Occupation End Notes | January 27, 2006
Volume 3 Number 7

In this issue...

1.US Campaign Update: Nadia Hijab to Speak in Chicago; US Campaign Moving Sale

2.Special Feature on Palestinian Elections

3. Membership Update: Message from New Orleans Palestine Solidarity; Council for the National Interest Observes Palestinian Elections

4. Resources & Education: 5th Annual PSM Conference; Support Divestment Efforts in Norway; Norman Finklestein response to Norway Divestment; Rami Khouri in North Carolina; Sabeel Conferences in Pittsburgh and Washington, DC 

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


* 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.

* We're having a moving sale!!! After many months of searching, the US Campaign is finally moving to a space that is conducive to housing a growing staff, and we can't wait! To lighten our moving load we're trying to get rid of as much of our warehouse as possible. For a limited time only we will be selling our union-made, sweatshop-free t-shirts for $12.00 + $3.00 shipping and handling...a discount of $2.00! Click here to order now before our supplies run out!


The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation Welcomes the Victory of Palestinian Democracy

The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation welcomes the exemplary way that the elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council have been conducted in the most difficult of circumstances of military occupation.

The genuinely competitive, multi-party elections represent a dynamic moment in Palestinian history, bringing in opposition voices, and reflecting the maturity of the Palestinian electorate and their long history of democratic practice. We applaud the determination of all candidates to respect the results in line with Palestinian law, and call on the international community to do the same.

We recognize that the basic conditions of the Palestinian people remain unchanged: their rights to life, liberty, and social and economic development continue to be violated by the occupying Israeli forces, including through illegal building of settlements and the annexation wall which has, with its associated regime, been reaffirmed as illegal by the International Court of Justice.  Palestinians living in refugee camps and in exile continue to be denied their right of return, and Palestinian citizens of Israel continue to be treated as second-class citizens. The Palestinians have called on international civil society to engage in a campaign of boycott and divestment until Israel complies with international law.

We call on all parties to the conflict to respect the rule of law. We continue to believe that only a process that is based on international law can lead to a just and lasting peace in which Palestinians and Israelis can enjoy their human rights and live in security.

Click here to view this statement online.

Here's what others are saying:

Hamas Election Victory: A Vote for Clarity
Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 26 January 2006

Elections signal change, checkpoints only ugly continuity
Issa Samander, Bitter Lemons

The Alternative Information Center's Statement on the Palestinian Elections

Mr. President, The Terrorists Have Won
by Abhinav Aima,  Common Dreams, January 26, 2006


A Message from New Orleans, Louisiana Palestine Solidarity (NOLAPS) 

Post-Katrina, New Orleans Louisiana Palestine Solidarity continues the struggle for justice and human rights, around the world, and in New Orleans

For the last two years, NOLAPS has presented a breathtaking array of events, from films, demonstrations and speakers to art shows, a Palestinian hip-hop show, presentations in high school and college classrooms, and a regional conference with US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.  We met with local newspaper editorial boards, appeared on radio shows, set up literature tables at busy public locations, spoke at churches and more.  We organized two Human Rights Delegations to Palestine, including sending nine delegates to the West Bank in the summer of 2004.  We printed a book and a newsletter, released a film, and co-founded and helped coordinate two years of the New Orleans International Human Rights Film Festival.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, our city was devastated. Members of our group, and our friends and neighbors throughout the city, suffered horrible losses.  Many lost everything they owned.

Post-Katrina, NOLAPS members have been actively involved in the fight for the future of New Orleans by volunteering with local grassroots social justice organizations groups like the Peoples Hurricane Relief Fund, Common Ground Collective, and other organizations, fighting for justice in New Orleans.

The first official post-Katrina meeting of NOLAPS took place on January 2, 2006.  In the coming months and years, we are dedicated to continuing the fight for justice, equality, human rights, and the right of return, not just for the people of Palestine and around the world, but also for our brothers and sisters, friends, neighbors and family, here in New Orleans.

If you are from elsewhere in the US, we need your help - financial, legal, logistical support is all needed right now.  You can make financial contributions online through our website, or email us at admin@nolapalestinesolidarity.org.


Council for the National Interest

The Council for the National Interest (CNI) is a non-profit, non-partisan grassroots organization advocating a new direction for U.S. Middle East policy.  CNI's mission is to encourage and promote a U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East that is consistent with American values, protects our national interests, and contributes to a just solution of the Arab-Israeli conflict, as well as to restore a political environment in America in which voters and their elected officials are free from the undue influence and pressure of a foreign country, namely Israel.

On January 25, 2006 CNI-led a seven-member observer mission, including Ambassadors Edward Peck and Robert Keeley, to the Palestinian Legislative Council elections.  The group is currently traveling around the Gaza Strip meeting with Palestinian candidates, government officials, leading opposition figures, and representatives of various Palestinian political parties.

Congratulations to CNI for organizing their 5th election observation mission to Israel and Palestine.  We appreciate your important work!


* The Palestine Solidarity Movement (PSM) is calling for endorsements for the 5th Annual PSM conference hosted by Georgetown University Students for Justice in Palestine from February 17-19, 2006 in Washington, DC.  Send endorsements to outreach@palestinesolidaritymovement.org.  Click here to register now and view the draft agenda.  Don't miss the opportunity to meet and network with participants at one of the largest Palestine-related conferences in the United States!

* The Norwegian region of Sor-Trondelag has passed a motion to boycott Israeli goods as a way of pressuring Israel to end the occupation and the oppression of the Palestinian people. You can read the motion in English here. The representatives of Sor-Trondelag have experienced massive Zionist pressure after the passing of the motion and some fear that they will vote against the boycott in a new vote. The Simon Wiesenthal Centre and other Zionist organizations called the elected representatives of Sor-Trondelag "Nazis" and "racists".

If you would like to send a letter of support for the motion please write to:

Mayor Tore Sandvik S_r-Tr_ndelag county municipality tore.sandvik@stfk.no; a BLIND COPY to fup@palestina.no;
Arne Braut (faction leader of the Center Party) arne.braut@stfk.no;
Ola Huke (faction leader of Socialist Left Party) ola.huke@stfk.no;
Sor-Trondelag Labor Party sor-trondelag@dna.no;
Yngve Brox (faction leader of the Conservative Party)
Left Party fredrik@liberal.no;
Heidi Klokkervold (Red Electoral Alliance) heidi.klokkervold@stfk.no

* On January 14, 2006 Professor Norman Finklestein wrote "Why an Economic Boycott of Israel is Justified" that appeared in the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten in support of the Norwegian boycott efforts. The article also provides a wonderfully articulate argument for economic sanctions of Israel in general.  You can view this must read article here

* Rami Khouri, editor at large of the Beirut-based Daily Star newspaper, will be speaking at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill from January 30-31, 2006.  On January 30 he will present "Democracy and Media in the Middle East" at 7 p.m., Witherspoon Cinema, NCSU.  On January 31 he will present "Four Years after 9/11: A Critical Arab View of the U.S. in the Middle East" at 7:30 p.m., School of Social Work Auditorium, UNC-CH.

*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.net or 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.net or 202-258-0596


* 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'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.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.

*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 click here.