PSN session at Ignite Change 2017

August 16, 2017

Intersections of Advocacy
Part of Ignite Change 2017
Tuesday, August 22 (2:45 pm – 3:45 pm)
Grant MacEwan University

PSN is pleased to be hosting a session, Intersections of Advocacy, at the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Right’s Ignite Change 2017 conference.

Join this diverse panel for a lively discussion about the intersections of struggles for equity and justice in the face of oppressive institutions and misinformed citizens. Activists from the Palestinian and Indigenous communities will trace their justice movements and discuss the differences and similarities between their movements. This intersectional panel will provide a broad perspective on the never-ending work that is undertaken to abolish hatred.

You can register for Ignite Change 2017 online, and if money represents an impediment to attend the conference, JHC is sponsoring spots (free admission) and accepting donations (pay what you can).

About the speakers:

Ranya El-Sharkawi is a first generation Canadian with Palestinian roots in Gaza and Jaffa. She is a political science (hon.) student at the University of Alberta and the Vice President External for the Political Science Undergraduate Association. Ranya’s research explores how generations of diasporic Palestinians conceptualize Palestine as a homeland.

April Eve Wiberg is an advocate, survivor and founding member of the Stolen Sisters & Brothers Awareness Movement, a 100% grassroots movement raising awareness on the national epidemic of Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, Men and Boys. April Eve continues to strive at breaking the cycle of poverty and violence, committing herself to being a strong voice against racism, sexual exploitation and other human rights abuses.

Moderated by Fatme Elkadry, representing the Palestine Solidarity Network. Fatme Elkadry is a first-generation Canadian Muslim with roots in Safed, Palestine. She is pursuing her undergraduate degree at the University of Alberta in Human Geography (hon.). Fatme actively seeks opportunities to engage her local community in the preservation of a lost Palestinian culture and in advocating for the human rights of Palestinian people.


Souls by Aksam Alyousef at the Edmonton Fringe

August 16, 2017

Souls at the Edmonton Fringe
August 18 – 27
Venue #4 – Academy at King Edward
8525 101 St

Souls, a play exploring the situation in Israel-Palestine is part of the 2018 Edmonton Fringe Festival.

“Do you see an end to this struggle?” asks Hannah, the protagonist of Syrian playwright Aksam Alyousef’s new play Souls. This daring and sensitive play explores the notions of justice, guilt, redemption, and the complex emotions and opinions that swirl around the ongoing conflict in Israel-Palestine.

It tells the story of Hannah, a Canadian lawyer who moves to Israel with her husband, and into the home of a displaced Palestinian family. Hannah’s conscience is shaken when she meets the soul of the previous resident – a woman killed by a settler’s bullet.

Venue #4
Academy at King Edward
8525 101 St

Showtimes:

Friday, August 18 at 9:30 pm
Monday, August 21 at 3:45 pm
Wednesday, August 23 at 2:15 pm
Thursday, August 24 at 8:45 pm
Friday, August 25 at 12:00 pm
Sunday, August 27 at 8:00 pm

Tickets $13 – Students/Seniors $10. Tickets go on sale at noon on Wednesday, August 9, 2017. You can purchase tickets in advance on the Fringe Festival website or call (780) 409-1910. Tickets can also be purchased in person at any of the Festival Box Offices.

Presented by Multicultural Theatre
Written and directed by Aksam Alyousef
Featuring: Sarah Spicer, Shawn Prasad, Amena Shehab and Gnin Alyousef
Stage managed by FengYi Jiang
Stage design by Sarah Kostaska
Poster art by Aboud Alsamlan
Dramaturgy by Morgan Norwich


Support the SkateQilya Summer Camp 2017

June 30, 2017

SkateQilya has just launched a new crowdfunding campaign for the 2017 summer camp, and they need your support!

SkateQilya is a youth empowerment program that uses skateboarding as a tool to teach art, community building and leadership skills to Palestinian girls and boys in the West Bank. Launched in the summer of 2016 as a three-week summer camp, 11 girls and 11 boys, ages 10-16 from the city of Qalqilya and the neighboring village of Jayyous, came together in the first co-ed athletic program in the Northern West Bank.

SkateQilya was founded by Mohammed Othman, a Palestinian human rights activist, Adam Abel, an American artist and filmmaker, and Kenny Reed, a retired American professional skateboarder. Unified by a vision that sport and art are powerful tools for empowering youth, Mohammed, Adam and Kenny have planted the seeds from which a special community has grown.

Support the 2017 Summer Camp

From August 6-26, SkateQilya will provide 30-35 Palestinian students ages 10-16 with a unique summer experience in the West Bank city of Qalqilya. Five days a week, for three weeks, our students will skateboard, take photographs and video, learn conversational English and social media skills, and engage in outdoor community building activities.

Please consider making a donation online to support this amazing project!

The impact 

Skateboarding is new and captivating; it is the hook. It is both simple to learn and offers infinite opportunities for improvement. In a city and country where hope is a rare commodity, SkateQilya provides its students the ability to:

  • Release their energy and express themselves creatively.
  • Feel that they are special and have a sense of place in the world.
  • Set goals and see tangible results.
  • Create and participate in their own community through mutual respect and understanding.
  • Learn to become teachers of their talents in a peer-to-peer learning environment.
  • Become ambassadors for Palestine.

Read the full details about SkateQilya, summer camp 2017, the program outline, the team, and our future plans on our generosity page.

Share the campaign

Instagram: instagram.com/skateqilya
Facebook: facebook.com/skateqilya
Twitter: twitter.com/skateqilya
Vimeo: vimeo.com/adamabelstudio/campskateqilya


Al-Quds Day 2017 Rally

June 22, 2017

Al-Quds Day 2017 Rally
Saturday, June 24 (6:00 pm)

Alberta Legislature Building
10800 97 Avenue NW, Edmonton
(Click here for map)

Help spread the word! Invite your friends to the Facebook event!

The International Day of al-Quds is an annual event, supporting a just peace for Palestine, and opposing apartheid Israel’s control of Jerusalem (al-Quds in Arabic: القـُدْس), the international city that stands as a powerful symbol to three of the world’s great religious traditions. It is held each year at the end of the Muslim month of Ramadan.

On June 24, 2017, organizers in Edmonton will host the 6th annual Al-Quds Day rally. On this day, all across the planet, a commemoration is held to honour the Palestinian plight for justice. With the current series of bloodshed, torture and injustice, we cannot afford to remain silent.

Remember, you don’t need to be Palestinian to care, you simply have to be human.

Confirmed speakers include Dr. Ghada Ageel (editor of Apartheid in Palestine) and Carmen Jarrah (author of Smuggled Stories from the Holy Land).


Fifty Years of Occupation

June 5, 2017

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza, and the Golan Heights, which began with Israeli airstrikes on Egypt on June 5, 1967 to commence the so-called Six-Day War.

Here are some resources to help you learn more about the events of 50 years ago, and what the Occupation has meant for Palestinians living under it for the last half-century.

50 Stories of Palestinian Life Under Occupation (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Occupied Palestinian Territory)

Israel’s occupation was a plan fulfilled (Electronic Intifada)

Israel provoked the Six-Day War in 1967, and it was not fighting for survival (Mondoweiss)

A 50-Year Occupation: Israel’s Six-Day War Started With a Lie (The Intercept)

The Unwanted ‘Bride’: Can the 1967 War Offer Opportunity for Peace? (The Palestine Chronicle)

50 years: Israeli occupation longest in modern history (Al Jazeera)

Who Started the Six-Day War of June 1967? (The Palestine Chronicle)

Israel: 50 Years of Occupation Abuses (Human Rights Watch)

Quick Facts: 50 Years of Israeli Military Rule (Institute for Middle East Understanding)

50 Years of Israeli Military Rule: Settlements & Settlers (Mondoweiss)

Why has the Occupation lasted this long? (Mondoweiss)

After 50 years of Israeli occupation, ‘now is the time’ to create Palestinian state – UN chief (UN News Centre)

Fifty years of opposition (+972)

Check out Visualizing Palestine’s latest graphic, A History of Occupation.

Watch the Al-Jazeera documentary, The War in June.

Watch the Real News Network’s interview with Norman Finkelstein, Six-Day War, 50-Year Occupation: What Really Happened in June 1967?


May 25: Join the global one-day hunger strike for Palestinian prisoners

May 24, 2017

International solidarity activists have issued a call for a global one-day hunger strike on Thursday, May 25 in support of more than 1,500 hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners who have been participating in the Strike for Dignity and Freedom for more than month.

The strikers’ demands are for basic human rights: an end to the denial of family visits, proper health care and medical treatment, the right to access distance higher education, and an end to solitary confinement and administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial.

Pledge to take part on May 25

If you are in Canada, please make a pledge to join the Palestinian prisoners in a one-day solidarity hunger strike on May 25 (or another day)

You can connect with other Canadian participating in the day of solidarity and share your story on the Canadians in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners Facebook page.

Other actions you can take

Stay up to date and share widely on social media the daily updates on the hunger strikers from the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network (read the latest update from May 23, Day 37 of the hunger strike) and the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association.

If you are in Canada, use this online tool from Students Against Israeli Apartheid at York University to call on the Canadian government to support Palestinian prisoner demands

Sign the Americas-wide petition in support of the hunger strikers.

Participate in and share the #saltwaterchallenge to show your support:

Update your social media profile pics to the image below:

Follow and share tweets with the hashtags #FreedomAndDignity, #DignityStrike, and #PalHunger.

Respond to the calls from Palestinian civil society to grow support for the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement. (Read BNC support statements from April 17, May 9, and May 24).


The Nakba at 69

May 15, 2017

Today, Palestinians around the world mark the 69th anniversary of the Nakba (Arabic for “catastrophe”): the dispossession, forced exile, and ethnic cleansing of some 750,000 Palestinians from their land before and during the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.

Below are some resources to help you learn about the Nakba.

Watch IMEU’s short video, Life Before the Expulsion in Palestine:

You can also read IMEU’s Quick Facts: The Palestinian Nakba.

Relive the journey of Nakba refugees using the interactive tool on the Middle East Monitor website.

Read Ramzy Baroud’s articles, “Recasting the Nakba” and “How Israel’s violent birth destroyed Palestine.”

Read about the Nakba on the Electronic Intifada.

Visualizing Palestine has created a visual map and list of the status of the 536 Palestinian villages depopulated by Israel to illustrate that return is possible. You can also visit their interactive map showing 143 years of colonization and 69 years of the Nakba.

Read the article “It’s Time For Our Prime Minister to Commeorate Nakba Day” by Tyler Levitan of Independent Jewish Voices.

For an in-depth history of the Nakba and Plan Dalet, read Ilan Pappé’s The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.

Al Jazeera in 2008 produced an award-winning series on the Nakba, which you can watch for free below.

Parts 1 & 2:

Parts 3 & 4:

Read the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) statement on the Nakba.

The US Campaign for Palestinian rights have announced a political education campaign, Together We Rise, to mark Nakba Day. You can sign up for the series and preview the curriculum.

Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) has created an educational project, Facing the Nakba.

Here is some general information about the Nakba from IMEU:

General Facts & Figures

  • The Palestinian “Nakba” (“catastrophe” in Arabic) refers to the mass expulsion of Palestinian Arabs from British Mandate Palestine during Israel’s creation (1947-49).
  • The Nakba was not an unintended result of war. It was a deliberate and systematic act necessary for the creation of a Jewish majority state in historic Palestine, which was overwhelmingly Arab prior to 1948. Internally, Zionist Jewish leaders used the euphemism “transfer” when discussing plans for what today would be called ethnic cleansing.
  • The Nakba’s roots lay in the emergence of political Zionism in 19th century Europe, when some Jews, influenced by the nationalism then sweeping the continent, concluded that the remedy to centuries of anti-Semitic persecution in Europe and Russia was the creation of a nation state for Jews in Palestine and began emigrating as colonists to the Holy Land, displacing indigenous Palestinians in the process.
  • In November 1947, following the horrors of World War II and the Nazi genocide of European Jewry, the newly-created United Nations approved a plan to partition Mandate Palestine into Jewish and Arab states. It allocated approximately 55% of the land to the proposed Jewish state, although Zionist Jews owned only about 7% of the private land in Palestine and made up only about 33% of the population, a large percentage of whom were recent immigrants from Europe. The Palestinian Arab state was to be created on 42% of Mandate Palestine, with Jerusalem becoming an international city. (See here for map of the partition plan and subsequent 1949 armistice lines.)
  • Almost immediately after the partition plan was passed, violence broke out and large-scale expulsions of Palestinians began, long before the armies of neighboring Arab states became involved. When Zionist forces finished expanding, the new state of Israel comprised 78% of historic Palestine, with the remainder, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza, falling under the control of Jordan and Egypt, respectively. In the 1967 War, Israel occupied the remaining 22% and began colonizing them shortly thereafter.
  • The Nakba did not end in 1948 and continues until today, in the form of Israel’s ongoing theft of Palestinian land for settlements and for Jewish communities inside Israel, its destruction of Palestinian homes and agricultural land, revocation of residency rights , deportations, periodic brutal military assaults that result in mass civilian casualties such as the one that took place in Gaza in the summer of 2014, and the denial of the internationally-recognized legal right of return of millions of stateless Palestinian refugees.

The Nakba by the Numbers

  • Between 750,000 and one million : The number of Palestinians expelled and made refugees by Zionist paramilitaries, and subsequently Israeli forces, during Israel’s creation in 1947-49.
  • Between 250,000 and 350,000 : The number of Palestinians expelled from their homes by Zionist paramilitaries between the passage of the UN partition plan in November 1947 and Israel’s declaration of independence on May15, 1948 – prior to the start of the war with neighboring Arab states.
  • Approximately 7.1 million : The number of Palestinian refugees and displaced persons as of 2009, including Nakba survivors and their descendants. They are located mostly in the occupied West Bank and neighboring Arab countries such as Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria, denied their internationally-recognized legal right to return to their homeland by Israel, simply because they are not Jewish.
  • Approximately 150,000 : The number of Palestinians who remained inside what became Israel’s borders in 1948, many of them internally displaced. These Palestinians (sometimes called “Israeli Arabs”) were granted Israeli citizenship but stripped of most of their land and placed under martial law until 1966. Today, there are approximately 1.6 million Palestinian citizens of Israel, who live as second-class citizens in their own homeland, subject to more than 50 laws that discriminate against them because they are not Jewish.
  • At least two dozen : The number of massacres of Palestinian civilians by Zionist and Israeli forces, which played a crucial role in spurring the mass flight of Palestinians from their homes.
  • Approximately 100 : The number of Palestinian civilians, including women and children, massacred in the town of Deir Yassin on April 9, 1948, by members of the Irgun and Stern Gang, pre-state Zionist terrorist organizations led by future Israeli prime ministers Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, respectively.
  • More than 400 : The number of Palestinian cities and towns systematically destroyed by Israeli forces or repopulated with Jews between 1948 and 1950. Most Palestinian population centers, including homes, businesses, houses of worship, and vibrant urban centers, were demolished to prevent the return of their Palestinian owners, now refugees outside of Israel’s pre-1967 borders, or internally displaced inside of them. (See here for interactive map of Palestinian population centers destroyed during Israel’s creation.)
  • Approximately 4,244,776 : The number of acres of Palestinian land expropriated by Israel during and immediately following its creation in 1948.
  • Between 100 and 200 billion : The total estimated monetary loss of Palestinians dispossessed during Israel’s creation, in current US dollars.