Occupation End Notes | May 4, 2006
Volume 3 Number 12

In this issue...

1. US Campaign Update: Save the Date-5th National Conference; Olive Branch Club Special Offer; CAT Shareholder Meeting; April 29th Report-back; Legislative Update

2. Membership Update: Sabeel

3. Resources & Education: Jeruslam in Exile Project; Refusing to Serve Tour; Ireland/Palestine Organizing; Afif Safieh Booklet “On Palestinian Diplomacy,” WCC Appeal to Israeli Ambassador; GX Photo Contest Winner; ICAHD Job Opportunity; Walk for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine

4. Opportunities to Visit Israel and Palestine: Middle East Fellowship Summer Encounter; Birthright Unplugged; Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions; Christian Peacemaker Teams; Global Exchange; MECA Delegation; "Meet Palestine" Voluntary Work Camp; Fellowship of Reconciliation Interfaith Peace Builders; Sabeel International Young Adults Conference; Cycle for Peace

1. US Campaign Update

* Save the Date!  The US Campaign’s 5th Annual National Organizers’ Conference will take place over Labor Day weekend, September 1-4, in the Detroit, MI area.  Start making travel plans now to join us!  We will be sending more detailed information on the conference program and logistics in the coming month.

* For a limited time, join the US Campaign’s Olive Branch Club, our monthly giving program, and we’ll plant an olive tree in Palestine in your name.  We’ve teamed up with the Joint Advocacy Institute’s Olive Tree Campaign to offer our supporters a way to help both the US Campaign and the Palestinian economy at the same time.  For every $10 per month that you donate to the US Campaign, we’ll plant one olive tree in your name and send you a certificate of planting.  For example, join the Olive Branch Club with a monthly donation of $50 and we’ll plant five olive trees for you in Palestine.  Please note that you must commit to participating in the Olive Branch Club for at least one year to take advantage of this offer.  Click here to join today!

*On June 14, 2006 Caterpillar Inc. will conduct its annual shareholders’ meeting in Chicago, IL.  The US Campaign is working with Chicago-area organizers on activities for the day, including the delivery of thousands of signed “CAT Postcards” that you have all collected.  We are still awaiting a new shipment of postcards to distribute to those of who have collected them.  We apologize for the delay.  If you’ve collected signed postcards, please send them to the US Campaign at PO Box 21539, Washington, DC 20003.   

*On April 29, 2006 more that 300,000 people marched in New York City to protest the war on Iraq and to demand “Peace, Justice, and Democracy.”  Following the march was a Peace and Justice Festival in Foley Square that featured dozens of tents and booths with education and activities around various issues.  The US Campaign organized a Palestine Tent where ISM-New York, Tikkun-New York, ADC-New York, Jewish Voice for Peace, Made in Palestine, and the WESPAC Foundation all displayed literature, educational materials, and merchandise for the hundreds of festival goers who passed by.  In addition to table displays, the tent also featured two photo exhibits, an Arabic café with Turkish coffee and mint tea, delicious food from Moustache restaurant, music and dabke. 

The US Campaign would especially like to thank Moustache restaurant for providing the Palestine Tent with delicious food all afternoon long.  When in Manhattan, you can get a sampling of their fantastic food at either their East Village (265 E. 10th St.) or West Village (90 Bedford St.) locations.

* On Tuesday, May 2, the House of Representatives passed by a vote of 413-0 (with 19 Members of Congress not voting) its perennial resolution congratulating Israel on its Independence Day.  H.Con.Res.392 fails to mention the destruction of Palestinian society entailed by the creation of Israel as a “sovereign and independent nation”.  Instead the resolution lauds Israel for establishing a “unique, pluralistic democracy which includes the freedoms cherished by the people of the United States, including freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of association, freedom of the press, and government by the consent of the governed”.  Palestinians living in forced exile from their homeland, under Israeli military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and as second class citizens in Israel might beg to differ.

On a brighter note, the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Acts of 2006 (S.2370 and H.R.4681) continue to languish in their respective legislative chambers.  The US Campaign has collected endorsements from more than 330 organizations opposing this resolution which would impose draconian economic and diplomatic sanctions against the Palestinian people for voting.  Click here  to view the endorsements and to add your group’s endorsement.  We’ve also generated more than 10,000 letters to Congress against this resolution.  Please take a moment to send a letter to your Member of Congress by clicking here.      

2. Membership Update:Sabeel

The Rev. Canon Naim Ateek, a Palestinian Anglican priest and the founder and director of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem, will receive the 2006 John Nevin Sayre Award from the Episcopal Peace Fellowship of the Episcopal Church in the United States.  The award is named after a founding member of the U.S. branch of the Fellowship of Reconciliation.  The EPF statement of award noted, “Canon Naim Ateek’s voice is heard around the world as a strong voice of faith and nonviolence.” 

Sabeel is inspired by the life and teaching of Jesus Christ.  Liberation theology seeks to deepen the faith of Palestinian Christians to promote unity among them toward social action.  Sabeel strives to develop a spirituality based on love, justice, peace, nonviolence, liberation and reconciliation for the different national and faith communities.  The word "Sabeel" is Arabic for ‘the way’ and also a ‘channel’ or ‘spring’ of life-giving water.

Both Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) and the Episcopal Peace Fellowship have been long-time members of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.  FOSNA promotes awareness and understanding of the conflict between the Palestinians and the State of Israel through educational programs for North American Christians, engaging them and their churches in efforts to nurture relationships with the indigenous Palestinian Christians of Palestine whose existence is threatened by political conflict.  Among its many accomplishments, FOSNA has organized over 15 regional conferences around the United States and Canada, bringing together Christians with church leaders to raise awareness about Palestinian Christians and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Congratulations to Reverend Naim Ateek and to Sabeel for this well-deserved honor!

3. Resources and Education

*Jerusalem in Exile – Tangible Memories is a new project by Steve Sabella to gather visual images of Jerusalem in the minds of Palestinians who live in the Diaspora, as well as Palestinians who live in Palestine but are incapable of reaching their city. The project will photographically materialize the various mental images Palestinians have of Jerusalem in their memories and imagination. The collection of testimonies will be presented on the "jerusalem in exile"  web site, and this art experience will be documented in a book which will be edited by poet Najwan Darwish. The book will compile various testimonies and texts on Jerusalem and other related subjects by a number of distinguished Palestinians artists, intellectuals and participants.

*From May 12-25, members of the new organization Combatants for Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War will present the
West Coast tour of “Refusing to Serve: Acts of conscience and stories of resistance in Israel/Palestine and Iraq.”  Come hear participants talk about their experience serving in Palestine and Iraq, as well as what they are doing to challenge their government's policies.  You will hear their experiences serving as part of a military occupation, what moved them to refuse military service, how they are working against war and occupation now, and the lessons or connections that can be drawn between their experiences.  For more information about the tour, speaker biographies and venues, click here

*Do you have contacts in the
Irish-American community?  If so, would you be interested in helping to bring to the United States a high-profile delegation of Irish politicians to speak to the Irish-American community and the general public about the need to change US policy toward Israel/Palestine to support human rights and international law?  If interested, please contact Josh Ruebner, Grassroots Advocacy Coordinator at congress@endtheoccupation.org or 202-332-0994.

*The PLO Mission in Washington, DC has just produced a 64 page booklet "On Palestinian Diplomacy" which is a compilation of articles by Afif Safieh, the Head of the Mission.

Table of Contents:

1-    Diplomacy: The Art of Delaying the Inevitable (2001)
2-    Rome and its Belligerent Sparta (2002)
3-    On Edward Said (2003)
4-    Which Way is Forward? (2004)
5-    Yasser Arafat (2004)
6-    Anatomy of a Mission (2005)
7-    Those Were the Days (1995)

If you wish to receive
3 FREE copies of this booklet please send an A5 envelope with a pre-paid 3.25 dollar stamp to the following address:

PLO Mission
1320 18th Street, NW
Suite # 200
Washington, DC 20036

*Expressing "alarm and concern", the World Council of Churches (WCC) has presented a formal protest to the Israeli ambassador in Switzerland over two recent incidents involving violence by Israeli settlers against Christian volunteers participating in the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI).  In a letter sent on 20 April, 2006 to Israeli Ambassador Mr. Aviv Shir-On, the director of the WCC Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, Peter Weiderud, requested appropriate actions by the Israeli authorities and law enforcement agencies to stop "abusive, unlawful and violent behaviour by settlers toward Palestinians and internationals".  For more information on this incident click here.  This incident is just one in an ongoing string of attacks on Palestinians and internationals by settlers in Hebron.

* The winner of Global Exchange’s Reality Tour photo contest goes to a photograph taken by a participant on a GX Palestine/Israel Reality Tour.  Click here to see Stephen Kerpen’s photo of Palestinian children in East Jerusalem, as well as the rest of the finalists.  Click here to learn more about Global Exchange’s Palestine/Israel Reality Tours. 

* ICAHD-USA seeks a committed individual with excellent organizational and interpersonal skills to promote and coordinate “house parties” or community gatherings across the United States. Such events offer educational and financial support for the work of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) in Jerusalem. The contract for the House Party Coordinator will be a combination of an hourly wage and a percentage of funds raised on ICAHD-USA’s behalf. Hours are very flexible and the Coordinator can perform all necessary work from her or his home. Computer experience is helpful. For more details and info on how to apply click here

* Chicago-area US Campaign member group Committee for Just Peace in Israel and Palestine (CJPIP) will be hosting the 5th Annual Walk for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine on Sunday, May 7th.  The Walk for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine is scheduled annually to coincide with the Jewish United Fund's "Walk With Israel," and is a positive, inclusive alternative to the JUF event.  Each year Jews, Muslims, Christians, and secularists assemble to recognize the interdependence of Israeli and Palestinian aspirations; to express solidarity with both peoples; to condemn the use of violence, military force, and oppression; and to support the coexistence of Palestinians and Israelis as equals.  For more information, visit CJPIP or contact justpeace1@aol.com

4. Opportunities to Visit Palestine and Israel

*Middle East Fellowship Palestine Summer Encounter
Middle East fellowship, in partnership with Holy Land Trust, invites you to participate in Palestine Summer Encounter, a two month Arabic-training and volunteer program, starting on May 27th, 2006.  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, partner with Palestinian non-profit organizations as a volunteer and have the opportunity to participate in 8 separate weekend excursions to visit Hebron, Nazareth, Jerusalem, Haifa and Jericho, the Dead Sea and other important sites throughout the region.  For more information click here

International Solidarity Movement Freedom Summer offers internationals an opportunity to stand in solidarity with Palestinian communities resisting the occupation, to act as human rights monitors, and to work in the media office.  Freedom Summer will run from July 2-August 5th with volunteer training sessions each weekend.  Click here  for more information. 

Birthright Unplugged is a new project that exposes young Jewish people to the realities of Palestinian life through encounters with a variety of Palestinian people. In six days, they visit Palestinian cities, villages, and refugee camps, and help participants develop an understanding of daily life under occupation. The deadline for winter trips has already passed, but planning for a spring trip is underway! For more information visit Birthright Unpluggedor contact info@birthrightunplugged.org . (Please note: Birthright Unplugged is in no way affiliated with Birthright Israel).

* Spring 2006: The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (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, e-mail studytours80@hotmail.com .

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

May 24-June 5, July 26-August 7, October 7-19 (Franciscans), and November 19-December 1, 2006.

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 .

Global Exchange Palestine & Israel Reality Tours

2006 Tour Schedule: June 18-28; August 13-23; December 3-13

Global Exchange delegations to Palestine and Israel strive to further the U.S. public's understanding of the region's realities by giving people first hand experiences of what life under Occupation is like. By meeting with people from various sectors of Palestinian and Israeli society, you hear the most recent and direct accounts of current events and explore the historical and political perspectives that divide the two peoples. Join a delegation to become a more effective media spokesperson for a just U.S. foreign policy in the region, to become a better informed community or student advocate, or to more effectively speak to your members of Congress with first-hand testimonials.
For a detailed delegation itinerary and an application click here or contact ceanna@globalexchange.org .

*June 19-July 3, 2006: Middle East Children's Alliance Delegation to Palestine/Israel

For 17 years, MECA has taken small groups of North Americans to Palestine/Israel. Long time friends and partners of MECA are our local guides and MECA staff, with a combined experience of over 20 years working and leading delegations to Palestine/Israel, accompany every delegation.

This June get a better  understanding of what the Hamas vote means from the Palestinian perspective, what a possible regime of economic sanctions would mean for the various social services agencies and communities they serve, and further understand the geo-political shift from military occupation to Apartheid that is occurring. You will also
be able to meet with various Palestinian and Jewish activists and NGO's who have called for an international campaign for boycotts of and divestment from Israel. You will also learn about the historical and political roots of the Israeli-Palestinian "Conflict."
For more information visit MECA online , call 510-548-0542, or email uda@mecaforpeace.org

*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 click here.

*Fellowship of Reconciliation Interfaith Peace-Builders Delegations

July 15-29: Led by Maia Hallward & Don Christensen
November 4-18: Led by Scott Kennedy

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 click here.

*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.

*August-September, 2006: Cycle for Peace

In August 2006, cyclists from all over the world will leave central London and embark on an amazing journey across Europe to the Middle East, on the second historic Peace Cycle to Jerusalem! Cycling through 12 different countries they will meet with politicians and public to raise awareness of the 38 year occupation and call for justice and peace in Israel and Palestine. After touring parts of Israel and the West Bank, the cyclists will finally ride into Jerusalem in September 2006. Peace Cycle is calling for individuals, charities, peace groups & faith organizations to support this unique event! Start planning your contingent today! For more information click here

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 U.S. 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.