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.

Join the Open Shuhada Street Campaign

February 21, 2017

The Hebron-based Youth Against Settlements has launched its 8th Annual Open Shuhada Street Campaign, which runs February 19-27, 2017.

Shuhada Street, once the main thoroughfare in Hebron has been almost entirely closed to Palestinians since 1994 when American-born Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein opened fire in the Ibrahimi mosque killing 29 in worship and wounding over 100 more.

While Israeli settlers roam freely on the streets and carry arms, Palestinians homes and shops are sealed shut and families must pass through checkpoints to reach their homes. Roads in Hebron are divided in half, one side for Jews, and one side for Muslims, and Palestinians face physical daily attacks by ideologically extreme and violent settlers and soldiers.

The Open Shuhada Street Campaign takes place in Hebron and around the world annually the week of February 25th in commemoration of the anniversary of the Ibrahimi massacre. In Hebron the campaign consists of a week of events culminating in a march that attempts to go down Shuhada Street. Internationally, the 2017 campaign will focus on stopping global financier Goldman Sachs from funneling money to the Hebron Fund.

What you can do to help Open Shuhada Street

Join the international Thunderclap taking place on Friday, February 24.

Sign and share the petition calling on Goldman Sachs to stop funding settlers in Hebron.

Sign and share the petition calling on UN Secretary General António Guterres and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad to pressure Israel to open Shuhada Street.

Like and share posts from the Youth Against Settlements Facebook page to let your social media networks know about what is happening in Hebron.

Follow Youth Against Settlements on Twitter and retweet their posts throughout the campaign using the hashtag #openshuhadast

Share information specifically about the baseless charges against Youth Against Settlements human rights defender Issa Amro. Read about Issa’s case from Amnesty International here and here, and on the Electronic Intifada. Tag @issaamro and use the hashtag #IssaAmro

Plan an action in your city! For campaign materials and additional information, visit the 8th Annual International Open Shuhada Street Campaign page

Additional background information

Read the Mondoweiss article, Why you should join the 8th annual International Open Shuhada Street Campaign

Read the New York Times op-ed, Who’s Afraid of Nonviolence?

Read the Electronic Intifada article, Israel indicts “Palestinian Gandhi” and view the photo essay, Israel’s war on nonviolent resistance in Hebron


NDP leadership contest could shape future Palestine debate

February 9, 2017

tom-mulcair-oct-19-2015

Author Yves Engler has written a new article on how the issue of Palestine could be an important issue in the NDP contest to replace Thomas Mulcair.

Will Conservative party puffery or NDP principle determine Canada’s Palestine policy?

The Conservative party leadership campaign has unleashed pro-Israel puffery, but it is the NDP race that could have greater impact on Canada’s Palestine policy.

Aping Donald Trump, former Conservative minister Kellie Leitch recently asked her Twitter followers to “join me in calling on the Government of Canada to immediately move our embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.” This would likely contravene international law.

For her part, former cabinet minister and fellow leadership candidate Lisa Raitt dubbed the recently passed UN Security Council Resolution (2334) on Palestine “disgusting.” Offering Israel a diplomatic blank cheque, Raitt said her government would make sure Canada’s voice was heard “loud and clear all over the world as Israel’s best friend and ally — no matter what.”

Another former member of cabinet running to be party leader labelled most of the world anti-Semitic. Chris Alexander called Resolution 2334, which passed 14-0 with a U.S. abstention, “yet another round of UN anti-Semitism.”

A Facebook ad for former foreign minister and leadership frontrunner Maxime Bernier was titled “my foreign policy is simple: put Canada first.” It linked to a petition saying, “foreign policy must focus on the security and prosperity of Canadians — not pleasing the dysfunctional United Nations…which for years has disproportionately focused its activities on condemning Israel.” Evidently, putting “Canada first” means advancing Israel’s diplomatic interests.

While “I heart Israel” and “I really heart Israel” bile flows out of Republican Party North, it is the NDP contest that’s more likely to shape the Palestine debate going forward. Since party members rejected leader Thomas Mulcair, who once said “I am an ardent supporter of Israel in all situations and in all circumstances,” the Canadian Jewish News has run an editorial, front-page story and column expressing concern about how the NDP’s leftward shift will impact Israel policy. Read the rest of this entry »


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.

***

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 »