On the Ground in Palestine, Sept. 17, 2017

On the Ground in Palestine, Sept. 17, 2017

This information comes from Sabeel, Jerusalem, from their weekly prayer service.

At the beginning of this school year, over two thousand classrooms are lacking for Palestinian students in Israeli-occupied east Jerusalem. The Jerusalem municipality and state authorities have failed to provide the lacking classrooms as ordered by an Israeli High Court ruling five years ago. The Jerusalem municipality allocates most of its funds to its Jewish residents and deprives the Palestinian community of its basic needs.

On Wednesday, Sept. 6, the Supreme Court held a hearing regarding the secret procedures governing the work of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, despite the opposition of the Israeli state. The Supreme Court decision came following an appeal representing 108 petitioners. The petitioners demanded the establishment of legislation to regulate operations of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, its roles, authority, form of organization and management, and to require monitoring of its activities and facilities.

On Monday, Sept. 4, Palestinian security forces detained Issa Amro, a prominent human rights activist. Issa’s arrest came a day after he posted comments on his Facebook criticizing Palestinian forces for arresting a journalist. Issa was released from prison on Sunday, Sept. 10.

“The demolition of educational facilities before the start of the school year epitomizes the administrative cruelty and systematic harassment by the authorities designed to drive Palestinians from their land.”

Activists and residents of the village of Jubbet al-Dhib in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem rebuilt their school in one night. The school was destroyed by Israeli forces two weeks ago.
Israeli police evicted a Palestinian family from their East Jerusalem home. The Shamasnehs vacated the house, where they had lived for 53 years, after Israeli courts ruled in favor of the alleged heir of its original Jewish owners pre 1948. The case was brought by the Israel Land Fund, a right-wing non-governmental organization that advocates, for ideological reasons, the takeover of Palestinian land.

According to Haaretz, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman told journalists in late August that plans for the implementation of a measure virtually unheard of since 1967 were months away from completion. These are plans for the eviction: Eviction and demolition of two whole West Bank Palestinian villages. Together, the two villages, Susiya, in the South Hebron Hills, and Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem, are home to hundreds of people, about half of them minors.  Demolishing these communities would constitute the forcible transfer of protected persons, a war crime under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The following is one of a number of items in the B’Tselem newsletter. 

On Aug. 22, Israeli authorities demolished the school at the community of Jub a-Dib, southeast of Bethlehem, leaving 80 pupils without an educational facility. In Abu a-Nuwar, on Aug. 9, the Civil Administration confiscated solar panels donated by the international community, that provided electricity to the school and kindergarten. On Aug. 21, Civil Administration personnel accompanied by around fifty soldiers, police and border police officers arrived at the Badu al-Baba community which is located near al-‘Eizariyah, northeast of Jerusalem. They dismantled and confiscated a pre-fab that had been placed there around three weeks prior, to serve as a kindergarten for 25 local children aged 4-6, who do not have an alternative educational facility.

The demolition of educational facilities before the start of the school year epitomizes the administrative cruelty and systematic harassment by the authorities designed to drive Palestinians from their land.
On the Ground in Palestine – Sept. 1, 2017

On the Ground in Palestine – Sept. 1, 2017

Haaretz reports, “The start of the school year in a West Bank village was pushed back to Sunday (Aug. 27) after the Israeli Civil Administration on Tuesday confiscated and destroyed trailers that were supposed to serve as classrooms, along with other educational equipment. Authorities have confiscated and destroyed trailers used as classrooms in three other Palestinian communities in the last two weeks.”

According to the Jerusalem Post, “The Palestinian leadership in Ramallah is considering dismantling the Palestinian Authority (PA), if there is no political horizon to establish an independent Palestinian state, [said] Ahmad Majdalani, a confidant of PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

Last month, Israel revoked the citizenship of hundreds of Israeli Arab Bedouins and left them stateless. Over  500 citizens lost their citizen-status with a single keystroke and with no further explanation.        

Last week, Israeli authorities stormed the Silwan neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem and demolished a Palestinian home for the second time. The same home, 60 square metres, had just been demolished on Aug. 15 by the Israeli army.

With the help of fellow Jerusalemites, the family rebuilt a temporary home made of tin sheets, which Israeli forces came to destroy on Aug. 22. The family and their friends are already working to rebuild the house for the third time.

A brand-new Palestinian primary school in Jubbet Al-Dhib was razed by Israel just as the new school year was set to begin. The six newly installed steel terrapin cabins were erected in the village of Jubbet Al Dhib so that local children do not have to walk for an hour to get to school. A total of 55 West Bank schools are currently threatened with demolition and “stop-work” orders.

From the Middle East Working Group

On the Ground in Palestine: Aug. 14, 2017

On the Ground in Palestine: Aug. 14, 2017

In recent months, the Israeli Ministry of the Interior has drastically increased its hostile policies towards East Jerusalem residents. Many Palestinians wait months to schedule an appointment and waste valuable resources on dealing with the added bureaucracy.

 Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem continue to be the target of Israeli settler organizations. Jewish settlers are stepping up their attempts to acquire new property through deceitful and violent means. Also in Isawiya village in East Jerusalem, 200 families received demolition orders of their homes.

The United Church, Interfaith Relations, and Islamophobia – March 19 Global Gossip

The United Church, Interfaith Relations, and Islamophobia – March 19 Global Gossip

 

Gail Allan gave a presentation in her role as the Coordinator, Ecumenical, Interchurch, and Interfaith Relations for the United Church.

 

She made the following points:

  • there is a movement of inter-faith work that endeavours to present alternative visions which are vital to actively resisting current thinking
  • local interfaith relations are key
  • there are several documents that guide U.C in dialogue
  • g. Mending The World, which commits U.C to do all its work through a multi-faith lens, Bearing Faithful Witness (Christian/Jewish relations), That We May Know Each Other (Christian/Muslim relations), Honouring the Divine in Each Other (Christian/Hindu relations)
  • Several organizations were mentioned as points of connection, dialogue, and inter-faith justice work
  • Gail drew our attention to specific organizations that we might want to keep in touch with who hold events and that would be informative and a way of making contact with inter-faith groups, e.g. National Council of Canadian Muslims, the Noor Centre, Intercultural Dialogue Institute (IDI), Multi-faith Centre at U of T.
  • Inter-faith work can be seen as concentric circles: local – national – global

 

What Can We Do

During our discussion some of the following ideas were suggested:

  • keep aware of the U.C website “Take Action” section which guides members in contacting politicians regarding issues such as increasing refugee sponsorships and ending the safe third country agreement.
  • Participating in webinars such as the one recently held on Welcoming Refugees and Challenging Islamophobia
  • Be aware of the proposed inter-faith centre in the Honest Ed’s development.
  • Inviting a Muslim speaker from the National Council of Canadian Muslims to give us a kind of Islam 101
  • Importance of informing ourselves through interpersonal dialogue
  • Week by week small actions that we can ask members to do; a kind of weekly mission that we are sent off with at the conclusion of our services e.g. make a phone call, sign petition
  • Start our actions with an exploration of the document That We May Know Each Other
  • Draft letter regarding suspension of safe third country agreement motion modeling letters from other conferences
  • Advertising events we become aware of on our listserve, inviting others to join
  • Introducing ourselves to our Muslim neighbours, e.g the Ismaili worship group in our neighbourhood.

 

Jared agreed to help co-ordinate events and make sure communications were facilitated for TSP.  It was also noted that we should make an effort to reach those who are not on the list serve.

It was also noted that we need to keep the Board of TSP aware of any actions that are undertaken so they can address any concerns that arise.

 

Please note that this a summary of the discussion and apologies in advance for anything missed or mis-stated,

Betty Stone

 

Stories from the Occupied Territories – Jan 29 Global Gossip

Stories from the Occupied Territories – Jan 29 Global Gossip

Join the Middle East Working Group on January 29 in hearing an informal presentation from Zoe Godfrey-Davies, who spent three months living in the occupied Palestinian territories and working as a human rights observer as part of the World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Accompaniment program in 2014 and 2015. Zoe will be sharing stories and photos from her experience.
There will also be light refreshments.