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Occupation End Notes | January 12, 2006
Volume 3 Number 6



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In this issue...

1. US Campaign Update: New Caterpillar Campaign Resource; US Campaign Moving Sale; Meet with Members of Congress.

2: Special Feature on Ariel Sharon.

3. Membership Update: Imagine Life PSA Campaign.

4. Resources & Education: 5th Annual PSM Conference; HRW Letter to President Bush; FLAME Ad in The Nation; Edward Said Conservatory of Music Tour; AFSC “Faces of Hope” Campaign; New Film-Sacred Space; Palestine Online Calendar.

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.


1. US CAMPAIGN UPDATE

* NEW FACTSHEET: The US Campaign has produced a new resource entitled “The Caterpillar Campaign: Demanding an End of Caterpillar Bulldozers to the Israeli Army.” This fact sheet is an important addition to the US Campaign’s work on the nation-wide Caterpillar Campaign, led by various groups around the U.S. including Jewish Voice for Peace, the Stop Caterpillar Coalition, and the BootCAT Campaign.  Click here to view and download this important resource.

* 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!     

* More than 50 US Campaign members are forming delegations of constituents to meet with their Members of Congress over the winter recess to discuss their concerns about U.S. policy toward Palestine/Israel, specifically asking Members of Congress to oppose Israel’s request for $1.2 billion for its Gaza “disengagement,” and asking them not to take money from Caterpillar because it profits from human rights violations of Palestinians. The House is in winter recess until January 31 and the Senate until January 18, so there’s still time to form a delegation and put in a meeting request before Congress reconvenes. If you would like to form a delegation of constituents in your area, please let us know and we can connect you with supporters in your Congressional district. We can also help you request or schedule a meeting and provide you with ideas, talking points, and resources for these meetings and issues. To begin, click here to view our December Washington Wednesday Action Alert, where you can find information on Caterpillar sales to Israel and the $1.2 billion Gaza “disengagement” request. For more information please contact congress@endtheoccupation.org or call 202-543-1778.


2. SPECIAL FEATURE ON PRIME MINISTER ARIEL SHARON

Following Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s major stroke on Wednesday, January 4, mainstream media have dedicated a lot of space to discussing the future of his Kadima Party and Israeli politics toward the Palestinians and to assessing Sharon’s legacy.  Here is a selection of articles on Sharon that we thought you might find interesting. 

The Independent
Ariel Sharon…
Robert Fisk

Ha’aretz
The Blind Love of the People
Gideon Levy

Electronic Intifada

The Whitewashing of Ariel Sharon
Saree Makdisi 

Counterpunch
How Quickly They Forget the Real Sharon: Eating Palestine for Breakfast
Kathleen and Bill Christison

Znet
The Myth of Sharon’s Political Change
Shraga Elam


3. MEMBERSHIP UPDATE:Imagine-Life

From January 10-11, 2006 CNN, CNN Headline News, MSNBC, CNBC, and Comedy Central networks aired dozens of public service announcements in Northern Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C. that were produced by the Imagine Life campaign.  Imagine Life, a member group of the US Campaign, works to bring the realities of the Israeli occupation into the mainstream public eye through its media campaigns.  Congratulations to Imagine Life and its supporters for making these public service announcements possible, and for getting them on so many networks!


4. RESOURCES & EDUCATION

* Register now for the 5th Annual Palestine Solidarity Movement Conference, hosted by Georgetown University Students for Justice in Palestine from February 17-19, 2006 in Washington, DC. Don’t miss the opportunity to meet and network with participants at one of the largest Palestine-related conferences in the United States! Click here to view the preliminary schedule online.

* On December 27, 2005 Human Rights Watch submitted a letter to President Bush calling on him to cut aid to Israel in response to a December 26, 2005 projection from the Israeli Ministry of Housing for building several hundred new units in settlements in the West Bank. The letter states that “Israel’s continuing settlement activity is a violation of international humanitarian law (IHL), United Nations Security Council resolutions, and Israel’s own commitments under the U.S.-sponsored Road Map of April 2003,” and urges the Bush administration to “use U.S. diplomatic and financial influence to stop this trend in 2006.” Click here to view the entirety of HRW’s letter. You can also read Al-Jazeera’s commentary on the letter here and listen to Democracy Now’s segment here.

*The Nation, a supposedly progressive publication, published in its issue of January 9/16, 2006, a repugnant ad by a group calling itself FLAME that denies the existence of Palestinians. For a text of the ad click here.  In response to complaints by activists, the Nation added insult to injury by publishing a mealy mouthed op-ed trying to distance itself from the content of the ad. In the op-ed, the Nation outlined its guidelines for accepting ads, differentiating between commercial and political ads. It claimed freedom of speech protection for political ads, but stated it bars commercial ads that are "false, lurid or patently fraudulent". It emerged in the correspondence that the Nation had indeed rejected an ad for a book considered to be a denial of the Holocaust, which presumably falls in the category of political advertising.  Thus the Nation is not being consistent in applying its own guidelines, and by implication is saying that the ad which denies the existence of Palestinians is not false or fraudulent. Indeed, some might perceive the ad to be an incitement to ethnic cleansing of a 'non-existent' people, and to be hate speech.If you would like to take action with The Nation on this issue, please write to the following: ellen@thenation.com, letters@thenation.com

* ANERA (American Near East Refugee Aid) is organizing the American Tour of "The Edward Said National Conservatory of Music" for Washington, DC, Philadelphia, and New York. The musicians include Ibrahim Atari on qanoun (zither), Suhail Khoury on nay (flute) and clarinet, Ahmad Al-Khatib on 'ud (lute), and Yousef Hbeish on percussion. For further details visit ANERA.

* Visit the American Friends Service Committee’s “Faces of Hope” Campaign to view some excellent resources on nonviolent Israeli and Palestinian resistance to the Israeli occupation.  Resources include “Nonviolent Resistance and the Olive Harvest,” “Resistance and Refusal in Israel since 1967,” and many more. 

* Sacred Space: Bethlehem Denied is a new film by Peter J. Nagle. According to one viewer, “[the film] gives an excellent visual record of the reality of the Wall and the ominous presence of the settlements which, as you know I am sure, are continuing to be built at an even more rapid pace. I was especially moved by the witness and story of the Palestinian farmer who built his home, and had it violated and his land divided by the Wall.” The DVD and supplemental booklet are $15.00 plus shipping. For more information and to order, contact friendsofbethlehem@fastmail.fm.

* Check out Palestine Calendar’s January update for notable dates this month. This month’s entries include Palestine Martyr’s Day and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.  The US Campaign has hard-copy versions of this calendar available for $20 (includes shipping and handling).  Click here to order. 


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’s website http://www.cpt.org.

*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 vist 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.