OCHA Flash Update
Multiple demolitions across Area C in the West Bank; 124 people displaced
8 April 2016
Khirbet Tana, 7 April 2016On 7 April, the Israeli Civil Administration (ICA) carried out demolitions throughout the West Bank, including in five Bedouin communities affected by the E1 settlement plan, and in Khirbet Tana, which has been the location of multiple demolitions in 2016, most recently on 23 March. Demolitions also took place today in Az’ Za’ayem village (Jerusalem), Ni’lin (Ramallah), and Al Khader (Bethlehem), where a combination of residential, animal and livelihood structures were demolished.
In total, 54 structures (including 18 donor-funded structures) were demolished in nine different communities, displacing 124 people, including 60 children. A further 293 people, including 98 children, were otherwise affected.
Read more: Multiple demolitions across Area C in the West Bank; 124 people displaced
A call for International Protection of Palestinians from Israeli-Sanctioned Murder
Lawlessness and violence against Palestinian civilians reached new levels during the March 28 anti-BDS rally in Jerusalem. The Israeli minister of transportation, intelligence and atomic energy, Yisrael Katz, said that Israel must carry out a “targeted civil thwarting of the BDS leadership,” naming Omar Barghouti and other Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions activists. (“Targeted thwarting” is an Israeli military term for “assassination.”) Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri escalated the fear-mongering by claiming that Barghouti and other BDS activists are paid by terrorist organizations hostile to Israel.
Friends of Sabeel North America condemns this dangerous and violent rhetoric by Israeli leaders. As a Palestinian Christian organization, FOSNA affirms the sanctity of every human life and asserts that murder and intent to assassinate targeted civilians runs contrary to our religious principles and international law. We reject statements by extremist religious leaders who distort the teachings of their own scriptures, religious law, and prophets by justifying murder with hate speech. A central principle of our Judeo-Christian-Islamic scriptures and traditions is the responsibility “to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and let the oppressed go free, and break every yoke.”
Please contact Secretary of State John Kerry in support of Senator Patrick Leahy’s request to investigate “gross violations of human rights” in Israel. Write to your local newspaper in support of sanctions against Israel in light of these threats. Speak to your congregations about the violence Palestinians experience under occupation. In a climate of rising extremism among Israeli settlers and the military, Western powers need to intervene to protect increasingly vulnerable Palestinians in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza Strip.
Dear Senator Wyden,
We, the undersigned organizations, represent Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and secular residents of the state of Oregon who are struggling for peace in the Middle East through justice for Palestinians who have been denied equal rights and the right to self-determination for far too long.
In a recent letter to constituents, you stated that you are both "pro-Israeli" and "pro-Palestinian." Unfortunately, your record shows that you are neither.
For Israelis who hope for peace, you have nothing to offer but the status quo, which you back unequivocally every year by voting for $3 billion in military aid to the Israeli government, ensuring that it will continue its policies of settlement expansion, colonization, and authoritarian military rule over millions of Palestinians. You back the most right-wing government in Israel's history, and you gave its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, 37 standing ovations when he recently addressed Congress. He thanked you by openly supporting Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election.
For Palestinians who hope for justice, you are silent in the face of Israeli massacres that have killed hundreds of children and thousands of civilians in attacks that even an American general has called "absolutely disproportionate," a violation of the Geneva Conventions. You are silent in the face of an apartheid legal system and an apartheid system of roads, housing, and water rights in the West Bank. You are silent about the more than 50 laws that discriminate against Palestinians who make up 20 percent of Israel's population. And you say nothing about the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, even though this right is guaranteed by the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.Senator Wyden, you say you oppose the influence of Big Money in our elections, but you dutifully support every resolution proposed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which has a donor network that rivals Wall Street and the National Rifle Association. AIPAC supports every action of the Israeli government. It pushed for the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and it promotes an aggressive military approach toward Iran. It is a racist, militarist lobby that opposes fundamental human rights for Palestinians simply because they are not Jewish. AIPAC does not speak for the Jewish community. Read more: An Open Letter to U.S. Senator Ron Wyden
Hosts Celeste Carey and Cecil Prescod speak with Ned Rosch about the
recommendation of Portland’s Socially Responsible Investments Committee
for the City of Portland to put Caterpillar on City’s Do-Not-Buy List
Portland’s Socially Responsible Investments Committee (SRIC) voted – 4 in favor, 2 opposed – at its March 17th meeting to recommend that City funds should not be invested in Caterpillar, citing concern that Caterpillar Corporation violates a number of the City’s socially responsible investment criteria.
Caterpillar, which provides militarized bulldozers that are used to demolish Palestinian homes, has long been a target of human rights activists. Maxine Fookson, from Occupation-Free Portland, which pushed for Caterpillar to be placed on the Do-Not-Buy List, said, “This is an important victory for human rights. The SRIC today took a stand on the right side of history making it clear that companies, like Caterpillar, that are knowingly engaged in human rights violations in the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land should not be supported by Portland investments.”
The SRIC’s recommendation was based on review of an MSCI analysis which rates companies for their investment potential and includes a screen that looks at environmental, social and governance (ESG) concerns. In addition, the SRIC heard powerful testimony at their February meeting from supporters of Occupation-Free Portland, a campaign committed to getting Caterpillar, G4S, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions placed on Portland’s Do-Not-Buy List for their complicity in – and profiting from – the many human rights violations that are part of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands.
Later this year, the SRIC will recommend to the City Council a list of corporations that should be on Portland’s Do-Not-Buy List. Members of the City Council will consider the SRIC recommendations and make the final decision in this matter.
Goliath, according to Adam Hochschild, is "brash, gritty, personal and close to the ground...a report from an Israel and a Palestine we seldom see in the mainstream media." Blumenthal takes us on a journey through the badlands and high roads of Israel-Palestine, painting a startling portrait of Israeli society under the siege of increasingly authoritarian politics as the occupation of the Palestinians deepens. The book is already receiving significant attention and has been positively reviewed by Kirkus Reviews: "A rich, roiling examination of 'the State of Israel during a period of deepening political and societal crisis' ... Blumenthal is an enterprising reporter."
In an article for Al-Monitor, Akiva Eldar — a former chief political columnist and editorial writer for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, where he worked for 35 years — writes,
Unlike most Jews — American or Israeli — Blumenthal chose to leave his comfort zone, go into disputed territory and examine the burning questions for himself. In fact, Blumenthal's greatest strength and interest is in events on the ground and the people who live there, far from the 'peace process' and diplomatic salons.
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