Archive

June 23rd, 2014

SOUTH HEBRON HILLS: Pressure on Firing Zone 918 residents continues



On 15 May 2014, Israeli courts extended the mediation process between the Israeli army and the villages within Firing Zone 918 for another threemonths.  The Israeli army wants to use this area for training.  Israeli, Palestinian and international human rights organizations have condemned its bid to expel the villagers a violation of international law, which forbids forced transfer of the indigenous population of an occupied territory unless the occupying power is safeguarding them from an immediate danger.

During the previous period of mediation, the court allowed rehabilitation of damage done by storms, as well as access to the area by international humanitarian organizations.  As a result, some development was possible in the area, specifically to the schools in al-Fakheit and Jinba.  At the same time, as revealed in an article published on Ha'aretz, army officials admitted using firing zones as a way to deter the growth of Palestinian communities in Area C and to expel Palestinians from where they have lived since before the occupation of the West Bank in 1967.

Since 8 June, the Israeli military has conducted exercises in close proximity to, and on one occasion, inside the village of Jinba.  Some weeks before, the army drove armored vehicles over Palestinian fields close to Jinba and Mirkez, damaging their harvest.

June 21st

COLOMBIA REFLECTION: I too am a woman

Increasingly, in our Colombian context, the terms “gender equality,” “women’s rights,” and “women in leadership” are being discussed, trampled on, and fought for.

Gender is a touchy subject.  No one wants to be called a sexist or machista.  Women are timidly and boldly stepping forward, and men are shuffling aside, abashed and apologizing as they tiptoe aimlessly around the stage.

CPT welcomes these spaces of dialogue because even through tears and frustrations, we hope to continue listening and learning along our journey for justice.  So we were very excited CAHUCOPANA asked us to accompany its members to Dos Quebradas for the First Regional Meeting of Women from Northeastern Antioquia: “For the Defence of Land and Dignity” 30-31 May 2014.

I was grateful to take part in sessions about unsung women heroines in Colombia’s history and panels with the women leading today’s agricultural movement, as well as a citizen’s workshop where the women of Northeastern Antioquia defined what peace meant to them.  The workshop led to the construction of a political declaration in which these women envisioned alternatives for ending the social violence and military conflict by transforming economical, social, and cultural norms and by creating space for women as political actors.  But the moment that had the most impact for me was an evening fireside conversation around apple sugar cane tea.

June 20th

IRAQI KURDISTAN: Update from the Christian Peacemaker Team in Sulaimani

In the face of the recent violence in Iraq, the CPT Iraqi Kurdistan project is doing well.  CPTers are maintaining a presence there and have been able to accompany and support Kurdish efforts for justice and peace. 

The violence that started in the north of the country was not located in the Kurdish region.  From the border between the autonomous region of Kurdistan and the rest of Iraq, the militant ISIS group has moved down towards Baghdad.  See Isis road to Baghdad.

Kurdish military forces are located at the border with Iraq to contend with any possible violence against the Kurdish region.  In addition, they took the control of Kirkuk—a city of great emotional and political significance to the Kurds.  There are many analyses of how this violence will affect or not affect the Kurdistan, but nothing is clear at this point.  It is clear also that the are many powerful interests behind what is happening in Iraq and what could be the future of the country: One state?  Three states?

But the major concern for the people in Iraqi Kurdistan is the massive influx of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) from the south.  An estimated 500, 000 people fled last week towards Kurdistan—considered the safest place in the country right now. 

The possibility of a U.S. attack, invasion, or support? The role of Iran and Turkey?  What will happen in Kurdistan?  Time will tell. 

The CPT Kurdistan team will continue monitoring the situation and evaluating possible courses of action in conjunction with their partners and advisers in Sulaimani, in case the safety of the region and the city where CPT is located changes. 

Meanwhile, our team hopes to continue supporting Kurdish partners in peacebuilding efforts.  The expected humanitarian crisis—given the number of refugees from Syria and IDPs from within Iraq—will almost certainly take a part of our attention, as it will knock the doors of the CPT project. 

 




Iraqi Kurdistan team with CPT trainees during training session in Sulameini February-March 2014

June 19th

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Hijacking a kidnapping, Part II

The public so far knows very little outside of the alleged time that Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel, and Eyal Yifrach were kidnapped.  But what we do know is the absolute mayhem the Israeli military has spread throughout the Hebron district among innocent families.  Additionally, routine night raids, day patrols, confiscation of public property for military outposts, and the blockades on all but two access points into Hebron have suffocated the livelihood of Hebronites…

On 15 June at around 9:30 p.m., an Israeli raid on a Palestinian home ended with a seven-year-old Palestinian boy hospitalized after the Israeli military used an explosive device to blow open the front door of the Akram Al Qawasmeh home.  The subsequent powerful blast shattered the tempered reinforced glass, shearing off the decorative steel and sending pieces of shrapnel into all corners of the home, which severely injured Akram Al Qawasmeh’s son.

After the explosion, Israeli soldiers did not allow Akram Al Qawasmeh to see his son, and according to reports, the military initially stopped medical personal from treating the victim.  CPT arrived the following day and found a home turned upside down. (See video below.)  Children’s belongings were spread and broken around the house.  Israeli soldiers demolished the kitchen, smashing fruits, vegetables, and other food items on the floor, and left feces on a rug in the basement.

June 18th

Prayers for Peacemakers, June 18, 2014

Prayers for Peacemakers, June 18, 2014

The Iraqi Kurdistan team writes, “As violent struggles continue for control of key Iraqi cities, Kurdistan focuses on power and security. With the conflict unfolding, and our work with partners locked in land struggles with oil companies continuing, your support and prayers are appreciated for our team and for peace for the Iraqi and Kurdish people.”

 

Epixel for June 22, 2014


With your faithful help rescue me from sinking in the mire;
let me be delivered from my enemies and from the deep
waters. Do not let the flood sweep over me, or the deep
swallow me up, or the Pit close its mouth over me.

Psalm 69:13-15

*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing with a text from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.

June 17th

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Hijacking a kidnapping, Part I


As the families of Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel, and Eyal Yifrach languish in uncertainty, grieving the disappearance of their three young boys, the world watches as their anguish is politically co-opted to provide a veil for indiscriminate Israeli military force imposed on the Palestinian communities in the West Bank.  The kidnappings also provide an opportunity for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to advance his right-wing agenda.

Netanyahu and his ilk have hijacked the legitimate, raw emotional pain of the kidnapping catastrophe and transformed it into the political impetus to section off Hebron from the rest of the world, target the Palestinian unity government, deploy intimidation and systematic abuse as a measurement of collective punishment, and strategically empower the settler enterprise in the West Bank.

June 16th

COLOMBIA POEM/VIDEO: What's your story?

 

 

¿Cuál es tu historia? from CPT/ECAP Colombia on Vimeo.

on Vimeo.

 

1

Where are you coming from, my brother?

Who took away your land and sent the police after you?

Hasn’t the pain left a wound,

Or have you left your soul on your land?

2

Isn’t it enough to be a repressed woman

who has dedicated herself to harvesting pain?

You are a victim of killer bullets,

shots from the thugs of this terrible oligarchy.

June 14th



EUROPE: Decision to open summer project in Greece arises out of fourth European Convergence

in:

 




A European Convergence tradition: pointing at the camera

European Convergences are special events, because we are spread out so thinly across political borders, have many different mother languages—English, Dutch, German, Swedish, Italian, Czech, Persian etc—and it’s important for us to hear each other’s stories and make plans for our communal witness. For this fourth convergence 23-27 April 2014, we met in the Dutch town of Aalsmeer, next door to the international Amsterdam airport.

This convergence was especially significant, because we decided it was time for us to act together against injustice at our own doorstep.  European governments are halting on land and sea the constant stream of refugees from the Middle East and Africa in contravention of the right of endangered persons to seek asylum.  The result is drownings, unjust deportations, long prison sentences and—lurking behind it all—an oppressive racism.

At the convergence, we heard the reports of two fact-finding missions to the Greek island of Lesbos, a mere ten km (six miles) from the Turkish coast. A local Orthodox monastery and several human rights groups described their work with these refugees, who are often washed up on shore in damp, salty clothes.  Those refugees who are not retained in detention are left to suffer at the hands of right-wing youths and indiscriminate police violence in cities like Athens.

June 11th

Prayers for Peacemakers June 10, 2014

Prayers for Peacemakers June 10, 2014

Pray for the Abu Haikels and all the families on Tel Rumeida, in Hebron who are losing land to settlement expansion in the form of an archeological dig and facing increased harassment from settlers.

See AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): The Abu Haikel family—a story of resistance.




Arwa (top left) and Faryel Abu Haikal climb onto their land to halt the demolition of their
property from the Israeli Antiquity Authority, hoping to enforce a police order previously
issued.

June 9th

JERUSALEM: The case of Rachel Corrie

 
 photo Ashraf Amra
 Craig and Cindy Corrie

[Note: This release was adapted for CPTnet from a longer piece on the Palestine team’s blog.  The Christian Peacemaker Team in Hebron provided nonviolence training for Rachel Corrie and Tom Hurndall, another International Solidarity Movement (ISM) activist killed by the Israeli military, when they entered the country along with waves of other ISM activists during the early years of the Second Intifada.]

More than a decade after an Israeli military bulldozer crushed Rachel Corrie to death in Rafah, Gaza, her parents Craig and Cindy Corrie found themselves in the halls of the Supreme Court of Israel on 21 May 2014.  The Corries were appealing a verdict handed down in 2013 by Judge Oded Gershon of the Haifa District Court.

Gershon ruled that Corrie was responsible for her own death by entering Gaza during a time of conflict.  “While not surprising, the verdict is yet another example of impunity prevailing over accountability and fairness and it flies in the face of the fundamental principle of international humanitarian law—that in a time of war, military forces are obligated to take all measures to avoid harm to both civilians and their property,” said Attorney Hussein Abu Hussein, the Corries’ attorney at the Haifa hearing in 2013.