the political cartoons of Naji al-Ali, who made famous the character Handala, the Palestinian refugee child.  Naji al-Ali was killed in 1987 in London.  The suggested donation for his book is $25.00 plus $3.00 shipping per copy.  To view all the books and other educational resources available for a donation through Al-Awda, please see: http://www.al-awdacal.org/resources.html


6.  EVENTS

*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 who saw them.  View the new spring tour schedule at http://www.localendar.com/public/stopthewall?style=M0

*May 15-22: Philadelphia, PA
From May 15-22, the PPFF invites regional audiences to explore and celebrate through cinema the richness of Palestinian life, culture, society, and politics. This free, groundbreaking event aims to provide Philadelphians with an in-depth political and cultural context for issues that are often oversimplified in the media, and to promote films that open a space for dialogue and exchange about equality and justice.  For more information visit  http://www.philadelphiapalestinefilmfestival.org/

*May 16-28: Various Locations
From Loss to Hope: Women Work for Reconciliation in Israel-Palestine Speaking Tour.  At a time when extremist opinions of the conflict in Israel/Palestine are often heard, two women - one Israeli and one Palestinian - are working together to make their voices heard in the struggle. Both have lost family members to the conflict. Yet both are determined to share their hope for a peaceful future and to serve as living examples of reconciliation.  For tour itinerary visit http://www.forusa.org/programs/ipb/speakingtour.html

*May 23: Washington, DC
Protest AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) at their annual conference being held May 22nd to 24th at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC.  6pm, corner of Massachusetts Ave and 7th Street NW.  For more information contact Carlton Cobb, Council for the National Interest, 800-296-6958.

*May 27-29: Washington, DC
ADC Silver Anniversary Convention, celebrating 25 years of dedicated service to civil and human rights.  Featured speakers include actor Tony Shalhoub and Casey Kasem.  For more information and to register, visit http://www.adc.org/schedule.htm


7. OPPORTUNITIES TO VISIT ISRAEL AND PALESTINE

*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

*June 6, 2005: Faculty for Israeli-Palestinian Peace Delegation
Faculty For Israeli-Palestinian Peace, FFIPP, is a network of faculty endeavoring to achieve just peace and end the occupation in Israel/Palestine and the region.  FFIPP conducts trips every 6 months which are organized by Israeli leftists who teach in the US and have close ties to many people in the Palestinian communities of the West Bank as well as Gaza and the Israeli left, middle and right.  For more information about the June 2005 trip visit http://www.ffipp.org/wiki/ffipp%20usa/delegations.htm

*July 1-14: Middle East Children’s Alliance Delegation
For 17 years, MECA has taken small groups of North Americans to the West Bank, Gaza and Israel to witness life under occupation and meet people who are working for justice.  Long time friends and project partners of MECA are our local guides and our hosts are a cross section of the people living through the occupation and within the specter of Israel's policies.  For more information and to register call 510-548-0542.

*July 2-30: Palestine Summer Camp
The National Committee for Summer Camps in the USA  and The National Committee for Summer Camps in Palestine invite Palestinian Americans, of ages between 6-22 years old, to participate in the first annual Palestine Summer Camp in Al-Bireh-Ramallah for four weeks in July.  The program will include classes in: Arabic, religion, history & geography of the holy land, arts, folklore dancing, sports, field trips and community volunteer work.  For more information contact Amal Wahdan at 216-351-5377 or email youthsummercamp2005@yahoo.com

*July 4-15: Bethlehem University, Bethlehem
This summer at Bethlehem University, international educators and community activists will join their Palestinian counterparts to explore how all forms of education affect socialization processes within a society and between societies: before, during, and after conflict.  The organizers of this conference encourage a diversity of perspectives, disciplines, and experiences. The terms education, educator, and community activists are by no means distinct categories. The list of participants already includes Middle East specialists, a geographer, adult educators, a legal educator, an environmentalist, and teachers. We will discuss the multiple meanings of peace, conflict, imperialism, multiculturalism, globalism, dissent, and democratic governance.  For more information contact Howard S. Davidson at hdavid@ms.umanitoba.ca

*July 14-24, 2005: Holy Land Trust Summer Activists’ Camp
Holy Land Trust and Quaker International Affairs Representatives are very pleased to invite you to the first activists' summer camp that will take place during the month of July.  Objectives of the camp include: delivery of nonviolence training and training for community organizers, community building among the youth, and sparking new nonviolence groups.  For more information and to register visit http://www.holylandtrust.org/pnr_sc1.htm

*July 17-30, 2005: Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions Summer Work Camp
For the third year in a row, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) is offering a summer work camp intended to foster learning, discussion, and friendship between Palestinians, Israelis and internationals. Our cooperation will send a clear message to the world: We refuse to be enemies; together we resist the Occupation.  For more information and to register contact lucia@icahd.org


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 that deny equal rights for all.

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