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Occupation End Notes | June 26, 2003
Volume 1 Number 15

1. EVENTS: New York, Portland, OR, Philadelphia, Chicago
2. RESOURCES: US Campaign Divestment Project Materials are on the Web, plus TARI Primer now online!
3. UPDATES: Reports from the June 5th Day of Action for Justice in Palestine
4. US CAMPAIGN CONFERENCE 19 to 22 JULY: REGISTER NOW – SPACE IS LIMITED!

*Due to a switch in server systems, many emails were erased from the events@endtheoccupation.org email address between June 16th and June 20th.  The email problem has been remedied, but the lost mail is irretrievable.  If you submitted updates or feedback on the conference program please resend them to the events email.  We apologize for this inconvenience.

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1. EVENTS
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JUNE

*JUNE 25-JULY 8: NEW YORK
“My Terrorist” opens at Film Forum.  The film won a Special Jury Prize at the Jerusalem International Film Festival and was nominated for the Silver Wolf Award at the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam. Filmmaker Yulie Cohen Gerstel and Fahad Mihyi first encountered one another in July 1978, when Mihyi shot her during a terrorist attack. Twenty five years later, in a remarkable twist of faith, she considers advocating for his release from prison, a decision which becomes more complicated after September 11th. The film asks hard questions about the meaning of forgiveness and hate, the inevitability of violence and, just possibly, about the chance of reconciliation between Palestinians and Israelis. This event is hosted by Women Make Movies www.wmm.com.  Please inquire about special ticket rates at cgeorge@wmm.com or 212-925-0606 ext. 317.  Two Weeks Only! Box Office: 212.727.8110, Showtimes: 1, 3:15, 5:30, 7:45, 10.

JULY

*JULY 13 to 15: PORTLAND, OR
Bethlehem's Ibdaa Dance Troupe.  For more information visit Americans for Palestinian Human Rights www.auphr.org, or call 503.287.1885

*JULY 30 to 31: PHILADELPHIA
SUSTAIN (Stop US Tax-funded Aid to Israel Now), the American Friends Service Committee, and the Philadelphia Folklore Project will host the Ibdaa Dance Troup from Dheishe Refugee camp in Philadelphia for a fundraiser and performance.  The fundraiser is organized by Philadelphia’s Jewish Peace Network, and will be at Friends Center, 1501 Cherry Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102 on July 30th at 6:30 pm.  All proceeds will go directly to Ibdaa.  The Ibdaa dance performance will be on July 31st at 7:30 pm at the Bonnell Large Auditorium at Community College of Philadelphia.  Ticket are $15.00.  To request tickets or more information contact SustainPhilly@yahoo.com


AUGUST

*AUGUST 1: CHICAGO
Arab American Action Network Dinner Will Honor Rashid and Mona Khalidi, Burbank Manor, near 79th and Harlem. 6 pm reception, 7 pm dinner and program, Ticket price: $50, Entertainment: Arabic lute (oud) soloist, and a debka troupe.  The event is being organized to thank Mona and Rashid for their contributions to our communities in Chicago over the last 15 years.  Please join us for this event of celebration and appreciation.  Contact jimwall65@aol.com for more information.


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2. RESOURCES
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*The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation is supporting a nation-wide municipal and state Divestment Project. This initiative was voted a top priority for national mobilization by activists on the Campaign listserv. The Divestment Project is a vehicle to inform, educate and mobilize the public regarding the US government’s role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the way funds invested by municipalities and state governments, trade unions and other US organizations help sustain the occupation.  Materials for the US Campaign’s Divestment Project is now on the web!  There you will find a step-by-step guide to launching a divestment campaign in your own community, links to experiences from divestment campaigns in Boston and Seattle, and an Activist’s Toolkit produced by the Palestine Program at Global Exchange.  Visit the US Campaign’s Divestment Project page at http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?list=type&type=28.


**We are delighted to announce that TARI - the Trans-Arab Research Institute - has given the US Campaign permission to post an electronic version of its best-selling publication "Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Primer" by Phyllis Bennis.  The Primer uses straightforward language to answer frequently asked questions about the ongoing conflict.

This is the second edition of the Primer and contains important updates. TARI is now printing the second edition so send your inquiries and orders for hard copies to tariprimer@yahoo.com.

Meanwhile, you can now read and download key questions on http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?list=type&type=52

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3. UPDATES
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At its first Organizers’ Conference in Chicago 6-9 July, the United for Peace and Justice coalition agreed to launch another international day of action for justice in Palestine, following on from the successful June 5th International Day, called by UFPJ, the International Solidarity Movement, and the Peace and Justice Studies Association.  Starhawk, one of the Day’s national coordinators reports that over 35 events took place around the world.  The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation contributed to the day of action by offering its website for groups to post their June 5th events.  Many of the participating groups provided reports on their experiences, reproduced below, beginning with an overview report from Starhawk which includes some lessons learned – and including one from Manchester England…

*National, International, and New York City: Starhawk
 The June 5 International Day of Action for Justice in Palestine, called by United for Peace and Justice, the International Solidarity Movement, and the Peace and Justice Studies Association, was a success.  Over 35 events took place around the world, in cities: New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Austin Texas, Olympia, London, Dublin, and Barcelona, and in areas that are not generally hotbeds of activism:  Peoria, Illinois; Pensacola, Florida; Reno, Nevada; West Lafayette, Indiana; Charleston, South Carolina; Lawrence, Kansas; Aberystwyth, Wales; Atlanta, Georgia; New Brunswick, New Jersey; Charlotte, North Carolina; and more.  There were events in Jerusalem and in the occupied territories: Kalandiya, Nablus and Jenin, as well as at a border-crossing event originating in Amman. 
       The Day of Action was endorsed by a broad range of groups and individuals, from Palestinian support groups to Tikkun, proving that language can be crafted that can span a large spectrum of positions on this issue.  In New York, we held a forum at the UN.  Speakers were Cindy Corrie, mother of Rachel Corrie; Palestinian authors and scholars Nadia Hijab and Rabab Abdulhadi; Simona Sharoni and Starhawk, two of the major organizers of the June 5 day; and longtime peace activist Cora Weiss.  Sadly, Edward Said was unable to attend because of health concerns.  The discussion analyzed the Road Map, reported on the situation on the ground in Palestine and the attacks on the ISM, and explored strategies for moving ahead.  It was followed by a small but spirited rally at the UN, which received much support from passersby and many encouraging honks and thumbs-up from motorists.  A group of students who had come from Evergreen University in Olympia, where Rachel Corrie was studying, were invited on a tour of the UN by the Delegation for Palestinian Rights.  We then attended a vigil in Union Square called by Women in Black of several hundred people.
       We received much good media coverage, including coverage on Democracy Now and NPR.  NPR mentioned the demonstrations in Nablus and Jenin, showing that an international context can help make the nonviolent resistance in occupied Palestine more visible.  Considering that this was organized with very little lead time and essentially no budget at all, and coordinated by two women who were both already insanely busy, and that much of the European progressive movement was tied up with actions around the G8 meeting in Evian, it was amazingly successful.

There are a few things I can also see that could improve our work for next time:
 1. More lead time.
 2. Resources!  Money to hire one staff person, even temporarily, to coordinate and follow up on media, to handle the website and posting and listing of events and to nag people to actually list their events!
3. We had a certain amount of technical difficulties and confusion over which website we were using-links did not get posted early enough and different websites were put out on different versions of the call.  Next time, we should decide early on which website will be the central information point, and use that URL consistently.
4. Much information did not get posted until very late, the eve or day of action itself, and that made it harder to frame a media message early on.
5. While we had good media coverage, more coordination and time to carefully craft a message could have helped us do even better.
6. Not all of the events were aware of the others going on at the same time or mentioned them7. Materials for flyers, fact sheets and press releases and graphics could be available earlier.
8. We collected a lot of endorsements, but could have done so more systematically and listed them more prominently.

Overall, the fact that we could achieve so much in such a short time is thanks to the many people who stepped forward and organized events in their own communities, to the support of the United for Peace and Justice network, the ISM, the Peace and Justice Studies Associations, and the many already existing groups working on this issue.  Special thanks to our webmaster Geoff and to Beth Thompson who did the wonderful flyer for New York.

*Portland, OR: Doug Willbanks - Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights
Having short notice and burdened with multi future plans, we still had a successful rally in downtown Portland, OR.  The usual 5pm peace gathering by the Portland Peaceful Response Committee was dedicated to the Palestinian/Israeli conflict and the 36 years
of Occupation. About 60 of us gathered, listened to speeches, and accompanied by drums, signs and chanting, marched about the downtown.

*Los Angeles: Karin Pally - Women in Black
We did have a June 5 event in Los Angeles though it was held on June 6.  Palestine Aid Society and Women in Black-Los Angeles sponsored a showing of John Pilger's film, "Palestine is still the Issue," with a discussion after the film with Mahmood Ibrahim, Professor of History at California State University at Pomona and Gabriel Piterberg, Associate Professor of History at UCLA.  The event, held at Loyola Law School, was attended by about 75 people.

* Ann Arbor: Harry Clark - Ann Arbor Friends Meeting.and Middle East Task Force of Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice 60-70 people heard Jean Zaru, clerk of the Ramallah Friends Meeting, speak at the public library, with Kathy Bergen of AFSC national office, on the topic Palestine Under Occupation: Hope in the Midst of Suffering.  Afterward there was a candlelight march through nearby downtown, which on a summer night means a crowd at the outdoor cafes and restaurants. There are some pictures for the march: http://www.icpj.net/metf/zaru/

*Just Peace Now - Manchester UK
In Manchester, PSC (Palestine Solidarity Committee) held a vigil in St Anne's Square. 70 people enjoyed a report back from four members of April's Israel/Palestine Solidarity Tour. 30 people debated with Hadas and Jihad, leading Israeli and Palestinian human rights medics, at a meeting hosted by Christian Aid on 4 June. The Jewish Chronicle published an excellent letter from Liverpool's own Ben Soffa in response to an attack on ISM by opinion columnist Geoffrey Alderman. ISM Manchester displayed a war memorial for all those killed in the second intifada - the list was sourced from B'tselem. One passer-by found his cousin on the list - she was killed by a suicide bomber at Hebrew University. He was most impressed that the list included everyone - Palestinians, Israelis and Internationals.

*Netherlands: Kees Wagtendonk - Dutch Palestine Committee
The was a picket line organized by the Dutch Palestine Committee on the 5th of June in front of the Hague. About 30 persons attended.


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4. CAMPAIGN CONFERENCE
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**REGISTER NOW FOR THE JULY 19 to 22: Washington, DC US Campaign 2nd Annual Organizers' Conference "Building the National Movement".  Space is limited and we can only accommodate 200 participants.  The registration form can be found at www.endtheoccupation.org.  

For the Organizers’ Conference on Saturday July 19 and Sunday July 20, speakers include: Edward Said, Cindy Corrie, Cynthia McKinney Leslie Cagan, Damu Smith, and Phyllis Bennis.  Most of the time will be spent in strategy sessions and working groups.  Participants will learn from and reflect on other experiences to organize nation wide movements, including the anti-apartheid, anti-war, and anti-globalization movements and the Palestine solidarity campaign; develop the US Campaign plan of action in areas; and discuss strategies to reach out to our communities. Monday July 21 and Tuesday July 22 will be spent in Congressional workshops and making visits to Congressional Representatives.  For a provisional program click http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=134

The Palestine Center will be managing the registration process and the point of contact is Mr. Tareq Bremer.  He may be reached at 202.338.1290 ext. 10 or via email to tbremer@palestinecenter.org

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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, recommended 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 events@endtheoccupation.org

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The US Campaign aims to change US policies that sustain Israel’s 35-year occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, and deny equal rights for all.