O Little Town of Bethlehem

Imprisoned now you lie.

Above the deep and silent grief

Surveillance drones now fly,

And through the old streets standeth

A huge illegal wall.

The hopes and dreams that peace will come

Are dashed again for all.

 

O morning stars together,

Look down upon this crime,

The people sing to God the King,

But justice, who can find?

Yes, Christ was born of Mary,

God's love remains supreme,

But mortals sleep as children weep –

Their pain we do not heed.

 

How silently, how silently,

The world and church protest,

As checkpoints grow, with towns confined,

As settlers steal, oppress.

No ear can hear an outcry

As Israel's wall is built.

While meek souls muse, Apartheid rules –

We speak, or share in guilt.

 

Oh holy Child of Bethlehem,

Give strength to us, we pray.

Cast out our fears, open our eyes

And give us voice today!

We stand against injustice:

Occupation now must end.

May love now rule our Lord's birthplace,

And here Christ's peace descend.

 

Stephen Lear 2007 (slightly modified) 


Some peace and human rights organizations in Israel/Palestine and elsewhere

ORGANIZATIONS BASED IN ISRAEL 

NEW PROFILE – for Civilisation of Israeli Society; because it is so militarised.

ISRAELI COMMITTEE AGAINST HOUSE DEMOLITIONS: Some demos, but mostly works to support those threatened with demolitions through the courts etc.

Director: Jeff Halper, very effective speaker, banned from speaking in Israel.

Recently lost grants and forced to downsize.

MACHSOM WATCH: very dedicated Israeli women, man checkpoints daily to try to ensure smooth access of Palestinian workers into Israel and takes up individual cases, e.g. when passes are confiscated.

WOMEN IN BLACK: peace vigils.

JERUSALEM CENTRE FOR WOMEN teaches women skills for political life, gives legal advice. Works for 2 state solution etc.

BREAKING THE SILENCE: Exservicemen raising awareness and publishing books re what shocked them of their activities when serving in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

YESH GVUL: exservicemen`s group.

SHMINISTIM: High school seniors refusing to serve in army in oPts.

RABBIS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

YESH DIN: Human Rights

B`TSELEM: “ “

ZOCHROT: Raises awareness of the issue of Palestinian refugees

GUSH SHALOM: ?

LOD Jewish and Arab Community Foundation developing model of co-existence.

JAFFA THE SECOND FLOOR Past and Present in a mixed community.

 

OVERSEAS JEWISH ORGANISATIONS CRITICAL OF ISRAELI GOVERNMENT:

USA: Jewish Voice for Peace. And many others.

UK: Jews for Justice for Palestine.

 

SOME HUMAN RIGHTS/PEACE/COMMUNITY CENTRE ORGANISATIONS

IN THE WEST BANK

 

DEFENCE FOR CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL Palestinian section. Works for child detainees.

LAJEE CENTER in Aida Refugee Camp. Community activities for children. Highlights life in Refugee Camp.

NI`LIN COMMUNITY AND CULTURAL CENTRE. Activities for children and courses in Management skills etc.

BEIT ARABIYA PEACE CENTRE, in conjunction with ICAHD

WI`AM MEDIATION AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION CENTRE, Bethlehem

Community Centre for Young People

BADIL for Right of Return for Palestinian Refugees.

SIRAJ, near Bethlehem. Aims to forge links between Palestinian and rest of world. Travel programmes culture and youth exchanges, etc.

BETHLEHEM UNIVERSITY Catholic Foundation. For Moslems and Christians.

FOBZU, Friends of BIRZEIT UNIVERSITY. Development Director – Joyce Hurndall. Raises money for scholarships

RAMALLAH FRIENDS MEETING, Quakers.

FRIENDS INTERNATIONAL CENTRE, in Ramallah.

RAMALLAH FRIENDS SCHOOL.Co-ed.All age. Some scholarships.

JAHALIN BEDOUIN for displaced Bedouin.

PALESTINIAN CENTRE FOR RAPPROCHMENT BETWEEN PEOPLE, and MEDIA CENTRE. Established by Palestinians and Israelis.

CHRISTIAN TEAM FOR PEACE especially in Hebron?

ZAYTOUN Fairtrade Palestinian Olive Oil.

 

MISC. ORGANISATIONS ELSEWHERE

 

UNITED NATIONS OFFICE FOR CO-ORDINATION OF HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS. Has offices in West Bank and Israel. Assesses needs, researches, produces maps, advocacy re health, water, sanitation.

NEW ZEALAND PALESTINIAN HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN, monitors and publishes daily activities of the IDF in oPts. www.palestine.org.nz

MANCHESTER UNIVERSITY FRIENDS OF PALESTINE

PALESTINIAN SOLIDARITY CAMPAIGN.

ECUMENICAL ACCOMPANIMENT PROGRAMME IN PALESTINE AND ISRAEL, UK and Eire section managed by the Religious Society of Friends.

 

This is not a complete list. 

Penelope Putz

 


 

The end of a Palestinian family's home

The end of a family's home

Demolition orders issued in Silwan

New demolition orders have been issued in East Jerusalem, as settlement activity in the area intensifies. Five demolition orders have been handed to families in the Al-Bustan neighbourhood of Silwan. Over 88 houses in Al-Bustan are currently threatened with demolition to make way for the “The King’s Garden”, an Israeli tourist site. Despite the fact that Silwan is a densely populated Palestinian neighbourhood, large areas have been earmarked for redevelopment into a tourist site and archaeological park. Silwan, in East Jerusalem, is occupied territory under International Law and all demolitions and evictions there are illegal.

JCB equipment used to destroy Palestinian homes

JCB’s equipment has already been documented in use on illegal projects such as the construction of the Apartheid Wall, Israeli settlements and the demolition of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem and elsewhere. But by moving from supplying civilian machines to military vehicles, JCB has entered a new phase of complicity with Israeli war crimes.

War on Want is calling for JCB to end its arms sales to Israel and take steps to ensure its equipment is not used by Israel to commit crimes against the Palestinian people.

G4S and the Privatisation of War

The world's biggest private security company, G4S has been enjoying a great decade. While the Olympics scandal has put G4S in the spotlight, its extraordinary global reach and controversial track record are making for some uncomfortable reading.

The transferring of policing, detention and deportation to profit-driven private companies needs to be properly scrutinised. The same goes for G4S complicity in Israel's occupation of Palestine through the supply of security equipment and services for use at checkpoints, illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, and Israeli prisons. G4S is unaccountable and its private military and security activities are unregulated.

[more]


Is support of Zionist Israel in US interest?

 

A report commissioned by the US intelligence community comprising 16 American intelligence agencies concluded that the US national interest is fundamentally at odds with that of Zionist Israel. The authors believe that Israel is currently the greatest threat to US national interests because the nature and actions of Israel prevent normal US relations with Arab and Muslim countries and the wider international community.

"Israel, given its current brutal occupation and belligerence cannot be salvaged any more than apartheid South Africa could be when as late as 1987 Israel was the only Western nation that upheld diplomatic ties with South Africa and was the last country to join the international boycott campaign before the regime collapsed."

[http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/08/27/258478/

us-planning-for-a-postisr...

 



 

Admission of appalling violence against Palestinian children

 

Hafez Rajabi was marked for life by his encounter with the men of the Israeli army's Kfir Brigade five years ago. He points to the scar above his right eye where he was hit with the magazine of a soldier's assault rifle. He says he was dragged 300m to another house by a unit commander who threatened to kill him if he did not confess to throwing stones at troops, beat him again, and held a gun to his head. "He was so angry," says Hafez. "I was certain that he was going to kill me."

This young man's story is corroborated by one of the soldiers who came looking for him that morning. One of 50 testimonies on the military's treatment of children – published by the veterans' organisation Breaking the Silence – describes the same episode, if anything more luridly than Hafez does. Our commander "beat the boy to a pulp, really knocked him around. He said: 'Want to die? Want to die right here?' and the kid goes: 'No, no...' He was taken into a building under construction. The commander took a stick, broke it on him, boom boom. That commander had no mercy. Anyway the kid could no longer stand on his feet and was already crying. He couldn't take it any more. He cried. The commander shouted: 'Stand up!' Tried to make him stand, but from so much beating he just couldn't. The commander goes: 'Don't put on a show,' and kicks him some more."

Two months ago, a report from a team of British lawyers, funded by the Foreign Office, accused Israel of serial breaches of international law in its military's handling of children in custody. The report focused on the interrogation and formal detention of children brought before military courts – mainly for allegedly throwing stones.

The soldier puts it differently: "We were sort of indifferent. It becomes a kind of habit. Patrols with beatings happened on a daily basis. We were really going at it. It was enough for you to give us a look that we didn't like, straight in the eye, and you'd be hit on the spot. We got to such a state and were so sick of being there."

Both Hafez – who has never read or heard the soldier's account – and the soldier recall the commander forcing him at one point during his ordeal to throw a stone at them, and that the boy did so as feebly as possible. Then, in the soldier's words "the commander said: 'Of course you throw stones at a soldier.' Boom, banged him up even more".

In fact Hafez, did not turn into a "suicide bomber". He has never even been in prison. Instead, the outcome has been more prosaic. He no longer has nightmares about his experience as he did in the first two months. But as a former mechanic he is currently unemployed partly because there are few jobs outside construction sites and the Hebron quarries, where he says his injuries still prevent him from carrying heavy loads, and partly because he often does "not feel I want to work again". And he has not – so far – received any compensation, including the more than £1,100 he and Mousa had to spend on his medical treatment in the two years after he was taken.

Full article at: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/

israel-breaks-silence-over-army-abuses-8081393.html

`````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````

Child abductions in Beit Ummar: In 2011, 370 children from the village of Beit Ummar were abducted and imprisoned by Israeli forces. These children, all under the age of eighteen, were usually snatched from their homes in midnight raids by the IDF in terrifying circumstances, intended to provoke fear in the children and their families. One of the victims was a 13-year-old boy who was beaten by Israeli soldiers, bound, blindfolded and then abducted. The youngster spent five months in an Israeli gaol. More at http://palestinesolidarityproject.org/2012/08/23/profiles-of-child-arres...

 


Continuous military and settler violence in the occupied Palestinian territories

Some of the attacks occuring during the 48 hours to 8am 24 August 2012

Israeli Navy opens fire on Gaza fishing boats

Home invasions and assaults by Israeli troops: woman (66) hospitalised

3-hour night home invasion: Israeli troops make off with US$5000 in cash

Israeli Army invades more homes: stun grenade assault – resident injured

Israeli Army seizes more West Bank land in 3 locations

Occupation settlers: land theft and attempted arson

Israeli troops invade West Bank village and steal 3 tractors

Orders for destruction of 2 Palestinian homes

Eviction of Jericho farmers

Girl (4) hospitalised after being run over by Occupation settler vehicle

Night peace disruption and/or home invasions in refugee camp and 14 towns and villages

6 Palestinians beaten -- 8 injured -- 29 taken prisoner -- 5 acts of agricultural/economic sabotage against Palestinians

 

Details and full listing are given at:

http://palestine.org.nz/phrc/index.php?option=com_content&task

=view&id=1...

 


checkpoint

Israeli border police at the Kalandia checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem

 

Israel losing international support, says British ambassador

The British ambassador to Israelhas said international support for the Jewish state among those in the political mainstream is eroding, driven by settlement expansion in the West Bank and continued restrictions on Gaza.

There is "growing concern" in the UK over lack of progress towards peace with the Palestinians, and Israel was now being seen as Goliath against the Palestinians as David, said Matthew Gould, in reference to the biblical story.

In an unusually forthright interview for Israel's Channel 10 news, Gould said he detected a shift among the middle ground of British members of parliament towards a more critical view of Israel. . . .

"The centre ground, the majority, the British public may not be expert, but they are not stupid and they see a stream of announcements about new building in settlements, they read stories about what's going on in the West Bank, they read about restrictions in Gaza. The substance of what's going wrong is really what's driving this," Gould said.

[Guardian article]


 

Conditions in the Jordan Valley

Water stolen, water tanks confiscated

Greek Mythology recounts the story of Tantalos, who was cursed by the gods to stand forever in a pool of water but never slake his thirst, as the water would always recede before he could take a drink. In the territory under the rule of the state of Israel, myth has become reality, at the whim of military officers acting as vengeful demi-gods to the Palestinians placed under their charge.

When the people of Ein al-Hilweh, a small Palestinian community in the Jordan Valley, put their ears to the ground, they faintly hear the gurgling of water going through pipes underneath – pipes to which they have no access. The water comes from a spring nearby, a spring which had sustained the life of this community for generations and indeed gave it its name - "Ein al-Hilweh" means "The Sweet Spring" in Arabic.

The name still remains – but the spring itself, like almost all water sources in the Jordan Valley, has been taken over by "Mekorot", the Israeli governmental water company. The sweet spring has been enclosed and surrounded by fences, and industrious pumps installed to channel every single drop into the system of pipes.

Couldn't one of these pipes have been linked to the community of Ein al-Hilweh, so near?

[Full article at http://adam-keller2.blogspot.co.il/14 July 2012]


Israel's annexation of the Jordan Valley

The Jordan Valley has been under Israeli military occupation since 1967. Today the military installations, the expanding illegal settlements and the harsh restrictions on access and movement all threaten the survival of any Palestinian presence in the Valley.

It used to be home to about 250,000 Palestinians, mostly farmers and pastoralists; now they are reduced to less than 60,000, controlled and harassed by the 9,500 Israeli settlers living in 37 settlements and by the Israeli army.

The Valley constitutes one third of the territory of the West Bank but Palestinians are excluded from 94% of it.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says:

The demolition of civilian Palestinian homes, as well as the transfer of

settlers into the occupied territory, are strictly prohibited and must be brought to a halt.”

[more]

 



Synod votes on EAPPI
The Friend, 13 July 2012

A Quaker-run programme has been backed by the Church of England following a heated debate at its General Synod.

On the afternoon of Monday 9 July, the synod passed a motion expressing support for the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI), a project initiated and run by the World Council of Churches. The UK and Ireland wing is administered by Quaker Peace & Social Witness (QPSW). The decision followed several weeks of controversy.

EAPPI trains human rights monitors to spend around three months in the West Bank. The motion before the synod praised EAPPI’s ‘vital work’. It prompted, however, strong criticism from the Board of Deputies of British Jews, who accused EAPPI of anti-Israeli bias. The Church of England passed the motion by 201 votes to 54, with 93 abstentions.

Ecumenical Accompaniers (EAs) come from many faiths and none. Their work includes monitoring checkpoints and accompanying Palestinian children to school. EAPPI say that this helps to protect them from violence by extremist settlers.

EAs observe demonstrations to monitor abuse, but make a point of not joining them. On returning home, they undertake speaking engagements about their experiences.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews accused EAPPI of helping to ‘generate a climate of hostility to Israel in the churches’. They said that after returning EAs form ‘a cohort’ of ‘anti-Israel advocates who have almost no grasp of the suffering of normal Israelis’. EAPPI say they adopt a position of ‘principled neutrality’ but are ‘on the side of human rights’.

The Board of Deputies alleged that of their three months in the region, EAs spend only one day inside Israel. The accuracy of the claim has been challenged by several former EAs. They include Stephen Sizer, an evangelical Christian commentator and Church of England priest. He explained: ‘I have served twice as an EA, for whom a week hearing a variety of Israeli perspectives was programmed. We spent a day at an illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank. We also visited a kibbutz and many of us travelled down to Sderot, a town where the Qassam rockets rain down from Gaza.’

Sarah Lawson, of ‘Quaker Friends of Israel’, was disappointed to see Synod pass the motion. ‘EAPPI is about advocating for one side while ignoring the serious concerns of the other,’ she said. ‘We [Quakers] have forfeited our reputation for fair play.’ In a letter to The Jewish Chronicle, she wrote: ‘Quakers imagine they are encouraging peace by supporting the side that refuses peace while being hostile to the side that has seriously tried to make peace.’

A key moment in the debate came when the archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, insisted that EAPPI is not anti-Israel.

The Synod’s vote was welcomed by Jews for Justice for Palestinians (JfJfP), who said that the Board of Deputies do not represent the views of all British Jews. They said: ‘JfJfP applauds the monitoring and protective activities of EAPPI’.

Helen Drewery, general secretary of QPSW said: ‘Within hours of hearing the General Synod vote, we also heard of further attacks by Israeli settlers on Palestinians living in the village of Yanoun, while tending their crops and flocks. Quakers welcome any support that ecumenical partners can bring. We see this as further affirmation of EAPPI as strengthening its nonviolent efforts to bring peace to the region.’


Please don't destroy my village

Susiya tent jpg

From Nasser in Susiya:

Dear friends, In days Israeli bulldozers are set to demolish my village in the Hebron Hills. But if people from around the world to stand with us in our struggle we may be able to remain in our homes. Sign the petition.

My name is Nasser Nawajah, I’m 30 years old and live in a Palestinian village called Susiya in the occupied West Bank. Israel calls my home an “illegal outpost” and is about to come and demolish the village for the sixth time since I've been here. Unless you can help.

An ultra right wing Zionist group successfully petitioned the High Court to have our village destroyed -- but with help from friendly groups in Israel, we’ve won a brief two week reprieve. We now only have days left before the bulldozers are due to tear down our tents and trash our possessions.

My people have lived on this land for generations -- and together we can stop the Israeli authorities demolishing our clinic, our granaries and our solar panels. Join us now to ensure that Israeli authorities know that the world is watching. Sign this petition now and share with your friends: http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Save_My_Village/?bNrhiab&v

=15502

Unfortunately, my story is common all throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territories. My community lives in tents as we are routinely denied building permits. We not allowed running water though water pipes for an illegal Israeli settlement run just metres from my village. Adding insult to injury, our ancestral land has been declared a national park, expelling residents that had been there for generations. My people have been expelled, humiliated, and dispossessed. Now, I ask you, please help to save my village.

MORE INFORMATION

Hundreds protest Ethnic Cleansing policy in Susiya

Hebron – 22/6/12 The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) used tear gas and sound bombs to repress a large solidarity march to the village of Susiya, in the hills to the southeast of Hebron. The village has experienced multiple cases of house, tent and cave demolitions, leading to the displacement of more than half of the village’s residents, as Settlement associations pressure the IOF to clear the area of Palestinians.

http://www.stopthewall.org/2012/06/24/

hundreds-protest-ethnic-cleansing-...

Israeli military orders demolition of West Bank village http://bikyamasr.com/69971/israeli-military-orders-demolition-

west-bank-village/


Palestinian children under occupation

June 4th is International Day for Children as Victims of War so it is timely to think about the situation of children living in the occupied Palestinian territories. 80% of the population of the Gaza Strip live on less than a dollar a day, so acute malnutrition affects many young children and the infant mortality rate is rising. But there is also chronic malnutrition which affects a sixth of the children, causing them not only to be stunted but also impairing their brain development. These tragedies are not the result of eathquake, tsunami, flood or drought but are a deliberate disaster brought about by the policies of the Israeli government and military.

500 to 700 Palestinian children, mainly boys, some as young as 12, are detained, interrogated and imprisoned each year. Even Mark Regev, the Israeli prime minister's spokesman whom the BBC has frequently interviewed has said: "The test of a democracy is how you treat people incarcerated, people in jail, and especially so with minors.” [More]

 


Arab and Jew Challenge the Churches

Bring together a Jew steeped in Zionism and a Palestinian Christian theologian and you can expect fireworks. Especially when the meeting takes place at Pentecost.

But, instead of conflict, the outcome was a powerful challenge to Britain’s churches to end their “deafening silence” on Palestine and to speak out for justice.

When Mark Braverman preached at the Pentecost Sunday eucharist in Iona Abbey, the Jewish American revealed a personal moment of truth. On a visit to the Holy Land, as he stood before the 24 foot high concrete separation wall in Jerusalem, he realised he had to break down a personal barrier that prevented him facing up to what his own people were doing to the Palestinians.

He said there was a tragic irony that, from the Nazi Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, you look across at the ruins of Deir Yassin, a Palestinian village, where more than 100 men, women and children were massacred by Jewish forces in 1948.

As a Jew, steeped in the Zionist narrative, he said he experienced a profound change of mind. He became and remains, a committed advocate for the Palestinian struggle for human and political rights.

‘It is’, he said, ‘the most Jewish thing I have ever done.’

Now he and the Rev Naim Ateek, director of Sabeel liberation theology centre in Jerusalem, are urging Britain’s churches to speak out for a just peace. Referring to the South African Kairos initiative (1985) they expounded the Kairos Palestine document* which asks “Are you able to help us get our freedom back, for this is the only way you can help the two peoples attain justice, peace, security and love?”

More than 70 people from all over Britain took part in the international consultation on the Hebridean island of Iona. The outcome was a joint appeal** in which they said:

>> We ask our churches to challenge how the Bible has been used to justify oppression and injustice.

>> We urge Christians to participate only in those pilgrimages which give opportunity to listen to the experiences of Palestinians and to engage with the harsh realities of occupation.

>> We support Palestinians in their non-violent resistance to Israeli injustice and oppression. We endorse their call for boycott, disinvestment and sanctions and other forms of non-violent direct action.

>> We call on Christians to put pressure on governments and the European Union to demonstrate a commitment to justice for Palestinians and security for all people.

In pursuit of the above we intend to establish a UK Kairos network, linked to the Kairos Palestine global movement, to alert our churches to the urgent situation in Palestine. We challenge Christians and churches to engage in prayerful study of the Kairos Palestine document in openness to what the Spirit is saying to the churches (Rev. 2.7). We must read the signs of the times and act in obedience to God's will (Matt. 16.3).

Difficult though this journey may be, we seize this Kairos moment with conviction and hope. We recognise our responsibility as followers of Jesus Christ to speak the prophetic word with courage.

 

* Kairos Palestine: A moment of truth -- a word of faith, hope and love from the heart of Palestinian suffering (2009)

** The Iona Call, signed by 62 participants

 


Israel gives in to hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners backed by international pressure but spectre of the Nakba still hangs over Israel-Palestine.

Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails have agreed to end a mass hunger strike, which has been going on for more than two months. More than 1,500 Palestinians have been refusing food to demand an improvement in conditions. Under a deal, Israel conditionally agreed not to renew detentions without charge, which had been a key grievance (BBC News)


 

From the Director of the Friends International Centre in Ramallah

Dear friends and colleagues,

Today is al-Nakba Day—meaning ‘the Catastrophe’—the day Palestinians remember the loss of their homeland and all that accompanied it—the expulsion of more than 700,000 Palestinians from their homes; the destruction of more than 400 Palestinian towns, villages, and cities; the making of Palestinian refugee population of those who were expelled and fled before and after May 15, 1948. It was these actions that allowed the state of Israel to be established and developed with the assistance—political and financial—of the international community. Many of the Palestinians who fled in 1948 and the following years, were again made refugees in 1967 Again in Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were driven from their homes in Palestine before and after May 15, 1948, and became refugees in neighboring countries, including the West Bank and Gaza Strip. More than 400 Palestinian villages were destroyed in order to build Israeli villages, towns, and cities.

The Nakba did not stop in 1948. The Nakba continues to this day. Palestinians continue to be dispossessed and remain strangers in their own country. Their rights are not recognized, however, they continue to struggle for these rights and they believe, as do all of us who are working for equal rights for all, that one day they will achieve those rights. It has been and will continue to be a long road.

Below is a moving account (youtube) by a Palestinian living in Ramallah, Sam Bahour, about the experience of his family and his people. It is well worth seeing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=

TCLQICeZMq4 (16 min)

For peace with justice,

Kathy


Destruction of Fairtrade farmer's olive treesBulldozing trees

Laura Conyngham of Exeter meeting alerts us that Riziq Abunassar, whom many of us met when he came to Devon during Fairtrade fortnight in 2009, has been ordered to destroy olive trees by the Israeli army. She has spoken to him and finds that the order has left him depressed and distracted. She asks us consider signing a petition against this vindictive and illegal order which threatens to destroy the livelihoods of Riziq and other farmers. The petition can be found at: http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-uprooting-palestinian-trees#

There is a full report on this action by the Israeli army on the Fairtrade Foundation website:
http://www.fairtrade.org.uk/press_office/press_releases_

and_statements/may_2012/palestinian_olive_oil_producers_ordered_

to_pull_up_trees.aspx

This is not an isolated incident but is part of the systematic destruction of Palestinian agriculture, food supplies and economy which has been going on since the start of the occupation in 1967. Altogether the Israeli military and Israeli settlers have destroyed well over a million olive trees which are the mainstay of Palestinian agriculture: http://www.israelpalestinemissionnetwork.org/main/ipmndocuments/

factsheet04.pdf

 


The Wall

Pete Squire and his family have recently brought back from Israel some photos of The Wall ...

 

 



The Israel/Palestine conflict

Below are just some initial notes. There is much more to be said. And we need some additional Web links to help explain things a bit more fully. Please send suggestions by e-mail to swq02[at]bqm.org.uk.
Opinions expressed on this page are those of the author (correspondent) and are almost certainly not endorsed by all Quakers.



Boycott

This link goes to the BYM website page giving advice on boycotting illegal settlement products

On 5 April 2011 Meeting for Sufferings - 'the Quaker church in session' - agreed to boycott products from the Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The settlements are illegal under international law. Quakers consider that this boycott is a non-violent move for peace for Israelis and Palestinians. The decision made it clear that Quakers are not boycotting Israel.

Feedback from Quaker Meetings throughout the UK has supported the decision but suggestions have been made for other actions, eg: place a positive message on the Quaker website; explain our actions clearly; encourage industries to locate themselves in the Palestinian Occupied Territories; teach English in Palestinian Schools; source Palestinian products; twin with Palestinian towns; use the email link with a church in Gaza; enter into dialogue with Jewish groups; reiterate our aim to seek reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians


Is that too much or too little?

The declared Quaker policy to boycott the products of illegal settlements is not binding on all Quakers, of course, and many feel no need to take action, particularly given the large number of other problems the world faces. However, many feel that it does not go far enough, given (a) the severity and persistence of the Israeli mistreatment of Palestinians on the West Bank, and (b) the continuing collusion of the Israeli government with the misdeeds of the West Bank settlers (See letter in The Friend). In any case, identifying which Israeli goods come from the settlements can be difficult. Many advocate a complete boycott of all Israeli goods (See, for example, inminds.com and bigcampaign.org), or at least a boycott of all goods from all sources which deal in settlement goods. In the meantime, Israel continues to maltreat the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and in the Gaza Strip. See e.g. http://www.palestine.org.nz/.


Zionists

One of the tragedies of the problem is that many intelligent and articulate Jews honestly regard the Israeli confiscation of Palestinian land, and a continuing maltreatment of the Palestinians which is reportedly even worse than the Chinese maltreatment of the Tibetans, as being both legally and morally justified. See, for example, http://www.zoa.org/, and in particular http://www.zoa.org/sitedocuments/pressrelease_view.asp?

pressreleaseID=2168.

Unfortunately, not all Zionists restrict themselves to such pseudo-rationality.
"Nine years ago someone asked if the ancient mitzvah (religious command or duty) to rape gentile women in war still applied. Rabbi Eyal Qarim wrote that it did – because all Israel’s wars were mitzvot and thus any law should be broken if it helped the cause. The rabbi is now an IDF Colonel in the Military Rabbinate. The IDF today, of course, angrily denounces this judgment. It is of interest that any rabbi could hold these beliefs – and that the IDF should promote such a man to a senior position." (From jfjfp web site: see below)
In the months preceding the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, "the Arab population of Deir Jassin was massacred [...] 250 Arabs, of all ages and both sexes, were murdered and their bodies thrown down a well [...] The leader of the attack, Menachem Begin [...] wrote: 'The massacre was not only justified, but there would not have been a state of Israel without the victory at Deir Yassin'". (From 'Cause for Concern' by Herbert Dobbing, a Quaker commentator on the Palestine Problem)

Can we dismiss such malign arrogance as just regrettable instances of mental aberrations by isolated individuals? Or are they outcrops of a deeper malaise, giving glimpses of the hidden truth of how most Zionists see the world? Opinions seem to be divided.


Non-Zionists

But despair not. By no means all Jews are Zionists. The extreme Zionists are just one end of the spectrum. At the other end, and much more representative of the long Jewish tradition of peace, love, and tolerance, are countless Jews who are well aware of the gross injustices heaped on the Palestinians, in the past and today. They are keen to remind us that true Judaism is one of the most benign of religions, that real Jews have principles of honour, truth and justice which compare very favourably with other religious groups, including Moslems and Christians (who also have significant numbers of lunatic adherents), that Jews are one of the major originators of "Western" civilisation and culture, arguably even more than the Arabs and the Greeks, and have always made a staggeringly disproportionate contribution to the arts, science, commerce, philosophy.

There are several initiatives led by Jews which seek to promote justice for the Palestinians. See, for example, Jews for Justice for Palestinians (http://jfjfp.com/), the Israeli Occupation Archive (http://www.israeli-occupation.org/), European Jews for a Just Peace (http://www.ejjp.org/), to name but a few. And these few between them list over 100 links to other supportive sites.

And there is a movement amongst young Jews in USA to support the Palestinians. Here is an example of what they are


The United Nations

Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_Nations_

resolutions_concerning_Israel) provides a list of United Nations resolutions concerning Israel. According to the Wikipedia article, the UN Human Rights Council “has passed more resolutions condemning Israel than it has all other states combined”. All have been ignored.

 
In East Jerusalem is the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Occupied Palestinian Territories http://www.ochaopt.org/. This organisation is the most authoritative source of background material as well as documentation of what the Occupation does on a day to day basis and of undeniable facts about Palestinians.
 

 

The European Parliament

The EP recognizes the illegality and inhumanity of Israel's treatment of the Palestinians -- as the following extracts from the July resolution show -- but has yet to take decisive action against the crimes Israel's military and settlers are committing.

European Parliament resolution of 5 July 2012 on EU policy on the West Bank and East Jerusalem

The European Parliament,

– having regard to the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 1949,

– having regard to the Charter of the United Nations,

– having regard to UN General Assembly resolutions 181 (1947) and 194 (1948), and UN Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 252 (1968), 338 (1973), 476 (1980), 478 (1980), 1397 (2002), 1515 (2003), and 1850 (2008),

– having regard to the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966,

– having regard to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice entitled ‘Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory’ of 9 July 2004,

1. Reiterates its strong support for the two-state solution on the basis of the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as capital of both states, and with the State of Israel with secure and recognised borders and an independent, democratic, contiguous and viable State of Palestine living side by side in peace and security;

7. Reiterates that all settlements remain illegal under international law and calls on the Israeli Government to stop all construction and extension of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and to dismantle all outposts erected since March 2001;

10. Calls on the Israeli Government and authorities to meet their obligations under international humanitarian law, in particular by:

o securing an immediate end to house demolitions, 

evictions and forced displacement of Palestinians,

o facilitating Palestinian planning and building activities and the implementation of Palestinian developments projects,

o facilitating access and movement,

o facilitating the access of Palestinians to farming and grazing 

locations,

o ensuring a fair distribution of water meeting the needs of the Palestinian population,

o improving access of the Palestinian population to adequate social services and assistance, in particular in the fields of education and public health, and

o facilitating humanitarian operations in Area C and 

in East Jerusalem;

11. Calls for an end to the administrative detention without formal charge or trial of Palestinians by Israeli authorities, for access to a fair trial for all Palestinian detainees, and for the release of Palestinian political prisoners, with special regard for members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, including Marwan Barghouti, and administrative detainees; calls also for the immediate release of Nabil Al-Raee, the artistic director of the Freedom Theatre in Jenin Refugee Camp, arrested on and detained since 6 June 2012; welcomes the agreement reached on 14 May 2012 that allowed for the end of the hunger strike of the Palestinian prisoners and calls for its full and immediate implementation;

12. Calls for the protection of the Bedouin communities of the West Bank and in the Negev, and for their rights to be fully respected by the Israeli authorities, and condemns any violations (e.g. house demolitions, forced displacements, public service limitations); calls also, in this context, for the withdrawal of the Prawer Plan by the Israeli Government;

20. Reiterates its call for the immediate, sustained and unconditional lifting of the blockade of the Gaza Strip in terms of persons, the flow of humanitarian aid and commercial goods, and for steps allowing for the reconstruction and economic recovery of this area; calls also, with due recognition of Israel's legitimate security needs, for an effective control mechanism preventing the smuggling of arms into Gaza;

21. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the EU Special Representative to the Middle East Peace Process, the President of the UN General Assembly, the governments and parliaments of the UN Security Council members, the Middle East Quartet Envoy, the Knesset and the Government of Israel, the President of the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian Legislative Council.

[Full text]

 

   

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