Showing posts with label occupation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label occupation. Show all posts

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Briefing on Capitol Hill Examines Israel's Mistreatment of Palestinian Children

On June 2nd, the American Friends Service Committee hosted a Congressional briefing entitled "International Juvenile Justice Reform: Children in Israeli Military Detention." A distinguished panel of individuals, ranging from Palestinian children to international human rights experts, provided powerful testimony about Israel's routine mistreatment of Palestinian children.

(Above: A room packed with Congressional staff and members of
the public listen to testimony at June 2nd briefing on Capitol Hill)

The Congressional briefing was part of the "No Way to Treat a Child Campaign," an effort led by a coalition of faith groups known as the Chicago Faith Coalition.

The briefing was attended by more one hundred people, including 36 Congressional offices.  Videos of the briefing as well as a full description of the event are below.

Part 1: Representative Keith Ellison and Jennifer Bing

Part 2: Brad Parker, Tariq and Suha Abu Khdeir

Part 3: Joe Stork and Rabbi Brant Rosen

International Juvenile Justice Reform: Children in Israeli Military Detention

Tuesday, June 2, 2015
9:30 - 10:45am
Capitol Visitors Center
Congressional Meeting Room North

Each year hundreds of Palestinian children are arrested by Israeli forces and prosecuted in the Israeli military court system. The United Nations and many human rights groups are concerned by reports from Palestinian children that detail cruel punishments, substandard conditions, and a lack of fundamental due process rights in Israel's military courts.

This briefing will discuss the legal and structural components of Israel's military court system and situate the detention of Palestinian children within the larger context of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. The briefing will also provide a firsthand account from a child’s perspective and examine the effects of Israel's detention, interrogation, and abuse of Palestinian children.

Opening Remarks from Congressman Keith Ellison

Featured Speakers:

Tariq Abu Khdeir & Suha Abu Khdeir
Palestinian-American family

Brad Parker
Attorney & Senior Advocacy Officer, Defense for Children International - Palestine

Rabbi Brant Rosen
Midwest Regional Director, American Friends Service Committee

Joe Stork
Deputy Director, Middle East and North Africa Division, Human Rights Watch

Moderated by:
Jennifer Bing, American Friends Service Committee

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Israel's War on Christmas

Foreign Policy published a piece earlier this week about "The World War on Christmas" describing "five places where Santa really does have to watch his back." The countries highlighted were Uzbekistan, North Korea, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, and Cuba for their hostility towards various symbols of Christmas. 

One very obvious country missing from this list is Israel. In his Christmas message, PM Benjamin Netanyahu proclaimed: "Today Christian communities around the Middle East are shrinking and in danger. This is of course not true in Israel. Here there’s a strong, growing Christian community that participates fully in the life of our country." 

Palestinian Christians living under under Israeli occupation and apartheid would choose to describe their plight differently. In his piece "Israel's colonial strangling of Bethlehem," Ben White highlights the many challenges this Palestinian city faces developing its tourist dependent economy due to the occupation, including more 30 physical barriers to Palestinian freedom of movement imposed by the Israeli military. In their 2012 Christmas message, members of Kairos Palestine wrote: 
Palestinian Christians are concentrated in an area referred to as the Christian triangle: Bethlehem, Beit Jala, and Beit Sahour. This area is being strangled - in terms of access to land, water, health services, education, general mobility, and all related rights -by the unabated wave of settlement construction. Moreover, the forcible isolation of the triangle with its center, Jerusalem, is damaging both to people in Jerusalem and in the Bethlehem area.
Palestinian Christians living within Israel are also victims. Students at Safad Academic College in the Galilee had their Christmas tree taken down because it may spark riots among Jewish students. The ban on Christmas trees from all public buildings in Upper Nazareth continues, and rabbis have issued reminders to hotels and halls: "It is a seriously forbidden to hold any event at the end of the calendar year that is connected with or displays anything from the non-Jewish festivals.”

Sorry Netanyahu, but Israel's "record of religious tolerance and pluralism" makes it more like the five countries waging war on Santa Claus than one that truly respects freedom of religion for all.   

Thursday, September 6, 2012

There is No Occupation So Why Are We Holding Our Conference?

There are only two weeks left to register online for our 11th Annual National Organizers' Conference at St. Louis University, September 21-23. We keep adding great speakers and workshops to our program, so check out what we have planned and register today!

We have many achievements to celebrate since last year. This increasing success of BDS campaigns and of efforts to educate the public about the moral and economic costs of U.S. military aid has Israel's supporters fighting hard to stifle any discussion around U.S. complicity in Israel's occupation and apartheid policies toward Palestinians. 

The Louis D. Brandeis Center, which supposedly works to "promote justice for all," issued a press release recently calling our conference "controversial" because of a "likelihood that anti-Israel and anti-Semitic hate will be expressed." The president of St. Louis University, who went on a propaganda trip to Israel this summer sponsored by the "educational institute" of the American Jewish Committee, is being asked to speak out against our conference and make it clear that the "hateful, anti-Israel message of the boycott movement" is not consistent with the Jesuit mission of St. Louis University. 

Another group, Scholars for Middle East Peace, which purports to promote honest and fact-based discourse on Middle East issues, claimed that the Israeli occupation is a "relic of the past" as a recent Israeli government-appointed commission of jurists likewise concluded. They argued that it is time for Palestinians and their allies, including the US Campaign, to stop spreading "lies" about the existence of Israeli occupation. 

Why are these pro-Israel groups making ridiculous claims about the US Campaign and our work, and pressuring the university president to speak out against our conference? Because they know we’re succeeding and our conference is an important venue to move our work forward even more. Join us!

Initiatives to curtail efforts to expose Israel's crimes against Palestinians are also being taken up by state governments. The California State Assembly last week passed a resolution calling upon public universities to condemn “student- and faculty-sponsored boycott, divestment, and sanction campaigns against Israel that are a means of demonizing Israel and seek to harm the Jewish state.”

Several of our member groups, including American Muslims for Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace, signed a letter to lawmakers organized by the Council on American-Islamic Relations- California. The letter condemned the resolution, which "encourages university administrators to infringe upon students’ free speech rights. By equating legitimate political debates about geopolitics with anti-Semitism, the resolution emboldens administrators to take action to chill and prevent such speech."

Join us and our member groups at our conference to stand up to these attempts to censor efforts to end U.S. support for Israel's brutal policies toward Palestinians. Register today and help us change U.S. policy to support human rights, international law, and equality.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Israel Accuses South Africa of Apartheid

South Africa has decided that it will label products made in illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank as coming from "Israeli Occupied Territories" to ensure that consumers are provided with accurate information on the origins of the goods they buy. Such products, including Ahava Cosmetics and SodaStream that are made in settlements, have until now been labeled as "Made in Israel."

In response Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon accused South Africa of continuing to be an apartheid state
"Unfortunately it turns out the change that has begun in South Africa over the years has not brought about any basic change in the country, and it remains an apartheid state."  
"At the moment South Africa's apartheid is aimed at Israel," he added.
It makes sense Ayalon would be upset that other countries continue to insist Israel is illegally occupying the West Bank since an Israeli government-appointed commission of jurists concluded last moth that Israel’s presence in the West Bank was not occupation. But how does labeling settlement products as such mean South Africa is practicing apartheid against Israel? Is South Africa giving preferential treatment to another country exporting products that are produced illegally in occupied territories from stolen resources? 

If you are interested in organizing a consumer boycott campaign in your community targeting Ahava or SodaStream, make sure to register for our National Organizers' Conference September 21-23 at St. Louis University. There will be a workshop to give activists a chance to strategize and coordinate efforts.  

Friday, August 10, 2012

Romney's Racism Ignores Occupation

Mitt Romney has come under fire for his recent remarks in Jerusalem in which he attributed the higher GDP of Israel when compared to that of Palestinians to "cultural differences" failing to acknowledge Israel's 45-year military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem and its devastating consequences for Palestinians. 

There have been several great responses highlighting Romney's racism. Sam Bahour, a Palestinian-American business development consultant, wrote in
The Washington Post
Over the years, not only has Israel prohibited the emergence of a new Palestinian economy — it has structurally and systematically made certain that even the buds of such a productive economy would never see the light of day. Anyone who scratches the surface of all the political spin can see for themselves what the World Bank now repeats: that Israel’s “apparatus of control” has “become more sophisticated and effective in its ability to interfere in and affect every aspect of Palestinian life, including job opportunities, work, and earnings ... (turning) the West Bank into a fragmented set of social and economic islands or enclaves cut off from one another.” 
Our member group Jewish Voice for Peace collected and delivered over 17,000 signatures to Romney's campaign headquarters in Boston asking that he apologize for his remarks. 

Another Palestinian-American businessman, Zahi Khouri, published a piece in The Washington Post entitled: "The Palestine Romney doesn’t know." He writes: 
Israel did not make the desert bloom. Instead, thanks to a deal struck with the British viceroys of Mandate Palestine, it made away with a land, a set of institutions and, indeed, a culture that was not its own.
It did so at the expense of my people. Like more than three-quarters of Palestine’s population, my family was forced to leave this land after Israel’s creation in 1948. Even though we had to abandon our successful businesses and centuries-old homes, however, we did not become the “uncultured” victims that Romney’s caricature suggests.
Most of us went to other Arab countries, where Palestinians became known for our business acumen and management know-how, and helped to build nascent private and public sectors. Ask our fellow Arabs in Lebanon, Jordan or elsewhere in the Persian Gulf region and they will tell you: Palestinian culture, with its premium on education and hard work, has been a force for hope, development and prosperity.
Khouri's piece has generated an intense online response. It's critical that supporters of Palestinian rights submit their letters to the editor. Letters should be sent to For verification purposes, please include your name, phone numbers, and address. Keep your letter to under 200 words.

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Economic Realities Through the Eyes of a Palestinian

In a recent article published by Al Jazeera, Kristen Szremski, US Campaign Steering Committee member, relates the story of a Palestinian agricultural student to discount Mitt Romney's recent assertion that culture is responsible for the economic plight of the Palestinian people. The student, 23 year old Hebron resident Murad Amro, was recently refused an internship by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) of the United Nations.  Despite his professed desire to "plant peace in the hearts of all people" through the development of sustainable agriculture, Amro was rejected simply because his Palestinian homeland is not recognized as a state by the IFAD.

According to Szremski, Amro's challenges are indicative of the systemic roadblocks faced by all Palestinians on the road to economic development under Israeli occupation. In her view, a policy consisting solely of "positive investment" in Palestine by foreign nations and NGOs is one of the largest such roadblocks. Rather than contributing to Palestinian economic development, foreign aid has relieved Israel of its internationally recognized responsibility to provide for the basic welfare of Palestinians living under its occupation. Further, foreign aid is designed to maintain the viability of the "peace process" established by the Oslo Accords of the 1990s, which has long since proved ineffective. In fact, even as Palestinians receive one of the highest rates of aid per capita in the world, The United Nations Relief and Works Agency has reported that inflation and unemployment continue to rise in the Palestinian Territories.

While recognizing that foreign aid is part of a solution for Palestinians (some 80% of Gaza citizens rely on food aid because of the Israeli blockade of the region), Szremski argues that it is insufficient without outside pressure for Israel to change its policies.  As the international political and diplomatic establishment seems unwilling to apply such pressure, she believes that the best hope for justice in the region lies with BDS. With recent BDS wins such as the divestment by investment giant TIAA-CREF from Caterpillar, Israel is coming under pressure to change its policies. Perhaps most significantly, the stories of young Palestinians dedicated to development such as Murad Amro offer promise for a more just and prosperous Palestine in the years to come.

Want to learn more about BDS and how to get involved with Palestine advocacy? Join the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation at our 11th Annual Conference this September!

Romney, economic realities and one Palestinian’s story

Murad's story typifies Palestinians' experience of running into proverbial roadblocks at every turn of their development

"The combined results and fall-out from the Oslo peace accords, Israel's siege on Gaza and the loss of freedom of movement under a military occupation are some of the reasons why the Palestinian economy barely sputters alongside a more robust Israeli one. The anaemic economy has nothing whatsoever to do with a less-than-desirable Palestinian culture, as presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told Israeli guests at a $25,000-a-head fundraiser in Jerusalem on Monday..."

Read more here.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Flawed Policy of Aid to Palestine

In an article published last week by Foreign Policy, Nadia Hijab, who is a member of the US Campaign Advisory Board, argues that it is time for the world community to rethink its policy of providing foreign aid to Palestine.  Though this aid may be well intentioned, Hijab suggests that it serves to prop up oppressive political groups, such as the Palestinian Authority (PA), within Palestine.  She points to last month's beatings of peaceful Palestinian protesters at the hands of PA security forces as evidence of such oppression.

Hijab further argues that by providing for the most basic needs of Palestinians, foreign aid relieves Israel of its obligation under international law to ensure the welfare of those living under its occupation in the Palestinian territories.  Unsurprisingly, Israeli politicians have a history of supporting continued foreign aid to Palestine from the United States and European Union.

She points to cases in which USAID funded roads in Palestine have in no way challenged an illegal system of segregated Israeli roads in the West Bank as evidence that aid helps to entrench the Israeli occupation and land grabs.  Even those aid-funded projects in Palestine which do not conform to the Israeli occupation regularly face demolition by the Israeli military.

Finally, Hijab suggests that most current foreign aid to Palestine operates under the false premise that "sustainable development is possible under prolonged occupation," despite the findings of major aid agencies to the contrary.

Clearly, the merit of continued foreign aid to Palestine deserves a serious reevaluation.  "Aid" which props up Israeli colonialism is hardly helping the Palestinian people, and indeed runs counter to the establishment of a just, lasting peace in the region.  

Rethinking aid to Palestine
Posted By Nadia Hijab Friday, August 3, 2012 - 1:46 PM 

"Foreign aid to Palestine is desperately in need of rethinking. Wittingly or not, external aid facilitates Israel's occupation, enables an inept Palestinian leadership to survive, and subverts much of Palestinian civil society. The extent of the dependency on aid means the Palestinian Authority (PA) must spend considerable energy begging for handouts from Arab governments, the European Union, and the United States. Facing a severe cash shortage -- which is not unusual -- the PA was recently unable to pay the salaries on which an estimated one million bureaucrats and their families rely..."
Read more here

Want to learn more about the challenges facing Palestine and what you can do about them? Register for the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation's 11th annual conference in St. Louis today! Our speakers will include Dr. Hatem Bazian, Chairman of American Muslims for Palestine, and Phyllis Bennis, Director of the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies. Palestinian-American poet and activist Remi Kanazi, author of Poetic Injustice: Writings on Resistance and Palestine, will also perform. Workshops throughout the weekend will cover topics ranging from Engaging Faith Communities to Campus Activism. Register by August 21st to take advantage of $80 registration and low hotel rates!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Israel to Demolish Eight Palestinian Villages

Yesterday Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered the demolition of eight Palestinian villages in the South Hebron Hills, displacing some 1,500 residents. The order came after the Israeli High Court of Justice issued its decision supporting the move, agreeing with a 2000 finding by the Israeli Civil Administration that “there were no permanent residents in the area” and that those present were merely seasonal residents.

The IDF has argued since 1999 that the villages needed to be destroyed because their presence has prevented the IDF from performing live fire drills in the zone. They also claimed that Palestinians in the zone could collect intelligence on Israeli tactics or gather weapons left over from training exercises and then "use them for terror purposes."

Village residents as well as Israeli human rights activists from the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) and B’Tselem argued in court that the villages in question have been inhabited since at least the 1830s and represent natural outgrowths of cave-dwelling communities found throughout the region. Activists also argued that residents lived undisturbed in the region until 1997, indicating that Israel has recognized them as permanent residents.

But this failed to convince the High Court as the displaced villagers will be relocated to the town of Yatta and only allowed to return to their homes to work the land and graze flocks on a limited number of dates specified by Israel.

Home evictions and demolitions such as these present an ongoing challenge for Palestinians as Israel continues its colonization of the Palestinian Territories through settlements and military land grabs. Such a policy is not only inherently unjust, but stands as an obstacle to peace in the region. Israel must end its colonization of the Palestinian territories if a just peace for Israelis and Palestinians is to be attained.

Israel orders demolition of 8 Palestinian villages, claims need for IDF training land

Residents of targeted villages will be moved to the West Bank town of Yatta and its environs; state claims that most of those evacuated have permanent homes in the area.

By Amira Hass Jul.23, 2012 | 12:29 PM |  128

The West Bank town of Yatta. Photo by Nir Kafri
Defense Minister Ehud Barak has ordered the demolition of eight Palestinian villages in the South Hebron Hills because the territory is needed for Israel Defense Forces training exercises, the state told the High Court of Justice on Sunday...

Read more here

Friday, July 20, 2012

Maps of Palestine Stir Controversy

Fifty ads at commuter rail platforms around New York state have caused quite a controversy over the past week. The ads, set to run for 30 days, feature maps of shrinking Palestinian territory from the foundation of Israel in 1948 to 2010.  Henry Clifford, chairman of the Committee for Peace in Israel and Palestine, a member group of the US Campaign, paid for the ads. He says that the maps are "historically and geographically the truth" and can only serve to inform people of facts. 

The ads have come under attack from NY council member Robert Castelli, who described them as "anti-Israel" and argued that they would not contribute to peace in the region. Ron Meir, New York regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, said: “The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is extremely complex and cannot be summarized in a series of four maps."  To such criticism, Clifford has responded: "Those who disapprove of these ads, if they want to show they're inaccurate, they should bring that proof forward."  

The ads, run by CBS outdoor, come in the wake of that company's removal of Los Angeles billboards questioning U.S. military aid to Israel last month.  Despite the opposition, Clifford thinks the ads will not be removed since he has a contract, and he can take legal action of its terms are violated.   

What do you think of these ads? Should they be removed? Contribute to the conversation by voting in a poll by the Chappaqua Daily Voice. 

Backer of NY ads exposing Palestinian land-loss says response has been ‘astounding’ and news ‘coverage is pouring in’

by Philip Weiss on July 13, 2012

Henry Clifford's advertisement at the Chappaqua Metro-North train station July 10, 2012.
(Photo: Seth Harrison / The Journal News )

"Last night I talked to Henry Clifford, the 83-year-old Connecticut man who paid for the smashing ads on New York commuter train platforms that describe the dispossession of Palestinian lands over the last century...."
Read more here

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Boycot Israeli Occupation Dates

During Ramadan, which begins tomorrow, Muslims around the world will break their daily fast on dates.  Our member group American Muslims for Palestine just launched a campaign to ensure that this tradition does not inadvertently support the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Over half of the world's medjool dates, the most popular commercial variety, are grown in Israel, primarily in illegal West Bank settlements built on occupied Palestinian land. Moreover, Israeli dates are often harvested by Palestinians who suffer from unfair labor practices.  Marketed by the Israeli company Hadilklaim under brand names including Jordan River, Jordan River-Bio Tops and King Solomon, these dates are exported around the world, providing Israeli exporters with annual profits of $265 million.

In accordance with Palestinian civil society's 2005 call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS), people of conscience around the world are boycotting Hadilklaim dates in solidarity with the millions of Palestinians oppressed by Israeli apartheid.  Join us in refusing to support the Israeli occupation by boycotting Hadilklaim dates! Learn more about dates, the Israeli occupation, and BDS here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

So Apparently There is No Occupation...

We at the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation work to end U.S. support for Israel's 45-year occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem. But according to a recent Israeli panel, we, and the international community, seem to have it all wrong.

"Dad, what's beyond that wall?" "I don't see any wall, dear son"
"Come on, it's right there" "Just shut up" (Amir Schiby)
An Israeli government-appointed commission of jurists said Monday that Israel’s presence in the West Bank was not occupation and recommended that the state approve scores of unauthorized Jewish settlement outposts there.
"The classical laws of 'occupation' as set out in the relevant international conventions cannot be considered applicable to the unique and sui generis historic and legal circumstances of Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria spanning over decades," the report stated, leading to the conclusion that "according to international law, Israelis have the legal right to settle in Judea and Samaria."
Perhaps to make it very clear how unconcerned the commission was with the reaction of the international community, the report was published on the anniversary of the July 9, 2004 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, which determined that Israel’s construction of the wall deep into the West Bank violated international law. 

Of course who can blame the Israeli government for thinking it can flout international law without consequence? The commission's recommendation to legalize settlements goes against decades of
stated U.S. opposition to settlements. Since 1967 every U.S. administration has upheld the illegality of Israel's settlements, decried them as obstacles to peace, and urged Israel to not expand them. Yet for some reason the United States continues to send Israel billions of dollars in military aid as well as protect Israel from censure at the United Nations. 

When the issue was brought up at yesterday State Department
daily press briefing, the usual "concern" was shown. 
QUESTION: Just also on this topic, there’s an Israeli Government appointed committee which was looking into - was asked to look into the legality of the settlements and has come forth with a ruling saying that they believe that essentially these settlements should be authorized, which is the Prime Minister’s position. The Israeli Government hasn’t accepted this ruling yet, but that sort of stands ready to be accepted. Do you guys take any view on this sort of creeping legalization of the settlement process? And is this useful at this point ahead of Deputy Secretary Burns and the Secretary’s trip to Israel? Is this the kind of thing that you like to see happening? 
MR. VENTRELL: Well, I mean, Andy, you know where we are on - the U.S. position on settlements is clear. Obviously, we’ve seen the reports that an Israeli Government appointed panel has recommended legalizing dozens of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, but we do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity and we oppose any effort to legalize settlement outposts.
QUESTION: So you would be - you would urge the Government of Israel not to accept this panel’s recommendation?
MR. VENTRELL: Well, again, my understanding is this is still - I’m not sure if this is in a draft form, but this is just a panel recommendation at this point.
QUESTION: And the Israeli Government can either accept it or not accept it. What do --
MR. VENTRELL: You know where the U.S. position is, which I just read out. So --
QUESTION: Is that going to be something that Deputy Burns brings up when he’s in Israel?
MR. VENTRELL: I’m not sure. I can’t read out his meetings in advance. But --
QUESTION: Understand. But you don’t think this rises to the level of a senior official discussing it with the Israeli --
MR. VENTRELL: Again, I don’t want to read out his meetings in advance. Let’s --
QUESTION: Well, is it something that you can say that you’re sufficiently concerned about that --
MR. VENTRELL: We’re concerned about it, obviously. The Deputy Secretary will be en route, and let’s see how his meetings go and see if we can report back to you when they’re over.
QUESTION: All right.
QUESTION: A quick follow-up on this. When you express your concern, is it just done from this podium, or is it done officially? Does someone pick up the phone and talk to someone in the Israeli Government and say we express displeasure?
MR. VENTRELL: I don’t know if we have raised this directly with the Israeli Government. I just read out our position here from the podium. I can check and see if our Embassy has raised it.
The Israeli government may claim that there is no occupation, but there are millions of Palestinians suffering daily under Israeli military rule and it is U.S. money that funds their oppression. 
You see? I told you there's no occupation!
You can help end harmful U.S. policies by joining us at our 11th Annual National Organizers' Conference September 21-23, signing up to organize opposition to military aid for Israel, or supporting our work. 

You can find more "nonexistent occupation" memes here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Ros-Lehtinen: "Long-standing occupation amounts to annexation."

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Florida Republican and chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, seems to have had enough of a US ally in the Middle East ignoring UN Security Council resolutions, continuing its occupation and refusing to allow refugees to return to their homes. 

From her piece in
The Washington Times
By its occupation, Turkey is “guaranteeing” nothing but a creeping annexation. It is time for Turkey to withdraw its military troops, end all support for illegal immigration to Cyprus and let the true inhabitants of the island determine their own future. Only then will the long-suffering Cypriot people finally enjoy the peace and security they have been trying so desperately to achieve for decades.
As one commentator wrote noting the hypocrisy: Substitute "Israel" for "Turkey," "the West Bank" for "Cyprus" and "Palestinians" for "Greek Cypriots."

Anyone familiar with Ros-Lehtinen's record knows that she has not only failed to demand Israel end its occupation and apartheid policies towards Palestinians, but, with the help of her colleagues in Congress, has enabled this oppression by continuing to send military aid and weapons to Israel. Last year she 
introduced a bill to cut off US funding to any UN organization that recognizes Palestinian statehood. She blasted the Obama administration over reports the United States offered to support a UN Security Council statement in February 2011 critical of Israeli settlements: "Support for this anti-Israel statement is a major concession to enemies of the Jewish State and other free democracies. It telegraphs that the U.S. can be bullied into abandoning critical democratic allies and core U.S. principles."

Not sure which core principles Ros-Lehtinen wants to uphold when she pushes for U.S. support of occupation and apartheid, but if you think it's time to for a change in U.S. policy toward Palestine/Israel, sign up to help organize opposition to military aid for Israel. And make sure to join us for our National Organizers' Conference September 21-23 at St. Louis University to get more involved.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Upcoming Palestine Movie Screenings in Washington, DC

Join The Jerusalem Fund and the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University for their annual Summer Film Series featuring documentaries and feature films from and about Palestine!  Explore Palestinian life and identity at these free screenings, open to the public, beginning this Wednesday (June 20th) at 6:30pm.  Films are in English or feature English subtitles and are screened at the Jerusalem Fund (directions here).

The series kicks off on Wednesday with "The Invisible Policeman," a documentary detailing the life of Nidal aka Abu Sa'ed. A 41 year old father of nine, Abu Sa'ed lives a double life between his job as a policeman in the Palestinian controlled section of Hebron and as a downtrodden resident of the Israeli controlled Old City of Hebron.  The film explores the realities, pressure, and fear of life under occupation as well as Palestinian resilience in the face of such challenges.

The film series continues until July 18th with different movies each week. View the schedule of upcoming films here. For more information, call The Jerusalem Fund at (202) 338-1958, or email

Friday, June 15, 2012

Peaceful Protest Against Segregation in Hebron Ends in Arrests

Too often, Palestinian resistance to the Israeli occupation is portrayed in the media as violent.  It is said that the Palestinian cause would be well served through nonviolence, if only some "Palestinian Gandhi" would emerge. Indeed, according to Joe Klein of Time Magazine, "Ever since Israel won control of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967, the Palestinian national movement has been defined by terrorism, intransigence and, until recently in the West Bank, corruption. It has never been known for dramatic acts of nonviolence."  Meanwhile, the daily nonviolent resistance of Palestinians and their allies from around the globe is commonly all but ignored.

One recent and striking example of this non-violence occurred in the West Bank city of Hebron.  This traditional hub of Palestinian life and commerce, which currently plays host to a growing population of over 500 Jewish Israeli settlers, has experienced significant segregation in recent years.  One glaring example is Shuhada Street, from which Palestinian pedestrians have been banned since 2001.

In an effort to resist this racist prohibition, a group of Palestinian, Israeli, and international women on Wednesday organized a march on Shahuda street in direct challenge to occupation policy.  Dressed in traditional Palestinian garb, they were met with harsh resistance as they peacefully walked the street.  Assaulted by settlers who attempted to block their path, Israeli activists were cursed as "Traitors... worse than those Arabs."   Such attacks were soon followed by the arrival of heavily armed Israeli soldiers who "pushed a few of the women to the ground and started hitting them," then proceeded to arrest seven Israeli and international activists as punishment for their peaceful challenge to segregation.

Nonviolent protests such as these as well as the violence with which they are met should serve as a wake up call to the international community.  Where is the "Palestinian Gandhi"? There are in fact many of them, tirelessly resisting the Israeli occupation and standing up for justice. Their peaceful struggle can no longer be ignored.

Friday, June 15 2012|+972blog

Women challenge segregation of Hebron street in direct action; seven arrested

Palestinian, Israeli and international women activists dressed in traditional Palestinian garb attempted to walk down Shuhada street, Hebron’s main commercial thoroughfare. After only a few minutes, they were stopped by soldiers, and seven people were arrested in total.

By Noa Shaindlinger

A group of Israeli and international female activists joined Palestinian women on Wednesday in a direct action in Hebron to protest the ongoing ban on Palestinian freedom of movement on Shuhada street. The street, which was once the lively commercial centre of Hebron, was closed off to Palestinian vehicular traffic after the 1994 massacre of 29 Muslims in the Ibrahimi Mosque by Baruch Goldstein. Since 2001, Palestinian pedestrians were barred from the street, turning it into a Jewish-only zone...

Read more here

Monday, June 11, 2012

Can Israel survive its 45-year occupation?

Nadia Hijab is Director of Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network. She serves on the advisory board of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.

This week marks the 45th anniversary of Israel's occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem. A decade ago, I joined a small group of Americans in identifying the occupation as the Achilles heel in Israel's decades-old violations of Palestinian human rights. We believed that hard work and our diverse ethnicities, faiths, and ideologies, grounded in a common commitment to international law, would soon get the "end occupation, uphold human rights" message out to the political establishment and fellow Americans. After all, there was international consensus concerning the "inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war," a basic principle of international law enshrined in U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 of 1967, which called for Israel's withdrawal from the territories it seized in the 6-day war it launched on June 5.  

Even though the organization we co-founded has since grown to represent hundreds of thousands of Americans, the Israeli occupation appears more entrenched than ever. Israel has cemented its control of Palestinian land and water, settling over 500,000 of its people in the territories and herding the Palestinians into ever-smaller enclaves, all the while flagrantly violating international law. Yet it has continued to enjoy the support of the United States, including diplomatic cover at the U.N. and massive military aid.  

Israel has also benefited from the acquiescence of the Palestinian Authority and Palestine Liberation Organization in the moribund "peace process" launched by the Oslo Accords nearly 20 years ago. Although this so-called leadership now refuses to participate in negotiations so long as Israel continues to colonize, they have not definitively pulled out of them, even though the only tangible result has been the inexorable loss of Palestinian land and rights. 

Worse, they have no clear counter-strategy and have not been willing to invest in the sources of power necessary to achieve Palestinian human rights, even though there are many avenues available -- diplomatic, economic, mobilization of Arab and international civil society -- that could effectively challenge Israel.

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