Occupation End Notes | February 23, 2006
Volume 3 Number 8


In this issue...

1. US Campaign Update: US Campaign’s New Contact Information; CAT Divestment; Anti-Palestinian Legislation Moving through Congress; US Campaign Co-Chair to Speak in Chicago


2. Membership Update: Florida Palestine Solidarity Network’s New Website; AFSC Nominates Ghassan Andoni and Jeff Halper for Nobel Peace Prize; WESPAC Foundation Responds to FLAME ad in The Nation

3. Resources & Education: Progressive Democrats of America Issue Position on Israel/Palestine; Imagine-Life Call to Action; New Church Divestment Resource; 5th Annual PSM Conference A Huge Success; Wheels of Justice Tour; Sabeel Conferences in Pittsburgh and Washington, DC; Rachel Corrie Greeting Cards; The Philistines and N.O.M.A.D.S. On Tour; New Orleans International Human Rights Film Festival


4. 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; "Meet Palestine" Voluntary Work Camp; Sabeel International Young Adults Conference; Cycle for Peace.


1. US CAMPAIGN UPDATE
* We’ve finally moved into our new office!It’s big, bright, and beautiful and we hope that you’ll be able to visit us someday.For your information we have a new phone number and mailing address (all email addresses remain the same).To contact us in our new space:
Call: 202-332-0994 or send mail to:
US Campaign
PO Box 21539
Washington, DC 20009
*On February 6, 2006 the Church of England’s general synod made an historic decision to divest church funds from companies that profit from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands.The church’s primary target will be Caterpillar Inc., for its sales of D-9 and D-10 bulldozers to the Israeli army.
The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation applauds the Church of England’s overwhelming vote in favor of divesting its £2.2 million shares from bulldozer manufacturer Caterpillar. The vote, supported by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, sends a clear message to Caterpillar that profiting from human rights violations is not compatible with socially responsible business practice. Click here to read the US Campaign’s press release.

* The US Campaign has launched a nation-wide campaign against anti-Palestinian legislation introduced after the Palestinian legislative election.The focus of this campaign is HR4681, the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006.This resolution goesmuch further than other resolutions which call for no US assistance to the PA; it also designates Palestinian areas as a “terrorist sanctuary”, restricts humanitarian aid, threatens to cut US dues to the UN in proportion to the amount of the UN’s budget that is spent advocating for Palestinian human rights, and seeks to close the PLO office in Washington.To read this resolution, click here

To date, more than 190 organizations in 38 states have endorsed a letter to Members of Congress opposing this resolution.The deadline for signing on to this letter is Monday, February 27.Keep those endorsements coming!To read and endorse the letter, click here

Several of our supporters have had difficulties sending a message to their Members of Congress using our system.Our service provider has told us that any problems should now be fixed.Letters to your Members of Congress can be sent by clicking here

The US Campaign is organizing a national call-in day to oppose this resolution on Tuesday, February 28.Save the date and take two minutes to call your Representative on Tuesday.
* On March 4th and 5th, 2006 Nadia Hijab, Steering Committee Co-Chair of the US Campaign, will be presenting "Palestinian Refugees: Rights vs. Reality in Today's Middle East" as part of a Chicago-area speaker series on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.For more information about this event and future events, visit the Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine.

2. MEMBERSHIP UPDATE

* The Florida Palestine Solidarity Network has remodeled their website to include interactive resources, action alerts, news and much more.Click hereto check these renovations.
*The American Friends Service Committeehas nominated Professor Ghassan Andoni, co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement, and Jeff Halper, co-founder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions for the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize.Congratulations to Ghassan and Jeff on their nomination, and thank you to the American Friends Service Committee for honoring these individuals for their outstanding work in seeking peace for Israelis and Palestinians nonviolently.

* WESPAC Foundation has published a full-page ad in The Nation in response to the magazine’s publishing of a full-page ad by FLAME which, among other lies, denied the existence of the Palestinian people.To view the ad, which is published in this week’s edition of The Nation, click here


3. RESOURCES & EDUCATION
* Progressive Democrats of America has issued a draft policy guideline on Israel/Palestine.The document is highly critical of US foreign policy bias toward Israel and calls for the implementation of human rights and international law.You can view the draft guideline by clicking here

If you would like to give PDA feedback on its draft policy guideline, click here

The US Campaign applauds PDA for deciding to take on the issue of US policy toward Palestine/Israel in a principled way and looks forward to working with PDA to educate the Democratic Party on this issue.PDA is also one of endorsing organizations on the US Campaign’s letter to Congress against HR4681, the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act (see above).

*Imagine-Life, a member organization of the US Campaign, has issued a call to action for people to oppose Comcast’s airing of an ad campaign for the Israel Project that enters into the realm of hate speech by presenting simplistic, offensive, and erroneous information.To view the ad and to find out how you can take action, visit Imagine-Life

* The Economic Engagement Committee of the Ann Arbor Friends Meeting has recently released a comprehensive description and timeline of Christian church initiatives to divest from Israel.This invaluable resource can be found here

* Over the weekend of February 18 and 19th Georgetown University hosted the 5th annual conference of the Palestine Solidarity Movement.This conference was a huge success drawing over 400 registered participants representing about 90 groups and organizations around the United States.In addition to presenting a host of excellent panels and skills-building workshops, the Palestine Solidarity Movement began strategizing for a national day of action on March 30, 2006 which is Palestinian Land Day.The call encourages campuses and communities to mark this important date with Palestine activities, and to begin initiating divestment campaigns nation-wide.Visit the PSM to keep posted on the development of this day of action.
*The Wheels of Justice Tour is on the move again!From March to May the tour will be making stops in fifteen different states around the country.Since 2003 Wheels of Justice has rolled across 48 states to challenge and educate North Americans on the occupations of Palestine and Iraq.Click here to find out when Wheels of Justice is visiting your community.
*From February 24-25, 2006 Sabeel, a member organization of the US Campaign, will host "Towards a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel."This conference will offer local churches and area denominational bodies, as well as other religious and secular peace and justice organizations in the Pittsburgh area an arena to inform ourselves, network widely and provide tools to become pro-active peacemakers.The conference will be held at First United Methodist Church, 5401 Centre Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA.To register, click here.For more information, contact tina.whitehead@verizon.netor 412-820-0254.
* From March 3-4, 2006 Sabeel will host "Pursue Justice, Seek Peace." The goal of this conference is to educate denominational bodies as well as other religious and secular peace and justice organization in the DC Metro area about working together to build a better future in Palestine and Israel.The two-day conference will be held at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, 1313 New York Avenue, Washington, DC.For registration click here.For further information contact john.salzberg@verizon.netor 202-258-0596
* As March 16, the 3rd anniversary of Rachel Corrie’s death approaches, If Americans Knew is selling Rachel Corrie greeting cards to honor her courage.Cards are three cents each and can be purchased online through If Americans Knew.
* The Philistines and the N.O.M.A.D.S, Arab-American hip hop artists, are going on tour!From March 9-24, 2006 you’ll be able to catch these dynamic acts in Detroit, Oberlin (OH), New York City, and Vancouver, Canada.For details on dates and venues visit The Philistines.You can also check out their music on their My Space profile.
* From April 6-15, 2006 New Orleans Palestine Solidarity () will join efforts with the New Orleans human rights community to present the 3rd Annual New Orleans International Human Rights Film Festival.This year’s festival is dedicated to a vision of justice for New Orleans and worldwide.Currently the organizers are calling for film entries and festival volunteers.To learn more and to help out click here


4. OPPORTUNITIES TO VISIT ISRAEL AND PALESTINE
* Birthright Unpluggedis 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 hereor 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 Initiativeand Sabeelinvite 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.orgor 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's website.

*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.netfor 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.
*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.
*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 visit Cycle for Peace.


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.