Archive

April 2nd, 2014

IRAQI KURDISTAN: Participants in Iraqi Kurdistan training reflect on their five weeks

We knew that the first training in Iraqi Kurdistan would be special not only because of the setting but also because we were training local partners to become official members of the organization.  In addition, we had trainees and trainers from Poland, the Czech Republic, Germany, Sweden, Colombia, and Canada, which created a multicultural atmosphere for the five weeks from 22 February to 29 March 2014 we were together.

The trainees helped to create a video portraying their experiences https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AH7sF4kx5u0
This training was an important step in changing how training is done in CPT. Training and including local peacemakers is a crucial part of our work - please, consider supporting this training and future local trainings by making a donation!

April 1st

SOUTH HEBRON HILLS: Settlers force shepherds off grazing land near Qawawis; break solar panels in Bir al ‘Idd




Settlers direct soldiers to chase Palestinian
shepherds away from livestock well near
Qawaw

On 23 March in the South Hebron Hills, settlers from Mitzpe Yair outpost forced shepherds off grazing land near the village of Qawawis.  The settlers came out above where the shepherds were grazing their flock, below the settlement of Mitzpe Yair, then called soldiers who came down and forced the shepherds to leave a livestock well, saying that the area was closed to both Palestinians and settlers.

After the soldiers left, the same settlers chased the shepherds and their flock down the valley, shouting at the sheep and goats.  They continued to chase the shepherds from valley to valley for the rest of the day, following them almost all the way back to the village of Qawawis. 

March 31st

IRAQI KURDISTAN: Iraqi Kurdistan trainees undertake public witness on behalf of Plowshares activists

From 9-11 March, participants in Christian Peacemaker Team’s Iraqi Kurdistan training planned and participated in a demonstration on behalf of Megan Rice, Michael R. Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed, three American peacemakers  imprisoned because of their nonviolent action at the Y-12 Oakridge Tennessee Highly-Enriched Uranium Manufacturing Facility.

On 28 July 2012 Rice, Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed, unimpeded by security, crossed four fences and walked for two hours in the area before the guards found them.  They splashed human blood on the walls and spray painted peace messages.  While waiting for the facility security, they picnicked, and when the guards arrived, they offered to share bread with them.  For this action, which exposed to the world the threat of the nuclear weapons, the peacemakers received sentences of five (Walli and Boertje-Obed) and three (Rice) years in prison.

To mirror the Plowshares’ action, the trainees agreed, “Let’s make a picnic.  If it is possible to make a picnic at a nuclear facility, it should be also possible to do one on the sidewalk outside the US consulate in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan."  After preparations going far into the night, and four-hour early morning drive, the group of eight (trainees, trainers and a support person) arrived with a picnic carpet, apples, leaflets, photos of the prisoners, cookies tagged with internet links, and banners stating: “Being a peacemaker is NOT a crime” and “Thank them, don’t punish them.”

March 28th

THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS: CPTers arrested at The Hague Nuclear Security summit—report by Maarten van der Werf

On 24 March 2014, CPTer Maarten van der Werf, along with Cocky de Graaf and Jet Visser, who had participated in CPT delegations to Palestine, were part of an effort by Dutch peace organizations and the Amsterdam Catholic Worker to hand-deliver a message to world leaders attending the nuclear summit at The Hague.  The message, according to van der Werf, was essentially this: “The commitment to nuclear disarmament is a better way to achieve nuclear security than enhancing the protection of present nuclear installations.”… Van der Werf wrote later of the experience,

We were arrested after diverting from the compulsory path to a field where we were allowed to demonstrate.  We, however, were not demonstrating, we were going to hand deliver a letter to the world leaders!  After 150 meters, we were met by an overpowering crowd of regular police and military police.  An estimated sixty participants were arrested.  We received fines or [orders to appear in court.]

I sat the full six hours [the maximum allowed] in a cell of one by two meters without any windows or outside light coming in.  It was an experience of complete loss of control over my situation.  It was very boring as well, so [it was a good time to reflect and I had some of the following thoughts]:

Our experience and the topic of the summit are all about security.  Security and overreaction have to do with fear.

We were mostly people over sixty who also participated in the actions against cruise missiles beginning in the 1980s.  B-61 bombs are still here and will be modernized (the nuclear part as well as new tailpieces to make them GPS guided bombs).  Business for Boeing!

The summit was about terrorists.  Can we trust ourselves with a nuclear arsenal?  Are we sure we are not going to use it?  If we decide not to use them, threatening is without substance, and we had better make them into bicycles.

March 27th

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Settlers attempt construction of new access path at Tel Rumeida

Attempt by settlers to begin construction of walking path on Tel Rumeida.  The blue fence is on the
settlement, and the new stake on right is in a washed out area that would link the settler path to
an existing path along the outside of the fence surrounding the settler archaeological dig.

On 24 March 2014, settlers attempted to begin construction of a walking path outside the fenced “archaeological” dig near the Abu Haikal home on Tel Rumeida.  The settlers pounded in metal stakes in an area just below the fence erected by Israelis around what was once the orchard of the Abu Haikal family, and is now an archaeological site to which Palestinians, including Palestinian archaeological experts, are denied access.  The stakes are a first step in an apparent attempt to link the settlement of Tel Rumeida to the fenced area of the archaeological dig.

Palestinians living in the building adjacent to the land on which the settlers were trespassing called the police, who ordered the settlers to stop.  However, the following day, 25 March, soldiers arrived at the home of the Abu Haikal family and threatened them with arrest.

 Feryal Abu Haikal had just finished hosting a group of neighbors, along with the Palestinian Liaison Officer and an officer from the Hebron Governor’s office, when soldiers arrived at her home and began to dispute the ownership of some of the land on Tel Rumeida, showing her a map that contained false information.  The soldiers told Feryal Abu Haikal that no visitors are allowed on the land surrounding her home, and threatened to arrest and deport any internationals there, including members of the Abu Haikal family.

For background on the settler archaeological dig on Tel Rumeida click here 

To see a map of multiple land-grab efforts by settlers in Hebron click here.

March 26th

Prayers for Peacemakers, March 26, 2013

Prayers for Peacemakers, March 26, 2013
Pray for the families living near buildings in Al-Khalil (Hebron) that Israeli settlers have targeted for takeover.  Settler occupation of these structures will lead to sharp increases in hardships and violence for the neighborhoods in which they are located.

Click here for interactive map showing properties at risk for settler takeover.

See also AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Settlers and soldiers invade Al-Atrash family home twice in one day.

*Epixel for March 30, 2014

Armed settler leaving the Al Atrash family home with soldiers, March 20, 2014.
Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.  Ephesians 5:11
Photo by Raed Abu Rumaila
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing with a text from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common 
 Lectionary readings.

March 25th

SOUTH HEBRON HILLS: Settlers from Mitzpe Yair settlement attack Palestinian shepherds in Masafer Yatta during Purim

On Sunday 16 March 2014, during the Jewish holiday of Purim, Operation Dove reported that Israeli settlers attacked Palestinians and internationals on Palestinian fields near the outpost of Mitzpe Yair, which is adjacent to Firing Zone 918 in Masafer Yatta. 

A settler armed with an iron pipe began threatening four shepherds and their flock at about 9:00 a.m., then ran off when two more shepherds and two internationals arrived and began filming.  At 9:30, eight settlers arrived and began violently chasing the flocks toward the valley below the outpost.  Palestinians called the Israeli police, and another two internationals, members of the South Hebron Hills Popular Committee, and the representatives of the human rights organization B'tselem also arrived.

March 24th

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Settlers and soldiers invade Al-Atrash family home twice in one day.

 




 Armed settler leaving the
Al Atrash family home with
soldiers, March 20, 2014. 
Photo by Raed Abu Rumaila

On 20 March 2014 at about 11:00 in the morning the Al Atrash family was hosting a group from FIDA (the Palestinian Democratic Union), who were visiting the neighborhood in solidarity with the families there, when eighteen Israeli soldiers and Border Police, accompanied by an armed settler kicked the unlocked door to announce their arrival.  The armed cohort then swarmed into the home without permission.  Only women of the family were home at the time, along with several small children.

March 22nd

COLOMBIA: Get ready for Days of Prayer and Action 5-7 April 2014

Every year, communities across North America come together in solidarity with our Colombia brothers and sisters in an effort to show policymakers that they want real change in U.S. and Canadian policy towards Colombia.  With the Colombian government and the largest guerrilla group, the FARC, currently engaged in peace negotiations, there is renewed hope for an end to the war in Colombia.  After five decades of unspeakable violence, forced displacements, widespread massacres, threats against unionists and human rights activists, and the economic and social exclusion of indigenous and Afro-descendant communities, let us join Colombians in saying it is time for peace.  This year's Days of Prayer and Action are April 5-7.

Directly translated, the word “adelante” means “forward.”  “Adelante” can also mean “ahead,” with the implied desire to move past the current situation to something further on, to something beyond.  Peace and justice are not static concepts and neither are the people of Colombia.  With one foot in front of the other, Colombians are already moving ahead and going forward in the work of peace and justice throughout the country.  We hope that you will use the resources below and join with the organizations, churches, and ordinary people in Colombia in their desire and action to move forward.

¡ADELANTE!  Peace with justice for ALL Colombians!

WORSHIP PACKET
Dedicate a worship service to peace with justice for all Colombians.  Included are prayers, songs, poems, stories, reflections, and more.  Click here for a bulletin insert to engage your congregati

 

Join our Colombian sisters and brothers
in moving peace forward!  This packet
includes three ways YOU can make a
difference. 
Advocate for a change in US
policy by writing letters to Congress.
Create a display or craft night and what
steps are needed to  finally bring peace
with justice to Colombia. Demonstrate your
commitment to Colombia with  a public action.




March 21st

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON) URGENT ACTION: Ask Israeli Defense Minister Ya’alon to stop creation of new settlement in Hebron




Soldiers enter the Al Rajabi building,
20 March 2014

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon will decide by 11 April 2014 whether Israeli settlers may move into the Al Rajabi building in the Palestinian neighborhood of Wadi Hussein.  If settlers take possession of the building, the impact of their presence and subsequent increased military presence will have severe humanitarian impacts for the surrounding Palestinian neighborhood.

Palestinian organizers working with the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee have asked that internationals contact the Israeli Defense Minister and their consulates and elected representatives, asking them to contact the office of the Defense Minister and state their objection to settler expansion into the Al Rajabi building on humanitarian grounds.

On the afternoon of 20 March 2014, about twenty soldiers arrived at the Al Rajabi house and moved luggage and food into the building, while a settler sat parked in a car in front of the building.  A neighbor two buildings away reported that on the previous day, he received a stop work order from soldiers for work he is doing to improve his house, and the owner of a nearby barbershop reported that during the night on the previous week settlers damaged the doors to his shop.