Strike near UN school in Gaza leaves 10 dead


Palestinians evacuate a survivor of an Israeli air strike that hit the Al Ghoul family building in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Sunday, Aug. 3, 2014. At least 40 people were inside the Al Ghoul family building in Rafah Camp when it was targeted by Israeli jet fighters, according to the Red Crescent and Gaza health official Ashraf al-Kidra. Many have been confirmed dead and over two dozen have been wounded. (AP Photo/Eyad Baba)

TAMER ZIARA AND IBRAHIM BARZAK, ASSOCIATED PRESS, August 3, 2014

RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — A United Nations school sheltering displaced people in the southern Gaza Strip was hit Sunday by what a U.N. official said appeared to be an Israeli airstrike, as the military struck the Hamas-ruled territory despite signaling a possible scaling back of its 27-day offensive.

Gaza health official Ashraf al-Kidra said at least 10 people were killed and 35 wounded after the strike near a boys’ school in the town of Rafah. Robert Turner, the director of operations for the U.N. Palestinian refugee agency in Gaza, said preliminary findings indicated the blast was the result of an Israeli airstrike near the school, which had been providing shelter for some 3,000 people. He said at least one U.N. staffer appeared to be dead.

“We don’t have confirmed details yet but the initial report says that there was some kind of airstrike in a street outside one of our shelters,” Turner said.

Witnesses said the attack happened while people were waiting in line for food supplies. The Israeli military had no immediate comment.

In a chaotic scene inside the compound of the U.N. school, several bodies, among them children, were strewn across the ground in puddles of blood. Bloody footprints stained the ground where people had rushed the wounded into ambulances.

“Our trust and our fate is only in the hands of God!” one woman cried.

Some of the wounded, among them children with bloody head bandages, were transported to the Kuwaiti hospital in Rafah and others were treated in what seemed to be a makeshift clinic underneath a tent.

Several dead bodies, wrapped in white cloth, were lined up on the floor.

At least six U.N. facilities, including schools sheltering the displaced, have been struck by Israeli fire since the conflict began, drawing international condemnation. In each case Israel has said it was responding to militants launching rockets or other attacks from nearby.

In nearly four weeks of fighting, more than 1,700 Palestinians, mainly civilians, have been killed as well as nearly 70 Israelis, almost all soldiers.

Israel launched an aerial campaign in Gaza on July 8 to try to halt Palestinian rocket fire that has reached major cities, and later sent in troops to dismantle a sophisticated system of cross-border tunnels built by the militants in order to carry out attacks.

Israel struck several targets in Gaza on Sunday. Artillery shells slammed into two high-rise office buildings in downtown Gaza City and large explosions could be heard seconds apart, police and witnesses said. Al-Kidra said 30 Palestinians were killed Sunday, including nine in a single strike in the southern Gaza Strip. Israel said it carried out 180 strikes Sunday.

While fighting continued, several Israeli tanks and other vehicles were seen leaving Gaza. In a televised address late Saturday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested troops would reassess operations after completing the demolition of Hamas military tunnels under the border. Security officials said the tunnel mission was winding down.

At the same time, Netanyahu warned the territory’s Hamas rulers that they would pay an “intolerable price” if militants continued to fire rockets at Israel and that all options remain on the table.

The Israeli military death toll rose to 64 after Israel announced that Hadar Goldin, a 23-year-old infantry lieutenant feared captured in Gaza, was actually killed in battle. His funeral is later Sunday. Three civilians have been killed on the Israeli side since hostilities began.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon revealed on his Facebook page Sunday that he is a distant relative of Goldin.

Israel had earlier said it feared Goldin had been captured by Hamas militants alongside two other soldiers who were killed Friday near Rafah in an ambush that shattered a cease-fire and was followed by heavy shelling that left dozens of Palestinians dead.

Hamas has said it will not stop fighting until Israel and Egypt lift their blockade of Gaza, imposed after the Islamic militant group overran the territory in 2007.

Large swaths of Gaza have been destroyed and some 250,000 people have been forced to flee their homes since the war began on July 8.
____
Barzak reported from Gaza City, Gaza Strip. Associated Press writers Aron Heller and Yousur Alhlou in Jerusalem and Karin Laub in Gaza City contributed to this report.

Judith Laitman: A Jewish grandmother’s plea to Barack Obama

JUDITH LAITMAN, Cap Times, Jul 25, 2014

I’ve learned a few things during my more than seven decades on this planet. One of the most important is that when we are witness to evil and we do nothing about it, then we are complicit in that evil.

As a Jew born in 1942, I was imbued with the idea that Israel was a homeland for my people, who had been so horribly treated in the Holocaust. Today, that ideal has been destroyed, as Israel has become not so much a sanctuary for the victimized as a victimizer itself.

Today, I reject the idea that Israel has anything at all to do with my faith, or the values that it taught me. Today, my heart aches as I watch the mighty military power of Israel once again bombing the citizens of Gaza. And so I make my plea:

Mr. Obama, you say that Israel has every right to defend itself from Hamas rockets, and that no country in the world would put up with this. But that argument wrongly assumes an equivalence in power. It also assumes that Hamas committed the first act of war and Israel is merely responding. Neither of these assumptions is true.

Though Israel relocated its Jewish settlers from Gaza to the West Bank in 2006, it never relinquished control of the area. It controls everything that goes in and out, limiting the movement of people, restricting necessities like electricity, food, gas, and medical and building supplies. Under international law, Gaza is still occupied. Many people have referred to Gaza, with its 1.8 million residents, as the largest open-air prison in the world.

In the current conflict, Israel keeps telling us it is just responding to attacks from Hamas. According to the last cease-fire, signed in 2012, Israel was to open border crossings and ease the siege on Gaza. Israel broke that cease-fire just days after it was arranged, by firing on Palestinian fishermen, killing two. This pattern has continued with Israel shooting into Gaza at will, resulting in the death and injury of many Palestinian civilians even as Hamas for the most part upheld the cease-fire. Israel never did ease the siege, and so it has never upheld the cease-fire agreement. In fact, a siege and all it entails is considered an act of war in international law. No people would put up with that without resistance.

In the West Bank, where no rockets are fired, Palestinians have endured countless acts of aggression by Israel, including the demolition of hundreds of homes, the destruction of thousands of olive trees, mass arrests without charge, hundreds of checkpoints, an apartheid wall that separates Palestinians from their own territory, and ever-expanding Jewish-only roads and settlements on Palestinian land. International law states that all of these actions are illegal activity by an occupying power.

This has trapped us in an endless cycle of violence and oppression. It continues because the U.S. government continues to repeat Israel’s propaganda points, provides cover for Israel’s crimes in the U.N., and sends Israel billions in military aid every year.

Mr. Obama, you have the power to change this situation by lending your moral support to the oppressed, instead of the oppressor. Here’s one idea: Get on Air Force One and go to that Gaza beach where four boys were slaughtered. Or visit the now-leveled neighborhood of Shujayea, where the Israeli military just indiscriminately massacred more than 70 men, women and children.

There, make a speech to the world.

You are the most powerful man in the world. So why are you choosing to not use your power? What are you afraid of? Would donations dry up for the Democratic Party? Would you be criticized? Do any of these things matter more than the life of a single Palestinian child, or the future of a whole generation of Palestinian children?

If Nelson Mandela had worried about such things, where would South Africa be today? If Lyndon Johnson had worried about Southern Democratic votes, when would we have ever had civil rights legislation? These men made their mark on history not by doing what was politically expedient, but by doing what was right.

Now it is your time to choose. You can continue on your current course as Israel’s apologist-in-chief, or you can give hope to millions of people living under oppression. In just over two years, you will not have this power. I’ve learned a few things about regret in my life. You will almost certainly regret not using your current power to end the lies that you are now perpetuating.

Mr. President, it’s time to earn your Nobel Peace Prize.

Judith Laitman is a member of Madison-Rafah Sister City Project and Jewish Voice for Peace.

Under Siege: A Report from Gaza on WORT FM

Broadcast on the WORT 89.9 FM program Third World View:

  • Mahmoud Abu Rahma, the Communications and International
    Relations Director at the Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights –
    Gaza, and
  • Mimi Rosenberg & Ken Nash of Building Bridges: Your Community and Labor Report
  • Mahound Abu Rahma recently wrote in “Understanding Israel’s Actions”:

    “It is essential that U.S. citizens understand that this
    conflict should not continue to be viewed as a symmetrical one anymore
    and while they largely do not hear about it there are vicious violations of
    international law against Palestinians every day; including closures/
    blockades, settlement activities (population transfer on our land)
    displacement, killings, detention and torture.”

    July 19, 2014
    Madison Gaza Protest


     

    More photos at The International Socialist Organization (ISO) Facebook posts here and here.

    Upcoming Events and Gaza Links on the Israeli Attack

    Friday, July 18: Mahmoud Abu Rahma from Rafah on WORT with Max Blumenthal
    Saturday, July 19: Emergency Demonstration for Gaza
    Thursday, July 24: Online Event: Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions: A New Path to Peace
    AND links on Gaza
    Plus: Cartoon of the Week: What if…

    Friday, July 18:
    Mahmoud Abu Rahma of Al Mezan on WORT

    12 noon on WORT Radio, 89.9 fm, Mahmoud Abu Rahma, communications and international relations director for the Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights in Gaza, will be interviewed by A Public Affair host Esty Dinur about the current attack on Gaza. Aburahma recently wrote “Understanding Israel’s Actions”, which states: “It is essential that U.S. citizens understand that this conflict should not continue to be viewed as a symmetrical one any more. When they do not hear about it, there are vicious violations of international law against Palestinians every day; including closures/blockades, settlement activities (population transfer on our land) displacement, killings, detention and torture.” He will be joined by Max Blumenthal, author of “Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel”. Be sure to tune in and call in at 256-2001 with your questions. You can also listen live online.

    Saturday, July 19:
    Emergency Demonstration for Gaza

    11 am, corner of State Street and Mifflin Street, Capitol square, Madison

    As of TODAY, BEFORE the launch of Israel’s ground offensive, at least 221 Palestinians have been killed, of Whom 179 Are Civilians, Including 45 Children and 32 Women, and 1,458 Others Wounded, Mostly Civilians, Including 432 Children and 298 Women (PCHR). One Israeli has been killed and a handful injured.

    MRSCP asks you to join us as we support this demonstration at the Farmer’s Market to protest Israel’s catastrophic and expanding assault on Gaza. Look for our large Palestinian flag banner with the words “Solidarity with Palestine” on it. Please bring “every Palestinian thing you have” and make your own signs .

    If you can’t come (and even if you can) please take a minute to take action on this alert from Peace Action: Call the White House comment line at 202.456.1111 and demand a ceasefire and suspension of U.S. weapons and military aid to Israel.

    Thursday, July 24:
    BDS: A New Path to Peace

    An online lecture presented by The Palestine Center with speakers Lena Ibrahim and Andrew Kadi
    12 – 1:00 pm Central Time
    Watch Live at this link.
    The 2005 call from Palestine Civil Society for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel has gained unprecedented momentum within the international community in recent years. Since 2005, universities, academic groups, banks and faith based organizations have all joined the BDS movement.

    Lena Ibrahim and Andrew Kadi will provide personal testimony for why a grassroots BDS movement in solidarity with Palestinian Civil Society is a new means by which people can put pressure on the U.S., Israel, and the international community to achieve justice in Palestine. This comes in light of yet another failed state-sponsored peace process and escalation of violence against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

    For more information visit: Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions: A New Path to Peace.

    Gaza Links:

    • For up to the minute news from a Palestinian perspective, visit Maan News Agency

    Cartoon of the Week:: What if Mahmoud was named Jonah? | +972 Magazine Eli.Valley.Gaza.Leaflets.Vertical

    France’s main Jewish group fined for defaming Palestine charity

    France’s highest appeal court has ordered the country’s major Jewish organization to pay damages

    Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 11 Apr 2014

    Article falsely claimed charity raised money for Hamas

    France’s highest appeal court has ordered the country’s major Jewish organization to pay damages for falsely claiming that a charity supporting Palestinians collected money for Hamas.

    The 11 March judgment from the Court of Cassation in the northeastern city of Nancy was first reported by the website Al Kanz this week.

    In June 2010, CRIF, the main umbrella group for Jewish organizations in France, published an article by Marc Knobel alleging that the Committee for Charity and Assistance to the Palestinians – known by its French initials CBSP – was actually raising money for Hamas.

    The article was published days after Israeli forces stormed the ship Mavi Marmara, which was part of a flotilla to Gaza, in international waters, and murdered nine civilians.

    Youcef Benderbal, a CBSP official, was aboard the ship and among hundreds of passengers forcibly taken to the Israeli-controlled port of Ashdod.

    In the days before and after the massacre, the Israeli government engaged in intense propaganda efforts to portray the people aboard the flotilla as dangerous extremists and terrorists.

    According to its own website, CBSP, founded in 1990, supports initiatives for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan and such projects as constructing water purification equipment for Gaza.

    Defamation

    Knobel has worked with a number of Jewish communal and pro-Israel organizations in France, including the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and is described by CRIF as its chief researcher.

    Knobel has written a number of articles attacking the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement and has called on French authorities to prosecute BDS activists – something the country’s judicial authorities have done vigorously.

    The court ruled that the Knobel article’s “accusation that CBSP was collecting money for Hamas is defamatory” because no evidence had been provided to support the allegations, which had also been previously spread by the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

    The judgment also found that the article’s claim that CBSP had been defined as a “radical” organization by French authorities was false, and therefore “defamatory.”

    The court ordered the CRIF researchers who wrote and published the article to pay CBSP a total of 3,000 euros ($4,200) in damages.

    The defamatory article has been removed from CRIF’s website.

    CRIF controversy

    CRIF has been involved in spreading false allegations on other occasions.

    One year ago, CRIF president Richard Prasquier apologized for spreading the “false news” that Israeli film director Yariv Horowitz was “lynched” during a visit to France in what was widely claimed to be an anti-Semitic attack by “Arabs.”

    Attack on Palestine groups

    The defamatory CRIF article resembles a similar attack, also launched in 2010, against the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC), an advocacy organization in London.

    As The Electronic Intifada reported, the Israeli army published claims – without any substantiation – accusing PRC of being a “Hamas affiliate” that was “involved in initiating and organizing radical and violent activity against Israel in Europe.”

    As I note in my book, UK authorities said they never received any information from Israel supporting these claims and never took any action against PRC.

    That smear campaign was part of Israel’s strategy of “sabotage” and “attack” against the Palestine solidarity movement.

    CRIF’s false allegations against CBSP look like they were part of a similar initiative aimed at discrediting civil society groups that keep Israel’s crimes against Palestinians in the public eye.

    April 17, 2014
    Academic Freedom and Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)

    Students for Justice in Palestine – UW-Madison Chapter invites you to a teach-in on Academic Freedom and the Palestinian Popular Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)

    Thursday, April 17th
    7:00 pm
    Union South Agriculture Room
    UW-Madison

    The speakers at the event are:

    • Prof. Samer Alatout, Dept. of Community and Environmental Sociology;
    • Prof. Phil Gasper, ‘The Struggle for Palestine’ (2002) contributor; and
    • Representatives of Students Allied for Freedom and Equality at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

    Read the op-ed by Students for Justice for Palestine – UW-Madison Chapter in the Daily Cardinal.

    And here’s the Facebook page for the event.

    Hope to see you there!

    Call to action: Join Palestinian political prisoner’s day

    Free all Palestinian political prisoners!
    Tell Bill Gates to Divest from G4S!

    g4s3 April 2014, Occupied Ramallah – Addameer and the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee call on campaigners and people of conscience to take action Palestinian prisoner’s day on April 17 to stand in solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners.

    The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, the biggest charitable foundation in the world, owns shares in Israeli prison contractor G4S worth more than $170m. Join us in calling on them to divest their shares!

    Over 5,000 Palestinians are currently held in Israeli prisons, including 183 children and 175 held under administrative detention, a form of detention without trial that Israel uses to hold Palestinians indefinitely on secret information.

    Each year the Israeli military arrests thousands of Palestinians in an attempt to suppress any resistance to its continued occupation and apartheid policies. Among these are hundreds of children as young as 12 years old. In too many cases Palestinian children are tortured, ill-treated, placed in solitary confinement and coerced into signing a confession in Hebrew, a language which most Palestinian children do not understand. Every year approximately 1,000 children are sentenced in Israeli military courts.

    Night raids are the most common form of arrest, during which Israeli soldiers will ransack an individual’s house, destroying personal property and abusing physically abusing family members. The arrested person will then be handcuffed and blindfolded before being thrown into the back of an Israeli military jeep, face-down, where the beatings, insults and humiliation will continue.

    Under Israeli military law, Palestinians can be interrogated for a period of 90 days and denied access to a lawyer for the first 60 days. Since 1967, 73 Palestinian detainees have died as a result of torture while under Israeli interrogation, the most recent of which was Arafat Jaradat, who was tortured to death in a G4S-secured interrogation centre in February 2013.

    We urge people to take action on Palestinian prisoner’s day on April 17 to stand in solidarity with the struggle of Palestinian political prisoners.

    Addameer’s new video on G4S:

    Stop G4S – Tell Bill Gates to divest now!

    Two years ago, on the eve of the mass hunger strike by more than 2,000 Palestinian political prisoners, Addameer and other Palestinian organisations called for a campaign against G4S, the British security company that runs and providessecurity services and equipment at Israel’s prisons.

    As part of the rapidly growing boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, campaigns against G4S are now underway in more than a dozen countries. Universities, banks, charities and trade unions across the world havecancelled contracts with G4S because of its role in Israel’s abhorrent prison system, costing G4S millions of dollars. Feeling the pressure, G4S has tried to make statements distancing itself from Israel’s prison system.

    The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, the biggest charitable foundation in the world, owns shares in G4S worth more than $170m.

    The Gates Foundation says that it is “guided by the belief that every life has equal value” and that it uses its investments to fund projects that “help all people lead healthy, productive lives”. But through its holdings in G4S, the Gates Foundation is legitimising and profiting from Israel’s use of torture and mass incarceration.

    This Palestinian political prisoner’s day, join Addameer in putting pressure on the Gates Foundation to divest from G4S.

    Take action!

    • Sign and widely share the petition calling on the Gates Foundation to divest from G4S
    • Share this call and the link to the petition using the hashtag #StopG4S
    • Share the graphics from Addameer’s Facebook page calling on the Gates Foundation to divest
    • Organise an action at a G4S or Gates Foundation office in your city
    • Organise a protest or rally in solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners

    Send an email to info@addameer.ps to let us know about any actions you are planning.

    Published by:

    Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Palestine
    Palestinian BDS National Committee, Palestine
    Endorsed by:
    Abu Jihad Center for Prisoners Movement, Palestine
    Al-Dameer Association for Human Rights, Palestine
    Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency & Refugee Rights, Palestine
    Center for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights “Hurryyat”, Palestine
    The Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem (Representing 25 member organizations), Palestine
    Defence for Children International – Palestine Section, Palestine
    Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center, Palestine
    National & Islamic Parties in Ramallah & Al-Bireh, Palestine
    Palestine Farmers Union, Palestine
    Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign ” Stop The Wall”, Palestine
    Palestine National Institute for NGOs (Representing 420 organizations), Palestine
    Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network (representing over 135 member organizations), Palestine
    Ramallah Center for Human Rights Studies, Palestine
    The Palestinian General Union of Charitable Societies (Representing 500 organizations), Palestine
    Treatment & Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture (TRC), Palestine
    The Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem, Palestine
    Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network, Palestine
    The Palestinian General Union of Charitable Societies, Palestine
    Palestine National Institute for NGOs, Palestine
    International Solidarity Movement, Palestine
    International Women’s Peace Service, Palestine
    Palestine Human Rights Campaign, Aotearoa-New Zealand
    Federation of Palestinian-Argentinian Entities, Argentina
    Artists Against Apartheid AU, Australia
    Australian Friends of Palestine Association, Australia
    Australians for Palestine, Australia
    Friends of Palestine (Western Australia), Australia
    Just Peace Queensland, Australia
    Justice for Palestine Brisbane, Australia
    Justice for Palestine Matters, Australia
    Women for Palestine, Australia
    Women in Black, Austria
    Association Belgo-Palestinienne, Belgium
    ECCP – European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine, Belgium
    Palestina Solidariteit, Belgium
    Ciranda Internacional da Comunicação Compartilhada, Brazil
    Frente de defesa do Povo Palestino, Brazil
    Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign, Canada
    Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA), Canada
    Palestine House in Mississauga, Canada
    Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, Canada
    Comité Chileno de Solidaridad con Palestina, Chile
    BDS Colombia, Colombia
    Finnish-Arab Friendship Society, Finland
    AFPS, France
    Campagne BDS France, France
    CCIPPP, France
    Collectif Judéo Arabe et Citoyen pour la Palestine, France
    Stop Apartheid Toulouse, France
    UJFP, France
    BDS Berlin, Germany
    InCACBI, India
    Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Ireland
    Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within, Israel
    Associazione Senza Paura Genova, Italy
    BDS Italia, Italy
    Fellesutvalget fr Palestina, Norway
    Polish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Poland
    Comité de Solidariedade com a Palestina, Portugal
    Scottish Friends of Palestine, Scotland
    Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Scotland
    BDS Slovenija, Slovenija
    BDS South Africa, South Africa
    BDS Madrid, Spain
    BDS Switzerland, Switzerland
    Breed Platform Palestina, The Netherlands
    Diensten en Onderzoekcentrum Palestina (docP), The Netherlands
    Netherlands Palestine Committee, The Netherlands
    Palestina Komitee Rotterdam, The Netherlands
    WILPF Nederland, The Netherlands
    Brighton & Hove Palestine Solidarity Campaign, UK
    Football Against Apartheid, UK
    Friends of Al-Aqsa, UK
    ICAHD UK, UK
    Inminds, UK
    Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods, UK
    Jews for Justice for Palestinians, UK
    Liverpool Friends of Palestine, UK
    London BDS Group, UK
    London Palestine Action, UK
    Palestine Solidarity Campaign, UK
    Stop G4S, UK
    Trade Union Friends of Palestine, UK
    Waltham Forest Palestine Solidarity Campaign, UK
    War on Want, UK
    Watford Friends of Salfeet – Palestine, UK
    US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, US
    14 Friends of Palestine, Marin, US
    Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel, US
    Al-Nakba Awareness Project, US
    Bay Area Women in Black, US
    Bryn Mawr Peace Coalition, US
    Chico Palestine Action Group, US
    Citizens for Palestinian Self Determination, US
    Committee for Palestinian Rights (Howard County, MD), US
    Culture and Conflict Forum, US
    Episcopal Peace Fellowship Palestine Israel Network, US
    Delaware Neighbors Against The Occupation, US
    Friends of Palestine Wisconsin, US
    Jewish Voice for Peace – SF Bay Area chapter, US
    Justice First Foundation, US
    Lutherans for Justice in the Holy Land, US
    Madison-Rafah Sister City Project, US
    Methodist Federation for Social Action, US
    Minnesota Break the Bonds Campaign, US
    NH Veterans for Peace, US
    Northwest BDS Coalition, US
    Palestine Solidarity Group – Chicago, US
    Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace, US
    Racine Coalition for Peace and Justice c, US
    Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights, University of Washington, US
    the Rachel Corrie Foundation, US
    Tiffin Area Pax Christi, US
    Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East, US
    United Methodist Task Force on Peace with Justice in Palestine/Israel of Upper New York Conference, US
    United Methodists’ Holy Land Task Force, US
    US Peace Council, US
    Vancouver for Peace, US
    Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel, US
    WI Middle East Lobby Group, US

    WILPF Boulder, US

    It’s World Water Day! Say No to Water Apartheid

    US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, Ramah Kudaimi, March 22nd, 2014

    Support Palestinian Water Rights

    Today marks the start of the first International Week Against MekorotIsrael’s state-owned water company that is responsible for implementing "water apartheid" on Palestinians. 

    Mekorot has been responsible for water rights violations and discrimination since the 1950s, depriving Palestinian communities from access to water. It provides vital support to Israel’s settlement enterprise, commits war crimes by pillaging Palestinians’ natural resources, and is a proud partner of the Jewish National Fund’s "Blueprint Negev" campaign to displace around 40,000 Palestinian Bedouin citizens of Israel in the Negev.

    In 2005, Mekorot established a business arm to begin a process of international expansion. Several lucrative contracts have been signed in countries like the U.S., Cyprus, India, and Uganda. But civic groups are fighting back against rewarding Mekorot for its involvement in violations of international law and human rights. In Argentina, activists recently announced they succeeded in suspending the construction of a $170 million water regeneration plant. Vitens, the largest water supplier in the Netherlands, ended a contract with Mekorot just days after it was signed.

    Starting today, World Water Day, through March 30, when Palestinians mark Land Day, PENGON/Friends of the Earth Palestine, the Palestinian BDS National Committee, and the Land Defense Coalition are asking people worldwide to say no to water apartheid!

    Take the following actions targeting Mekorot and other companies like SodaStream that are complicit in depriving Palestinians of their right to water by operating in a settlement

    Watch Mekorot: An Apartheid Adventure. Share with your friends on Facebook and followers on Twitter.

    On Twitter? Join the Twitter storm! Use #WorldWaterDay, #StopMekorot, and #BoycottSodaStream to share facts and links about Israeli violations of Palestinian water rights and the companies that support these abuses. We have put together sample tweets that you can use here.

    On Facebook? Post this image on your profile by clicking here

    Find other graphics to post here.

    Continue reading

    Stop Mekorot, 3/22/14

    mekorot-reason1

    1. Mekorot operates a system of water apartheid: Mekorot has been responsible for water rights violations and discrimination since the 1950s when it built Israel’s national water carrier, which is diverting the Jordan River from the West Bank and Jordan to serve Israeli communities. At the same time it deprives the Palestinian communities from the possibility of access to water: Palestinian consumption in the OPT is about 70 litres a day per person – well below the 100 litres per capita daily recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) – whereas Israeli daily per capita consumption, at about 300 litres, is about four times as much.

    Mekorot has refused to supply water to Palestinian communities inside Israel, despite an Israeli high court ruling recognising their right to water. A French parliamentary report called these policies water apartheid.

    mekorot-reason2a

    2. Mekorot’s vital support for the illegal settlement enterprise: Mekorot support for colonial settlement has continued since the 1967 occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights. The company took monopoly control over all water sources in the occupied territories, implementing policies that bolster Israeli settlements at the expense of Palestinian communities.

    The United Nations report of the independent international fact-finding mission on the implications of the Israeli settlements on the rights of the Palestinian people as well as the latest report on the settlements by the Secretary-General of the UN denounce Mekorot’s role in the settlement enterprise.

    All cooperation with Mekorot inherently benefits from or contributes to the illegal settlement enterprise. Dutch public water company Vitens states that “Whether it comes to knowledge about extraction of water or to the benefits that can be achieved with smart grids, these cannot be separated from what the UN writes about the policy of Mekorot (*) towards the Palestinian territories and the settlements.”

    mekorot-reason3

    3. Mekorot participates in the international crime of pillage of natural resources and wanton destruction of water infrastructure:

    Mekorot operates some 42 wells in the West Bank, mainly in the Jordan Valley region, which mostly supply the Israeli settlements.

    Mekorot works in close partnership with the Israeli military, confiscating irrigation pipes
    from Palestinian farmers and destroying the water supply sources of Palestinian communities. In 2012 alone the Israeli army demolished 60 water and sanitation structures belonging to Palestinians.

    Continue reading

    May 5 – 6, 2014
    Mark Braverman in Madison

    Mark Braverman, author of Fatal Embrace: Christians, Jews and the Search for Peace in the Holy Land and A Wall in Jerusalem: Hope, Healing and the Struggle for Peace in Israel and Palestine, will be speaking in Madison. Mark is an American Jew with deep family roots in the Holy Land. He is on the advisory board of Friends of Sabeel, co-founder of Friends of Tent of Nations (a nonprofit dedicated to supporting Palestinian land rights), and Program Director for Kairos USA (a movement to unify and mobilize American Christians to respond to the suffering and hopes of Palestinian Christians as articulated in the Kairos Palestine declaration).

    Schedule:

  • Monday, May 5, 7:00 pm – “The Path to Peace in Israel and Palestine: A Jewish American’s Journey”, Pyle Center, UW campus [Map]
  • Tuesday, May 6, 8:30-10:00 am – Breakfast with pastors and lay leaders. Mark will talk about the role of faith communities in achieving peace in the Holy Land. No reservations necessary. Christ Presbyterian Church [Map]
  • Tuesday, May 6, 2:00 pm – “Toward a New Theology of Land and the Quest for Peace in Israel and Palestine”, Anderson Auditorium, Predolin Hall, Edgewood College [Map]
  • Sponsored by local Bright Stars of Bethlehem, the Southwest Association of the United Church of Christ Bethlehem Partnership, Memorial United Church of Christ, Christ Presbyterian Church, Midvale Lutheran Church, the Havens Center, Edgewood College, Pilgrims of Ibillin, Madison-Rafah Sister City Project, and Students for Justice in Palestine – UW-Madison.

    For more information contact Bonnie Van Overbeke at bonnievano (at) aol.com

    March 7 – 13, 2014
    Film Omar at Sundance Cinema

    1010863_fr_omar_1378206363758The Oscar-nominated Palestinian film Omar is showing at the Sundance Cinema 608 in Hilldale Mall.

    The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation says: “Omar opened in more than 40 US cities this past Friday. If it is playing in your city, please ask your supporters to watch it this week to help keep it in theaters longer and make it a box office success. The film has an 89% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Learn more about the film from this New York Times piece and like it on Facebook!”

    March 31, 2014
    Rev. Mitri Raheb at Edgewood College


    Edgewood College
    Anderson Auditorium
    Predolin Humanities Center
    3:00 pm [Directions]

    Rev. Mitri Raheb, pastor of Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem and director of the Diyar Consortium, will be speaking in Madison as part of a tour for his new book Faith in the Face of Empire: the Bible Through Palestinian Eyes.

    Since 1992 Rev. Raheb has founded and led a number of projects and institutions serving the social needs of Palestinians living in the Bethlehem area, focusing specifically on women, children, youth, and the elderly.

    Sponsored by local Bright Stars of Bethlehem, the Southwest Association of the United Church of Christ Bethlehem Partnership, Memorial United Church of Christ, Christ Presbyterian Church, Midvale Lutheran Church, Pilgrims of Ibillin, and Edgewood College.

    For more information contact Bonnie Van Overbeke at bonnievano (at) aol.com.