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JULY 2002 CAMPAIGN UPDATE

Dear friends, We're sending this Campaign Update out just as word has come of the latest Israeli war crime, this time the assassination by missile of 7 Palestinian children and 3 adults in two Gaza City apartment houses, in a claimed attack against a Hamas leader. Such atrocities convince us more than ever of the need to work even harder in this country, to change the U.S. policies that support Israel's occupation. We know this work is difficult and can only be accomplished in the long-term, but it is, we believe, the only way to bring about an end to occupation and a comprehensive peace based on human rights and international law. In our June Campaign Update, we reported on the Organizers' Conference in Chicago (1-2 June), the appointment of our new part-time Campaign Director Doug Hostetter, and the launch of the Campaign website. In this Update we report on Task Force activities, new website resources, new arrangements for the Campaign's constituency organizations, and Committee plans. If you've just signed on to the Campaign in the past month—welcome! You've joined a rapidly growing number of people and groups that want to End the Occupation. CONGRESSIONAL TASK FORCE Several Campaign members drew attention to the moves in Congress to cut U.S. contributions to UNRWA. The U.S. role at the U.N.—and particularly U.S. efforts to undermine U.N. protection and support for Palestinians--is one of the policy focus areas of the Campaign. We issued an Action Alert. If you haven't yet contacted your member of Congress, please go ahead and do so now. We'll keep you updated so long as the threat to UNRWA funding continues. A small working group has drafted the language for a "National Pledge" for a just peace that can be used by Campaign groups nationwide to educate their elected representatives and promote change in US policy. Once the draft is finalized in the Congressional Task Force, it will be circulated for action. In the wake of Congressman Earl Hilliard's election defeat, it was suggested that we act to support Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, who has bravely spoken out in support of a balanced Middle East policy. A point of clarification: the Campaign's fiscal sponsors are non-profit organizations and contributions to the Campaign are tax-deductible. Therefore, our Campaign cannot endorse political candidates, or ask our members and friends to support specific campaigns either financially or politically. However, we urge everyone concerned with changing U.S. policy towards ending the Israeli occupation to investigate on their own the role that M.E. politics is playing in the campaigns of leading supporters of a balanced M.E. policy—particularly those like Cynthia McKinney and others from the Progressive and Black Caucuses of Congress. Joining the Steering Committee, Josh Ruebner in DC and Hasan Newash in Detroit have agreed to co-facilitate the work of this Task Force (Hasan will be available later in August). If you want to join and contribute to this Task Force contact congress@endtheoccupation.org. CORPORATE TASK FORCE This Task Force has looked into the entry points to challenge military aid to Israel and the sale of Lockheed and Caterpillar equipment to Israel, which are used in occupied Palestine to attack civilians, impose collective punishment, and demolish homes. These are violations of the Geneva Conventions, and are tantamount to war crimes. Joining the Steering Committee, Jerry Silberman in Philadelphia has agreed to co-facilitate the work of this Task Force. We hope that Rahul Mahajan, currently Green Party candidate for governor of Texas will head up our Lockheed campaign after November. The fact sheet produced on Caterpillar that was circulated at the Chicago conference will be posted on the Campaign website for easy downloading and distribution by members. If you want to join and contribute to the work of this Task Force, contact corporations@endtheoccupation.org. This Task Force was formed at the Organizers' Conference in Chicago, but two of the interim group facilitators--Kathy Bergen and Zoharah Simmons--travelled to Palestine and Israel with a Quaker Working Party immediately after the conference. They are now back, and will follow up with the Task Force on the ideas generated in Chicago. WEBSITE The end-June speech on the Middle East by US President George W. Bush could, commentators said, have been written by Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. What are the implications for peace and justice activists? The Campaign website now features indepth analysis and critiques of the speech by Steering Committee members Naseer Aruri, Phyllis Bennis, and Edward Said—plus links to useful analyses elsewhere on the web. The Chicago Organizers' Conference Report is now available on the web as well as in PDF and Word formats. Conference participants who want to suggest amendments to the report, please email us_campaign@endtheoccupation.org. Campaign webmaster Geoff Hartman welcomes feedback in the development of the website—contact him at webmaster@endtheoccupation.org. CONSTITUENCY ORGANIZATIONS We're very pleased that Nancy Murray of the Boston Committee for Palestinian Rights has agreed to serve on the Steering Committee as the coordinator of the Campaign's constituency organizations (starting mid-August). She will make sure that member organizations have all the information and resources they need, put them in touch with the right people, and respond to their queries. She and webmaster Geoff have already discussed ways in which the work of organizations that sign on to the Campaign can be featured on and linked to the Campaign website. Please direct any comments or questions regarding this to orgs@endtheoccupation.org. COMMITTEES In addition to the three substantive task forces--Congressional, Corporate, and National Mobilizations--there are four functional committees: Outreach, Media, Fundraising, and Resources. These Committees are still taking shape—but in the meantime, activists working on the media drew attention to the conflict over CNN Middle East coverage and the Campaign issued a Media Alert. Those are the highlights for July. Just a reminder: if you and/or your organization haven't yet formally signed on the Campaign, please send in your check (suggested minimum $40 for organizations, $20 for individuals, payable to US Campaign/CESR) and full contact details to the US Campaign, c/o CESR, 162 Montague Street, New York, NY 11201. You can download the form in the JOIN NOW section. All the best, The Steering Committee of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation