Thank You from Palestine!

Hello friends,

Thank you all so much for helping me to come back to Palestine, and for sponsoring young olive trees to be planted in Masafer Yatta in the coming growing season.

I attended the September 6 hearing in the legal case  against the Israeli settler who assaulted me in March of this year in the Palestinian village of Tuba, but the judge did not issue a verdict. The court scheduled another hearing for November 2, during which the settler will testify. 

During the September 6 hearing both the prosecution and the lawyer for the settler questioned two of the doctors who cared for me after the assault.   Lawyers for the settler refused to accept written hospital reports and documentation, and insisted on questioning the doctors at length in an attempt to claim that the injury was not serious.  It was not easy for these doctors to travel to the hearing, and I am so grateful to them, both for their wonderful care when I was injured, and again now for their help in insisting on legal consequences for the settler.

The lawyer for the settler also argued that the settler should be released, however as I understand he remains on house arrest in the home of his grandparents.

The US consulate did not attend the hearing, which was held completely in Hebrew, and fairly early in the proceeding the judge forced the human rights lawyer who was accompanying me to leave the room. As a result I know only what the doctors were able to tell me about their  testimony, and what the prosecutor told me during a few minutes of conversation  after the day- long hearing.  I am trying to get a court transcript. 

Meanwhile in the area of Masafer Yatta, where the attack on me occurred last March, Palestinians continue to confront escalating attacks by settles, backed up by Israeli soldiers. In one village that I visited last spring, Widade, the violence from settlers has been so relentless and terrifying in these past months that the family has been forced to flee, leaving their home and barns and the livelihood they built over generations. Their sheep have been sold now and all they know has been lost.  Settlers have already arrived to destroy everything that remained, and there is now no hope of them returning to their land.

The majority of legal complaints made by Palestinians to the Israeli police against settlers are dismissed before they reach the prosecution stage and legal consequences for settlers involved in assaults  on Palestinians are almost unheard of.

At this time, in 2023, Palestinians are facing violent attacks by Israeli settlers at the rate of 2.8 per day in the occupied West Bank. This unrelenting pressure and violence is forcing families to flee, and resulting in the depopulation of villages that will be lost forever.

In addition to attacks on people, settlers continue to burn and slash olive trees, steal sheep and donkeys, vandalize homes, cars and personal belongings and destroy water wells and crops. The Israeli military and police routinely back up the settlers, and refuse to intervene to protect civilians.  US taxpayers send Israel 3.8 million dollars per day in aid, the majority of which is received by the military, so when these attacks occur, we own a piece of the violence. 

I hope that in response you will consider passing on to a friend this chance to sponsor an olive tree, at a cost of $24 per tree, to be planted here in Masafer Yatta in the coming planting season as an act of solidarity with these families who are struggling every day to hold on to their land.

Please visit https://tiny.one/MadisonOliveGrove

Many many thanks,
Cassandra

Click to sponsor an olive tree!


Please consider sponsoring one or more olive trees via the Madison-Masafer Yatta Olive Grove project. Thanks to your generous support, the initial goal of 40 trees has been met, and we are on our way to the next goal of 80 trees donated.

If you prefer to donate by mail, you can send a check payable to MRSCP and marked “Olive Grove” to:

    MRSCP
    P.O. Box 5214
    Madison, WI 53705

More September Events!

Friday, Sept. 22:
Palestine Writes Literature Festival Live-Streamed Session
From 12:30 pm CT to end of day
Image
Some of you may have heard of the spectacular Palestine Writes Literature Festival being held this coming weekend at Penn State University. 
 
While this is primarily an in-person event, there will be livestreaming of the Friday opening session. You must register for that here. The livestream begins at registration, with the camera walking around the space and talking with people before the festival begins. There will be live translation to Arabic during the official opening sessions, including opening remarks, spoken word, first plenary, and more.
 

Also, you may be interested to know that the Festival has been subjected to a shameless and intense campaign by pro-Israel groups seeking to shut it down; you can read about that here.

Saturday, September 23:
Palestine Partners at the Northside Festival
1-5 pm 
Warner Park, 2920 N Sherman Ave Madison WI 53704
Palestine Partners will be tabling at the Northside Festival.  Come and purchase beautiful crafts from Women in Hebron and delicious Aida brand Palestinian olive oil from Playgrounds for Palestine.
 
Festival information here. Hope to see you there!
 

The Shift: Oslo at 30

Mondoweiss,

(Cartoon: Carlos Latuff)(CARTOON: CARLOS LATUFF)

This week marks the 30th anniversary of the Oslo Accords, agreements that were supposedly going to establish a framework for peace in the region.

After Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat shook hands to applause President Clinton told the assembled crowd that, “The sound we heard today, once again, as in ancient Jericho, was of trumpets toppling walls, the walls of anger and suspicion between Israeli and Palestinian, between Arab and Jew. This time, praise God, the trumpets herald not the destruction of that city but its new beginning.”

Much of the mainstream media were enraptured by the deal and few bothered to point that the Palestinians had been sold out yet again. The United States and Israel had decided that they were entitled to about 22% of their own country, half of what the UN gave Palestinians as part of 1947’s partition plan. Eventually the PLO came around on this vision.


Readers of the London Review of Books would have encountered a dissenting voice as the magazine published a vital and prescient essay on the topic by the late Edward Said:

“Now that some of the euphoria has lifted, it is possible to re-examine the Israeli-PLO agreement with the required common sense,” he wrote. “What emerges from such scrutiny is a deal that is more flawed and, for most of the Palestinian people, more unfavourably weighted than many had first supposed. The fashion-show vulgarities of the White House ceremony, the degrading spectacle of Yasser Arafat thanking everyone for the suspension of most of his people’s rights, and the fatuous solemnity of Bill Clinton’s performance, like a 20th-century Roman emperor shepherding two vassal kings through rituals of reconciliation and obeisance: all these only temporarily obscure the truly astonishing proportions of the Palestinian capitulation.”

Continue reading

Bruno Mars: Don’t play apartheid Israel

Top-selling artist Bruno Mars just announced a concert in apartheid Tel Aviv. JVP and numerous movement partners are calling on him to stand with the Palestinian people and cancel his show. 

Countless artists have joined the cultural boycott of Israel, recognizing that the Israeli government uses these concerts to cover up its crimes against Palestinians. 

Together, let’s push Bruno Mars to follow the lead of these artists and stand up for justice. 

Tell Bruno Mars: Don’t play apartheid Israel.

Mars is set to play at Yarkon Park, which was built on the lands of the ethnically cleansed Palestinian village of Al-Shaykh Muwannis. This ethnic cleansing continues today, as the Israeli government escalates its brutality and openly supports the dispossession and killing of Palestinians.

The South African apartheid government also invited big-name musical acts to distract from its abuses. Conscientious artists, then and now, knew that playing a concert in an apartheid state would be used by the government to whitewash its violence. 

Inspired by this history, over 1,500 musicians have joined #MusiciansforPalestine in recent years, refusing to perform in Israel while the state carries out a system of segregation, oppression, and war crimes against Palestinians. 

Let’s push Bruno Mars to add his name to that list.

In solidarity,

Jason Farbman
Digital Director

Tell Bruno Mars to stand for justice and cancel his show in apartheid Israel
 

Upcoming Events: September 13 — 21, 2023

Wednesday, Sept. 13: Storytelling as Resistance
Thursday, Sept. 14: The Legacy of Oslo: Thirty Years Later
Thursday, Sept. 14: Palestine Partners at the Madison Night Market!
Friday, Sept. 15: The Developers: Land/Life Grabbers in Palestine
Sunday, Sept. 17: March for Peace at Willy Street Parade
Sunday, Sept. 17: Virtual Tour of the Gaza Strip with Green Olive Tours
Sunday, Sept. 17: Adam Manasra speaks in Madison
Thursday, Sept. 21: Art Under Occupation
Thursday, Sept. 21: Online Screening and Discussion of Film Boycott

Wednesday, Sept. 13:
12 noon CT online
Storytelling as Resistance: Palestinian Identity and Resilience in Literature for Young People

In this webinar, we will hear from a diverse panel of professionals – Christian, Muslim, and Jewish – who through their teaching and writing about Palestine for young people, convey a challenging subject in engaging and educational ways that overcome the all-too-common erasure of the Palestinian people and their story. 

Topics will include the importance of representation and truth-telling and how children can learn about difficult subjects in age-appropriate ways. Booklists, curriculums, and other resources will be shared that can help us learn how best to convey the Palestinian story to children. Our discussion and resources should provide valuable insights and learning for Palestine-related conversations and communications with adults as well.
 

Registration and full information here.


Thursday, Sept. 14
5 — 9 pm
Palestine Partners at the Madison Night Market on State Street!
400 Block of State Street, in front of Warby-Parker Store

Palestine Partners returns to the Madison Night Market with fabulous crafts from Women in Hebron and a great supply of Palestinian Olive Oil from Playgrounds for Palestine.

Thursday, Sept. 14:
2 pm CT online
The Legacy of Oslo: Thirty Years Later
 
On this 30th anniversary of the Oslo Accords, Palestinians throughout historic Palestine and beyond are still denied their fundamental rights guaranteed under international law.  The last 30 years are representative of an Israeli annexation process, as opposed to a peace process. …  This webinar will reflect on these 30 years, and how we move forward toward justice and liberation for the Palestinian people.
 
Online live on Facebook or YouTube. (Full information at either link)
 

Friday, Sept. 15:
5 pm CT via Livestream from Berkeley, CA
“The Developers” and the Land/Life-Grabbers in Palestine: Between Silwan and the Armenian Quarter
Prof. Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian’s research focuses on trauma, state crimes and criminology, surveillance, gender violence, law and society. She studies the crime of femicide and other forms of gender based violence, violence against children in conflict ridden areas, crimes of abuse of power in settler colonial contexts, surveillance, securitization and social control.

Sunday, Sept. 17

Continue reading

Sign Petition to Release UNRWA Food Aid to Gaza

 

Washington, D.C. | adc.org | September 7, 2023 – The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is calling on Secretary of State Antony Blinken to release the $75 million in United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) food aid for Palestinian refugees currently being blocked by Senator Jim Risch (R-ID). This inhumane hold on aid is a brazen attempt to hold civilians, many of whom are children, hostage using food as a weapon. ADC’s understanding is that Secretary Blinken has the authority to release the funds right now.

In a letter sent to the Secretary, ADC highlighted that ensuring the provision of food assistance to refugees in need is desperately needed, is a direct reflection of American values, and is in the best interest of US diplomatic and security interests. According to UNRWA, if the money is not released soon, 1.2 million Palestinians, including nearly half a million children, will stop receiving food aid, and the next ten days are critical to preserving the flow of aid. There is no moral or humanitarian reason for the continued denial of this assistance, and Secretary Blinken has an obligation to supercede Sen. Risch’s hold on the funds.

Add Your Name to an Open Letter Demanding Senator Risch Stop Harming Palestinian Refugees

Sen. Risch’s hold on the funding is particularly devastating for Palestinians in Gaza, where food insecurity is already at a tipping point. Right now, cuts to the World Food Programme’s budget have reduced the number of Palestinians in Gaza that are served from 300,000 to 100,000, and a further reduction in food assistance will have a catastrophic impact on the health of those Palestinians. In addition, UNRWA food represents 60% of Gaza’s overall monthly commodity imports. Any interruption of these imports will have disastrous consequences for the economy in Gaza, worsening what is already an economic and humanitarian crisis.

ADC National Executive Director Abed Ayoub said, “Senator Risch’s decision to withhold $75 million in essential UNRWA food aid for Palestinian refugees – a lifeline that supports some of the most vulnerable members of society – is inhumane. Time is running out, so it is essential that humanity and compassion prevail over politics. We urge Secretary Blinken to utilize his power to override this hold and ensure that food assistance reaches those in dire need. We believe in an America that champions human rights and humanitarian assistance, and we should expect that our leaders will act accordingly.”

Desperately needed refugee assistance should never be used as a political hostage. Food is a basic human necessity, not a political weapon. Senator Risch can stop playing politics with human lives or Secretary Blinken can override him, either way this funding must be released as soon as possible.
 

September 17, 2023
Virtual Tour of the Gaza Strip

Sunday, September 17th
8PM Jerusalem, 7PM Berlin, 6PM London, 1PM NYC, 12PM Central

Gaza is frequently referred to as the largest prison in the world and has been under closure since 2007.

Join us for a virtual tour showcasing the way Israeli policy has created an ongoing humanitarian and political catastrophe. With almost annual military assaults by Israel and a near total ban on international observers, we will use virtual technology to cross the militarized border zone, visit major historical sites, and imagine a future in which freedom of movement will be guaranteed to all residents of the Gaza Strip.

Register for the Webinar

Please help us spread the word and share this event with relevant activist, faith, and learning communities. We know many people are looking for perspective in this moment and want as many people as possible to benefit from the invaluable perspective Alex Jones will provide about contemporary reality in the Gaza Strip.


Green Olive Collective is a Palestinian/Israeli organisation, working to end the occupation and foster respect for human rights, political rights, and freedom for all. More than 400 Investors and Members from over twenty-two countries support the mission.
 

Israel is committing apartheid in West Bank, former Mossad chief claims

“In a territory where two people are judged under two legal systems, that is an apartheid state.”

Dixon Hopes Israeli Settler’s Trial Draws Attention to Attacks on Palestinians

Jerry Windley-Daoust, The Catholic Worker Movement, September 2, 2023

“These settlers act with impunity because Israel has impunity in the world, and they have that because of the U.S.,” Cassandra Dixon (Mary House CW) says. She hopes the September 7 trial of the Israeli settler who attacked her might help to change that.

After being assaulted by an Israeli settler earlier this spring, Cassandra Dixon of Mary House of Hospitality (Oxford, Wisconsin) is preparing to return to Israel for the settler’s trial on September 7.

If the settler is convicted, she hopes it might make some in the United States rethink U.S. policy toward Israel.

“i don’t think that some white woman from Wisconsin going or not going to a trial there is going to change anything” fundamentally for the Palestinians who live there, Dixon told CatholicWorker.org last week. “But what could change? Maybe U.S. citizens, U.S. taxpayers, would have second thoughts about supporting this. These settlers act with impunity because Israel has impunity in the world, and they have that because of the U.S.”

Dixon suffered a fractured skull after an Israeli settler attacked her and another international observer on March 7 in the Masafer Yatta area, near the Palestinian village of Tuba.

Dixon was treated for her injuries while still in Palestine, but it wasn’t until she followed up with a medical professional back home that she realized how serious the incident had been. “The doctor that saw me said, ‘You do have a very hard head.’ That’s kind of true. I think I was also very, very lucky.”

Some of the people who provided emergency medical aid to Dixon in the wake of the March 7 attack were not so fortunate. They themselves were attacked by settlers in their own homes in mid-August, Dixon says—part of a larger attempt to depopulate the area using violence and harassment.

“My hope is that our support for this kind of vigilante violence and the demolition of schools by the military and the shooting of unarmed civilians and the the system of checkpoints that makes it impossible for people to get medical care and the harassment of ambulance drivers—all of these things, at some point, we will have had enough and they’ll be history.”

U.S. taxpayers “own” the unchecked harassment and violence of Israeli settlers toward Palestinians, Dixon says, because of the millions of dollars of support it provides to the Israeli military on a daily basis.

Dixon is asking supporters to help plant olive trees in the area “as a practical act of solidarity, and a means of helping families to hold onto their land.” You can read her personal appeal here: Dixon Appeals for Help Planting an Olive Grove in Tuba – Catholic Worker Movement

A press release prepared by the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project follows.

PRESS RELEASE (AUGUST 24)

Trial scheduled for Israeli settler accused in assault of Wisconsin Catholic Worker

A Wisconsin woman who was assaulted and seriously injured this spring  while visiting Palestine will travel to attend the September 6 trial of the Israeli settler accused in the attack.  

Cassandra Dixon, 64, was assaulted by Israeli settlers on March 7 while walking with another international on the outskirts of the Palestinian village of Tuba, in the occupied West Bank. The attack fractured her skull and broke an eardrum.  The settlers fled back to the Illegal Israeli outpost of Havat Ma’on, however Dixon’s assailant was identified and arrested some days later by Israeli authorities. He has since admitted to being present, and is on house arrest pending trial.

Since Dixon was assaulted in March, settler violence against Palestinians has escalated dramatically across the West Bank.  In the same area where Dixon was attacked, settler assaults have resulted in multiple hospitalizations after shepherds were beaten with sticks and bars and pepper sprayed at close range in the eyes.  Tuba village is located in Masafer Yatta, an area comprised of multiple small villages at the southern end of the occupied West Bank. These villages are experiencing a sharp rise in settler violence aimed at driving them out, including physical attacks on farmers, land and home invasions, theft & injury of livestock, destruction of personal belongings, theft of land, and destruction of a water well, crops and olive trees.

In addition, the villages lie inside Firing Zone 918, an area claimed by Israel for use as a military training area.  Israeli authorities have issued demolition orders for all structures, including homes, schools, animal barns and wells within the area after residents lost a legal appeal to remain on their lands last year. One school was demolished last April and another is slated for destruction by the military before the start of school this year.

The upcoming trial is an important test of whether the US government will hold Israel accountable for violence against American citizens. Earlier this year, US citizen Omar Assad, 78, of Milwaukee, died of a stress-induced heart attack brought on by being dragged from his car, bound, blindfolded, gagged and dumped on the ground in a cold construction site by Israeli soldiers in his childhood village in the West Bank. His family is still waiting for justice.

All Israeli settlements in the West Bank are illegal under international law. Until recently, unauthorized settlement outposts have been considered illegal even under Israeli law. But the Israeli government, now controlled by the extreme right-wing pro-settler movement, has moved to legalize a number of them, despite objections from the Biden administration.

This rise in settler violence, along with the internal anti-democratic measures being put in place by the current Israeli government, is causing many to consider reevaluating the $3.8 billion US taxpayer funded aid given to Israel annually. The figure is more than 10 times the US aid given to Niger, one of the world’s poorest countries.  

Cassandra Dixon works as a residential carpenter and lives at Mary House, a hospitality house for families visiting the federal prison at Oxford WI. 

Background:

Tell Google: #NoTechForApartheid

Backed by hundreds of community members, Google workers protested yesterday outside Google’s biggest cloud conference of the year to demand that their bosses stop doing business with Israel’s apartheid regime.

Activists from JVP-Bay Area, the Palestinian Youth Movement, and the Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC) chained themselves to the street and pedestrian walkway, calling on Google to drop its contract with the Israeli military and government. Will you sign this petition to stand in solidarity with Google workers and local organizers?

Tell Google: #NoTechForApartheid

This year, Google Cloud is celebrating its first year of profitability — but Google workers and the Bay Area community made it clear yesterday that there is nothing to celebrate as long as Google is profiting off of the destruction of Palestinian lives.

Yesterday’s rally comes a month after Amazon workers and community members rallied at the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Summit in New York City, demanding an end to Project Nimbus, Google and Amazon’s billion-dollar contract to provide the Israeli military with the AI and surveillance technology it uses to oppress Palestinians. 

One thing is clear: Tech workers and community activists will only ramp up their organizing against Big Tech as long as companies like Google continue to power and profit off of Israeli apartheid.

Google and Amazon workers need to know that we have their backs — and we need to show their bosses that we won’t let up as long as U.S.-based tech companies remain complicit in anti-Palestinian violence.

Will you take 30 seconds to tell Google: #NoTechForApartheid?

Onwards,
Dani Noble
Senior Campaigns Organizer