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Remembering Al-Nakba

Remembering Al-Nakba

Dear [[First_Name]],

For many of us, the simple act of returning home is an unspoken right.  It's the sanctuary where we go to eat, to sleep, to spend time with loved ones, and the place to find relief after a long day of work.  Home may be the place we lay our heads down at night, the house our parents reside in, or even just the hometown we grew up in.  Regardless, we largely have the opportunity to return home when we please.

But for millions of Palestinians who consider home to be their family's ancestral land, the land on which generations of their family worked, or the house they built with their own hands, returning home has become an impossible feat.  More than 700,000 Palestinians unknowingly locked their front doors for the last time, taking their keys with them, as they were driven from their homes or fled in fear in 1948. Sixty-two years and numerous UN resolutions later, the Palestinian refugees of Al-Nakba, or "the catastrophe," are still not allowed the right of return, in violation of international law.

Al-Nakba has not been the last time innocent Palestinians were forced from their homes, however. Today, Israel continues its campaign of ethnic cleansing of Palestinians: thousands of Palestinians continue to endure home demolitions by Israel's Caterpillar bulldozers, land confiscation by the Israeli government to build the apartheid wall and illegal settlements, and agricultural destruction by Israeli settlers. The right to their homes is threatened every day.

Two years ago, the US Campaign commemorated the 60th anniversary of Al-Nakba by sponsoring an international arts competition, "Expressions of Nakba."  You can view the on-line, multi-media galleries on our dedicated website by clicking here.

This year to commemorat Al-Nakba, the US Campaign is cosponsoring a May 15 boat ride on the Potomac River in Washingotn, DC, organized by the Free Gaza Movement.  For more details, please click here.

If you have a resource or an update you'd like to see included in Occupation End Notes,click here to email us. To support the important work of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, the largest and most diverse coalition of organizations and organizers working to challenge U.S. policy toward Israel/Palestine click here. Your support makes this important work possible!

Want more news and updates about the work of the US Campaign and its member groups? Read unique content on our blog, keep up with the latest media coverage and press releases, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and check out our YouTube andPodcast channels to get your occupation-ending fix between editions of Occupation End Notes.

In solidarity,

US Campaign National Office Staff

In This Edition

9th National Organizers Conference At UMKC

UC Berkeley Divestment

Support H.Conn.Res.270

Free Ameer Makhoul

US Campaign Blog

Member Group Update

Events Near You

Hey Elton! Ask Elton John to cancel his concert in Israel

Israeli Apartheid Video Contest

Delegations to Israel/Palestine

Sustain the Work of the US Campaign

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♦ Register for the 9th Annual National Organizers' Conference, "Bringing Home the Cost of Occupation"

The US Campaign is excited to announce that registration is now open for our 9th Annual National Organizers' Conference, which will take place at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, on July 23-25, 2010. Many thanks to US Campaign member group Citizens for Justice in the Middle East and to the Muslim Student Association at UMKC for securing this venue! US Campaign conferences give representatives of member groups that have paid their dues to the US Campaign the opportunity to set overall political direction and priorities for the coming year, review and evaluate the work of the US Campaign, and elect representatives to the Steering Committee. They also provide a forum for local and national groups and individuals to network and exchange resources with one another. To learn more about US Campaign conferences and read reports from past conferences, click here.

Has your organization paid membership dues to the US Campaign this year? Find out by clicking here.

UC Berkeley Divestment: "We lost the vote, but won the fight."

The ASUC Senate at UC Berkeley fell one vote short of the 14 needed to override a veto of a bill calling for divestment from two companies, General Electric and United Technologies, which directly profit from Israel's human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

From Cal Divest from Apartheid:  "We lost the vote, but won the night. 13 senators voted to override, 14 were required. Only 5 senators voted to uphold, less than half the 13.  We made a statement recorded for posterity and forced everyone to listen and watch what the nature of Israeli occupation is, to listen to Palestinian voices, from Palestine and from the US, telling their stories. These transcripts will stay preserved in recorded history, and we shall overcome.  Make no mistake, we lost the vote, but we won the night. Undaunted, Cal Divest Team"

As we've said before, this conversation needs to happen on every campus. Find out how you can make that happen by using US Campaign campus boycott and divestment resources.

♦ Support H.Con.Res.270 and Justice for Tristan Anderson

On March 13, 2009, the Israeli military shot U.S. citizen Tristan Anderson in the forehead with a high-velocity tear gas canister during an unarmed protest against Israel's illegal Apartheid Wall in the Palestinian West Bank village of Ni'lin. Anderson was critically injured and suffered brain damage; he remains today in a Tel Aviv hospital.

After the Israeli Ministry of Justice announced in February that it would not file any indictments stemming from Anderson's shooting, Rep. Barbara Lee, in whose Oakland-based district Anderson lives, introduced H.Con.Res.270 on April 28, calling "on the United States Government to undertake a full, fair, and expeditious investigation of the circumstances that led to the injury of Tristan Anderson."

In a press release, Rep. Lee noted that "It is with great urgency that we must seek accountability in this matter, and most importantly, ensure that such an unfortunate event does not occur again."

Her sense of alacrity unfortunately does not seem to be shared by many of her colleagues. As of this writing, the resolution has attracted only three cosponsors. Clearly voters disturbed by Anderson's shooting will need to make their voices heard with their Members of Congress for this resolution to stand any chance of passing.

Since May 4, more than 1,000 people have done so by asking their Representatives to sign on as cosponsors to this resolution through an action alert sponsored by the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. People wishing to add their voices can do so by clicking here.

Israel's gruesome shooting of U.S. citizen Tristan Anderson is an occasion for Congress and the Obama Administration to demonstrate that its talk of accountability for Israeli actions is more than empty rhetoric. Pass H.Con.Res.270. Tristan Anderson deserves justice, and this resolution is a first step towards it.

♦ Free Ameer Makhoul

In yet another disturbing sign of its increasing repression against Palestinians working to defend their civil and human rights, Israel has arbitrarily arrested and detained one of its most porminent citizens working for civil equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel, Ameer Makhoul, the General Director of Ittijah-The Union of Arab Community-Based Associations.

The following is adapted from an action alert on Makhoul's arrest issued by Addameer:

Ameer Makhoul was arrested on 6 May 2010 at 3:10 a.m. when Israeli Security Agency (ISA) agents accompanied by Israeli police raided his family home in Haifa.  According to his wife, Janan, the police confiscated items including documents, maps, the family's four mobile phones, Ameer and Jana's laptops, the hard drives from the girls' two desktop computers, a camera and a small tape recorder containing not-yet transcribed oral histories Janan collects as part of her work.

Approximately 40 minutes after their arrival, a group of the security forces left with Mr. Makhoul in custody. Makhoul was transported to Petah Tikva interrogation center, where he remains.  At around the same time, the Israeli authorities raided the office of Ittijah - The Union of Arab Community-Based Associations and confiscated documents and the hard drives from all of the organization's computers.

Ameer Makhoul's arrest, detention and a previously imposed travel ban are based on emergency regulations and "secret" information that is never disclosed to the defense. They are a flagrant violation of the UN Declaration and the EU guidelines on Human Rights Defenders. Palestinian human rights of freedom of movement, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association as well as the right to protection from arbitrary arrest are daily violated.

Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association in Palestine urges the international community to take action to help Ameer Makhoul:

- Write to your own elected and diplomatic representatives urging them to pressure Israel to release Mr. Makhoul and to put an end to the ongoing harassment against Palestinian human rights defenders.  Contact details for international embassies and consulates in Israel are available here.

Write to the International Bar Association to protest Israel's use of arbitrary detention and the use of 'secret information' and incommunicado detentions; and, 

Write to the Israeli government, military and legal authorities and demand that:  Mr. Makhoul be released immediately, and the travel ban against him be lifted; Israeli security authorities immediately cease their unlawful arrest and detention policies of Palestinian human rights defenders; and, Israeli authorities end the practice of arbitrary detention, the use of "secret information", and incommunicado detention.

For more information, click here.

♦ In the Blogosphere

Have you seen the latest voices, videos, and viewpoints on the US Campaign blog?  US Campaign Media Coordinator David Hosey spoke with RTAmerica about finding justice for Tristan Anderson.  Numerous individuals provided video clips and eye-witness accounts of the UC Berkeley divestment debate, including a post by US Campaign Steering Committee member Sophia Ritchie, who attended the final hearing.  The US Campaign and 56 other organizations and artists thank Gil Scott-Heron for heeding the Palestinian call to boycott Israel.  US Campaign Board Member Nadia Hijab and Jesse Rosenfeld of The Daily Nuisanceexplain how new Palestinians roads in the West Bank further segregation, apartheid, and settlement expansion.  US Campaign National Advocacy Director Josh Ruebner discusses H.Con.Res.270 and the need to hold the Israeli military accountable for deaths and injuries of U.S. citizens.  US Campaign member groups and allies protest "Israeli Innovation Weekend" at the Boston Museum of Science.  Lastly, Arizona has just become a little bit more like Israel

All this and more, on the US Campaign blog!

♦ Member Groups, Member Groups, Everywhere!

In an effort to better help our coalition members network and for us to better gauge the coalition's regional diversity, we have put together a map with our more than 325 coalition members represented by state. Don't see your group listed? Clickhere to join the US Campaign. Member groups, now that we're well into 2010, it's time to renew membership dues! Click here to check if your group is in good standing with the US Campaign and find out how to pay dues.

♦ Do you have an upcoming protest, vigil, or action event?

Register your event on the US Campaign's online event calendar!  Use the calendar to find out what's happening in your community and to promote human rights and international law in the U.S. policy toward Israel/Palestine.

Upcoming Events

May 15, 2010, Washington, DC: Nakba Day Flotilla on the Potomac

May 22, 2010, Eugene, OR: Dr. Saree Makdisi lecture & Al-Nakba Film showing

May 30, 2010, San Rafael, CA: Sailing in Solidarity with the Freedom Flotilla

Hey Elton!

Palestinian civil society has called on Elton John to respect its boycott call and cancel his June 17th concert in Tel Aviv. If he does so, he'll be joining Santana and Gil-Scott Heron, who recently cancelled their spring concerts in Israel. This video suggests six reasons why Elton should join the boycott, divestment, sanctions movement.

Israeli Apartheid Video Contest

US Campaign member group Itisapartheid.org, in partnership with Stop the Wall, announces the first international Israeli Apartheid Video Contest. Film submissions need to be less than 5 minutes and must depict the nature, realities, and/or consequences of Israel's apartheid policies. Films, which may be in any format, must be submitted by July 20, 2010.

For more information, visit the Israeli Apartheid Video Contest website by clicking here.

♦ Interfaith Peace-Builders Delegations

Interfaith Peace-Builders delegation programs  present alternative images of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; images that reach deeper and give a more complete picture. IFPB privileges diverse voices that are not often heard in the United States. Voices of Israelis and Palestinians engaged in nonviolent resistance to an illegal occupation; images of cooperation, of healing, of caring, of hope and possibility. Images such as these help break the paralysis and inform us about the possibilities for a real peace. IFPB's on-the-ground experience is designed to enrich participants' understanding of the occupation. Participants on Interfaith Peace-Builders delegations return to North America energized and transformed. Each IFPB delegation itinerary is unique; however many themes are regular features of our program. IFPB is offering its next tour to Palestine May 23rd-June 5th, 2010.  To learn more and to sign up for an IFPB delegation, click here.

Check out this and many more opportunities to visit Israel/Palestine, such as Green Olive Tours, Interfaith Peace-Builders delegations, Global Exchange Reality Tours

♦ How You Can Sustain the US Campaign--Donate Today!

Has this edition of Occupation End Notes been useful to you? Would you like to continue to benefit from action alerts, online event posting, national organizing tours, resources for local organizers, national days of action, and grassroots advocacy trainings? Providing all of these resources for organizers isn't free. It takes staff time, printing costs, phone bills, and more.

If you, like thousands of other committed activists, find these resources vital for your organizing, make a tax-deductible donation to our ongoing work by donating onlinedonating office supplies and services, or commit to monthly giving by joining the Olive Branch Club.

Click here for more information, and join our Facebook Cause by clicking here

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Occupation End Notes is the US Campaign bi-weekly 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 is planning an event or you have information for the Newsletter, please contact the US Campaign by emailing us here

The US Campaign aims to change U.S. policies that sustain Israel's 42-year occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, and that deny equal rights for all.