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US Campaign grows stronger with new leadership as Israeli Government, PLO resume negotiations

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  Volume 8; Number 13                                                                     Occupation End Notes                                                      August 27, 2010

In this Issue:

Events Around the Nation:

Columbia, Maryland 

Brooklyn, New York

  • September 19:
    Five Months in Gaza: Report from Behind the Prison Walls
    [For more info contact Brooklyn for Peace]

Seattle, Washington; Nationwide

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US Campaign grows stronger with new

leadership as Israeli Government, PLO

resume negotiations

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton & Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George Mitchell at a press briefing on August 20 to announce the resumption of direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.  The enthusiasm is overwhelming.

It's probably mere coincidence, but last week's announcement of the resumption of direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations happened the day after we added key staff: Rob Mosrie, our new Executive Director, and Joshua Hough, our new Communications Director. 

We are on a roll, growing the US Campaign and building a movement to end U.S. support for Israel's ongoing occupation of Palestinian land and apartheid rule over the Palestinian people.

While we don't expect much to come out of the negotiations on September 2nd, we do feel it's our responsibility to stand up and call for negotiations based on international law, human rights, and UN resolutions.

There can be no peace without justice.

Thank you for your continued contributions to the US Campaign, whether you
are a regular donor, an activist leading an organizing effort, or just a believer in our cause who shares our news with friends. As a coalition of 325 organizations nationwide, our strength comes from you, and we are proud to have you with us.

Meet the Newest US Campaign Staff!

The US Campaign is excited to announce the two newest additions to our growing staff--  Rob Mosrie & Joshua Hough!

Joining us as Executive Director, Rob Mosrie is excited to shift his job description -- from bandaging wounds of conflict -- to stopping conflict altogether. Rob worked for 10 years with Palestinian communities in Gaza, the West Bank, Jerusalem, Jordan and Lebanon.  Most recently he was Country Director for American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA), a nonprofit advancing the well-being of people in the region.  As an Arab-American born and raised in the US, yet with most of his adult life in the Middle East, Rob has borne witness to the calamity of Israel's occupation and the devastation its military inflicts upon the region.  Moving to Washington, DC, his only regret is being so far from an ocean.  If anyone has beachfront office space available, Rob wants to talk.

Joshua Hough is a fresh newcomer to DC, joining our staff as Comminications Director.Josh hails from Western Oregon, but more recently has volunteered as a nonviolent observer/accompanier in the South Hebron Hills of the West Bank, documenting Israeli military and settler abuse of Palestinians, as well as Palestinian-led nonviolent civil disobedience actions, since 2007.  Josh also taught English in a village school outside Jenin, and lived in Syria for nine months of language study and refugee support.  He brings us a trove of technical expertise from his earlier professional work in copyediting, web programming, graphic design, podcasting and videography.  Rain or shine, Josh hopes to spend his weekends at high elevations, and to thoroughly map the DC area with his running shoes.

The US Campaign would also like to welcom our newest Steering Committee members: Andrew Kadi, Khalilah Sabra, Muslim American Society- Freedom Foundation; & Jim Haber, Jewish Voice for Peace! 

We would also like to congratulate our re-elected Steering Committee members:  Shakeel Syed, Islamic Shura Council & the ACLU of Southern California; and Judith LeBlanc.

Help the US Campaign deliver 5,000 signatures to the Obama Administration before September 2nd

The Huffington Post
Josh Ruebner, National Advocacy Director, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

Sign a petition to the Obama Administration, which states that Israeli-Palestinian negotiations must be based on human rights, international law, and UN resolutions to be successful by clicking here.

On August 20, the Obama Administration announced that it will reconvene under its auspices direct Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations beginning on September 2. For more analysis, resources, and more about the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, please visit: http://www.endtheoccupation.org/negotiations

While a just and lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace is in everyone's interest, there are profound reasons to be skeptical about the likelihood of success for the following reasons (not necessarily listed in order of importance).

  1. No more photo-ops please. There is a desperate need for a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East. Negotiations can be a key to that. But the last thing Palestinians and Israelis need are phony negotiations. 

  2. The United States is not evenhanded. For decades, the United States has arrogated the role of convening Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. To convince the world that it is suitable to play this role, the United States declares that it is evenhanded, when it in fact arms Israel to the teeth and is aware that Israel will employ these U.S. weapons to conduct its human rights abuses of and apartheid policies toward Palestinians.

  3. Israeli colonization of Palestinian land continues. In one of its most abject policy failures, the Obama Administration has contented itself with resuming direct negotiations without securing an Israeli freeze on the colonization of Palestinian land, despite spending an initial nine months trying to do so.

Read More

Corrie Trial resumes in Haifa, Israel September 5 - October 21

Cindy & Craig Corrie

As many of you know, a civil lawsuit in the case of our daughter Rachel Corrie commenced in Haifa District Court in March 2010. Our family presented its witnesses during this first half of the trial.

On September 5, 2010, the trial resumes in Haifa and will continue until October 21. In this phase, the state will present its witnesses. Thirteen affidavits have been submitted, including those of the driver and commander in the bulldozer that ran over Rachel, and other military personnel who were involved in the incident.

Our family found enormous support in the strong presence of human rights activists, legal observers, and other friends in the courtroom throughout the initial portion of the trial. We hope that some of you are able to attend during this second half as well. Not only is it encouraging to us to see supporters in the courtroom, but it also sends the message that Rachel's case continues to be closely monitored and that truth, justice and accountability matter to everyone who has been touched by the occupation, be they Palestinians, Israelis or internationals.

Please consider how you can support the Corries as they continue in their struggle for justice.

Learn More

Help Launch The Audacity of Hope to Gaza

U.S. to Gaza, a US Campaign member group, recently held a New York Boat Eventto bring The Audacity of Hope boat closer to taking off!  From across the nation, many individuals sent in donations ranging from $5 to $10,000!  People have sent individual pledges and others have pooled their resources to reach a higher sum.  Every single contribution raised is valued, and with each dollar we get closer to launching the U.S. boat, The Audacityof Hope, when the next feedom flotilla sails.

To date, over $185,000 has been raised to launch the boat -- passing the halfway mark toward the $370,000 needed!

The next stage of the campaign is beginning and  involves people throughout the national network hosting small or medium-scale local fundraising parties.

It's a simple idea, and to make it work we need your help:  during September and October, dozens of people from around the country will host parties to support the funding of the U.S. BOAT TO GAZA.  So what we ask of you is this:  invite a few friends over for a small dinner party.  Or, if you can, throw a large dance party.  Bring a guest speaker in an intimate setting or show videos that will inspire friends, family and allies. You can set a price for the event and/or ask for donations during the party.

For more information, to host your own party, or to promote your U.S. to Gaza event, contact ustogaza@gmail.com.

Learn More

Norway Divests from Leviev Companies Due to Israeli Settlement Construction

Adalah-NY, US Campaign Member Group

In a major victory for the international movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, the Norwegian government announced today that it has divested from Lev Leviev's company Africa Israel Investments and its construction subsidiary Danya Cebus due to their construction of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The move followed a campaignof more than a year by affected Palestinian villages of Bil'in and Jayyous and by Norwegian, Palestinian, Israeli, and international activist groups, including Adalah-NY, calling on the Norwegian government to divest from Africa Israel.

The companies of Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev have been the target of a boycott campaign that led UNICEF and Oxfam to renounce donations from Leviev, the British government to sever business ties with Leviev, celebrities to seek distance from him, and divestment by other major investment firms

Read More

Letters Needed: George Will's Five Part Mideast Commentary in the Washington Post

WRITE! for Justice, International Law, and Human Rights in Palestine, US Campaign Member Group

Yesterday, The Washington Post published the fifth consecutive George Will op-ed on the Middle East conflict in the last couple of weeks 'In the Mideast, the peace process is only a mirage' (8/26) stemming from his visit to the region.  Will's op-eds have been extremely biased and misinformed -- largely reflecting official Likud talking points on the history of the conflict, a broad security agenda, and Palestinian 'irredentism' while refusing to acknowledge any Israeli wrongdoing or Palestinian rights.  It does not appear that Will consulted with a single Palestinian during his entire Middle East trip.

During the same period that Will's numerous op-eds appeared, the Post published additional one-sided commentary from the deputy editor Jackson Diehl (8/12), David Makovsky of the Washington Institute (8/23), and the editorial page itself (8/21) -- while failing to print any commentary from Palestinians or views that at least reflect the deep consensus on international law as it applies to the conflict.

Please WRITE! to the Washington Post editorial pageletters@washpost.com, ombudsman@washpost.com and call to account the one sided presentation of conflict, the atrocious George Will series, and the regular exclusion of Palestinians.  It is simply not credible that the Washington Post has to be reminded of the same problem for the same conflict so many times.

For more information: Contact the Washington Post's Execuive Editor

Peace Talks Back on Track?

Institute for Middle East Understanding

As direct Palestinian/Israeli peace talks begin in Washington on September 2nd, the IMEU can connect you quickly with a range of Palestinian and Palestinian-American voices for comment and analysis. And we hope you'll join us for:

PRESS BRIEFING with former legal advisor to Palestinian negotiators, Diana Buttu from Ramallah, and author and analyst Ali Abunimah from the U.S.


CALL: (347) 989-8355

OR ONLINE: http://bit.ly/TalksResume

While much hope has been placed on these talks succeeding in an agreement within a year, many Palestinians remain skeptical of Israeli intentions. Fueling the skepticism is the recently revealed video of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu boasting about how he scuttled the Oslo process and declaring his intention to do it again if given the chance, and recent Israeli provocations including:

  • The destruction of 242 Palestinian homes so far this year in Area C (the two-thirds of the West Bank under direct Israeli military control) compared to 182 in all of 2009; making 1,100 Palestinians including 400 children, homeless;

  • Cutting water to the village of Bardala's agricultural land in the Jordan Valley on August 16;

  • Also on August 16, settlers from the illegal outpost of Shvut Rachel uprooted over 200 olive trees belonging to the village of Qusra in the Nablus district;

  • On August 13, five shops belonging to Tahseen Mansour along the Qalqilya-Nablus road were demolished, reportedly without warning; and

  • Within Israel itself, the village of al-Araqib, home to Palestinian citizens of Israel, has been demolished four times between July 27th and August 17th.

Learn More

GRITtv: Midnigt on the Mavi Marmara: The People's Record

Less than four months ago, Israeli commandoes boarded the boats in the Freedom Flotilla headed for Gaza and killed nine peace activists. Investigations are underway into just what happened the night of May 31st, but just a few months after the attacks, a new anthology collects eyewitness testimony, analyses and thought pieces, and responses from artists and poets into a "people's record" of what happened that night--and how it just might be a turning point for the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

Moustafa Bayoumi is the editor of Midnight on the Mavi Marmara, available now from OR Books, and US Advisory Board Member Huwaida Arraf was on the flotilla that night. They join GRITtv to discuss what happened, what role the book can play, and how it was able to come about so quickly.

Watch the Interview

Cook in Style...

... with an exclusive End the Occupation apron!  

The US Campaign is excited to present our new End the Occupation t-shirts, coffee mugs, trucker caps, and more that you can now wear to show your support for the US Campaign and for human rights and justice.

Also make sure to check out our other great products, such as books and Palestinian-made olive oil, soap, couscous and more!

Order Now

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? Click here 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.

The US Campaign would like to welcome the following new group into the coalition: Gaza Freedom March and the Palestine Solidarity Committee

♦ 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 postings, 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 online, donating office supplies and services, or commit to monthly giving by joining the Olive Branch Club.

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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 43-year occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, and that deny equal rights for all.


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