Diana Buttu & Gideon Levy on Israeli Settlements, Kerry, Military Aid & End of Two-State Solution

Democracy Now! December 30, 2016

Guests
Diana Buttu — attorney based in Palestine. She has served as a legal adviser to the Palestinians in negotiations with Israel. She was previously an adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Gideon Levy — Haaretz columnist and a member of the newspaper’s editorial board. His new article is titled "UN Resolution is a Breath of Hope in Sea of Darkness and Despair." Levy is also the author of The Punishment of Gaza.

Secretary of State John Kerry has blasted Israel’s government, saying in a major address on Wednesday that the relentless expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank threatens Israel’s democracy and has all but ended the prospect of a two-state solution with the Palestinians. "If the choice is one state, Israel can either be Jewish or Democratic; it cannot be both," Kerry said. "And it won’t ever really be at peace." Kerry’s speech followed intense Israeli criticism of the U.S. for refusing to veto a Security Council resolution last week. The measure condemns Israel’s expansion of settlements as a flagrant violation of international law. The resolution passed in a 14-0 vote. The U.S. abstained. We speak to Palestinian attorney Diana Buttu and Israeli journalist Gideon Levy, a Haaretz columnist.


TRANSCRIPT

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Secretary of State John Kerry has blasted Israel’s government, saying in a major address Wednesday that the relentless expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank threatens Israel’s democracy and has all but ended the prospect of a two-state solution with the Palestinians.

SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY: Despite our best efforts over the years, the two-state solution is now in serious jeopardy. The truth is that trends on the ground—violence, terrorism, incitement, settlement expansion and the seemingly endless occupation—they are combining to destroy hopes for peace on both sides and increasingly cementing an irreversible one-state reality that most people do not actually want.

AMY GOODMAN: Secretary Kerry’s speech followed intense Israeli criticism of the U.S. for refusing to veto a U.N. Security Council resolution last week. The measure condemns Israel’s expansion of settlements, a flagrant violation of international law. The resolution passed in a 14-to-0 vote. The U.S. abstained. Kerry insisted the U.S. had not abandoned its longtime ally, but said Israeli democracy would not survive under a single state.

SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY: But here is a fundamental reality: If the choice is one state, Israel can either be Jewish or democratic; it cannot be both. And it won’t ever really be at peace.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: In the West Bank, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he was willing to resume peace talks in exchange for a halt to settlement construction. This is chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.

SAEB EREKAT: Mr. Netanyahu knows very well that he has the choice: settlements or peace. He can’t have both. Settlements are illegal under international law. Settlements are a flagrant violation to international law. Settlements are the antidote for the two-state solution.

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Will Israel Echo South Africa’s Apartheid?

At this point, the South Africa example is most instructive. Recall the state of that country as the campaign to abolish apartheid built up steam — a privileged white minority ruling a black majority in a violent and brutal system. Economic and trade sanctions gradually beginning to strangle this nation that had historically been Africa’s most prosperous. The arrival of worldwide consumer boycotts, campaigns to sell off stock of any company doing business with this pariah state.

David A. Andelman, CNN, December 29, 2016

David A. Andelman, editor emeritus of World Policy Journal and member of the board of contributors of USA Today, is the co-author, with the Count de Marenches, head of the DGSE, of “The Fourth World War: Diplomacy and Espionage the Age of Terrorism.” Follow him on Twitter @DavidAndelman. The views expressed in this commentary are his own.

(CNN) — Israel, and by extension the United States, are poised at the entrance to a dangerous path. The model democracy of the Middle East risks transforming into a global pariah on the scale of South Africa when it was in the depths of its apartheid nightmare.

After decades of Arab-Israeli diplomacy, the idea of a one-state solution looms anew, as conservative elements in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition see the arrival of Donald Trump and his new ambassador to Israel as an opportunity to push their agenda.

If it is realized, it would reduce Israel’s Palestinian population to a permanent underclass and mean, in the not-too-distant future, that a Jewish minority would be ruling a Muslim majority, with the world on the side of the oppressed majority.

The United States would be its only friend and ally — relegating Washington to a role equally isolated from mainstream opinion throughout the region and far beyond.

This seems to be the role that President-elect Trump is carving out for America, and the role that Netanyahu is skirting perilously close to for Israel.

Trump’s ambassador-designate, David Friedman, the President-elect’s longtime friend and bankruptcy lawyer, has spent much of his career advocating and raising money for the one-state concept. His arrival in Israel will only reinforce the dramatic shift toward the more extreme parties in Netanyahu’s ruling coalition that now seem to be calling the shots.

It was not always this way. Three months after taking office, on June 14, 2009, just 10 days after a recently inaugurated President Barack Obama gave his landmark Middle East speech at Cairo University, Netanyahu, in a televised speech to his people, embraced a two-state solution.

Over the next eight years, Israel has solidified its position as one of the world’s most technologically innovative countries, a bastion of democracy surrounded by an ocean of autocracies or theocracies.

Five years ago, World Policy Journal used a basket of indicators to identify Israel, alongside Finland and Singapore as the world’s three most innovative countries. At the time, Israel had the largest number of startups in the world outside the United States — 3,850, or one for every 1,844 Israelis, according to the Israel Venture Capital Research Center. It had more companies listed on America’s tech-heavy Nasdaq than the entire European continent.

The pace has only accelerated since then. More importantly, today Israel has more than 250 research units owned by or doing business for multinationals, the vast majority American companies such as IBM, Apple, Intel, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Cisco and HP.

All of which makes Israel uniquely vulnerable. If Israel pursues the one-state solution, integrating ever larger stretches of Palestinian territory and population, while disenfranchising the people who live there, demographic realities will all too quickly make Jewish people a minority in their own country. Already, Israel’s own census bureau shows a virtually equal number of Jewish and Arab people sharing the territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. And Arab people, largely Palestinians, are expected to outnumber Jewish people by 2020.

Neither choice of what would follow under a one-state scenario is particularly appealing. John Kerry described the alternatives in his Wednesday speech: “If the choice is one-state, Israel can either be Jewish or Democratic, it cannot be both. And it won’t ever really be at peace.”

But Kerry did not go far enough in painting the horrors that would result from Israel’s efforts to maintain a Jewish-ruled state, for this Jewish minority would be controlling an increasingly unruly and oppressed majority. The world, apart from the United States, will no longer be on its side.

At this point, the South Africa example is most instructive. Recall the state of that country as the campaign to abolish apartheid built up steam — a privileged white minority ruling a black majority in a violent and brutal system. Economic and trade sanctions gradually beginning to strangle this nation that had historically been Africa’s most prosperous. The arrival of worldwide consumer boycotts, campaigns to sell off stock of any company doing business with this pariah state.

Recall the list of American companies currently operating in Israel; they would find themselves vulnerable to boycotts and sanctions. Their departure would quickly back Israel into a corner even more isolated than South Africa.

Inevitably, a Palestinian Nelson Mandela would emerge — a symbolic freedom fighter who Israel would have to demonize or imprison. I served as speechwriter to Mandela during his first visit to the United States after his release from prison. He was lionized from New York to Los Angeles and confided in me that he had no doubt his suffering was key to the end of apartheid in his country.

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The Two-State Solution: What It Is and Why It Hasn’t Happened

“The two-state solution has for decades been the primary focus of efforts to achieve peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Here’s a basic guide.”

“With few viable or popular alternatives, the most likely choice may be to simply maintain the status quo — though few believe that is possible in the long term.”


Yet Israel has managed for 68 years. — Kevin Walsh

MAX FISHER, The New York Times, December 29, 2016

A construction site in the Israeli settlement of Efrat in the West Bank. (Credit: Baz Ratner/Reuters)

Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday joined a growing chorus warning that the so-called two-state solution, which he called “the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” could be on the verge of permanent collapse.

The two-state solution has for decades been the primary focus of efforts to achieve peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but the contours of what it would actually look like — and why it has been so hard to achieve — can get lost. Here’s a basic guide.

What is the two-state solution?

It helps to start with the problem the solution is meant to address: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. At its most basic level, the conflict is about how or whether to divide territory between two peoples.

The territory question is also wrapped up in other overlapping but distinct issues: whether the Palestinian territories can become an independent state and how to resolve years of violence that include the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, the partial Israeli blockade of Gaza and Palestinian violence against Israelis.

The two-state solution would establish an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel — two states for two peoples. In theory, this would win Israel security and allow it to retain a Jewish demographic majority (letting the country remain Jewish and democratic) while granting the Palestinians a state.

Most governments and world bodies have set achievement of the two-state solution as official policy, including the United States, the United Nations, the Palestinian Authority and Israel. This goal has been the basis of peace talks for decades.

Why is the solution so difficult to achieve?

There are four issues that have proved most challenging. Each comes down to a set of bedrock demands between the two sides that, in execution, often appear to be mutually exclusive.

1. Borders: There is no consensus about precisely where to draw the line. Generally, most believe the border would follow the lines before the Arab-Israeli war of 1967, but with Israel keeping some of the land where it has built settlements and in exchange providing other land to the Palestinians to compensate. Israel has constructed barriers along and within the West Bank that many analysts worry create a de facto border, and it has built settlements in the West Bank that will make it difficult to establish that land as part of an independent Palestine. As time goes on, settlements grow, theoretically making any future Palestinian state smaller and possibly breaking it up into noncontiguous pieces.

2. Jerusalem: Both sides claim Jerusalem as their capital and consider it a center of religious worship and cultural heritage. The two-state solution typically calls for dividing it into an Israeli West and a Palestinian East, but it is not easy to draw the line — Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy sites are on top of one another. Israel has declared Jerusalem its “undivided capital,” effectively annexing its eastern half, and has built up construction that entrenches Israeli control of the city.

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Kerry harshly condemns Israeli settler activity as an obstacle to peace

Secretary of State John F. Kerry speaks about the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the U.S. decision to allow passage of a U.N. resolution condemning Israeli settler activity in the West Bank. (Andrew Harnik-Associated Press)

Carol Morello, The Washington Post, December 28, 2016

Secretary of State John F. Kerry on Wednesday offered a harsh and detailed assessment of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, saying their growth threatens to destroy the viability of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and that the United States was obliged to allow passage of a U.N. resolution condemning the activity in order to preserve the possibility of peace.

Kerry noted that the number of Israelis living in settlements has grown significantly and that their outposts are extending farther into the West Bank — “in the middle of what by any reasonable definition would be the future Palestinian state.”

“No one thinking seriously about peace can ignore the reality of the threat settlements pose to peace,” he said.

Kerry, in the hour-long speech delivered at the State Department, also condemned Palestinian incitement to violence as a barrier to direct negotiations. But his focus was on defending the Obama administration’s policies and highlighting Israel’s actions at a moment of high tension between the two governments, following the passage of the U.N. resolution.

U.S. Department of State

“Regrettably, some seem to believe that the U.S. friendship means the U.S. must accept any policy, regardless of our own interests, our own positions, our own words, our own principles — even after urging again and again that the policy must change,” he said. “Friends need to tell each other the hard truths, and friendships require mutual respect.”

He said the vote at the United Nations was about “Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state, living side by side in peace and security with its neighbors. That’s what we are trying to preserve, for our sake and for theirs.”

Although he did not mention Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by name, he addressed head-on the Israeli leader’s assertions that the United States had “colluded” and “orchestrated” last week’s U.N. resolution affirming that settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem have “no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-state solution.”

Kerry denied that the United States drafted or promoted the resolution, and took a swipe at the rhetoric coming from Israeli leaders.

“It will be up to the Israeli people to decide whether the unusually heated attacks that Israeli officials have directed toward this administration best serve Israel’s national interests and its relationship with an ally that has been steadfast in its support,” he said. “Those attacks, alongside allegations of a U.S.-led conspiracy and other manufactured claims, distract and divert attention from what the substance of this vote really was about.”

Kerry acknowledged that his vision is not shared and is unlikely to be followed by President-elect Donald Trump.

“President Obama and I know that the incoming administration has signaled that they may take a different path, and even suggested breaking from long-standing U.S. policies on settlements, Jerusalem — and possibly the two-state solution,” Kerry said. “That is for them to decide — that’s how we work. But we cannot, in good conscience, do nothing, and say nothing, when we see the hope of peace slipping away. This is a time to stand up for what is right.”

Trump has said he will move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, a move freighted with political significance in advance of any settlement, and his nominee to be ambassador to Israel, David M. Friedman, has said Jewish settlements in the West Bank are legal.

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How Israel Misuses the Bible

By fuming over a U.N. resolution against Israel’s settlements on Palestinian land, Israeli leaders reveal their final solution for the Palestinians – to deny them property rights and displace them.

Daniel C. Maguire, Consortiumnews.com, December 27, 2016

Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, let the theological cat out of the bag.   When the Security Council rebuked Israel for their land thefts (euphemized as “settlements,”) Mr. Danon replied with pious indignation: “Would you ban the French from building in Paris?”

There, in all of it effrontery, is the imperial theology that birthed Zionism. David Ben Gurion said of Palestine “God promised it to us.” Yitzhak Baer wrote in 1947: “God gave to every nation its place, and to the Jews he gave Palestine.”

Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

So in this hallucinatory theology, just as God gave Paris to France the Zionist deity gave Palestine to Jews including the right to build whatever they want wherever they want it. If the Zionist god posted a “Jews only” sign on Palestine, the presence of non-Jews is a sacrilege and their land claims are specious. If nothing is intelligible outside its history, as the Jesuit paleontologist Teilhard de Chardin put it, Ambassador Danon’s French allusion can only be understood against this theological backdrop.

Yigal Allon, a commander of the Palmach, the elite fighting force of the Haganah, the paramilitary force that fought to drive the British from Palestine, did not eschew the language of “cleansing,” a term now used to describe a “crime against humanity.” He boasted that the Zionists were “cleansing” Palestine of Arabs.

The religious goal of Zionism Ben Gurion said is to “secure … that the whole of Palestine will be Jewish, and not only a part of it.” Joseph Weitz, the administrator responsible for the colonization of Palestine, stated the creed bluntly: “Between ourselves it must be clear that there is no room for both people together in this country. … The only solution is a Palestine … without Arabs.”

In 1919, a fact-finding mission appointed by President Woodrow Wilson reported that in meetings with Zionists it was clear that the Zionists looked forward to a “complete dispossession of the present non-Jewish inhabitants of Palestine.”

Zionist ersatz theology imagines a capricious god who is into real estate distribution, a god who hands out eternal deeds to people of his choosing. It is the will of the Creator that all others be cleansed and their property rights be negated.

Misunderstanding the Bible

Zionist theology depends on a fallacious exegesis of the Hebrew Bible. The two key words for properly understanding the Bible are descriptive and prescriptive. Many of the texts of the Bible describe the horrors of a barbaric time. They are not normative or in any sense admirable. The Bible is revered for its prescriptive texts which imagined with classical excellence a whole new social order where “there shall be no poor among you,” (Deut 15::4) and where swords will gradually be melted down into plowshares as violent power is subdued. In the prescriptive texts we see the beauty of Judaism which Zionism violates.

A section of the barrier — erected by Israeli officials to prevent the passage of Palestinians — with graffiti using President John F. Kennedy’s famous quote when facing the Berlin Wall, “Ich bin ein Berliner.” (Photo credit: Marc Venezia)

The Zionists don’t know the distinction between descriptive and prescriptive. They take ugly biblical descriptive texts and use them to make imperial policy. Texts such as this from Deuteronomy: “When Yahweh your God brings you into the land that you are about to enter and occupy, and he clears away many nations before you – the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canannites, the Perizzites, the Hivites … and when Yahweh your God gives them over to you … you must utterly destroy them. … Show them no mercy.” (7:1-11, 91-5, 11:8-9)

Following the “logic” of such texts, the Palestinians are now the new Hittites, Girgashites and Canaanites to whom no mercy is to be shown or property rights to be honored. Zionist theology dishonors Judaism.

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Israel rejects ‘shameful’ UN resolution amid criticism of Netanyahu

“Resolution 2334 shatters the [Israeli] government-induced illusion that the settlement project has been normalised, that it passed the point of no return, that it is now a fait accompli that will remain unchallenged”

Peter Beaumont, The Guardian, 24 December 2016


Israel’s ambassador to UN rejects ‘shameful’ resolution to halt Israeli settlements

Jerusalem — Israel has responded furiously to a UN security council resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, recalling two of its ambassadors to countries that voted for the motion and threatening to cut aid.

The security council adopted the landmark resolution demanding Israel halt all settlement building and expansion in the occupied territories after Barack Obama’s administration refused to veto the resolution on Friday.

A White House official said Obama had taken the decision to abstain in the absence of any meaningful peace process. The resolution, which passed by a 14-0 vote, was met with loud applause in the packed chamber after the US ambassador, Samantha Power, abstained.

The move was immediately condemned as “shameful” by the office of the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. A spokesman pointedly referred to Israel’s expectation of working more closely with the US president-elect, Donald Trump.

On Saturday Netanyahu said Israel would reassess its ties with the UN and had ordered a review of the funding of UN institutions and the presence of UN representatives in Israel.

“I have already instructed to stop about 30m shekels (£6.3m) in funding to five UN bodies that are especially hostile to Israel … and there is more to come,” he said, without giving any further details.

The security council last adopted a resolution critical of settlements in 1979, with the US abstaining then too. The US vetoed a similar resolution in 2011, which was the sole veto cast by the Obama administration at the security council.

US abstains from UN vote to end Israeli settlement building

Amid emerging criticism of the handling of the vote by Netanyahu, whose manoeuvres were seen as an attempt to sideline Obama and his administration, Israel ordered action against a number of countries.

The response included the recall of the Israeli ambassadors to New Zealand and Senegal, who voted for the resolution, the cancellation of a planned visit by the Senegalese foreign minister to Israel in three weeks’ time, and the cancellation of all aid programmes to Senegal.

New Zealand’s foreign minister, Murray McCully, said his country’s vote should have been no surprise to Israel. “We have been very open about our view that the [security council] should be doing more to support the Middle East peace process and the position we adopted today is totally in line with our long-established policy on the Palestinian question,” he said.

The UK, France, Russia and China also voted in favour of the resolution, which described Israeli settlement building as a “flagrant violation” of international law.

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What the UN Security Council resolution means for the US and Israel

Oren Liebermann, CNN, December 26, 2016

Israel has bitterly denounced the resolution
They warn it harms, not helps, the peace process

Jerusalem (CNN) — The United Nations Security Council on Friday passed a resolution condemning Israel’s settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The United States abstained on the resolution, allowing it to pass, rather than vetoing it — as it usually does with resolutions it sees as overly critical of Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu summoned the US ambassador and launched a scathing attack Sunday on the Obama administration.

Here are nine questions about the vote at the UN.

1. What are the immediate effects of the UNSC resolution?

The resolution may have no immediate practical effects on Israel, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or the peace process. That’s because the resolution is non-binding, effectively creating guidelines and recommendations. The resolution would require follow-up action at the United Nations for it to have an immediate effect.

Israel is concerned about exactly that type of action. Specifically, Israel is worried about a resolution that would set conditions for negotiations. Such a resolution would issue parameters for some of the most sensitive issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including borders, the status of Jerusalem as a contested capital, Palestinian refugees, and a time-limit for negotiations.

An international peace conference in Paris scheduled for January 15 could be the forum for discussing such a resolution. That would give the international community time to introduce the resolution at the United Nations Security Council before the end of President Barack Obama’s time in office. Israel has vowed not to attend the conference. The Palestinians say they will attend.

2. What are the long-term effects?

The biggest blow is to Israel’s settlement enterprise in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. This resolution has left little room for negotiation about the legality of the settlements, stating that Israel’s settlements have “no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.”

When it comes to borders, the resolution does leave an opening for negotiations, saying there will be no changes to the June 4, 1967 “other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations.”
The resolution also calls on countries to recognize a difference between Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories when dealing with Israel. That could lead to sanctions against products from Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Palestinian leaders say they will wait to see if Israel abides by the resolution. If not, they can pursue cases against Israeli leaders at the International Criminal Court (ICC) under the Geneva Convention. The ICC is already conducting an ongoing investigation into Israeli actions in the Palestinian territories.

3. Will President-elect Donald Trump be able to repeal the resolution?

Theoretically, yes, the incoming administration could repeal this resolution. Trump would have to introduce a new resolution that revokes this one entirely. Then he would need at least nine countries to vote for it and ensure that none of the Security Council’s other permanent members — Russia, UK, France, and China — vetoed it.

Realistically, that is incredibly unlikely to happen. There is a broad international consensus that settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are illegal and that they constitute an obstacle to peace. It is extremely unlikely that Trump would be able to find eight other nations on the Security Council willing to support revoking the new resolution. Even if he did, a permanent member veto is likely.

4. Will the US and Israel take diplomatic action against the UN?

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, has threatened to cut US money to the United Nations over this resolution. The US currently provides 22% of the UN’s budget.

But if it happened, such a move may have the opposite effect. The US cut funding to UNESCO over a perceived anti-Israel bias in 2011. In response, UNESCO suspended the voting rights of the US at UNESCO, preventing the US from protecting Israel at the United Nations’ cultural arm. At the time, the US contributed $80 million a year to UNESCO.

Israel has already cut funding to five different UN organizations, totaling nearly $8 million, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced. Netanyahu said Israel would reevaluate its relationships with UN representatives in Israel.

5. What about Israel’s diplomatic actions against the countries that voted for this resolution? What are the effects of those?

On Christmas Day, one day after the Security Council vote, Israel summoned the ambassadors of the United States and 10 of the countries that voted for the resolution to express his disappointment about the vote. Netanyahu followed that up by limiting working ties and high-level visits with the embassies of those countries who voted for the resolution and instructing his ministers to limit travel to those countries.

More than anything else, the intent of these diplomatic steps was to make a statement about how angry Netanyahu was about the vote. The decision to suspend working ties with embassies, even if there is no date for resuming those ties, is largely symbolic and has little practical effect on the relations between the nations. It does not affect trade, security cooperation, or other aspects of the relations.
Notably, Netanyahu did not suspend working ties with the American embassy, even though most of his anger was directly at President Barack Obama.

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Update January 28, 2017
Freeze for Peace Run and Walk!

Freeze Flyer-FINAL-

 

Links for Registration
Online: freezeforpeace.itsyourrace.com
Mail-in Form: colombiasupport.net

Mark your calendars for something different: the Freeze for Peace Run sponsored by Colombia Support Network with support from MRSCP, to fund food programs that benefit the citizens of the Peace Community of San Jose de Apartado in Colombia.

This very important annual fund raiser for Dane County’s sister community will take place on Saturday, January 28. starting at the Vilas Park Shelter. There are both 5K run/walk (12 noon start) and 10K run (1 pm start) options. (More info). Both runners and race-day volunteers are needed.

If you want to run or walk, you can register online, or print out a form to mail. There is a discount for all registrations received by Jan. 20.

If you can help on the day of the event, please sign up here.

Spread the word to any running (or walking) enthusiasts that you know!

PS — If anyone is interested in participating as a Palestine Team, please let us know; if we have enough people, we’ll set it up!

Open Doors for Refugees — Madison

Here is the latest update from Open Doors for Refugees about the expected Syrian refugees coming to Madison. Open Doors is looking for furniture, household items, and gift certificates for the families.


Dear Friends,
 
There’s been a tremendous outpouring of support for Open Doors, especially since the election.  Thanks to all of you who’ve contacted us.  Keeping you informed and engaged, our third-Wednesday-of-the-month general meeting is next week, December 21st,at 7:00 PM.  This time it’ll be at Beth Israel Center, 1406 Mound St.  Everyone is invited. 
 
160 refugees are slated to come to Madison this fiscal year (October-September), 110 through Lutheran Social Services and 50 through Jewish Social Services.  LSS has already settled several families this year (and many in years past), while JSS is about to receive their first family.  While the future of the refugee program is very uncertain, it looks like it’ll be very busy for the next few months.
 
And with the influx of refugees, we need donations of furniture and household items.  The number of refugee families coming in the next few weeks will more than deplete the donations we have on hand (which we had to stop collecting because we had run out of storage room).  However, we’ve recently received additional storage space, we especially need furniture at this time, and we have room to put more of it.  If you’d like to donate either furniture or household items (sorry no clothes), please email us at OpenDoorsForRefugees@gmail.com for more information about what we need, pacing the donations, and scheduling a pickup of larger items.
 
Finally we’ve set up a gift certificate program, which is a great and more direct way to help refugees.  Donors get a choice of where to get gift cards, all gift cards will go directly to refugees, and refugees will get purchase choice, which they don’t otherwise often get. 

Interested in getting involved? We have our December meeting coming up and would love to see you there!

    Date: December 21st
    Time: 7:00-8:30 PM
    Location: Temple Beth Israel
    1406 Mound St.
    Madison, WI 53711

OpenDoorsForRefugees@gmail.com
https://www.facebook.com/OpenDoorsForRefugees/
http://www.opendoorsforrefugees.org/