Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Interfaith Peace-Builders and US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation Delegation Arrives in Israel/Palestine

Interfaith Peace-Builders (IFPB) and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation are pleased to announce that our 23 member delegation to Israel/Palestine entered Israel at the Ben-Gurion airport Monday afternoon. The group is now safely in Jerusalem.

The purpose of this delegation, the 31st to make the trip since 2001, is to educate North American citizens about the region and deepen their understanding of its conflicts. This is the second delegation that IFPB and USC have co-sponsored since 2008.

The delegation focuses on the role of the United States in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Over the next ten days, the group will meet civil society leaders, activists and experts who will explain the role of US military, humanitarian and diplomatic aid in the region. Participants will analyze the US role in a comparative framework and examine the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the light of other historical conflicts such as apartheid South Africa and the Jim Crow South. Delegates will also hear from Palestinian and Israeli peace-builders and nonviolent activists promoting peace and reconciliation.

Despite positive rhetoric from the Obama administration, US military aid to the region continues to flow unabated. Participants on this delegation have the unique opportunity to hear directly from Palestinians and Israelis regarding their hopes for peace and the role of the US government in promoting a resolution to the conflict.

The delegation includes the following people:

Tovio Asheeke - Richmond, IN Tasneem Bootwala - Los Angeles, CA Katherine Fuchs (co-leader) - Washington, DC Steve Gilliland - Lakewood, CA Cindy Howard - Lees' Summit, MO Jeff Kipilman - Portland, OR Samya Kullab - Toronto, ON Jen Lauda - Alexandria, VA Michelle Lee - Hyde Park, MA Shannon Little - Santa Barbara, CA Kristin Loken - Falling Waters, WV Paula Martens - Nashville, TN Dave Matos - Aiken, SC Christoph Osterberg - Kassel, Germany Nancy Paraskevopoulos - Cincinnati, OH Emily Siegel - Washington, DC Laurie Siegel - Washington, DC Mark Smith - Edinburg, UK Jerry Stinson - Long Beach, CA Shakeel Syed (co-leader) - Culver City, CA Brandon West - Philadelphia, PA Cynthia Wilson - Washington Court House, OH Inanna Younan - Chicago, IL

Interfaith Peace-Builders and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation believe in the power of eye-witness experience and transformation. Given the opportunity to speak directly with Israelis and Palestinians, delegates return to the United States better informed, more energized, and with a deeper understanding of the possibilities for true justice in the Middle East.

Upon their return to the United States, delegates will share their experiences with the public, the media, and their political representatives.

Media interested in interviewing the participants when they return, and groups wanting information about speaking engagements, should contact Interfaith Peace-Builders at media [at] ifpb [dot] org or 202.244.0821.

Keep an eye on the US Campaign blog and the IFPB website for updates from the delegation.

You can also keep up with the delegation by following the US Campaign on Twitter.