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Occupation End Notes | March 9, 2006
Volume 3 Number 9

RachelRachel Corrie Special Edition

In this issue...

1. Rachel Corrie Special Edition: Remembrance and Action

2. US Campaign Update: March 16th Call to Action; US Campaign Welcomes Bill Fletcher; CAT Shareholder Meeting Postponed; CAT Campaign Interactive Map Online

3. Resources & Education: Made in Palestine Exhibit; Church of England Divestment Initiative; NOMADS and Philistines on Tour; Palestinian Student Society Conference; Peace Works Conference; Northwest Regional Middle East Seminar; Palestine Freedom Project Internships; New Film “My Land” Now Available

4. Highlights from the Region: The Tel Rumeida Project

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



1. RACHEL CORRIE FEATURE

On March 16, 2003 Rachel Corrie, a 23 year-old American peace activist with the International Solidarity Movement, was crushed to death in the Gaza Strip by an Israeli soldier driving a Caterpillar D-9 bulldozer.  Rachel was defending the home of Dr. Samir Nasrallah, which was later demolished. 

As we approach the third anniversary of her death, the US Campaign would like to recognize and honor Rachel for her courage and commitment to peace and justice by dedicating this edition of Occupation End Notes to her and to the countless Palestinians who have also suffered and given their lives in the struggle for their human rights.

In the three years since Rachel’s death the Palestine solidarity community in the US and around the world has marked March 16th as a day of remembrance and action.  This year’s commemoration will be especially significant in light of the recent “indefinite postponement” of the play “My Name is Rachel Corrie,” which was supposed to open on March 22, 2006 at the New York Theater Workshop.  “My Name is Rachel Corrie” is a powerful one-woman show based entirely on the writings that Rachel left behind, telling her story from the time she was a small child and leading up to the days before her death. The play, edited by Alan Rickman and Katharine Viner from Rachel’s diaries and emails, was produced by the Royal Court Theater in London.   

We must not let Rachel’s voice be silenced!

Since the news of the postponed play a new collective project called Rachel’s Words, in coordination with activists around the country, has called on citizens of the world to speak out about this injustice and to ensure that Rachel’s words are heard louder than ever on the days surrounding the anniversary of her death. 

How you can help:

Along with the US Campaign, endorse this project and join the worldwide list of supporters!  For a list of current endorsers and to add your name or group’s name click here

Plan or join an action!
On March 16th, the anniversary of Rachel’s death people around the world will be remembering Rachel and making her voice heard in their local communities.  For resources, including Rachel’s emails commemorative postcards, click here

 As the play was supposed to open in New York on March 22nd, there will also be a Rachel’s Words event in New York on that date at the Riverside Church in Manhattan.  An array of actors, academics, and activists will read the writings of Rachel Corrie and address how vital it is for the arts to provide a platform for difficult discourse, something that is greatly needed on the issue of Israel and Palestine. The current line up includes Maysoon Zayid, Kia Corthron, Malachy McCourt, Najla Said, Kathleen Chalfant and Betty Shamieh.  We are awaiting confirmation from many more who have expressed interest.  Spread the word!

Document your actions!
Please film, photograph, and write about your actions and send to rachels_words@yahoo.com.  A video montage and photo gallery of global actions remembering Rachel will be placed online at Rachel’s Words and will be screened at the Rachel’s Words event on March 22, 2006 in New York City at the Riverside Church.

Contact the New York Theater Workshop!
Let the NYTW know how you feel about their indefinite postponement of “My Name is Rachel Corrie.”  Contact NYTW Artistic Director Jim Nicola at TellJim@nytw.org

For more information on visit Rachel’s Words click here

For information about ongoing work on Rachel Corrie’s case, visit the following sites:

Rachel Corrie Foundation

Rachel Corrie Memorial Website

Support Rachel Corrie Resolution H.Con.Res 111  (2004)

Corrie Suit Against Caterpillar Incorporated


2. US CAMPAIGN UPDATE

*On March 6, 2006 the US Campaign issued an Action Alert calling on groups to commemorate Rachel Corrie’s death by plugging into the Caterpillar Campaign.  On this March 16th we hope that you will heed the call from Rachel’s Words and from the Caterpillar Campaign to demand corporate accountability from Caterpillar.  To view the US Campaign’s press release and other resources for the March 16th day of action click here

* The US Campaign is pleased to welcome Bill Fletcher, currently president of the TransAfrica Forum, to our Steering Committee.  Bill has a long history of activism as a trade unionist and within the African American community and we’re very excited that he accepted our invitation to join the US Campaign.  Welcome Bill!  Bill replaces Mohammed Abed, who resigned in December, on the Steering Committee.  According to US Campaign procedures, the elected Steering Committee is empowered to appoint a new member to fill any vacancies until the next national conference.  Thanks to Mohammed for his contributions to the US Campaign!  

* Since the US Campaign’s 4th Annual Organizers’ Conference in August 2005 we have been planning action for April 12, 2006 to coincide with Caterpillar Inc.’s annual shareholder’s meeting.  However, we were recently informed that Caterpillar has changed the date of its meeting to June 14, 2006.  While changing plans at the last minute can be difficult, we’re excited that we will have two extra months to organize for the shareholder action.  That means two more months to collect Caterpillar postcards and two more months for our coalition to plan actions. 

If you have collected signed Caterpillar postcards PLEASE be sure to send them to us at our new address:  P.O. Box 21539, Washington, DC  20009

If you would like us to send you more blank postcards, please send requests to outreach@endtheoccupation.org and include your name, the number of cards you are requesting, and the address to which you would like them shipped. 

* We’ve updated our Caterpillar resources online.  Click here to view our interactive U.S. map of Caterpillar activities all over the country.  If you have launched a Caterpillar campaign in your community and are not listed on our map, please send an email to organizing@endtheoccupation.org so that we can add you!


3. RESOURCES & EDUCATION

* Made in Palestine, the first museum-quality exhibition of contemporary Palestinian art will be opening on March 14, 2006 at The Bridge in New York City.  To view pieces from the exhibition click here.  The Bridge is located at 521 West 26th Street, 3rd floor.  Made in Palestine will be on display from March 14 – April 22, 2006. 

* After passing an historic resolution at its General Synod calling on the Church of England to divest from Caterpillar Inc., on February 6, 2006, the Church’s financial advisors voted unanimously to reject the call.  John Reynolds, chairman of the Church’s Ethical Investment Advisory Group is quoted as stating that, “[they] could find no compelling evidence that Caterpillar is or has been complicit in human rights abuses."  Click here to read the Jerusalem Post’s article on this development.

* Catch
the N.O.M.A.D.S. and the Philistines, Arab American MC’s, on tour this week.  The two groups will be in Detroit, Oberlin, New York City, and Vancouver, for the next couple of weeks.  For more information on venues and show times visit the Philistines

* Announcing the inaugural Palestinian Student Society (PSS) Conference.  PSS is a newly-established organization for Palestinian and Palestinian-American undergraduate and graduate students in the U.S.  This year’s conference will be hosted at Swarthmore College in Philadelphia, PA from March 31—April 2, 2006.  This ground-breaking initiative will enable dedicated young leaders of Palestinian heritage to take on the challenges facing their community and ensure that their voices are heard.  Sign up today by visiting the website http://www.pssociety.org.


*From April 22-23 the Rachel Corrie Foundation will host the first ever
Peace Works Conference in Rachel’s memory.  Guest speakers include Dr. Moustafa Barghouthi, Diana Buttu, Liat Weingart and Professor Sara Roy.  For more information and to register click here

* On April 29, 2006 join Friends of Sabeel North America for a Northwest Regional Middle East Seminar at Portland State University.  The seminar is primarily intended for faculty who teach about the Middle East at colleges and universities in the Pacific Northwest region.  If you have proposals for papers to submit for the seminar, please send them to Abeer Etefa, Middle East Studies Center, Portland State University at etefaa@pdx.edu no later than March 31, 2006.   

* The Palestine Freedom Project is proud to announce the launch of a new internship program for college students or recent graduates.  Interns will join our existing volunteers in conducting critical research, developing resources, and ensuring that the materials we produce receive the most effective distribution possible.  These positions offer significant opportunities for personal and professional development as interns gain hands-on grassroots organizing experience.  For more information on internships with the PFP click here

* Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition (PRRC), now has available copies of the excellent prize-winning 2005 documentary entitled “My Land” by Tone Andersen.  The twenty five-minute documentary is particularly relevant to show at upcoming annual Yom Al-Ard/Land Day commemorations and teach-ins. It exemplifies the continuing struggle Palestinians are facing against home demolitions and land expropriation.  To order your copy of “My Land” click here


4. HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE REGION:The Tel Rumeida Project

Since April 2005 a group of internationals has become increasingly concerned about the neighborhood of Tel Rumeida in Hebron, West Bank.  Like much of the city of Hebron, Tel Rumeida is a neighborhood where Palestinians and Israeli settlers live in close proximity to each other, and where daily settler harassment and violence against the Palestinian residents is ignored and permitted by the Israeli army.  After cultivating relationships with the Palestinian residents of the neighborhood, the international group made a commitment to being a permanent presence in Tel Rumeida to bear witness and to work in solidarity with the Palestinians who are resisting these conditions. 

On the Tel Rumeida Project website one can find many useful resources including video footage of settler violence and harassment, an extensive photo gallery, and daily reports from the ground. 

Get involved with the Tel Rumeida Project!

Incorporate information about the Tel Rumeida neighborhood into your local education and advocacy efforts.  Under international law all Israeli settlements built in occupied Palestinian territories are illegal and must be removed.  US tax-funded aid to Israel helps to subsidize Israel’s economy, making it possible to continue settlement construction and to protect settlers.  The Tel Rumeida settlement is illegal, and the perpetration of settler violence against Palestinians living in the neighborhood is a human rights violation. 

Join the Tel Rumeida team and volunteer in Hebron.  For more information about volunteer opportunities click here

Spread the word.  Let your network know about the Tel Rumeida Project.  You can find them online at http://www.telrumeidaproject.org


5. OPPORTUNITIES TO VISIT ISRAEL AND PALESTINE

* 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 .

* March 12-19:Joint Advocacy Initiative and Sabeel invite you to participate in Church Action for Peace, part of the World Council of Churches International Advocacy Week. The seven-day program includes Launching of event with Patriarchs and Bishops of Churches in Jerusalem, International Planting Day with the Olive Tree Campaign, Candle March at the Separation Wall, Solidarity Visit with Christian Peacemaker Teams in Hebron, Sabeel's Contemporary Way of the Cross, Visits to Holy Sites in the Galilee, Bethlehem and Jerusalem, Witnessing the destruction in Jenin Refugee Camp and Nablus' Old City, Settlement Tour with Israeli Committee Against House Demolition, Cultural Evening with Palestinian Youth (dinner and dancing), Meetings with Church Related Organizations in Bethlehem and Jerusalem. For more information and to register, contact pr.advocacy@ywca-palestine.org  or mimitobin@verizon.net .

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

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, 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.

*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.

*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 click here.

*Global Exchange Palestine & Israel Reality Tours

2006 Tour Schedule: April 1-11; 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 the 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.orghere. or click

*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 you 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 clickhere.