Palestine: Paving the Path from Occupation to Justice

January 16, 2017

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Palestine Solidarity Network is pleased to be part of the University of Alberta International’s International Week 2017, which runs from January 30 – February 5.

PSN-U of A is presenting the following session:

Palestine: Paving the Path from Occupation to Justice
Monday, January 30 (3:00 – 4:30 pm)
Edmonton Clinic Health Academy 1-182
South Corner of 87 Avenue and 114 Street, U of A Campus
(Click here for map)

2017 marks the 50th year of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza. This panel features Palestinian and international solidarity activist voices, who will introduce the reality of the situation in Palestine and explore the various forms of nonviolent resistance that Palestinians and international solidarity activists are undertaking to bring an end to the occupation and ensure a transition to a peaceful co-existence between Palestine and Israel.

About the speakers:

Mohammad Othman (via Skype from Palestine) is a Palestinian non-violent activist, community organizer and film producer with over a decade of experience working for and founding various NGOs across Palestine and traveling around the world speaking on behalf of Palestinian rights. As youth coordinator with the Stop the Wall campaign, Mohammad worked with students all over Palestine leading community building and leadership programs. As a tour guide, his clients have included former American President Jimmy Carter and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Mohammad is now the Executive Director of SkateQilya, 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.

Eoin Murray is an Irish author who lived in Gaza during the Second Intifada. In late 2016, Eoin travelled on his latest trip to Gaza, the West Bank, and Occupied East Jerusalem.

Fatme Elkadry is a first-generation Canadian with familial roots in Safed, Palestine. She is currently studying Human Geography at the University of Alberta and is particularly interested in food deserts and social housing within cities. In her spare time, Fatme enjoys drawing, playing the ukulele, and advocating for Palestinian human rights.

Scott Harris is a member of Palestine Solidarity Network. During Israel’s 2008-09 attack on Gaza (Operation Cast Lead), he volunteered in the West Bank with the International Solidarity Movement.

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We encourage you to check out the other great sessions taking place throughout the week. You can get full session information on the iWeek website or by downloading the program guide. One additional session of note to those interested in Palestine is:

Muslims and the Middle East in a Post- Trump Era
Friday, February 3 (1:00 – 2:30 pm)
Telus Centre Room 134
Corner of 111 Street & 87 Avenue, University of Alberta Campus
(Click here for map)

Featuring Dr. Mojtaba Mahdavi, ECMC Chair in Islamic Studies and the Department of Political Science

What does a Trump presidency mean for the current crisis in the Middle East? Many in the world are anxious to learn about Trump’s policies on Syria, Iraq and ISIS, as well as his plans for addressing the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Iran nuclear deal. This session will shed light on how US President Trump’s policies will affect Muslims around the world, particularly those living in North America.

 


Global security firm G4S sells off bulk of its business in Israel

December 6, 2016

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As reported on bdsmovement.net, the world’s largest security company, G4S, announced last week that it is selling most of its Israeli business after an effective campaign against the company, waged by the Palestinian-led, global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights, caused it “reputational damage.”

“We have succeeded to push one of the world’s largest corporations into selling its key business in Israel,” said Rafeef Ziadah, speaking for the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) . “Our globally coordinated campaign has had a real impact. We will continue campaigning until G4S ends all involvement in violations of Palestinian human rights.”

French multinationals, Veolia and Orange, and Ireland’s largest building materials company, CRH, have all exited the Israeli market since September 2015, mainly as a result of BDS campaigning.

“A domino effect is at play here,” said Ziadah. “Some investment fund managers are recognizing that their fiduciary responsibility obliges them to divest from international and Israeli corporations and banks that are complicit in Israel’s persistent violations of international law.”

G4S is a British security company that helps Israel run prisons where Palestinian political prisoners are held without trial and subjected to torture and ill-treatment. It is also involved in providing equipment and services to Israeli military checkpoints, illegal settlements and to military and police facilities.

The international Stop G4S Campaign has cost the company contracts worth millions of dollars in Europe, the Arab world, South Africa and elsewhere.

G4S’s list of lost clients includes private businesses, universities, trade unions, and UN bodies.

Despite the sale of its subsidiary, G4S will remain directly complicit in Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights through Policity, the flagship national police training centre it co-owns, and the settlement-profiteer Shikun & Binui group.

Israel’s police operates in occupied East Jerusalem, instead of the Israeli military in the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory, serving as the guardian of Israel’s illegal annexation, protecting the illegal settlements, and oppressing the city’s Palestinian population.

The US Campaign for Palestinian Rights also celebrated the victory,  while committing to keep targeting G4S given its ongoing role in Israeli police training and settlement construction in Palestine; guarding the Dakota Access pipeline construction; aiding ICE and Homeland Security with immigrant deportations; running youth detention facilities and providing prison technology as part of the U.S. prison industrial complex; and other repression worldwide, as outlined on the intersectional g4sfacts.org website released by the US Campaign and its partners earlier this year.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network stated:

The announcement is a victory, first and foremost, for the Palestinian prisoners’ movement, whose hunger strikes and other collective struggles inspired years of boycotts and divestments in solidarity. G4S is the world’s second-largest private employer, and was pushed into this action by the mobilization of people’s movements in response to its involvement and complicity in the persecution and torture of Palestinian political prisoners. During the campaign, G4S has lost contracts in the Arab region, South Africa, Latin America, Europe, the United States and elsewhere as a result of its involvement in the imprisonment of Palestinians.


Chomsky, Klein, and dozens more support Green Party BDS stance

November 30, 2016

Elizabeth May

Earlier this week, an open letter signed by over 70 activists, academics, artists, and intellecutals, including Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Bruce Cockburn, Tariq Ali, Gabor Mate, Yann Martel (and PSN) encouraged the Green Party of Canada to maintain its support for economic pressure on Israel for its human rights abuses against Palestinians.

The letter was sent ahead of this weekend’s Special General Meeting being held in Calgary, which will revisit a motion passed at the party’s August General Meeting which calls on the Greens to support a limited form of BDS.

The letter has so far appeared in  the Middle East Monitor, rabble.ca, Ricochet Media, and the Palestine Chronicle. Read the rest of this entry »


Boycott HP Week of Action

November 25, 2016

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The International Boycott HP Network and the Palestinian BDS National Committee are calling for an international week of action against HP over its role in Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land. The Canadian BDS Coalition has endorsed the week of action, which will take place November 25 – December 3 (which includes the UN Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on November 29).

Why Boycott HP?

In Palestine, Hewlett Packard companies provide imaging for Israel’s apartheid checkpoints and ID cards system; enable Israel’s deadly blockade of the Gaza Strip; provide services to illegal Israeli settlements; and manage people for profit in Israeli prisons where torture is systematic. While claiming to uphold values of social responsibility, HP companies are notorious for involvement in oppressive practices worldwide, like providing technology to enable deportations, mass incarceration, and solitary confinement in the United States.

Listen to the voice of Palestinians on why it’s important to Boycott HP:

For more in-depth background on HP’s involvement in the occupation, visit the Boycott HP page on the BDS Movement website, read Technologies of Control: The Case of Hewlett Packard (HP) on whoprofits.net or the profile of HP on Investigate.

What you can do

Sign the international pledge to boycott HP launched by the BNC and the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights.

Join the November 29 Thunderclap to amplify the on-the-ground actions through your social media networks.

RSVP to the HP Boycott Week of Action Facebook event for more updates.


Gaza Calls: Canada Answers

November 7, 2016

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Gaza Calls: Canada Answers
Live Canada-wide video conference with Gaza
Saturday, November 26 (10 am – 1 pm)
Southminster-Steinhauer United Church 
10740 19 Avenue (map)

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

PSN is pleased to be one of the Edmonton sponsors of Canadian Friends of Sabeel‘s Canada-wide live three-hour video-conference on Gaza, with Q&A and opportunities to take collective action.

On Nov 26th, three Palestinians will connect with over a dozen locations across Canada for an in depth discussion on current medical, social, and legal issues in Gaza! The three panelists are:

  • Suhaila Tarazi (director of Al Ahli Arab Hospital, Gaza)
  • Sami El-Yousef (regional director of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association – CNEWA)
  • Raji Sourani (lawyer, recipient of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award and director of Palestinian Centre for Human Rights – Gaza)

Nearly 2 million people in Gaza live in an open air prison, under a severe blockade imposed by the government of Israel. According to a recent UN report, Gaza will be uninhabitable by 2020 if things continue along the current trajectory. Please join us for this vitally important opportunity to hear voices from Gaza.

This is a free event, but donations will be accepted, with all proceeds going medical relief projects in Gaza.

Free parking is available.

Local sponsors:

Edmonton Interfaith Centre
Edmonton Presbytery, United Church of Canada
Garneau United Church
Independent Jewish Voices
Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Alberta
Palestine Solidarity Network
Southminster-Steinhauer United Church

National sponsors:

Anglican Church of Canada
Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA)
Presbyterian Church of Canada
United Church of Canada
United Network for Peace and Justice in Palestine/Israel (UNJPPI)


Why BDS Matters: A Town Hall Discussion

September 26, 2016

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Why BDS Matters: A Town Hall Discussion
Wednesday, October 26 (7:00 – 9:00 pm)
Edmonton Clinic Health Academy (ECHA) Room 2-190
SW corner of 87 Avenue & 114 Street, U of A campus (map)

RSVP and invite your friends on the Facebook event page.

[If you’re in Calgary, here’s the Facebook event page for the October 27 town hall in Calgary]

At its August 2016 convention in Ottawa the Green Party of Canada passed a policy resolution to become the first (and only) party with representation in the House of Commons to publicly support elements of the Palestinian-led call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) to pressure Israel to respect international law, and oppose efforts to “prohibit, punish or otherwise deter expressions of support for BDS.”

The Green Party quickly came under intense pressure from pro-Israeli organizations for its democratic adoption of the resolution. Green Party Leader Elizabeth May reacted by expressing her disagreement with the resolution, firing three members of her shadow cabinet who publicly supported the resolution, and calling a “special general meeting” on December 3-4 in Calgary to revisit, and potentially reverse, the resolution.

This public town hall is an opportunity for students, the general public, members of all political parties, and Green Party members of all perspectives on the resolution to learn more about the reality and aims of the Palestinian-led call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS), why the Green Party resolution is significant, and what can be done to support BDS and the resolution.

The evening will feature presentations by Dimitri Lascaris, former Justice Critic of the Green Party of Canada Shadow Cabinet and author and submitter of the resolution; and Yves Engler, author of the new book, A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Exploitation, followed by ample time for discussion and debate from attendees.

This is a free event, donations are welcome.

Organized by Palestine Solidarity Network and the Campaign to Defend the Green Party of Canada’s BDS Policy.

About the speakers:

Dimitri Lascaris was the author and submitter of the Green Party resolution on “Palestinian Self-Determination and the Movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” and was justice critic in the Green Party of Canada Shadow Cabinet before he was removed in September by leader Elizabeth May.

He graduated from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in 1991, and is a practicing lawyer called to the bars of Ontario, the State of New York, and the Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York. In 2012, Canadian Lawyer Magazine identified Mr. Lascaris as one of the 25 most influential lawyers in Canada, and in 2013, Canadian Business Magazine identified him as one of the 50 most influential people in Canadian business.

Lascaris is Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Unity Project for the Relief of Homelessness, and is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Real News Network, an independent, not-for-profit media organization based in Baltimore, Maryland. He previously served as a Board member of Toronto 350.org.

In the 2015 federal election, he ran as the Green Party candidate in the riding of London West.

Yves Engler, the former vice-president of the Concordia Student Union, is a Montréal-based activist and author. the former vice-president of the Concordia Student Union, is a Montréal-based activist and author. He is the author of the recently released book A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Exploitation, and has published eight other books including The Ugly Canadian: Stephen Harper’s Foreign Policy, The Black Book of Canadian Foreign Policy (Shortlisted for the Mavis Gallant Prize for Non Fiction in the Quebec Writers’ Federation Literary Awards), and Canada and Israel: Building Apartheid.

Chris Alders is a former broadcaster, journalist, publisher and professional political organizer. He is currently a Senior Policy Adviser to a company in Calgary. A native of Nova Scotia, Chris holds three degrees in political science, two undergraduate from Acadia University and a graduate degree from Brock University. His research has focused on political leadership and democracy. He is a former Atlantic Canada Organizer for the Green Party of Canada and has participated in 37 campaigns with the Green Party vote going up 36 times. In the summer of 2015, he was a finalist for the position of Campaign Manager of Jill Stein for President. He has been a member of the Green Party of Canada since 2004.

Getting there:

The Edmonton Clinic Health Academy (ECHA) is located on the southwest corner of 87 Avenue and 114 Street on the University of Alberta campus (map). ECHA is adjacent to the Jubliee Auditorium.

The building’s north entrance is closest to Room 2-190.

Parking

Parking is available at the Jubilee car park (map) and just across the street on the northeast corner of 87 Avenue and 114 Street the Education car park (map).

Transit

Take the LRT to the Health Sciences Centre Station, which is located just south of ECHA or take Edmonton transit to the 114 Street and 89 Avenue stop of the University of Alberta bus loop (map) and walk just south to ECHA.

Bike

Ample bicycle parking is located near the north entrance of ECHA.


Open Bethlehem Film Screening

September 7, 2016

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Open Bethlehem
Film screening and Q&A with Director Leila Sansour and Executive Producer Wael Kabbani
Tuesday, September 27 (7:00-9:00 pm)
Education Centre South, Room 129
87 Avenue & 113 Street, U of A campus (map)

RSVP and invite your friends on the Facebook event page.

PSN is pleased to co-sponsor with Development and Peace the Edmonton premiere of Open Bethlehem as part of the Edmonton Peace Festival.

Following the screening, there will be a Q&A with Director Leila Sansour and Executive Producer Wael Kabbani, followed by a discussion and an informal reception.

Everyone is welcome, admission by donation.

About the film

Film director Leila Sansour returns to Bethlehem to make a film about her home town, soon to be encircled by a wall. Armed with her camera and a dilapidated family car that keeps breaking down, Leila plans to make an epic film about a legendary town in crisis but just few months into filming her life and the film take an unexpected turn when cousin Carol, Leila’s last relative in town, persuades her to stay to start a campaign to save the city.

Open Bethlehem is a story of a homecoming to the world’s most famous little town. The film spans seven momentous years in the life of Bethlehem, revealing a city of astonishing beauty and political strife under occupation. The film draws from 700 hours of original footage and some rare archive material.

While telling a personal story, the film charts the creation of a campaign to compel international action to bring peace to the Middle East.