What if . . . ?

Construction of a new Israeli settlement is seen through barbed wire in Kiryat Arba near the West Bank city of Hebron, Feb 7, 2017. (photo: EPA Photos)

What if Oregon were subjected to military occupation?

By Catherine Alder | Za’atar | Spring 2018


Oregon: A land without a people for a people without a land.


I was asked to speak about my international work at Ainsworth UCC. This piece is what I shared. I want to share with you in an unusual way. Imagine with me. Step into another’s experience. Let’s play “What if . . . ?”

What if the state of Oregon suddenly was designated by other countries as the place to come for hundreds of thousands of people in trouble in Europe?

The rap from those countries about Oregon is that it is perfect. “A place without a people for a people without a place.” Send them there! BUT HEY, WE ARE HERE! WE are the Oregonians! Well, we think, it will be OK. We are good people. We will welcome these strangers who are in trouble. There is plenty of land for the new people to build. We will share.

But, when the new people come from Europe, they come with guns and run out 100‘s of thousands of Oregonians. Now 750,000 Oregonians live in refugee camps in bordering states. The new people set up a government and say Oregonians who ran away are not allowed to come back home. These people are not like other refugees who have come gently and respectfully to live among us. This is very different.

Continue reading “What if . . . ?”

UN Blacklist: Why Israel is doing everything it can to thwart the UN Human Rights Council

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Israeli security forces take aim as a Palestinian protester looks on during clashes in the village of Kfar Qaddum, near Nablus in the occupied West Bank, Nov 24, 2017. (photo: Jaafar Ashtiyeh / AFP)

About 100 local companies and 50 international companies that operate in the West Bank and east Jerusalem have received warning letters that they will be on the list.

By Haaretz | Nov 26, 2017


“We will do everything we can to ensure that this list does not see the light of day.”
— Israeli UN ambassador, Danny Danon


Weeks ahead of the expected completion of a UN database of companies that operate in Israels West Bank settlements, Israel and the Trump Administration are working feverishly to prevent its publication. . . . [Ed. note: The publication has subsequently been postponed.]

While Israel is usually quick to brush off UN criticism, officials say they are taking the so-called blacklist seriously, fearing its publication could have devastating consequences by driving companies away, deterring others from coming and prompting investors to dump shares of Israeli firms. Dozens of major Israeli companies, as well as multinationals that do business in Israel, are expected to appear on the list.

Continue reading “UN Blacklist: Why Israel is doing everything it can to thwart the UN Human Rights Council”

New US embassy may be in Jerusalem — but not in Israel

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The former Diplomat Hotel, now part of the United States consular compound in Jerusalem, was built on disputed territory. (photo: Thomas Coex / Agence France-Presse / Getty Images)

The site of the US diplomatic compound is in occupied territory that has never been formally incorporated into Israel.

By Isabel Kershner | The New York Times | Mar 7, 2018


“Much more important than what the State Department says, it is what their actions say. You don’t build an embassy in territory that is not sovereign to Israel.”
— Eugene Kontorovich, director of international law at the conservative Kohelet Policy Forum in Jerusalem


In two months, the United States plans to open a new embassy to fulfill President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

There’s just one problem: The embassy may be in Jerusalem, but it may not be fully in Israel.

The diplomatic compound that will serve as the American Embassy until a permanent site is found lies partly in a contested zone known as No Man’s Land.

No Man’s Land encompasses the area between the armistice lines drawn at the end of the 1948–49 war and was claimed by Jordan and Israel. Israel won full control of it in the 1967 war, so the United Nations and much of the world consider it occupied territory.

Continue reading “New US embassy may be in Jerusalem — but not in Israel”

Privatizing the Occupation

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Photo courtesy of Mohamad Torokman / Reuters

 How Israel is privatizing its occupation of Palestine — enriching the security industry and allowing the country to evade accountability for human-rights violations

By Antony Loewenstein and Matt Kennard / The Nation
October 27, 2016


 “Earlier this year, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report, ‘Occupation Inc.,’ that detailed how ‘Israeli and international businesses have helped to build, finance, service, and market settlement communities.’ It added, ‘In many cases, businesses are “settlers” themselves.’”


It is 4:30 a.m. with the moon still high in the sky, but Palestinians from across the West Bank are already disembarking from buses outside the Qalandia checkpoint near Jerusalem. They’re about to begin a day’s work on the other side of the separation wall, in Israel.

Qalandia is one of the busiest checkpoints through which Palestinians with the required work documents can travel from the occupied Palestinian territories to Israel. With unemployment around 26 percent in the West Bank (in Gaza, it’s far worse — among the highest in the world, according to the United Nations), it’s always extremely busy at this early hour, because Palestinians need work, which is more readily available in Israel, especially in construction, manufacturing, and agriculture. . . .

The warehouse-like checkpoint looks like a cattle pen on the inside: Metal bars on either side and above form a narrow chute, enclosing and herding the workers—many of whom have traveled from villages more than an hour away—toward the point where their documents will be checked by Israeli officials. They then wait on the Israeli side for transport from their employers.

For years, these checkpoints were manned by personnel from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the Israeli Border Police. But starting in January 2006, gun-toting private security guards joined the soldiers and police. Today, there are 12 checkpoints in the West Bank and two on the Gaza border that use such guards. Israel is slowly privatizing its occupation.

[Continue reading here . . . ]

Shepherding under Occupation

By the Jordan Valley team, Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI)

“We have been living next to the settlement for many years and we don’t do any harm to anyone, we just want to live and to be able to walk with our sheep and have access to the land”


We arrived early, just after sunrise. We met with Abu Sami [pseudonym] and his family along with members of Ta’yush, an joint Israeli and Palestinian organization. Abu Sami lives close to a settlement in the North of Jordan Valley and his family looked very afraid of the consequences of the land action that was about to take place. Abu Sami and his family were preparing to graze their sheep on land that the settlers have taken control of in Khirbet Tell el Himma. The land is privately owned by a Palestinian family and Abu Sami rents it from them to graze his sheep, however, because of frequent harassment from settlers, the family are no longer able to use it. Today was going to be different. [Continue reading . . .]