Help to save Tent of Nations

Bishop Ivan Abrahams of South Africa presents the World Methodist Council Peace Award 2018 to Daoud Nassar at Tent of Nations in the West Bank, occupied Palestinian territory.
This multi-generational family peace project, beloved and celebrated around the world, is in danger of confiscation and destruction.

By United Methodist Kairos Response | Sept 2021

Twenty years ago, in 2001, the Nassar family named their farm Tent of Nations, receiving visitors from around the world to foster a connection between the land and people.

The Tent of Nations peace project is located on the Nassar family’s 100-acre farm, six miles from Bethlehem. It is in Area C of the West Bank, occupied Palestinian territory; Area C is under full Israeli military control.

This wonderful farm is being slowly strangled by the never-ending Israeli military occupation, surrounded by expanding Israeli settlements that are illegally colonizing the West Bank.

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Palestinian-Americans are turning the tide of US policy

Palestinian-led contingent in the New York Pride Parade, June 27, 2021. (credit: Gili Getz)
Overcoming distance and fragmentation, a new generation of diaspora Palestinians is dismantling Israel’s monopoly over the U.S. conversation.

By Tariq Kenney-Shawa | +972 Magazine | Sept 16, 2021

…the widespread mobilization of Palestinians and our supporters this past summer has reminded the diaspora of our integral function in the increasingly diverse, global movement for Palestinian liberation.

The omnipresent restlessness and dread that consumed Palestinian-Americans in May, as we watched Israel’s onslaught on Gaza from afar, could not come close to the pain felt by family and friends with nowhere to hide from the carnage. Still, watching an endless stream of live reports of casualties, videos of children being pulled from mounds of rubble, and fell towers that once housed dozens of families — all interspersed between bouts of radio silence due to Gaza’s daily power outages — was maddening.

For many in the Palestinian diaspora, this enraging feeling is always compounded by a sense of paralyzing helplessness that stems from our physical distance, as we are forced to sit by and watch as Israeli forces pummel what could and should be “home.” The sense that we play only a peripheral role in the Palestinian struggle for liberation perpetually hovers over our heads, mingling with the fierce loyalty we have to a place we cannot return to. And like others, I have often internalized the fragmentation forced upon our people — a divide and conquer tactic that Israel has perfected over the course of decades. Or so we thought.

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Shabbat terror in the West Bank

The ruins of a house in the Palestinian village of Mufagara in the West Bank, burned by religious Zionist settlers on Shabbat, June 27th, 2021. (Photo: Emily Glick)
Increasing settler violence violate the laws of Shabbat.

By Maya Rosen | Jewish Currents  | Sept 9, 2021

Amid a broad escalation of violence against Palestinians in the occupied territories, Shabbat has become the most violent day of the week in the South Hebron Hills.

WHEN I TURN MY PHONE BACK ON after Shabbat ends, I can measure the violence of the day by the number of unread messages that appear on my screen. Sitting in my home in Jerusalem, I scroll through dispatches from friends in the South Hebron Hills, a rural area in the southern West Bank, describing the day’s mob attack by Israeli settlers against Palestinians. If I have just a few dozen texts, then the encounter probably consisted of masked settlers throwing rocks at Palestinians or invading villages to physically assault residents. But if I find a few hundred messages waiting, I know settlers have likely set fire to Palestinian homes or even fired live rounds of ammunition at Palestinians or activists supporting them.

Amid a broad escalation of violence against Palestinians in the occupied territories, Shabbat has become the most violent day of the week in the South Hebron Hills. Unprovoked attacks on Palestinians have become something of a Shabbat afternoon pastime for the religious Zionist settlers in the region. Palestinians who live there even report seeing Israelis from elsewhere who have traveled to the area to spend the weekend beating up residents. Much like Sunday lynchings in the Jim Crow South—where white mobs murdered Black people on the Christian Sabbath, when they had time to participate in violence at their leisure—Saturdays have become an excuse for violence in the South Hebron Hills, transforming the Jewish day of rest into a social soiree of brutality.

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How 9/11 enabled a preconceived vision of an imperial US foreign policy

President George W. Bush (right) announces his $74.7 billion wartime supplemental budget request in the Pentagon on March 25, 2003, as Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld (center) and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz look on. (credit: DOD)
An obscure Pentagon document from 1992 provided a blueprint for the ‘war on terror.’

By Jim Lobe | Responsible Statecraft | Sept 11, 2021

The “dominant consideration,” it said, “…requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power. …In the Middle East and Southwest Asia, our overall objective is to remain the predominant outside power in the region…”
— Draft, Defense Planning Guidance

Today in our series 9/11 at 20: A week of reflection, we hear from Jim Lobe, Senior Advisor and contributing editor at Responsible Statecraft.

When excerpts of the document first appeared in the New York Times in March 1992, it created quite a stir. One influential Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was appalled by its ambition, denouncing it as “literally a ‘Pax Americana.’ A global security system where threats to stability are suppressed or destroyed by U.S. military power.”

Indeed, the draft Defense Planning Guidance, or DPG, which set forth the underlying elements of U.S. grand strategy through the end of the century, was stunning in its vision for permanent U.S. military dominance of virtually all of Eurasia — to be achieved by “deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role” and by preempting, using whatever means necessary, states believed to be developing weapons of mass destruction.

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Obstacles to Rule of Law in Palestine

The separation wall in the West Bank. (photo: Reuters)
The rule of law is definitely a worthy value to strive for, achieving it in Palestine requires some fundamental changes.

By Jonathan Kuttab | This Week in Palestine | Sept 2021

There is no rule of law when the laws are military orders, issued by the occupying forces to serve their own interests and those of the Jewish settlers

Law plays an important role in the running of any society. It provides the framework for regulating the behavior of individuals, the distribution of resources, the expected norms, and the sanctions for violating them.

In many developing countries, particularly totalitarian regimes, law becomes a useful tool for the preservation of privilege and the oppression of masses. It is sometimes given divine authority or at least sanction and becomes part of the reality that the poor and the oppressed have to deal with. In such societies, law is rarely, if ever, used against the rich and the powerful who are somehow always exempt from its application, but its provisions are ruthlessly applied to the weak, the poor, and those without proper connections.

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CEO of leading Jewish org denies there’s an occupation and calls Ben & Jerry’s chair ‘apologist for Hamas’

William Daroff, CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, speaking to the Jewish Broadcasting Service on July 26, 2021. (screenshot)
Unilever the focus of pressure from the American Jewish community to reverse Ben & Jerry’s decision to withdraw sales in the occupied territories.

By Philip Weiss |  Mondoweiss | Sept 7, 2021

Daroff spoke six weeks ago to the Jewish Broadcasting Service, but no media have quoted him; and he is such a powerful figure in the Jewish community that his remarks deserve notice.

In late July, Ben & Jerry’s announced that it would stop selling ice cream in the occupied Palestinian territories next year, and since then its parent company, Unilever, has come under a pressure campaign from Israel and its American mouthpieces to reverse the decision.

The Conference of Presidents of American Jewish Organizations, which comprises dozens of groups and calls itself the “voice of organized American Jewry,” has said the decision was “antisemitic” and warned Unilever that 33 states have laws aimed at penalizing the BDS campaign against Israel. The Conference said these states’ pension funds can divest from Unilever if it does not override the independent Ben & Jerry’s board.

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How Palestinian resistance inspired a new generation of labor activism

Palestine solidarity activists move to block an Israeli-owned ship at the Port of Oakland, in protest of Israel’s latest aggressions, June 4, 2021. (credit: Brooke Anderson)
Israel’s latest assault on Gaza has prompted US labor unions to mobilize at unprecedented levels, further establishing Palestinian rights as a core component of progressive politics.

By Alex Kane | +972 Magazine | Aug 31, 2021

“Labor power has always been about international solidarity and all exploited people rising up against all forms of oppression,”
— Lara Kiswani, executive director of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center

As Israeli airstrikes dropped U.S.-made bombs on Gaza in May, damaging schools and hospitals, displacing thousands of Palestinians, and killing 260 people, many Americans looked on in horror. Then, some decided to take action.

On May 19, the United Educators of San Francisco, the union representing 6,200 public school teachers and aides in the California city, passed a resolution endorsing Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS), a movement promoting pressure on Israel until it stops violating Palestinian human rights. The union also called for the United States to end military aid to Israel, which it said was committing the crime of “apartheid.” (The United States sends $3.8 billion in annual military aid to Israel.)

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Israeli soldiers arrest seven journalists covering peaceful West Bank protest

Israeli soldiers arrested Palestinian journalists in the West Bank, August 2021.
Israeli military arrested, handcuffed, and interrogated Palestinian journalists who had just covered a peaceful protest inside a “closed military zone.” According to the Israeli military’s own regulations, journalists are allowed in such areas.

By Hagar Shezaf | Israel Palestine News, reposted from Haaertz | Aug 31, 2021

 “When I photographed the arrest they detained me as well, but we were on our way out, going home,”
— Mashour Wahwah, journalist working for the Palestinian news agency WAFA

Israeli soldiers arrested seven Palestinian journalists who covered a protest in the South Hebron Hills on Friday. According to the journalists, they were told they were being arrested since the area had been declared a closed military zone, but the military’s own rules permit journalists to be in such areas.

Mashour Wahwah, a journalist working for the Palestinian news agency WAFA, told Haaretz that he was there to document the gathering of Palestinian residents of the area, whose land is slated for expropriation by Israel. “The prayers ended, and we wanted to return home, but suddenly the army arrested one of the residents,” he said. [NOTE: learn more about Israel’s expropriation of Palestinian land here.]

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Activists launch campaign to boycott Duty Free Americas over support for Israeli settler organizations

Protesters in front of Duty Free Americas headquarters in Hollywood, Florida. June 2, 2021. (photo: JVP South Florida)
A coalition of Florida organizations are calling for a boycott of Duty Free Americas over its financial support for racist, ultra-nationalist Israeli settler groups in the West Bank.

By Michael Arria | Mondoweiss | Sept 3, 2021

“The call for boycott of Duty Free Americas is especially important for us Floridians to answer because the owners of this company are our neighbors — with most of the stores located in this state — and we must hold them responsible and accountable for the millions of dollars they have donated to the ongoing Nakba,”
—  Lara Abu Ghannam CAIR-Florida’s Central Florida Regional Coordinator 

The South Florida Coalition for Palestine is calling for a boycott of Duty Free Americas over the Miami-based company’s connection to illegal Israeli settlements and the forced expulsion of Palestinians.

The Duty Free Americas chain is owned by the Falic family, who operate more 180 stores at airports and border crossings in the United States and Latin America. According to a 2019 AP investigation the Falics have donated $5.6 million to settler groups over a ten-year period. They’ve also lent financial support to racist, ultra-nationalist Jewish groups in Hebron.

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On Israel’s history of targeting pregnant Palestinian women

Anhar al-Deek, 26, is expected to have a cesarean delivery while in Israeli custody. (credit: photo via Social Media)
Silencing political active women a tactic being used to intimidate women into submission.

By Benay Blend | Palestine Chronicle | Aug 31, 2021

“The challenge for prisoners is to transform [their] detention into a state of a ‘cultural revolution’ through reading, education and literary discussions.”
— political prisoner and Palestinian leader Khalida Jarrar

In late August 2021, Palestinian prisoner Anhar Al-Deek, who is nine months pregnant, wrote a moving letter to her family.

“What should I do if I give birth far from you? I am tied up, how can I give birth via cesarean section when I am alone in prison?” she asked, then added, “I am exhausted, and I had severe pains in the pelvis and severe pain in my legs due to sleeping on the prison beds. I do not know how I want to sleep on it after my delivery operation.”

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