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Occupation End Notes | December 15, 2005
Volume 3 Number 4

In this issue...

1. US Campaign Update: US Campaign December Fundraiser; November 9-29 Days of Action Report Back; Meet with Members of Congress During Winter Recess

2. Resources & Education: Former Israeli Military Leaders Served with Charges of War Crimes; Bethlehem Ghetto Is Sealed; Dr. Sami Al-Arian Acquitted; Caterpiller Bulldozer Updates; Jerusalem Candles of Hope

3. Opportunities to Visit Israel and Palestine:


* The US Campaign would like to extend holiday greetings to all of our wonderful members and supporters and share our wishes for a happy and healthy New Year.  

* Now is the time to make your end of the year, tax-deductible donation to the US Campaign.  We rely on your generous support to continue helping to build a national movement to end US support for Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian lands.  You can click here (http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=1164) to view our annual newsletter that outlines new developments and accomplishments from 2005.  This year we are offering beautiful 2006 wall calendars with the artwork of Ismail Shamout and “Palestine: A Guide” by Mariam Shahin for contributions of $50.00 and $100.00 respectively.    

Did you know that you can also benefit the US Campaign when you do your holiday shopping on-line?  This holiday season, you can have a percentage of your on-line purchases donated to the US Campaign at no additional cost to you.  For more information, visit: http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=1113

The US Campaign is still offering selected merchandise at bulk (discounted) rates.  For more information, contact Kymberlie Quong Charles, Membership Outreach Coordinator, at outreach@endtheoccupation.org or 202-543-1778.  To view US Campaign merchandise, visit: http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?list=type&type=142

*The US Campaign called for local actions from November 9 – November 29, 2005 in solidarity with the Palestinian call for actions against the Wall on November 9th and the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on November 29th.  The US Campaign’s goals were to highlight the campaign to end Caterpillar bulldozer sales to the Israeli army and reassert the importance of the Palestinian Right of Return as defined in UN Resolution 194.  Our suggested actions included soliciting signatures for postcards that will be sent to the CEO of Caterpillar, James Owens, and holding public events and installing public displays that exhibit the number of villages that have been destroyed in historic Palestine, and placards representing the names of civilians who have been killed by Caterpillar bulldozers in Palestine.  We succeeded in distributing close to 1500 postcards nationwide, and helped seven of our member organizations to plan actions in their communities.  If you helped to collect postcard signatures, please be sure to send them back to us in the office.        

* Members of Congress will be in their home districts for Winter Recess beginning next week.  The US Campaign urges its supporters to take this opportunity to meet with their Members of Congress to discuss 1) Israel’s request for $1.2 billion to fund the Gaza “disengagement” and 2) Caterpillar political action committee contributions.  Activists in more than three dozen Congressional districts are in the process of forming delegations and submitting meeting requests.  Join them and sign up to take the lead in organizing a delegation in your Congressional district! To sign up, find resources and talking points, visit: http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=1156


*Today, December 15, 2005, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) served process papers on Lt. Gen. (ret.) Moshe Ya’alon, former Head of the Intelligence Branch and former Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), for war crimes and other human rights violations.  The class action lawsuit is in connection with the hundreds of civilian deaths and injuries in the 1996 shelling of a United Nations compound in Qana, in the south of Lebanon.  CCR, in cooperation with several other legal experts, have worked for several years to build support to bring charges against Israeli war criminals while they are on US soil.  The US Campaign also played a humble role in the act of serving Ya’alon with the process papers. 

This event comes on the heels of another legal milestone last week when CCR and the and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR…LINK!) brought a class action lawsuit against Avi Dichter, former Director of Israel’s General Security Service.  The case charges Dicter with war crimes for his participation in the decision to drop a one-ton bomb in a residential neighborhood in Gaza City that killed seven adults and eight children in 2002.  The attack was widely condemned by the international community, including the U.S. government, at the time. 

For more information and to read these cases, visit the CCR website http://www.ccr-ny.org/v2/home.asp

* At a time when many people around the world celebrate the birth of Jesus in the “little town of Bethlehem,” Israel has taken the last step in sealing off the historically and religiously significant city from the rest of the world.  The ancient road that has connected Jerusalem and Bethlehem for centuries is now blocked by the wall that is turning the entire West Bank into an outdoor prison.  Photos of the developments can be viewed on Bethlehem Bloggers: Voices from the Bethlehem Ghetto (http://bethlehemghetto.blogspot.com/2005_12_01_bethlehemghetto_archive.html).  For more information about Bethlehem, visit Open Bethlehem (http://www.openbethlehem.org/), an initiative to bring the emergency situation in Bethlehem to the entire world.       

* On December 7, 2005, Dr. Sami Al-Arian, former professor of computer science at the University of South Florida, was acquitted on eight charges against him claiming that he financed and promoted Middle East terrorism.  Al-Arian has been imprisoned since February 20, 2003, and had been under investigation by the FBI for nine years prior to his arrest.  Sami Al-Arian is a well-known leader in his community for being a vocal advocate of Palestinian rights and for supporting and building Islamic organizations like the Islamic Society of North America and the Islamic Academy of Florida.  The acquittal is a huge victory for Al-Arian and his defense team.  For more information about Sami Al-Arian and his case click here http://www.freesamialarian.com/home.htm  

* There have been several new developments in the realm of Palestinian home demolitions in the past several weeks.  On November 29, 2005, a company called InRob, which develops and manufactures remote control systems, announced that it had completed development on a remote system for Caterpillar D9 bulldozers, the same bulldozers that are used by the Israeli army to demolish Palestinian homes.  The new technology will allow the army to conduct “military operations” with the bulldozers by remote control, rather than having a soldier operate the bulldozers from the inside.  And these days, Caterpillar isn’t the only company selling bulldozers to the Israeli army.  A recent eye-witness report from the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (http://www.icahd.org) notes the army’s use of Daewoo bulldozers in the demolitions of several Palestinian homes in and around Jerusalem.  Pictures of the demolitions can be seen here (http://www.geocities.com/toi_billboard/daewoo.jpg).  If you would like to write letters to the executives of Daewoo you can find a list of contacts here (http://www.geocities.com/toi_billboard/daewoo_addresses.htm)

*The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), a member organization of the US Campaign, has just put out an action alert on H.Res.575, condemning Hamas’ participation in the upcoming Palestinian legislative elections.  The House is due to vote on the measure today.  To contact your Representative about this issue, click here: http://capwiz.com/adc/issues/alert/?alertid=8318406

* Jerusalem Candles of Hope are now available from the Amber Chand Collection: Global Gifts for Peace and Understanding (http://www.amberchand.com/index.html).  The fair trade candles are made in cooperation by Israeli women in Nazareth and Palestinian women in Bethlehem.  When you purchase these candles, not only will you be supporting Israeli and Palestinian women artisans, you will also be supporting the work of the Parents Circle http://www.theparentscircle.com/, which will receive 5% of the proceeds, and Jewish Voice for Peace (http://www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org), which will receive 10% of the proceeds (you must write in “JVP” at checkout).  To order your candles today visit http://www.amberchand.com/terracomm/cat_detail.html?product_id=60 


*December 27-30: Celebrating Nonviolent Resistance Conference, Bethlehem University

Organized by Nonviolence International and hosted by Holy Land Trust, this international conference will give participants the opportunity to meet nonviolence activists from around the world, dialogue about cutting edge nonviolent theory and practice, support Palestinian and other nonviolent movements and more. For more information and to register click http://www.celebratingnv.org/ 

*Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) Delegations to Israel/Palestine

January 12-24, March 30-April 11 (United Church of Canada), May 24-June 5,
July 26-August 7, October 7-19 (Franciscans), and November 19-December 1,

During the first several days, delegates will meet with representatives of Israeli and Palestinian peace and human rights groups in Jerusalem and Bethlehem to gain perspective on the conflict.  They will tour the "security wall" separating Israel from the West Bank and visit Palestinian families whose homes and livelihoods are threatened by expanding Israeli settlements.  They will experience firsthand CPT's work of violence-deterrence and human rights documentation in the city of Hebron and surrounding areas, and challenge the structural violence of the Occupation through nonviolent public witness. Delegates raise $2000 U.S. to cover costs.  For more information and to apply visit CPT’s website http://www.cpt.org

*Spring 2006: The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD)

ICAHD is working in conjunction with an English company to arrange a study tour to Israel and the Occupied Territories that will take place over ten days in spring 2006.  Participants will be based in hotels in Jerusalem and Bethlehem and will have unique opportunities to hear analysis from key leaders on both sides of the divide while traveling in Israel, Jerusalem and the West Bank.  For information email studytours80@hotmail.com

*March 24-31, 2006: Sabeel International Witness for Peace Visit

Sabeel is a justice and peace project of Palestinian Christians in the Holy Land.  The spring tour will include visits to all major cities in the occupied West Bank, as well as visits to Jerusalem, the Golan, and Nazareth.  For more information and to register visit Friends of Sabeel North America (http://www.fosna.org/index.php?display=Spring2006WitnessTrip)

*March 24-April 8, 2006 and May 27 – June 10, 2006: Fellowship of Reconciliation Interfaith Peace-Builders Delegation

Fellowship of Reconciliation's Interfaith Peace-Builders 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://www.forusa.org/programs/ipb/default.html

*April 29-20, 2006: Ancient Stones, Living Stones: A Cross-Cultural Encounter in the Holy Land

Join Tour Leader Gordon Matties, Associate Professor of Biblical Studies & Theology, on a journey through time to the land of Joshua and Jesus! Through the 21-day tour you will walk into the world of the biblical texts, visit the ancient stones, the important biblical/archaeological sites and pilgrimage locations, meet the living stones, the many and varied people-groups living in present-day Israel/Palestine (Jews, Christians, and Muslims), and discover the complexity of conflict and the prospects for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.  For more information and to register click here http://www.cmu.ca/studytour2006.html

*July 12-30, 2006: “Meet Palestine” International Voluntary Work Camp

The international summer work camp will bring together 20 young people from around the globe who are interested in creating a better world. We are specifically targeting people who are working with organizations led by young people that address issues concerning humanity and social justice. We strongly encourage highly motivated and serious young men and women to apply.  For more information contact Info@zajel.org or visit http://youth.zajel.org/summer_camps/camp2006/announcing.htm

*July 28-August 5: Sabeel International Young Adults Conference

The goals of this conference are to provide an opportunity for Palestinian and International young adults, including Palestinians raised abroad, to meet, to share stories, and to learn about Palestinian culture; to provide an opportunity for International young adults to know about the lives of Palestinian young people and to become more aware of the political realities; to help Palestinian young adults from different communities meet each other; to encourage Christian young adults to become more active for justice in their communities when they return home.  The target age for this conference is 18-26 year olds.  For more information visit Friends of Sabeel North America (http://www.fosna.org/index.php?display=YoungAdultConf2005) 

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 38-year occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, and that deny equal rights for all.

To donate to the US Campaign click here http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?list=type&type=149