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CHICAGO: CPTers join protest calling for living wage, racial equality


Activists from Chicago and all across the United States held protests calling for a fair, fifteen-dollar national minimum wage on Tuesday, November 10.  

But for those at the protest, the low wages that keep many families in poverty is just one component of the structural racism within the United States.  

"This isn't just about money. This is about justice. This is about the black community. The brown community," said one of the protesters that asked not to be named. "This is about black lives, about police brutality, and about Rekia."  

Rekia Boyd was a twenty-year-old whom police officer Dante Servin shot and killed three years ago.  The protesters marched and demanded that Dante Servin face justice. 

Members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams Palestine team showed up in solidarity for the protest.   Currently in Hebron, dozens of people have died at the hand of the Israeli military in what Amnesty International has termed “extrajudicial executions.” Israeli leaders currently serving in the government speak of Palestinians and other non-Jews inegregiously racist terms, justifying violence against them. 

"We came out today because CPT understands that violence is rooted in oppression and that through our work we have to work on all forms of oppressions including an unfair wage that is rooted racism," said field worker Cody O'Rourke. "And it is through this coalition building that we have witnessed tangible changes being made across the movement that is calling for justice across Israel/Palestine."  

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): The stench of Occupation -- Israeli military uses Skunk water against children

Israeli forces sprayed skunk water on children, homes and streets in the Qitoun neighbourhood of Hebron on two school days in the first week of November. On one of those days, a Hebron settler arrived shortly before the event, prepared to film this foul smelling act of repression. See videos here and here, and photos here.

Odortec, the Israeli company that created skunk water, advertises that “the overpowering odour of the Skunk drives rioters away” and that it “can be sprayed over a large area using a standard water cannon.” Bizarrely, Odortec even claims that this vomit-inducing substance, which smells of a mixture of decomposing animal carcass and raw sewage, is “100% eco-friendly,” “organic,” and “perfectly safe to consume.”

Regardless of whether or not skunk water is indeed “perfectly safe to consume,” The Israeli military’s use of it implies that they view Palestinian schoolchildren as ‘rioters.’

This policy of ‘driving’ Palestinians schoolchildren away is also made clear in the Israeli military’s relentless use of teargas at school time, shown in these videos here and here, shot in the same week as the video links above.

The Israeli state stands by the ‘morality’ of skunk water, legitimising its use as ‘non-lethal crowd control,’ supposedly minimizing “the necessity for the use of live ammunition.”

However, when did it become ‘normal’ for soldiers to regard children heading to school school as a crowd for controlling? In what other context does a state that is purportedly democratic celebrate not using live ammunition on children walking to school?

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): “Come out Hebron!” A CPT delegate reflects on her experience in Hebron


Palestinians waiting to go through Ibrahimi Mosque 

As we are coming out of the Ibrahimi mosque where the tombs of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob and Leah are located, two young Palestinian women from Abu Dis were coming to pray. An Israeli soldier pointed a gun at one of the girl’s heads and she said “Don’t shoot me! Don’t shoot me!” Muslim guards intervened and the Border Police arrested them for interference. They also arrested the young women, tying their hands behind their back and blindfolding them. 

 Arrested for wanting to pray. Our Palestinian guide says, “It is bad when we are thankful for two girls being arrested, because at least they have not been killed.” We are told we cannot go back through the checkpoint where all this is going on. The IDF does not want us to see them arresting innocent young women. 

Just as Lazarus came out of the tomb with his grave clothes still on, the Palestinians of Hebron need the tight bands of military occupation and settler violence removed.  Israeli soldiers and settlers are murdering them and the victims are mostly young people.  One of CPT’s longest friends and partners died of tear gas inhalation two weeks ago.  The settlers rampage through Palestinian homes and shops.  They beat Palestinians and kill them with no consequences.   

Prayers for Peacemakers, November 4, 2015

Prayers for Peacemakers, November 4, 2015 

Give thanks for the ten new Peacemakers who have successfully completed the 2015 Christian Peacemaker Teams training.  Pray that the Creator will work within them to give them the strength and courage they will need to do the difficult and rewarding work of peacebuilding with our partners in Colombia, Iraqi Kurdistan, Palestine and Indigenous communities.

CHICAGO:CPT trainees join coordinated witnesses against state brutality in Chicago and Palestine


Black Youth Project 100 leader Charlene Carruthers
(center, seated) reminds her comrades that they are 
there because the Chicago mayor wants to allocate an
additional $200 million to the Chicago Police Dept. 

Where does the money go? This question was just one of the the common themes in the coordinated actions of the Chicago chapters of Black Lives Matter and Jewish Voice for Peace coordinated on the weekend of 24-25 October 2015.  CPTers in the middle of a month long training attended the events, employing their public witness, human rights documentation, and nonviolent direct action support skills. Other CPTers from the administrative team and field teams also participated. 

On 24 October marches to stop police brutality rocked the entire United States, making visible the lives stolen by state violence (one African-American dies every 28 hours at the hands of police or Correctional Officer in the US).  In Chicago, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) met at the convention center. Mayor Rahm Emanuel had invited them to learn from Chicago Police Department (CPD).  The CPD is notorious for corruption; recently victims of systemic Chicago police torture won a precedent-setting reparations payout. 

Prayers for Peacemakers, October 23, 2015

Prayers for Peacemakers, October 23, 2015

Pray for the people of Palestine and Israel, especially for the truth-tellers, human rights defenders and peacemakers who are under assault by the forces of the Israeli military occupation.

*Epixel for Sunday, October 25, 2015 

Hebron settler posters calling for violence against human rights activists
Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD rescues them from them all.
He keeps all their bones; not one of them will be broken.
Evil brings death to the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
The LORD redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.
Psalm 34:19-22
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing  with a text  from the upcoming Sunday's 
Revised Common Lectionary readings.

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Bloody Saturday—the Occupation murders three young people and arrests me for taking an Instagram photo.

sraeli forces and a settler shot dead three Palestinian young people on the streets of Hebron on Saturday 17 October 2015: Bayan Ayman Abd al-Hadi al-Esseili, 17, Fadil Qawasmi, 18, and Tariq Ziyad al-Natshe, 20.  And I was arrested for taking an Instagram photo two weeks earlier.

With three youth killed  and settlers literally celebrating in the blood of Fadil Qawasmi, executed by a settler, it is perhaps little surprise that those with cameras slung over shoulders are increasingly coming under threat.

Israeli forces and a settler shot dead three Palestinian young people on the streets of Hebron on Saturday 17 October 2015: Bayan Ayman Abd al-Hadi al-Esseili, 17, Fadil Qawasmi, 18, and Tariq Ziyad al-Natshe, 20.  And I was arrested for taking an Instagram photo two weeks earlier.

With three youth killed  and settlers literally celebrating in the blood of Fadil Qawasmi, executed by a settler, it is perhaps little surprise that those with cameras slung over shoulders are increasingly coming under threat.

Sitting in a cold room for hours, without access to a lawyer, I watched my beloved camera slammed on a table. Meanwhile, authorities at the base told my colleague I was not there. One of my photos, I was told, rendered me a threat to the ‘security of Israel.’

An Instagram photo? Me? A threat to one of the most powerful states in the world? The threat here? The truth.

Cameras indicate that – Occupation – we are watching you, we are documenting you, we are here, and we see you. We see Palestinian blood running on occupied streets in Hebron. Indeed, I dropped my camera lens cap in Hadeel Hashlamoun’s a few weeks earlier.

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): A week in photos 8-14 October 2015


Ambushed and Arrested 

Pictured here: Omar, aged 12, was one of two boys ambushed by Israeli border police and arrested for stone-throwing. Soldiers roughly handled them and dragged the boys to the police station, who were crying and pleading the whole way.  Soldiers would not allow CPTers to take the boys names so they could notify their families. Their mothers eventually arrived, and one of them rode with the boys when they were transferred to another police station. Police released them after a couple hours, and CPTers were informed that one of them was slapped around by the Border Police. 

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): No safety for Palestinian children walking to school in Hebron

In the first ten days of October, Israeli forces fired more than 143 teargas canisters, as Palestinian children walked to and from school, as well as five stun grenades, from two military checkpoints (approximately 0.3 miles apart) in the H2 section of Hebron. On two of those ten days, Israeli forces also fired rubber-coated steel bullets into a crowd of children (one killed 13 year-old Ahmad Sharaka near Ramallah this week). Two Palestinian children in this area were hospitalised as a result of excessive teargas inhalation on their walk to school on 12.10.15.

In the past week, Israeli forces ambushed and arrested two boys aged 11 and 12 after school on 13.10.15 (see video and full account here). Article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, states that child arrest is in clear violation of human rights law. 

The presence of school children does nothing to deter the Israeli military from this relentless use of teargas, stun grenades, rubber-coated steel bullets, detention and arrest.  They are entirely preoccupied with a collection of those children, occupied, harassed and humiliated their entire lives, throwing stones at the heavily armed grown men occupying checkpoints and rooftops.