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


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.

 


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.


Sharing Tea Amidst Conflict

June 15, 2016

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Amnesty International Edmonton is hosting an event focused on Palestine/Israel at its upcoming general meeting, which is open to the public:

Sharing Tea Amidst Conflict
Tuesday, June 21 (7:00 pm)

McKernan Community Hall 
11341 78 Avenue (map)

How can there be peace in Israel and Palestine? Can you have peace without justice? Is a two state solution even possible? These questions stirred Debbie Hubbard and Dean Reidt to volunteer to serve for three months as human rights observers in the occupied territories of Palestine. The answers to those questions became clearer as they worked along side Palestinian and Israeli activists from October 2014 to January 2015 in East Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

They will be sharing stories of their experiences and some of the reality on the ground that they witnessed.

In the words of the late Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe “until lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.” This is an opportunity to hear the story from a perspective that is often not shared in the Canadian media.

This even is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Kirk Starkie at kirk.starkie@gmail.com


The Nakba at 68

May 15, 2016

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On May 15, 2016 Palestinians worldwide will mark 68 years since 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.

Here are some resources to help you learn about the Nakba:

Visualizing Palestine has created an interactive map showing 143 years of colonization and 68 years of the Nakba.

Read Lessons on the Anniversary of the Nakba on The Palestine Chronicle.

The Institute for Middle East Understanding has updated its page of quick facts on the Nakba.

Read Ghada Ageel’s excellent article from last year’s commemoration, “The Nakba 67 years on: Holding tight to our long postponed dreams.”

Visualizing Palestine has created an interactive tool to show Palestine shrinking and Israel expanding since 1948.

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:

Here are some key facts and figures about the Nakba from the Institute for Middle East Understanding:

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 May 15, 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.

 


March 23 IAW 2016 Event

March 23, 2016

The Wanted 18
Film Screening
Wednesday, March 23 (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.

It’s 1987, and the first Palestinian Intifada (uprising) against the Israeli occupation is spreading across the West Bank.

Residents of the village of Beit Sahour want local alternatives to Israeli goods, including milk, which they’ve been buying from an Israeli company. Activists in the town decide to create a co-operative dairy farm, and purchase 18 cows from an Israeli kibbutz and transport them to the West Bank.

And so begins the strange story of the 18 cows.

After some trial and error, the newly minted “lactivists” succeed, the population comes to depend on the “Intifada milk,” and the cows become a symbol of freedom and resistance. But soon the illegal cows, cherished by the Palestinians, were being sought by the Israeli army and declared “a threat to the State of Israel.”

Will the Wanted 18 live to milk another day?

With humour and passion, this film captures the spirit of the First Intifada through the personal experiences of those who lived it. Acclaimed Palestinian artist Amer Shomali illustrated The Wanted 18 and co-directed it with veteran Canadian filmmaker Paul Cowan, combining stop-motion animation, interviews, drawings and archival material to bring to life one of the strangest chapters in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Poignant and thought-provoking, humorous and serious, it shows the power of grassroots activism, peaceful resistance and courage.

National Film Board of Canada, 2014, 75 minutes


Getting There

Education Centre South is located on 87 Avenue at 113 Street on the University of Alberta campus (map).

Parking

Parking is available the Education car park (map), located just west of Education South on the northeast corner of 87 Avenue and 114 Street.

Transit

Take the LRT or Edmonton transit to the University Station and walk one block south to Education Centre south (map).

Cycling

Ample bicycle parking is located near the east entrance of Education Centre South.


Edmonton Israeli Apartheid Week 2016

March 3, 2016

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MARCH 21 – 24, 2016 ** ALL EVENTS FREE **

Palestine Solidarity Network presents a week of presentations, film screenings, and panel discussions in solidarity with Palestinian resistance to Israeli apartheid policies, and to raise awareness about the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

All IAW 2016 events are open to everyone, and are free of charge. Directions on how to get to the venues is below.

Edmonton IAW 2016 is organized by Palestine Solidarity Network with support from Independent Jewish Voices-Alberta, the Edmonton Coalition Against War and Racism (ECAWAR), and the Alberta Public Interest Research Group (APIRG).

For information about Israeli Apartheid Week events around the world, visit apartheidweek.org.

MONDAY, MARCH 21

Apartheid in Palestine
Featuring Dr. Ghada Ageel
Monday, March 21 (7:00 – 9:00 pm)
Edmonton Clinic Health Academy (ECHA) Room 1-190
SW corner of 87 Avenue & 114 Street, U of A campus (map)

RSVP and invite your friends on the Facebook event page.

Despite its use by former US Presidents, South African activists, and even Israeli government officials to describe the situation faced by Palestinians living in Gaza, the West Bank, Occupied East Jerusalem and Israel proper (’48 Palestinians), the term “Israeli apartheid” is still routinely attacked as an unfair framing of the conflict.

Based on her newly released book, Apartheid in Palestine: Hard Laws and Harder Experiences, Dr. Ghada Ageel will look at the use of the term apartheid to describe the Palestinian experience under occupation, looking at both the analogy to South African apartheid and the formal definition of apartheid as enshrined in international law.

Dr. Ghada Ageel is a Visiting Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta and a columnist for the Middle East Eye, an online news portal based in London, England. A third-generation Palestinian refugee, Ghada was born and raised in the Khan Younis Refugee Camp in the Gaza Strip. She holds a PhD and MA in Middle East Politics from the University of Exeter and a BA in Education from the Islamic University of Gaza.

She is the contributing editor to the new book Apartheid In Palestine: Hard Laws and Harder Experiences, published in January by the University of Alberta Press. Dr. Ageel’s work has also been widely published in numerous newspapers, magazines and journals worldwide, including The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Hill, CNN, BBC, The Guardian, The Journal for Palestine Studies, Palestine Chronicle, and many Arabic newspapers throughout the Middle East.


TUESDAY, MARCH 22

Witnessing Apartheid: Activist Experiences in Palestine
Featuring Eoin Murray, Dawn Waring, and Carmen Jarrah
Tuesday, March 22 (7:00 – 9:00 pm)
Edmonton Clinic Health Academy (ECHA) Room 1-190
SW corner of 87 Avenue & 114 Street, U of A campus (map)

RSVP and invite your friends on the Facebook event page.

The reality of the Palestinian experience of Israeli apartheid is seen by most Canadians through the lens of mainstream media coverage and, increasingly, hasbara-driven misrepresentations of the situation in Palestine/Israel. Experiencing the plight of Palestinians first-hand offers an entirely different – and much more realistic – understanding of the conflict.

This panel will feature the voices, experiences, and reflections of three Edmonton activists – Eoin Murray, Dawn Waring, and Carmen Jarrah – who have recently returned from their own individual visits to Gaza, the West Bank, and Occupied East Jerusalem.

Carmen Taha Jarrah is a local writer who retired recently from a 35-year career writing and editing professional communications for government. She is a peace activist, local and international volunteer and has travelled widely in the Middle East, including making multiple visits to Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories.

She is the author of the book, Smuggled Stories from the Holy Land, which was published last March, and based on her experiences as a member of the Arab Jewish Women’s Peace Coalition from Edmonton and as a volunteer picking olives for Palestinians.

Dawn Waring has been to Palestine and Israel numerous times, including co-leading exposure trips to the region in 2009 and 2012. With the support of the United Church of Canada, in mid-December she returned from her third three-month term with the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (2012, 2013, and 2015). She is a committed activist for peace with justice.

Eoin Murray is an Irish author who lived in Gaza during the Second Intifada. He recently returned from his latest trip to both Gaza, the West Bank, and Occupied East Jerusalem.


WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23

The Wanted 18
Film Screening
Wednesday, March 23 (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.

It’s 1987, and the first Palestinian Intifada (uprising) against the Israeli occupation is spreading across the West Bank.

Residents of the village of Beit Sahour want local alternatives to Israeli goods, including milk, which they’ve been buying from an Israeli company. Activists in the town decide to create a co-operative dairy farm, and purchase 18 cows from an Israeli kibbutz and transport them to the West Bank.

And so begins the strange story of the 18 cows.

After some trial and error, the newly minted “lactivists” succeed, the population comes to depend on the “Intifada milk,” and the cows become a symbol of freedom and resistance. But soon the illegal cows, cherished by the Palestinians, were being sought by the Israeli army and declared “a threat to the State of Israel.”

Will the Wanted 18 live to milk another day?

With humour and passion, this film captures the spirit of the First Intifada through the personal experiences of those who lived it. Acclaimed Palestinian artist Amer Shomali illustrated The Wanted 18 and co-directed it with veteran Canadian filmmaker Paul Cowan, combining stop-motion animation, interviews, drawings and archival material to bring to life one of the strangest chapters in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Poignant and thought-provoking, humorous and serious, it shows the power of grassroots activism, peaceful resistance and courage.

National Film Board of Canada, 2014, 75 minutes


THURSDAY, MARCH 24

BDS, Dissidence, and the Fight for Free Speech
Featuring Nisha Nath and Dax D’Orazio
Thursday, March 24 (7:00 – 9:00 pm)
Edmonton Clinic Health Academy (ECHA) Room 1-190
SW corner of 87 Avenue & 114 Street, U of A campus (map)

RSVP and invite your friends on the Facebook event page.

On February 22 the Parliament of Canada passed by a margin of 229-51 (with 57 absences or abstentions) a Conservative motion to “reject the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement” and “call upon the government to condemn any and all attempts by Canadian organizations, groups or individuals to promote the BDS movement, both here at home and abroad.”

The motion was the just the latest in a string of international moves aimed at slowing the rapid growth of support for the global Palestinian-led BDS movement. More than two dozen nation, state, or local laws against BDS have been put forward in the United States since 2015, the UK recently banned publicly funded institutions from participating in BDS, and Israel itself has had an anti-BDS law in place since 2011.

But these official moves are just the most recent attack on free speech related to BDS. For years, BDS campaigns by Palestinian solidarity activists on university campuses have been stifled or silenced by anti-boycott campaigns.

This panel will explore the aims of the BDS movement, official reactions to it, the relevance of the anti-BDS backlash in the context of increasingly neoliberal and militarized spheres of power, and what the implications are for broader movements of marginalized/oppressed/dissident people’s movements and free speech.

* While PSN cannot provide childcare for this event, this event is child inclusive so children of all ages are welcome in the room during the panel.

Nisha Nath is a long-time supporter of Palestine Solidarity Network-Edmonton and is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta. Nisha is also a contributing editor with Voices-voix and the Dissent, Democracy and the Law Research Network. Her research looks at race, security, dissent and citizenship in Canada.

Dax D’Orazio is former member of Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) at Carleton University in Ottawa, which campaigned for the university to divest its pension fund from four companies complicit in human rights violations in Palestine. He is now a PhD student in the Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta.


GETTING THERE

For events on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday: 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 1-190.

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.

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.

Cycling

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

For Wednesday‘s event: Education Centre South is located on 87 Avenue at 113 Street on the University of Alberta campus (map).

Parking

Parking is available the Education car park (map), located just west of Education South on the northeast corner of 87 Avenue and 114 Street.

Transit

Take the LRT or Edmonton transit to the University Station and walk one block south to Education Centre south (map).

Cycling

Ample bicycle parking is located near the east entrance of Education Centre South.