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Occupation End Notes | July 12, 2007
Volume 5 Number 1

Occupation End Notes, July 12, 2007

Volume 5 Number 1

In this issue...

1. US Campaign Update:Join us for our 6th Annual National Organizer’s Conference in Arlington, VA September 7-10, 2007; US Campaign at CAT Shareholder Meeting, UFPJ National Assembly, and US Social Forum

2. Boycott, Divestment, & Sanctions:Dutch government warns company to stop work on West Bank fence; U.S. House of Representatives Condemns British Academic Boycott of Israel

3. Member Group Update: New Member Groups: Episcopal Peace Fellowship – DC, Lodi United Methodist Church, Palestine-Israeli Action Committee, SPEAC, Texans for Peace, Veterans for Peace, The Rachel Corrie Chapter; Appeal on Corrie et al. v. Caterpillar, Inc. Heard in U.S. Court of Appeals in Seattle; Tuesdays Open Gaza Campaign, sponsored by the Rebuilding Alliance

4. Resources and Events:The Palestine Center's 2007 Summer Intern Lecture Series; Institute for Palestine Studies’ new study of Israeli attempts to move Palestinian refugees away from 1967 lines now available; Institute for Palestine Studies Policy Notes No. 16;

5. Opportunities to Visit Israel and Palestine: Interfaith Peace-Builders Delegations; Join Middle East Fellowship for Palestine Summer Encounter; Birthright Unplugged Delegations in July/August 2007;Global Exchange Delegations; MECA Delegations in August 2007; Volunteer in Tel Rumeida

1. US CAMPAIGN UPDATE

* Join us for our 6thAnnual National Organizers’ Conference in Washington, DC September 7-10, 2007!

The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation is excited to announce its 6th Annual National Organizers' Conference, September 7-10 in Arlington, Virginia.  The conference is being sponsored by Students for Justice in Palestine at GeorgeMasonUniversity and will take place at the Arlington Campus of George Mason University.

Each year, delegates of member organizations of the US Campaign come together to network, strategize, decide upon priorities for the upcoming year, and elect a new Steering Committee to guide the work of the coalition.

It's not too early to start making your plans to attend this year's conference.  For conference FAQ's, logistical details, registration, a draft agenda, a list of member organizations in good standing, and a form for Steering Committee nominations, please click here.

DRAFT AGENDA

This year's annual conference will be extremely important! All member groups of the US Campaign should start making plans to send delegates today.  We'll be discussing the political situation and its implications for our work in the United States, next steps forward on the Anti-Apartheid Framework and Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions work, the 60th anniversary of al-Nakba, the functioning of the coalition and much more.  For a complete draft agenda, click here.

VOTING & MEMBER GROUPS IN GOOD STANDING

Please note that while individuals and member groups of the US Campaign are encouraged to attend the conference, only delegates of member groups in good standing are allowed to submit proposals and vote at the conference.  "In good standing" means that your group has paid its membership dues for 2007.  Annual membership dues are set at between $100-$1,000 or more depending on the size and budget of the group.  To check to see if your group is in good standing and will be able to submit proposals and vote, click here.  To check to see if your group has joined the US Campaign, click here.  If your group would like to join the US Campaign, click here.  If your group needs to pay membership dues to be in good standing, please contact Omar Masri, Office Manager, at 202-332-0994 or office@endtheoccupation.org to make payment arrangements.  

STEERING COMMITTEE NOMINATIONS

At each National Organizers' Conference, voting delegates elect four new members to the US Campaign's 12-person Steering Committee for a three-year term.  The Steering Committee is the highest decision-making body of the US Campaign in between conferences. 

To read more about the responsibilities of being a member of the Steering Committee and to submit a nomination, please click here.

LOGISTICS

As you make your plans to attend the 6th Annual National Organizers' Conference, be sure to check out the logistical pages that we've posted to our web site.  To read our Frequently Asked Questions about the conference, click here.  You can also find directions for how to get to the conference by clicking here.  We've reserved a bloc of motel rooms across the street from the conference at a special group rate.  For more details, click here.  Also, if you'd like to share housing or a ride to the conference, be sure to post your information to our housing board and ride board.

REGISTRATION

Registration for the US Campaign 6th Annual National Organizers' Conference is now open.  To register, click here.

We look forward to seeing you in Arlington, Virginia in September!  For additional conference information, please click here.

* US Campaign at CAT Shareholder Meeting, UFPJ National Assembly, and US Social Forum

Since its June 10-11 mobilization protesting 40 years of Israel’s illegal military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip, the US Campaign has been busy attending events and strengthening its relations with the broader peace and justice movement in the United States.

* On June 13, Ashley Wilkinson, the US Campaign’s Religious Outreach Coordinator, attended a mobilization organized by the Stop CAT Coalition, a US Campaign member group, at the Caterpillar annual shareholder meeting in St. Charles, IL.

This year, Caterpillar moved its annual shareholder meeting away from Chicago to a remote and restricted conference center to avoid the annual protests organized by member groups of the US Campaign such as the Stop CAT Coalition, Jewish Voice for Peace, and others.

For a write-up of actions taken at this year’s shareholder meeting and press generated by these actions, see the website of Jewish Voice for Peace by clicking here.

Congratulations to groups like the Stop CAT Coalition, JVP, and others for keeping the pressure on CAT to be held accountable for its profiting from Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights.

For additional information about the US Campaign’s work on the CAT Campaign, please click here.

* From June 22-24, Josh Ruebner, US Campaign Grassroots Advocacy Coordinator, attended the 3rd National Assembly of United for Peace and Justice in Chicago, IL.The US Campaign is a member group of UFPJ, the largest anti-war coalition in the country with more than 1,400 member organizations.

At the assembly, the US Campaign helped facilitate a discussion about the future of UFPJ’s work around Palestine and Omar Masri, US Campaign Office Manager, was elected to UFPJ’s Steering Committee.This is the third time in a row that the US Campaign has been elected to serve in UFPJ’s leadership body, a strong indication of the value that the coalition places on addressing U.S. support for Israel’s occupation and other human rights violations against Palestinians.

For a write-up of the assembly, please click here.

* From June 27-July 1, Ashley Wilkinson, US Campaign Religious Outreach Coordinator, attended the U.S. Social Forum in Atlanta, GA.Prior to attending Palestine-related events at the Social Forum, Ashley played a key role in a Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Institute that was organized in Atlanta and brought together key activists to strategize about the BDS movement and plan next steps forward.

For more information about the U.S. Social Forum, please click here.

2. BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT, SANCTIONS

* July 9th, 2007: Dutch government warns company to stop work on W. Bank fence

By Cnaan Liphshiz, Haaretz Correspondent

The Dutch foreign minister, Maxime Verhagen, recently warned a construction company from the Rotterdam area to terminate its involvement in work on the separation fence in the West Bank.

"I expect Riwal to stop providing cranes for the wall. I hope this will be the last we hear of it," Verhagen said in a media statement late last month, adding that "the government will keep a close watch" on the company's actions.?

The Dutch foreign ministry called the company's work on the barrier "undesirable," citing the 2004 ruling by the Hague-based International Court of Justice that the fence was illegal.

Click here to read more.

* U.S. House of Representatives Condemns British Academic Boycott of Israel

On July 11, the House of Representatives passed H.Res.467 by a recorded vote of 414-0 with 2 voting “present” (Roll Call Vote 618).The resolution condemns the decision of the BritishUniversity and College Union (UCU) for voting to consider a boycott of Israeli academics and academic institutions for complicity with Israel’s illegal military occupation and other human rights violations of Palestinians.

Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), one of the two Representatives voting “present”, was the only Representative to speak against the resolution:

“I simply do not understand why it is the business of the United States Congress--particularly considering the many problems we have at home and with U.S. policy abroad--to bring the weight of the U.S. government down on an academic disagreement half a world away. Do we really believe that the U.S. Government should be sticking its nose into a dispute between British and Israeli academics? Is there no dispute in no remote corner of the globe in which we don't feel the need to become involved?”

For the full debate on the resolution, please see yesterday’s Congressional Record beginning on page H7614.

3. MEMBER GROUP UPDATE:

The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation would like to welcome the following groups to its membership:

ØEpiscopal Peace Fellowship – DC Chapter

Episcopal Peace Fellowship is a national organization with local chapters across the United States.  While it is affiliated with the Episcopal Church in America, it is an independent entity striving to work for peace in justice in its communities, our church, and the world. 

Click here to learn more about the Episcopal Peace Fellowship – DC Chapter.

ØLodi United MethodistChurch - WI

LodiUnitedMethodistChurch is located in the small community of Lodi, Wisconsin. Our community of faith has a membership of about 400.  Its Motto: "Christ Before Us In All We Do”.

Click here to learn more about LodiUnitedMethodistChurch.

ØPalestine-Israel Action Committee – CA

The Palestine-Israel Action Committee is a group of Americans concerned about the conflict in the Palestine/Israel region and our country's role in that conflict. Their fundamental goal is to end the occupation. Their strategy is to bring another narrative to the discussion via speakers, film, and other public events that inform and educate. They believe that the conflict will only be resolved when there is justice, equity, parity, viability, and security for both peoples.

ØSPEAC - Solidarity with Palestine through Education and Action at Carolina - NC

The mission of SPEAC is to humanize the Palestinian-Israeli conflict by standing in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for dignity, human rights, and justice. Their official kickoff was January 2007 and plan educational, political, cultural, and outreach events in order to fulfill their mission statement on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus.

Click here to learn more about SPEAC.

ØTexans for Peace – TX

Texans for Peace is place for people who are interested in peace and justice. The organization was founded in 1993 for "Texans who believe in peace and Peace in Texas!" and since that time has focused on the following four main areas: 1. To serve as a central source for information about peace and justice organizations and events across Texas. 2. To provide curriculum and teacher training materials for school nonviolence throughout the state 3. To represent Texas throughout the U.S. and the world as "peace ambassadors" 4. To develop resources and capacity to grow peace and justice organizations in Texas.

Click here to learn more about Texans for Peace.

ØVeterans for Peace, Rachel Corrie Chapter 109 – WA

Veterans for Peace, Rachel Corrie Chapter 109 work: (a) Toward increasing public awareness of the costs of war(b) To restrain our government from intervening, overtly and covertly, in the internal affairs of other nations (c) To end the arms race and to reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear weapons(d) To abolish war as an instrument of national policy.(e) To make non-violent conflict resolution an integral part of national policy(f) To seek justice for veterans and victims of war. To achieve these goals, members of Veterans For Peace pledge to use non-violent means and to maintain an organization that is both democratic and open with the understanding that all members are trusted to act in the best interests of the group for the larger purpose of world peace.

Click here to learn more about them.

If you would like to become a member of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, please click here!

* Appeal on Corrie et al. v. Caterpillar, Inc. Heard in U.S. Court of Appeals in Seattle

On July 9, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Seattle, WA heard an appeal by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) on the 2005 dismissal of the lawsuit filed against Caterpillar on behalf of Rachel Corrie and four Palestinians who were killed by Israel using Caterpillar bulldozers.

According to CCR, “The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, alleges that Caterpillar, Inc. violated international and state law by providing D9 bulldozers to Israel Defense Forces (IDF) that it knew would be used to demolish homes and endanger civilians. In doing so, Caterpillar aided and abetted the crimes committed by the IDF by knowingly providing assistance that had a substantial effect on the commission of the violations.”

To read a statement by the Corrie family on the July 9th appeal hearing and to hear an audio file of the court proceedings, please see the website of the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice, a member organization of the US Campaign, by clicking here.

* Tuesdays Open Gaza Campaign, sponsored by the Rebuilding Alliance

Dear End the Occupation Members,

It has been over month since the historic rally in WashingtonDC and one of the speakers, Mr. Husam El Nounou, cannot yet go home.  He is stranded in Egypt at the Gaza border with 5000 Palestinians, all waiting for the border to open so that they can return to their families.  There is a heat wave. 28 people have died; others are on hunger strike.  We need your help to contact Congress and to press on with a new building project in Gaza as a symbol of hope.

Gaza’s borders have been sealed shut since June 13th with 1.4 million hungry people inside.  Aside from minimal humanitarian aid, the government of Israel has imposed a blockade on import of goods to the impoverished territory, forcing many factories to shut down. Unemployment, already over 60% before the blockade, has shot up as tens of thousands of workers face layoffs.  U.N. agencies are cancelling all building projects for lack of cement and materials.

Husam El Nounou came to the U.S. to raise funds to rebuild the next home in the Rachel Corrie Rebuilding Campaign in Gaza, as part of a Rebuilding Alliance speaking tour.  Our projects are symbols of hope that help rebuild shattered communities and offer people around the world immediate ways to make peace, starting with the tangible support of a family's right to a home.

We need your help to end the blockade of Gaza and bring Husam, and 5000 stranded Palestinians home.  Please do two things:
(1)  Call Congress on Tuesday, and every Tuesday until the blockade is lifted, to open Gaza's borders;
(2)  Help Gazans show the world their determination to build, not destroy.  Donate now to rebuild the next home in the Rachel Corrie Rebuilding Campaign in Gaza.


Click here for more info about the “Tuesdays Open Gaza Campaign” sponsored by The Rebuilding Alliance.Starting tomorrow, join a weekly planning meeting via teleconference, every Friday at Noon pacific, 3pm Eastern.   Sign-up here for the toll-free number.

Sincerely,
Donna Baranski-Walker
Executive Director, The Rebuilding Alliance

4. RESOURCES AND EVENTS:

* The PalestineCenter's 2007 Summer Intern Lecture Series

July 13, 2007: PalestineCenter: The Future of Arab-Israeli Peace: Challenges & Perceptions

The second lecture in the series, “The Next Step in the Peace Process,” will take a look at the fragile peace process from a variety of different viewpoints. Ambassador Wilcox will explore U.S. foreign policy and involvement in the Middle East as well as U.S. diplomatic relations with the Palestinians, the Arabs and Israel. He will examine international involvement through the lens of the United Nations, the European Union and the Quartet. Most importantly, Wilcox will take an in-depth look at the role of the individual Arab states, the Arab League, the PLO and Israel.

July 17, 2007, PalestineCenter: "American Perceptions and Misconceptions: How Media Coverage Effects the Way We View the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict"

"American Perceptions and Misconceptions: How Media Coverage Effects the Way We View the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict" is the final lecture in the series. Over the course of this briefing, Cobban will cover four sub-topics regarding the media. She will address topics such as what directs U.S. coverage of the Middle East; how a news reporter can influence viewers' opinions; how subtle differences like word choice and tone affect our perception of the Middle East; the differences in news reporting among American, British and other news agencies in the West as well as variations in coverage depending on whether a story is televised or written. Finally, Cobban will address the filters through which news stories must flow before reaching their audience and what decisions go into that process.

Registrations for both events are required. Unregistered guests will not be admitted.


To register, send the name of the event, your name, affiliation and contact information to
rsvp@palestinecenter.org by 12:00 noon the day before each event.

This briefing is free and open to the public. A light lunch will be served to registered
guests at 12:30 p.m. The briefing and "Q and A" will follow from 1:00-2:00 p.m.

* New study of Israeli attempts to move Palestinian refugees away from 1967 lines now available on Institute for Palestine Studies website

The English language edition of Israeli historian Tom Segev’s new book “1967: Israel, the War, and the Year that Transformed the Middle East”, which is published by Metropolitan Books, has just been launched in the United States (June 2007). The Journal of Palestine Studies has excerpted a key chapter in the forthcoming issue (No. 143), in which Segev focuses on the debates within Israel, especially within the government, regarding the fate of the Palestinians who came under Israeli control in the wake of the war. The article explores Israeli government and military involvement, including that of the prime minister’s office, in soliciting and crafting a number of plans to bring about the out-migration of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip.

To read the article, go to http://palestine-studies.org/final/en/index.html

* Institute for Palestine Studies Policy Notes No. 16: How USMiddle East Policy Continues to Undermine the "Moderates"

In the wake of the fighting that pitted Fatah against Hamas this month, ending in Hamas control over Gaza, the United States has voiced full support for Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas. But past US policy greatly contributed to present conditions: a Palestinian national movement in a power struggle over an authority that has no power, and a West Bank split from Gaza, East Jerusalem and the JordanValley. The Institute's Senior Fellow Nadia Hijab argues that unless the US changes tack it will further weaken those it hopes to keep as allies.  

To read the Policy Notes, please click here.


5. OPPORTUNITIES TO VISIT ISRAEL AND PALESTINE

*Spring - Fall 2007 Schedule: July 28th-August 11th; October 27th – November 10th: Interfaith Peace-BuildersDelegations to Israel/Palestine

Interfaith Peace-Builders (IFPB) sends delegations to Israel and Palestine so that US 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, contact the IFPB office directly by phone (202-244-0821) or email office@ifpbdel.org.

* May 24th – August 16th, 2007: Join Middle East Fellowship for Palestine Summer Encounter 2007

Middle East fellowship, in partnership with Holy Land Trust invites you to participate in the fourth annual Palestine Summer Encounter, a two month Arabic-training and volunteer program, starting on May 24th, 2007.

The purpose of the program is to create a dialogue between Palestinians and members of the global community. During the program, participants will learn beginner or intermediate conversational Arabic through language immersion and class and partner with Palestinian non-profit organizations as a volunteer. Click here for more detailed information.

* July 20th-25th and August 20th-25th, 2007: Birthright Unplugged Delegations to Israel/Palestine

Are you thinking of going to Palestine/Israel this summer?

Are you interested in meeting Palestinian families, activists, community leaders, and political figures, and learning about life under occupation? Are you committed to turning education into action and working for justice?

Then BIRTHRIGHT UNPLUGGED is for you!

Join us for a 6-day educational trip through the West Bank to visit Palestinian cities, villages, and refugee camps.The trip is designed to put you in conversation with people who you may not otherwise have the opportunity to meet and equip you to return to your community and work for change.

Birthright Unplugged trips will run from JULY 20-25, 2007 and AUGUST 20-25, 2007.Dates are subject to change.

The application deadline is Tuesday, MAY 15, 2007.Trips run every summer and winter.

While Birthright Unplugged is designed primarily for Jewish people, we welcome people of all backgrounds on our trips.We also welcome individuals of all ages, and have traveled with people ages 9-70.

For more information about the itinerary, costs, trip leaders, and application materials, visit www.birthrightunplugged.org.

* Summer – Fall 2007 Schedule: August 12th – 22nd, December 2nd – 12th: Global Exchange’s Delegations to Palestine & Israel

Global Exchange’s delegations to Palestine & Israel provide first-hand exposure to the daily struggles and realities of Palestinians living under Occupation.  The delegations strive to further the US public's understanding of the conflict by listening to the aspirations and frustrations of Palestinians, by examining the dimensions of the human rights crisis under Israeli rule, as well as learning from Palestinians and Israelis who are working for a just peace and an end to the Occupation.

For more information you can contact Global Exchange (800-497-1994 x. 251) or email palestine@globalexchange.org.

August 12 – 22, 2007
<http://www.globalexchange.org/tours/803.html>
December 2 – 12, 2007

* MECA Delegation August 2007: Come with MECA to Palestine/Israel!

For seventeen years, MECA has taken small groups to the West Bank, Gaza and Israel.MECA staff and local guides introduce you to activists, journalists, aid workers, teachers, social workers and others living under occupation. We’ll stay with our “Ibdaa family” in Dheisheh refugee camp, and visit other MECA partners and friends throughout Palestine/ Israel.

For information, please contact:

Deborah Agre or Josie Shields-Stromsness deborah@mecaforpeace.org, josie@mecaforpeace.org

510-548-0542

*Volunteer in Tel Rumeida!

Tel Rumeida Project is an organization solely for work purposes (i.e. it is not an organization for its own sake.)  Therefore, volunteers are expected to be able to function well with instruction and independently. Volunteers will be working in the neighborhood of Tel Rumeida, Hebron, keeping a presence on the streets to prevent against settler attacks and soldier/police harassment of the Palestinian residents who live in the neighborhood. For more information, please see http://www.telrumeidaproject.org/Volunteer.html

*****

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 office@endtheoccupation.org.

The US Campaign aims to change U.S. policies that sustain Israel's 409-year occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, and that deny equal rights for all.

US Campaign toEndthe Israeli Occupation PO Box 21539Washington, DC20009 202-332-0994 http://www.endtheoccupation.org

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