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Occupation End Notes | April 10, 2006
Volume 3 Number 11

In this issue...

1. US Campaign Update: April 18 Commemoration of Qana Massacre; April 25 Press Briefing on Capitol Hill to Commemorate Qana; April 29 NYC Anti-War Mobilization

2. Membership Update: F.O.R. Interfaith Peace-Builders Delegation to Israel and Palestine

3. Resources & Education: Seattle P-I Attack on ISM; World Health Organization Report on Palestinian Healthcare; MPAC Honors “Paradise Now” Actors; Cairo Conference Declaration on Palestine and Iraq

4. Highlights from the Region: ISM Report on Flooding in West Bank Due to Wall

5. Opportunities to Visit Israel and Palestine: Birthright Unplugged; Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions; Christian Peacemaker Teams; Global Exchange; Congressional Accompaniment Project; Ancient Stones/Living Stones; MECA Delegation; "Meet Palestine" Voluntary Work Camp; Fellowship of Reconciliation Interfaith Peace Builders; Sabeel International Young Adults Conference; Cycle for Peace

1. USCampaign Update

* April 18, 2006 will mark the 10 year anniversary of the Qana massacre in southern Lebanon where 106 civilians were killed by Israeli Armed Forces.  The US Campaign has called for a day of action and education on April 18th to commemorate the victims of Qana, and to demand Israeli accountability for this breech of international law and human rights.  For more information on the Qana massacre and on how you can participate in the day of action, click here

*On April 25, 2006 the US Campaign will host a press briefing on Capitol Hill featuring Congressman John Conyers, victims of the Qana massacre, and Judith Brown Chomsky, cooperating attorney on the class action suit on behalf of the Qana survivors. We hope to gain support for a Congressional resolution commemorating the 1996 Qana massacre.  Please encourage your representative to attend this briefing.  More information is available here or call 202-332-0994 for details.   

*On April 29th there will be a major anti-war mobilization in New York City, facilitated by more than ten national organizations, including United for Peace and Justice, the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, US Labor Against the War,  the National Organization for Women, and more (click here for a complete list of endorsers).  The US Campaign has endorsed this event and we will be organizing a Palestine Tent for the event’s peace fair where we hope to display .  Similar to the Palestine Tent that we hosted on September 24, 2005 in Washington, DC, we will be featuring resources, educational and art forums, food, and fun including a photo exhibit, a cafe featuring arabic treats, artistic performances, games, and a children's story hour!  If your organization would like to reserve tabling space in the Palestine Tent and/or you are able to volunteer to help with the tent on April 29th, please email outreach@endtheoccupation.org

2. Membership Update:F.O.R. Interfaith Peace-Builders Delegation to Israel and Palestine

On March 28, 2006 the twelve members of an F.O.R. Interfaith Peace-Builders (IFPB) delegation, led by Alta Schwartz and Mike Daly, successfully crossed the bridge from Jordan to the occupied West Bank.  Since 2000 the IPB program has been leading delegations to Israel/Palestine in order for individuals to see the Israeli occupation with their own eyes.  Participants in this program are from diverse religious, ethnic, and racial backgrounds, and join the delegation from all over the United States.

You can follow the IFPB delegation on their journey by reading their regular reports and viewing their pictures here.  If you are interested in participating in an IFPB Israel/Palestine delegation contact middleeast@forusa.org or call (202) 244-0821

3. Resources & Education

*On April 4, 2006 the Seattle Post-Intelligencer published an attack on ISM entitled,“Idealist Rachel Corrie was misled, ” written by Gilead Ini of CAMERAhere to for the full Seattle P-I article, and send letters (no more than 150) to following contacts if you feel compelled to respond to this article. (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in American).  According to the article, “ISM tells its young followers that Palestinians have the right to armed attacks against Israelis, while at the same time making clear through its activities that Israel has no right to protect its citizens.”  Click

Letters to: editpage@seattlepi.com
Op-ed Editor:  kimberlymills@seattlepi.com
Editorial Page Editor: marktrahant@seattlepi.com

*On April 7, 2006 the World Heath Organization released a new report on the decaying Palestinian healthcare system and how it will be impacted by Israeli economic sanctions and the withdrawal of international aid.  Click here to read the Daily Star’s coverage of this report. 

* The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) will award its 15th annual Media Award to actors Kais Nashef and Ali Suliman for their roles in award-winning film Paradise Now http://wip.warnerbros.com/paradisenow/.  The honor will be presented on April 29, 2006 in Los Angeles at MPAC’s its annual gala dinner.  

*The Fourth Annual Cairo Conference released its final declaration on March 31, 2006 reaffirming its support for the Palestinian struggle for liberation from the Israeli occupation.  Click here to read the declaration.

4. Highlights from the Region

* On Sunday, April 2, 2006 a flash flood engulfed the road between the West Bank villages of Bil’in and Safa, west of Ramallah.  Because of the Wall, the water was unable to leave the area through its natural course, causing it to accumulate to heights as tall as the olive trees, and resulting in the drowning death of a Bil’in villager.  Click here to read the International Solidarity Movement’s reports on this event.   

5. Opportunities to Visit Palestine and Israel

* 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 click here or 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 contact ceanna@globalexchange.org .

*April 8-17: Congressional Accompaniment Project, a hands-on educational experience for members of Congress, their Foreign Policy Aides and their local constituents

The Congressional Accompaniment Project is an program by which Americans, concerned for a just peace in Israel/Palestine, can assist their Congressional representatives and/or their foreign policy Aides to be more informed regarding the "facts on the ground" in Israel/Palestine.

The Congressional Accompaniment Tour includes meetings with both Israeli and Palestinian governmental officials, American Consulate staff, as well as non-governmental professionals, educators and people in all walks of life. It will include travel in Israel and within the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza Occupied Territories to visit areas of conflict and dispute-refugee camps, the "Wall," housing demolitions, "settlements," security checkpoints, sacred sites, etc.

Contact East Iowa Presbytery Peacemaking at (319) 354-7877 or email sue-dy@avalon.net  for further information. The 2006 tour, open to all, is scheduled for the congressional spring break, April 8 - 17, 2006.

*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.

*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.

*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 visit 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.