A letter from Gaza to the Natives of Standing Rock

Israa Suliman, WE ARE NOT NUMBERS, November 15, 2016

Dear Native Americans,

Although we are of different color, religion, culture and place, I have learned, as I read about the protests at Standing Rock, that we have much more in common than differences. When I read your history, I can see myself and my people reflected in yours. I feel in my core that your fight is my fight, and that I am not alone in the battle against injustice.

My ancestors were not the only ones who lived in Palestine. Jews, Christians and Arabs all lived side by side in my country. But my ancestors—including my grandparents and great-grandparents—were the indigenous people, just like you. And they suffered the same fate as your people. America's policy of occupation and displacement through forced marches like the Trail of Tears, and the gradual transfer of so many of your people to massive, impoverished reservations, hurts me deeply because it is so similar to the ethnic cleansing of my ancestors by the Israeli military occupation in what we call “al-Nakba” (the catastrophe). We know what you know: that our land is sacred.

In 1948, my ancestors—along with nearly a million other Palestinians—were frightened away or forced off their lands, in some cases at gunpoint. More than 10,000 others were massacred. Hundreds of our villages and cities were completely destroyed in a systemic plan to erase our identity—just as yours has been under continuing assault.

Native Americans' Trail of Tears
Trail of Tears

Palestine today is just 22 percent of our original homeland. Like you, some of my people (an estimated 1.5 million) must live in degrading “camps” (our word for reservations), where living conditions are "comparable to the Third World." Like your reservations, they are characterized by high rates of unemployment, poverty and suicide.

Many other Palestinians (about 6 million)—now including descendants of the original residents—are scattered elsewhere around the world, just as yours are around the United States. Today, not only has the military occupation taken over our land and declared it "the state of Israel," but it continues to carry on a policy of expulsion, demolishing Palestinian houses in the little bit of land we retain, building illegal settlements and preventing free movement with a network of “security checkpoints.”

Nakba
The Palestinian Nakba

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Breaking Ground at Cinema Hebron

Rabbi Brant Rosen, Shalom Rav, July 17, 2016

This past Friday, I had the honor to participate in an incredible, unprecedented mass action of civil disobedience in the H2 section of Hebron – in the heart of Israel's unjust and illegal occupation.

I'll start with a little bit of history:

In 1968, a year after Israel conquered the West Bank, a group of radical religious settlers led by Rabbi Moshe Levinger, led a group of followers to a hotel in Hebron – with the government’s support – to observe a Passover seder. When it was over, they refused to leave; and following a negotiation with the government, they were allowed to create a settlement to the east of Hebron that they named Kiryat Arba Since that time, Jewish settlers gradually moved into Hebron proper. Over the years tension gradually increased in Hebron. Things changed drastically in 1995 after Baruch Goldstein murdered 29 Muslim worshippers in the Ibrahimi mosque. Fearful of reprisals, the IDF imposed increasing curfews and restriction of movement on the Palestinian population.

In 1996, as part of the Oslo agreement, Hebron was divided into two sections: H1 and H2. H1 is locally governed by the Palestinian Authority and is home to approximately 120,000 Palestinians. Tens of thousands of Palestinians live in H2 along with 600 Jewish settlers. Since the Second Intifada, Israel increased their security crackdown on this part of the city, blocking off major streets to Palestinians – most notably the main commercial road, Shuhadah Street. (The army refers to them as “sterile roads”).

Virtually every Palestinian shop in H2 has been closed and their doors welded shut by the army. Because the Palestinian residents of Shuhadah St. are not allowed to walk on the road, they must enter and exit through the rear of homes because they cannot leave their own front doors. Because of these measures – and the ongoing harassment and violence at the hands of Jewish settlers – what was once the busting commercial center of Hebron has become a ghost town. 42% of its Palestinian homes are empty and 70% of its Palestinian business have been shut down.

We visited Hebron earlier this week and it was a truly chilling experience. Our group went on a tour led by Breaking the Silence, an organization of Israeli army veterans who are speaking out about the abuses the IDF are committing in Hebron. I did a BTF tour in 2008 during my first real foray into the reality of contemporary Hebron. Today, the situation there is even more dire if such a thing is possible.

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FREEDOM TO MOVE, FREEDOM TO BOYCOTT

Jewish Voice for Peace

On May 9th, 2016 the Israeli government confirmed that it has refused to renew travel documents for Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement — a nonviolent, Palestinian-led movement for equality, freedom, and justice.

This is a blatant act of political repression that effectively imposes a travel ban on Barghouti. Why? Because he publicly organizes for Palestinian human rights.

Send a message to Secretary John Kerry: the U.S. must intervene to stop attacks on human rights activists!

ADD MY NAME

Israel’s Global War Web and a One-State Solution

Jeff Spitzer-Resnick, The Progressive, May 10, 2016

Jeff Halper, anthropologist and Israeli peace activist, does not shy from unconventional positions. In his latest book, “War Against the People: Israel, the Palestinians and Global Pacification,” he argues that nations around the world allow Israel to continue its repression of Palestinians because they benefit from Israeli technology and security support to pacify their own people.

Halper lays out how Israel provides military and security technology across the globe and has developed an international military and security web that has engendered often unexpected support from around the world, including from China and India. He argues that Israel has used the Palestinian territories as a laboratory for this military and security technology, which it now proffers worldwide.

Halper still sees a way forward to peace.

Co-founder and Director of the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolition (ICAHD), Halper was born in Hibbing, Minnesota, engaged in anti-Vietnam war protests, and then emigrated to Israel in 1973, where he has lived and engaged in peace activism ever since. He is currently on a book tour, which included a stop in Madison, Wisconsin.

Until about five years ago, Halper believed that the much-touted two-state solution, through which an independent Palestine would be created out of the West Bank and Gaza, was the pathway to a just and peaceful resolution. But he now believes Israel has intentionally made this solution impossible with its ever-expanding settlements in the West Bank.

At the time of the Oslo accords in 1993, he notes, there were 200,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank. That number doubled by the year 2000, and currently there are 600,000 settlers there. Israeli building plans project a settler population of about 1 million in the foreseeable future.

In Halper’s view, the current state of affairs amounts to the warehousing of Palestinians, and that most Israelis do not approve of the radical settlers (90 percent of settlers are not political, but merely seeking cheap subsidized housing). His proposed solution for the future of IsraelPalestine (he combines the name into one word): a bi-national democratic state that would recognize the importance and viability of both the Jewish and Palestinian people. He proposes that citizens would get two votes for members of a bicameral legislature, one vote for a democratically elected house, and the other vote for a house whose purpose would be to protect the rights of each people from a possible tyranny of the majority.

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May 4, 2016
An Evening with Jeff Halper


Wednesday, May 4, 2016
7:00 pm
DeLuca Forum, Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery
330 N. Orchard Street, Madison
Book Signing to Follow

In his new book, War Against the People: Israel, the Palestinians and Global Pacification, Jeff Halper argues that Israel’s need to continuously suppress and dispossess the Palestinians has led to the militarization of everyday life, and that systems like database tracking, automated targeting, and unmanned drones have become a “seamless” part of it. He points to the Occupied Palestinian Territories as a “veritable laboratory” for this effort and explores how the approach is rapidly globalizing as major powers and corporations transform military, security, and police forces into instruments of global pacification.

A leading figure in the Israeli peace movement, Jeff Halper is a co-founder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), an anthropologist, and former professor at Haifa and Ben-Gurion Universities. His previous books include An Israeli in Palestine: Resisting Dispossession, Redeeming Israel; and Obstacles to Peace: A Reframing of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Halper travels and lectures widely on the Israeli/Palestinian issue. In 2006, the American Friends Service Committee nominated him along with Palestinian Ghassan Andoni for a Nobel Peace Prize.

This free event is sponsored by The Wisconsin Union Directorate Distinguished Lecture Series and is co-sponsored by: the American Friends Service Committee of the Madison Friends’ Meeting; Amnesty International Local Group 139; Bright Stars of Bethlehem; Jewish Voice for Peace – Madison; Madison-Rafah Sister City Project; Playgrounds for Palestine-Madison; Students for Justice in Palestine – UW Madison; The Crossing; and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom – Madison Branch. Welcomed by WORT Radio.

For more information, visit

  • https://www.facebook.com/WUDDLS;
  • https://union.wisc.edu/get-involved/wud/dls/,
  • or e-mail rafahsistercity at yahoo.com
  •  
    Note: You can also hear Jeff Halper live on WORT Radio (89.9 FM or listen live on line) at 12 noon on Wednesday, May 4 with A Public Affair host Karma Chavez.

                

    For a short preview of Jeff’s talk, see the book trailer:

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    Landmark G4S Boycott Victory

    As anti-BDS forces are trying to get various levels of government to “outlaw” BDS, it appears that some corporations are getting the message.

    Landmark boycott victory as G4S says it is leaving Israel

    Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 10 March 2016

    G4S has been protested by Palestine solidarity campaigners worldwide.G4S, one of the world’s biggest security and imprisonment firms, has announced it plans to end all its business with Israel within the next 12 to 24 months. (Anne Paq, ActiveStills)

    Palestinians are welcoming the news as a major victory and a sign of the powerful impact of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

    But they also warn that pressure on the company must continue until it has actually ended its role in Israel’s violations of the rights of Palestinians, especially thousands languishing in Israel’s prisons.

    The announcement makes G4S the latest multinational company – following transport and municipal services firm Veolia, telecom giant Orange and construction materials conglomerate CRH – to head for the exits in the wake of sustained campaigns by the BDS movement.

    “Reputationally damaging work”

    G4S announced on Wednesday that it plans to “exit a number of businesses,” including G4S Israel, US “youth justice services” and UK “children’s services.”

    The Financial Times said that by ending these businesses, the company would be “extracting itself from reputationally damaging work.”

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