VIRTUAL DELEGATIONS TO SILWAN, EAST JERUSALEM

Eyewitness Palestine
June 12, 13, or 16
1:00 – 2:30 pm Central

Participants in this Virtual Delegation will see the ways in which Palestinians in Silwan, East Jerusalem, are resisting Israeli occupation and displacement. In Silwan, Israel and its tourist and archeology industries seek to link the bible story of King David to the modern Israeli state. This controversial reading of archeology and history supports the illusion that Jerusalem has an exclusively Jewish history and that therefore Jews are entitled to the city. This delegation is being co-sponsored by Madaa Creative Center and Art Forces.

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Life Under Occupation: The Misery at the Heart of the Conflict

An eviction in East Jerusalem lies at the center of a conflict that led to war between Israel and Hamas. But for millions of Palestinians, the routine indignities of occupation are part of daily life.


Israeli soldiers firing tear gas towards Palestinian protesters in the town of Kfar Qaddum. Samar Hazboun for The New York Times

David M. Halbfinger and Adam Rasgon, The New York Times, May 22, 2021

JERUSALEM — Muhammad Sandouka built his home in the shadow of the Temple Mount before his second son, now 15, was born.

They demolished it together, after Israeli authorities decided that razing it would improve views of the Old City for tourists.

Mr. Sandouka, 42, a countertop installer, had been at work when an inspector confronted his wife with two options: Tear the house down, or the government would not only level it but also bill the Sandoukas $10,000 for its expenses.

Such is life for Palestinians living under Israel’s occupation: always dreading the knock at the front door.

The looming removal of six Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem set off a round of protests that helped ignite the latest war between Israel and Gaza. But to the roughly three million Palestinians living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which Israel captured in the 1967 war and has controlled through decades of failed peace talks, the story was exceptional only because it attracted an international spotlight.

For the most part, they endure the frights and indignities of the Israeli occupation in obscurity.

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Barbara Olson and Tsela Barr: Let’s stop funding Israel’s campaign of oppression


Smoke rises following Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City, Thursday, May 13, 2021. Weary Palestinians are somberly marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, as Hamas and Israel traded more rockets and airstrikes and Jewish-Arab violence raged across Israel. (AP Photo – Adel Hana)

TSELA BARR AND BARB OLSON, The Cap Times, May 15, 2021

For the past few weeks, Israel has intensified a provocative campaign of oppression and ethnic cleansing against Palestinians, focused largely but not exclusively on occupied East Jerusalem.

You can be forgiven if you are unfamiliar with the details, since most of the mainstream U.S. media has studiously ignored them.

Among the major provocations were: looming theft of more homes in Sheikh Jarrah, a Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem long targeted by Jewish settlers for “demographic change;” bulldozing homes in adjoining Silwan; protecting a mob of far right Jews as they walked through East Jerusalem chanting “Death to Arabs”; and repeatedly, violently and for no good reason driving Palestinians out of public areas surrounding the Al Aqsa mosque during the holy month of Ramadan, several times even invading and damaging the mosque itself while beating and gassing those inside.

Things got so bad that the Palestinian citizens of Israel marched in the thousands past roadblocks into Jerusalem and rallied in their towns and villages, even launching running urban revolts that very much resemble anti-police violence protests here at home.

Eventually, the Israelis got the response that they foresaw and many probably wanted: rockets fired from Gaza. Now they can unleash their vastly superior, U.S. funded and supported military upon the citizens of Gaza, inflicting damage and casualties in the hugely disproportionate ratio that they are accustomed to. This practice of assaulting the Gaza inmates in their open-air, blockaded prison every few years is publicly referred to in Israel as “mowing the grass.”

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Update: May 10, 2021
Banner Drop for Sheikh Jarrah

Note: The start time has changed to 3:30 pm.

In light of the recent events in Jerusalem and the escalating fight to stop the forced expulsions of Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, MRSCP will be holding a banner drop tomorrow, Monday May 10, beginning at 3:30 on the Campus Drive pedestrian overpass. We plan to be finished no later than 5:30 pm.

We have a minimum number of volunteers, but could use more so if you would like to join us, we invite you to do so for any amount of that time.

Parking is available in UW Lot 41, north off of old University Avenue, with the entrance near 1800 University Ave. between the Enzyme Institute and the UW Foundation Buildings.

We will have large banners and flags, and will take pictures to be posted and circulated online afterwards. If you come, dress warmly as it is expected to be cool (in the 50s) and probably windy on the overpass.

Tomorrow the UN Security Council is meeting in closed session to discuss Sheikh Jarrah. There have been many demonstrations around the world in the past couple of days, and there have even been a few items in the US mainstream news. The Israeli court decision about the Sheikh Jarrah evictions scheduled for tomorrow has been postponed. Meanwhile, extremist Israelis are planning a provocative anti-Arab march that will bring them into Palestinian areas tomorrow.

If you are looking for good background on Sheikh Jarrah and Jerusalem including periodic live broadcasts, we suggest visiting Middle East Eye.

Finally, you can also take these two actions:

  1. Thank Rep. Mark Pocan for being among those who have spoken out on Sheikh Jarrah.
  2. Sign the Save Sheikh Jarrah Petition.

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May 23, 2021
Virtual Book Launch for Determined to Stay on Silwan

Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA)
Virtual Book Launch for Silwan!
“Determined to Stay: Palestinian Youth Fight for Their Village”
May 23 @ 1-2 pm Central

Silwan is a Palestinian village just outside the ancient walls of Jerusalem’s Old City. Determined to Stay is the moving story of its people in the face of occupation. As Silwani youth and community members share their lives with us, their village becomes a doorway to Palestinian history and current reality. Written with young people in mind, Determined to Stay draws deep connections between the lives of youth in the US and Palestine — from criminalization, forced relocation, and buried histories to hip-hop as resistance.

Author Jody Sokolower will read from the book. With Sahar Abbasi, live from Silwan, Palestine, to talk about the current situation. Sahar visited Madison with the Room Number 4 Exhibit in November 2015.

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Methodists Divest from Caterpillar citing Palestinian Evictions


Israeli bulldozers expand the West Bank Jewish-only settlement of Nofei Nehemia in the Salfit District on private Palestinian land, which was expropriated by Israel and declared “state” (public) land, according to the owners. ActiveStills Ahmad Al-Bazz, 13 Aug 2020

Methodist Sabeel-Kairos Group (UK), 5th May 2021

The Methodist Church has sold its shares in the US-based company Caterpillar, citing the continued use of its equipment to destroy peoples’ homes as part of the illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories, and its poor record in Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance.

More photographs have recently emerged of Caterpillar vehicles being used in the destruction of farmland and olive groves, as well as the construction of illegal settlements and the demolition of Palestinian homes. Caterpillar claims it is not directly involved in sales into Israel but the likely path of trade via the US military and local agencies is widely known.

Other church bodies have sold out of Caterpillar in the past, as long ago as 2006 the Church of England voted to divest from Caterpillar and in 2014 the US Presbyterian Church did the same. The Quakers have also indicated they would not hold Caterpillar shares, for similar reasons. The recent reports by the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, and the international body Human Rights Watch, declaring the situation in Israel/Palestine to meet the criteria of Apartheid, following on many similar statements by Palestinian groups and South African church leaders, including Archbishop Tutu, have added impetus to the international divestment and sanctions movement.

Churches are responding most particularly to the ‘Cry for Hope’ issued by Palestinian Christians last July, which called for such actions as the only means left to bring non-violent pressure on the Israeli Government. The Cry for Hope says ‘the call for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) provides a framework for economic, cultural, and academic measures, and for direct political advocacy, as nonviolent means to end occupation and oppression’. Its aim is ‘to exert pressure on Israel to comply with international law, and to call upon its government and its people, in the spirit of the Word of God, to enter into the ways of justice and peace’.

Revd David Haslam, a member of the Methodist Finance Board, said;

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US Congressman: Respecting Palestinian Rights is Key to Defeating Antisemitism


US Congressman Andy Levin

US Congressman Andy Levin has warned that anti-Semitism cannot be properly defeated without addressing Israel’s human rights abuses against Palestinians.

Speaking earlier this week during an online discussion hosted by the progressive Jewish movement IfNotNow on how the Biden administration can combat anti-Jewish racism, the Michigan Democrat lawmaker mentioned his long track record of urging the US to oppose Israel’s occupation.

“Over 30 years ago, I was part of a little group of Jews and Christians and Muslims who organized an interfaith delegation to Israel and Palestine from Metro Detroit,” explained Levin. “We went to Gaza, we went to the West Bank, and I wrote a piece in the Detroit Jewish News saying ‘There’s no time left’,” He added that he “took a lot of c**p in my community. “And now it is 30 years later and we have to change things right now. We have to find the language to talk about this in a grounded way.”

He drew a comparison to the recent coup in Myanmar. “The Burmese military just conducted a coup and ended Burma’s fragile, 10-year experiment with democratic self-governance. During those 10 years, the rights of the Rohingya and the Karen and other minority peoples of Burma were never recognized at all.” The suggestion seemed to be that Myanmar could not be considered a democracy even while it held elections because of its failure to respect the rights of its minorities.

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