Friday, March 29, 2013

Land Day 2013

Statement from BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights on the occasion of Land Day.

Remember to send your Land Day action plans to info@bdsmovement.net and uscampaign@endtheoccupation.org. 


March 30th: A Day to Reaffirm Palestinian Resistance to the Ongoing Land-grab and Corresponding Displacement 

37 years ago Israeli police and military killed six Palestinian citizens of Israel demonstrating against thousands of confiscated dunums for Jewish-Israeli colonies in the Galilee. 


Annual commemoration of March 30th as Land Day reaffirms the unity of the Palestinian people whether in Shatat (exile), in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, or as sub-citizens in the colonizer state of Israel.



Palestinians are unified by their cultural and physical rootedness to their land. In jarring contradiction, Palestinians are categorically denied their individual and collective rights within that homeland. The State of Israel has maintained a policy of forcible transferring Palestinians from their homeland, a continuous process of creating refugees and internally displaced people: what BADIL refers to as the Ongoing Nakba.


Integral to consolidating its control, occupation and colonization, Israel strives to limit the population of Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line by violating international law including human rights. Israel does so with more than 50 discriminatory laws in Israel-proper, the ‘matrix of control’ composed of permits, checkpoints, demolitions, and denial of access to natural resources in the West Bank, and unrestrained attacks on Gaza as in November 2012.

The 37th anniversary of Land Day is an occasion for renewing the call to confront violent policies of racial-based exclusion. Challenging the concerted effort to segregate and isolate Palestinians requires non-compliance with the permit system and other illegitimate administrative regulations imposed on Palestinians. The challenge also requires developing Palestinian life in threatened areas. To reconstitute Palestinian resistance, we support: 

  • Rejecting the status quo in occupied land through cultivation and use, particularly areas under direct threat;
  • Reviving volunteerism so as to promote resilience through collective action and reducing dependence on international aid;
  • Demanding that Palestinian institutions produce structural plans and provide public funding for developing use of Area C in the West Bank and the Buffer Zone in the Gaza Strip;
  • Encouraging the Palestinian private sector to invest in agricultural and urban projects, including sports and entertainment, in order to strengthen the feasibility of Palestinian life in threatened areas.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Summer BDS Institute for Student Leaders


Join our member groups American Friends Service Committee and Jewish Voice for Peace for their 2013 Summer BDS Institute for Student Leaders!

WHEN: July 28 to August 1, 2013 

WHERE:
 Upstate New York

WHO:
 All campus activists currently running or hoping to launch BDS campaigns on their campus

WHAT:
 A 5 day intensive program for campus BDS organizers -- those with campaigns already running and those hoping to get one launched in the 2013-2014 school year. The Summer Institute will include:
  • Extensive campaign development coaching
  • Grassroots organizing skill building
  • Media & Messaging trainings
  • Anti-oppression analysis workshops
  • Nonviolent direct action planning
  • Historical overview of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions
  • Relationship building with activists on campuses nationwide
  • Strategy sessions with BDS movement leaders
  • Two tracks for existing and new campaigns

Plus:
 fun in a summer camp-like environment! 

How to Apply: 
To apply complete this form. Please note that the application form has two sections. The first section will record your contact information. The second section includes a set of application questions. You must complete both sections of the application to be considered for the training.

The application deadline is April 15th and applicants accepted to the program will be notified no later than May 1st.
Space is limited, so apply now!
Meal and other accomodations will be made for those observing Ramadan.
Application materials for the Summer BDS Institute for Student Leaders will be available soon. Check back here for a link.
We will notify accepted applicants by May 1, 2013.
Cost: $100 registration fee (the cost of 4 nights/5 days room and board is subsidized by AFSC and JVP). Each participant is responsible for their own travel costs.*
Limited travel scholarships will be available. Travel scholarship application materials will be available soon.  
*If you need assistance for a grant from your school or to apply for credit (academic, internship, etc), we are happy to help with that process!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Today: Call in Day for Samer Issawi


Samer Issawi continues on his hunger strike--which is in its 240th day--until he wins an absolute agreement that guarantees his release. 

International pressure has led the Israelis to release hunger striker Ayman Sharwarna, even though he will be deported to Gaza, an action that also violates Ayman's rights, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights: "Forcible deportation is a form of collective punishment prohibited under the fourth Geneva Convention which prohibits 'individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not.'" 

Also, the Israelis continue to harass the Issawi family. An Israeli court has sentenced Medhat Issawi, Samer's brother, to 20 months for organizing solidarity events with prisoners in Jerusalem.

Now more than ever, we need to keep the pressure on the U.S. government to demand the unconditional release of Samer Issawi. President Obama starts his trip to Palestine on Wednesday. Let him and the U.S. State Department know that we demand he tell the Israelis to release Samer Issawi and all Palestinian political prisoners.

We again ask all activists, especially those in the U.S., to call President Obama and the State Department, Wednesday, March 20th, from 8 AM to 4 PM CDT, to take action.

“My name is _____ from __________ and I demand that the U.S. administration demand that the Israelis release hunger striker Samer Issawi and all the Palestinian administrative detainees and political prisoners held by Israel."
  • Call President Obama at 1-202-456-1111
  • Call US Secretary of State John Kerry at 1-202-647-4000 (pick option 4 for the operator and ask to leave a message for Kerry)
  • Call the Office of Near East Affairs at 1-202-647-7209 (you will get transferred to Marguerite Pickett to leave a message)
During President Obama's two-day trip to Palestine, it will be even more important to continue the worldwide campaign on Twitter at 1:00pm CDT on Weds. and Thurs. to demand the release of Samer Issawi.

Check @samerissawi1 for the hashtag to use. 

For updates on the worldwide campaign, follow "
The Free Samer Issawi Campaign" page on Facebook. 

Issawi had been detained by Israeli authorities without any charge whatsoever. He had been released from prison in October 2011 as a part of the Shalit prisoner swap, but was detained again without charge on July 7, 2012, and has been refusing food since August 2012 to protest his detention. 


Sponsored by: Palestine Solidarity Group (PSG)– Chicago; Chicago Movement for Palestinian Rights (CMPR); U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN)– National; USPCN - Chicago; Committee Against Political Repression (CAPR); Coalition to Protect People’s Rights (CPPR); Committee to Stop FBI Repression (CSFR); Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP)- Chicago; American Muslims for Palestine (AMP)- Chicago; American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)- Chicago

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Summer 2013: The Rebuild Is On!

From our member group International Committee Against House Demolitions-USA.

ICAHD invites you to participate in its 2013 summer rebuilding camp--a unique opportunity to rebuild a Palestinian home demolished by Israel as an act of political resistance and see the tangible results of your advocacy efforts. You will be working side-by-side with Palestinians, Israelis, local activists, residents, and often the family whose home was destroyed and you are helping to rebuild from the rubble--a truly moving and meaningful experience of resistance and solidarity. For the past decade hundreds of activists have participated in the camp, showing that by working together we can rebuild what has been destroyed, forge new relationships and through individual acts of solidarity make a meaningful difference to a family--a difference you will see realized when you hand them the keys to their new home.   

Rebuilding Beit Arabiya, 2012 
This year the camp will be held August 11 - 26, 2013. Over this two-week period you will not only reconstruct an entire home, but also take field trips throughout the Occupied Territory and Israel to deepen your understanding of the Occupation and the sources of the conflict. In the evening you will engage with local activists, attend film screenings and participate in wide-ranging discussions analyzing the politics. 

To view some of the experiences from last year's project, check out these two videos created by camp participants themselves:



Accommodations at the camp are basic but a wonderful group spirit makes it all comfortable and functional. Participants will sleep in tents on the site of Beit Arabiya, served by portable toilets and shower blocks. Arabiya Shawamreh will provide traditional home-cooked Palestinian food as she and her husband Salim host the camp's guests along with ICAHD staff.

The fee for the 2013 camp is $1750 per person ($1250 for university students or young people whose applications demonstrate a willingness to represent ICAHD on campus). The fee, which is used to cover the purchase of construction materials and the expenses of the camp, includes: 
  • Accommodations
  • Three full meals a day and beverages between meals (except during three free evenings)
  • All field trips and the educational program
  • ICAHD materials/resources 
Not included in the fee are: 
  • Airfare and transfer to and from Jerusalem before the start of the camp and return to the airport at the end of the camp
  • Meals during free time
  • Personal spending money 
If you would like to participate but are unable to donate your time, you are welcome to provide a "scholarship" that will enable someone with limited means to join.

If you're interested in joining us this summer, or want additional information, please contact us at 646-308-1322 or summercamp@icahdusa.org.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Apply for Summer Delegation! Today's Realities and Tomorrow's Leaders

Our member groups Interfaith Peace-Builders and American Friends Service Committee are co-sponsoring a delegation to Palestine/Israel August 10-August 23. Details below. Application deadline is April 1. 


This delegation will explore current realities of life for Israelis and Palestinians, including settlements, the occupation, and the peace process—by learning directly from those living there. We will also explore issues relevant to young people in the region, including efforts to educate and empower future generations working towards a just resolution to the conflict. Our itinerary will feature meetings with leaders of civil society groups, grassroots organizers, Palestinian and Israeli youth, religious leaders and more. 
As with all IFPB themed delegations, meetings pertaining to the specific theme amount to an average of about 20 percent of all meetings and the overall emphasis remains with exploring the social and political realities in the region in general. Thus, any addition of a theme will not change the overall delegation itinerary greatly.

Deadline to apply

Please apply by April 1, 2013 to ensure we’ll have space and be able to arrange your flight. IFPB's last several delegations have filled up several months before departure, so please apply as soon as possible to reserve your space. If you’ve missed the deadline, we might still be able to add you, but please contact us ASAP to see if this is a possibility.

Leaders

Sydney Levy is the son of Egyptian Jews, born in Venezuela. He studied Jewish history at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and was a settler without even realizing he was one. In the United States, he has worked for LGBT rights, for media justice, and against the death penalty. Since 2000 he has been active at Jewish Voice for Peace, and has been supporting church divestment efforts since 2008, as well as other BDS initiatives. Sydney is also a member of the Steering Committee of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. This will be his first delegation with IFPB.
Gretchen Merryman-Lotze spent six years living in Palestine. During her time in the West Bank she worked for Birzeit University’s Palestine & Arabic Studies Program coordinating the weekly lecture series and educational tours for international students throughout the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Lebanon and Syria. During theSecond Intifida she co-founded International Checkpoint Watch, a group of over 50 international volunteers who monitored and documented human rights abuses at Israeli checkpoints throughout the West Bank. Gretchen holds a master’s degree from Wheaton Graduate School in educational ministries. From 2002-2004, she worked for Fellowship of Reconciliation’s Interfaith Peace Builders, organizing delegations to Israel, Palestine, Jordan, and Lebanon. This will be Gretchen’s fifth delegation co-leading for IFPB.

Logistics

The cost of the delegation will be around $2200. This includes 13 days of the delegation, hotel and home stay accommodations, breakfasts and dinners, local transportation, guides, speaker/event fees, and basic tips and gratuities. Partial scholarships may be available for those with demonstrable need.
The cost does not include domestic and international airfare. Interfaith Peace-Builders works with a local travel agent in Jerusalem to secure the best group rates for the delegation to travel together on the same flight from Washington, D.C. to Israel/Palestine. Therefore, delegates do not need to book their own international airfare.
Delegates will be expected make arrangements to be in Washington, D.C. by 2 pm on Aug. 10.
Contact Information: 
For more information contact Mike Merryman-Lotze at mmerryman-lotze@afsc.org

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Register for Right of Return Conference


                          

Registration for the Right of Return Conference taking place at Boston University, April 6-7, is now open. For discounted ticket fees, “Early Bird” registration is open until Friday, March 8th. Register now as fees will increase after this date. 

To register for and/or donate to the Conference, please visit http://rightofreturn.net/registerdonate/.

A full conference program will be available on the website soon. The keynote speeches at the conference will be delivered by the following speakers:

  • Dr. Salman Abu Sitta, scholar and historian on Palestinian refugee affairs, former member of the Palestinian National Council, author of the “Atlas of Palestine 1917-1966”, Co-founder of the Palestine Land Society (PLS).
  • Dr. Joseph Massad, Associate Professor of Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History at Columbia University
  • Nidal Azza, LLM (International Comparative Law), Coordinator of the Resource Unit at the Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights (BADIL), Lecturer in Refugee Rights under International Law at al-Quds University
  • Liat Rosenberg, General Director of Zochrot, an organization dedicated to raising public awareness of the Palestinian Nakba, especially among Israeli Jews
Mission Statement:

In bringing together scholars and activists, the Right of Return conference hopes to create a space where we shift from the realm of the abstract and instead address the reality of mitigating and correcting the plight of the Palestinian refugees and the diaspora. Recognizing the historical and contemporary suffering of the Palestinian refugees and the deplorable and oppressive conditions which they face today across the Middle East, the conference committee is motivated by a sense of urgency to further the work of envisioning, imagining, and planning the reality of Return.
The Conference wishes to highlight Right of Return discourses as they exist across the plurality of Palestinian communities around the world, including those in Palestine, the Middle East, and further afield in the diaspora with an eye towards shifting the discourse around Palestine in the US Academy and expanding the discourse about the Right of Return within the United States more broadly. We do not take a position on the issue of one- or two-state solution, but instead seek to open the floor to a multiplicity of visions that may themselves occur within different potential political orders.
Within the frame of this conference, we hope to put forth a vision for an inclusive Palestinian future that centers marginalized Palestinian voices. While asserting the inalienable right of Palestinians to return to and live in their homeland, we also principally affirm the right of Israelis to live in Palestine as well. The Right of Return Conference seeks to be inclusive of all voices implied in the context of a post-Return Palestine.
For more information, please visit our website at http://rightofreturn.net  Like us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/RightOfReturnConference and follow us on Twitter @RoRConf.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

10 Years Later- Remember Rachel Corrie and Act!

From our member group Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice


Saturday, March 16th, the Rachel Corrie Foundation will mark the 10th anniversary of Rachel's stand in Gaza. It has been an extraordinary, challenging ten-year journey for our organization, for the Corrie family, and for those in our community and beyond who have worked tirelessly for justice and peace in Palestine and Israel, in the world, and at home.

Here in Olympia, we have plans for a Stand for Justice Rally, speakers, music, dance, food, reflection, remembrance, and community! See event listing here.

Now, we call on you - individuals, organizations, and communities - to join us in these actions and with your own creative, solidarity events or observances!


  • Mark this 10-year anniversary! Call out Caterpillar, Inc. now on its faulty actions and explanations! Challenge the appearance of CAT's Washington Director of Government Affairs at AIPAC! Tell CAT to own up to its business with Israel and to end its complicity in violations of human rights and international law in Israel/Palestine. See how to help here!
  • Mark this 10-year anniversary! Tell President Obama to use his March Mideast trip to see for himself, to demand compliance with U.S. laws and policies, and accountability for how U.S. tax dollars are used by Israel. See how to help here!
  • Mark this 10-year anniversary! Demonstrate your support for the rights of Palestinians that Rachel, many other internationals, Israeli activists, and Palestinians have stood to defend! Reflect, connect the dots, and strengthen your community's commitment to justice for Palestinians and peace in the Mideast. Let us know what you plan so we can share and inspire others! Send your photos for our TUMBLR. See how to help here!

Rachel Corrie wrote,

"The international media and our government are not going to tell us that we are effective, important, justified in our work, courageous, intelligent, valuable. We have to do that for each other, and one way we can do that is by continuing our work, visibly."


Let's use this March anniversary as an opportunity to make some noise and be visible in our support for equal rights for Palestinians, accountability and justice, and an end to Israeli occupation!

Let's remember, act, and celebrate together - how we (like Rachel) have stood this past decade for justice, freedom, equality, and peace in the Middle East and beyond - and let' think together about how we move ahead to make freedom for Palestine a reality.

Find a list of events taking place here