IN PHOTOS ~~ NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION

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On the NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION, February 15th, at Grand Central Station NYC, 300 people met to protest the meeting of Trump And Netanyahu and what it portends. Participants held posters and gave out leaflets to commuters. Many stopped to take photos.There was chanting & singing. Then the protesters marched out of GCS going through NYC’s over crowded streets to Trump Towers. When they got there the police had cordoned off several blocks to keep the demonstrators from protesting in front of the building. The marchers were not deterred and continued around the police fences till they met up with the Palestinian protesters who were waiting for the main group to appear. Between them there was a mass vocal outburst and, with a flurry of many Palestinian flags, the marchers moved on to Columbus Circle in front of Trump’s International Hotel where they continued the protest.  

Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Report by Chippy Dee

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PALESTINIANS THANK INDONESIA

There is no doubt that Indonesia’s adamant refusal to establish diplomatic relations with apartheid Israel will be a a significant morale booster for the Palestinians who are struggling around the clock to survive a decades-long Israeli onslaught aimed at uprooting them from their ancestral homeland.

Indonesians pray for the Palestinians who were killed in the airstrikes launched by Israel.

Indonesians pray for the Palestinians who were killed in the airstrikes launched by Israel.

Thank you, Indonesia

By Khalid Amayreh

Occupied Palestine

 

Palestinians must send a message of thanks and appreciation to the big sister, Indonesia, for her principled refusal to normalize relations with Israel. the shameless apartheid state that occupies our country and torments our people on a daily basis.

Israel has been seeking to woo Indonesia to embark on this dishonorable diplomatic feat for the purpose of further weakening the just Palestinian cause in the conscience and consciousness of Muslims world-wide.

Some utterly undemocratic Arab regimes, notorious for ignoring the feelings of their own masses, hastened to embrace the poisoned Israeli solicitations. They didn’t hesitate to swallow the Israeli bait: hook, line and sinker.

These well-known tyrannical regimes effectively committed moral adultery with their own national honor and dignity by embracing Israel and betraying Palestine.

Furthermore,   some of these entities even sought to outmatch the apartheid state by perfecting their own draconian measures against the Gaza Strip that many Palestinians began to wonder if these Arab regimes were siding with Israel or with Palestine.

But, al Handullila (thanks to God), Indonesia has demonstrated she has guarded her chastity by refusing Israel’s solicitations and venomous courting.

This feat on the largest Muslim country’s part deserves admiration and gratitude.

It shows that Indonesia is still espousing some moral principles in its foreign policy. It also shows that Indonesia is still not willing to trade her genuine concerns for Palestine and al-Masjidul Aqsa for expediency or some quick benefits that come with normalizing relations with Israel.

In fact, the government of Indonesia has  demonstrated its faithfulness to its own predominantly Muslim people who wouldn’t be comfortable with normalizing relations with the very state that practices murder, ethnic cleansing and discrimination in the ugliest form against Palestinians. Needless to say, this virulent modus operandi is pursued on no account other than that the Palestinians are not members of the “The Holy tribe,” clinging to their homeland and refusing to leave.

There is no doubt that Indonesia’s adamant refusal to establish diplomatic relations with apartheid Israel will be a a significant morale booster for the Palestinians who are struggling around the clock to survive a decades-long Israeli onslaught aimed at uprooting them from their ancestral homeland.

This means that the Indonesian decision will definitively serve the cause of Palestinian resistance, resilience and steadfastness, all considered vital prerequisites for Palestinian freedom and liberation.

Finally, the Indonesian step also shows that the vast majority of Muslims around the world still have their hearts where they properly belong, namely on the side of the Palestinian struggle for freedom and justice.

Once again, thanks, Indonesia.

ANTI-TRUMP DEMOS COME TO ISRAEL ~~ IN VIDEO AND PHOTOS

Scores of  left-wing demonstrators in Israel gathered outside of the US Embassy in Tel Aviv and the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem to protest against President Donald Trump’s executive action ordering a temporarily halt to the entry of asylum seekers into the United States.

Photos by Tomer Neuberg & Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90

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CHILDREN OF PEACE ~~ A DIALOGUE

In the following our interview with Richard Martin, President and Founder of Children of Peace. The organisation struggles for children to be safe from criminality and terrorism in the Middle East, in particular in Palestine. Richard talked to us about the history of his organisation, about how to work for peace by challenging all kind of racism, discrimination of all monotheistic religions, by personal contact and dialogue. Dialogue is the magic word to promote peace. Richard told us: “Children of Peace is a UK based non-partisan, conflict resolution organisation, that aims to protect children and build friendship, trust and reconciliation between Israeli and Palestinian children, aged 4 -17 through arts, education, healthcare and sports projects and programmes, so that a future generation and their communities might live in peace, side-by-side.” 

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Richard Martin of Children of Peace – peace needs contact and face-to-face dialogue

By Denise Nanni and Milena Rampoldi

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How do you identify the organizations you cooperate with?
When I founded Children of Peace in 2004, we sent a delegation from the UK to Israel and Palestine on a fact find. We discovered – to our incredulity – that there were over 50,000 NGOs in Israel & Palestine. This is a huge industry and since the early 1950s we estimate that 7 trillion dollars has reached the region from world organisations and donors.

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Yet, despite all this funding, almost nothing has changed. Only six organisations actually made contact with each other. We wanted to change the culture and focus on dialogue – on making contact, of listening to each community’s narrative, respecting each other’s heritage and those things that we all share – a yearning to protect our children, to build a better life, to be in a safe and hopeful place.

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That’s why we established the Coalition of Peace.

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Essentially all groups – CBOs or NGOs – must apply to join us as affiliates or partners. Most groups approach us or are researched by our team. The application is scrutinised by our Compliance Committee to check the group’s track record and connections to protect the children and our work from criminal or terrorist fronts. If accepted, groups go through a monitoring process for two years before applying for funding.

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Today, the Coalition of Peace is now the single, largest peace network across the Middle East with affiliates in Bahrain, Egypt, Gaza, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Turkey and the West Bank.

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Since 2005 we have helped over 120,000 children in Israel and Palestine.

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How has civil society been responsive so far? 
Right from the get-go our position has been to welcome a diverse range of religious, secular and political supporters who shared our non-partisan position. As a conflict-resolution organisation we focus on reconciliation, simply refuse to take sides or bring our own agendas into the region. We take our cue from the communities themselves. We are proud of the support we receive from Christians, Jews and Muslims both in the region and worldwide.

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Taking sides says more about you. It does not advance peace one jot.
As part of our backstory – although we are not a religious organisation nor have any connection with faith based groups – we challenge Christianophobia, Antisemitism and Islamophobia – now on the rise throughout Europe right now – often used as a cover to take sides in this conflict.

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Across the region Children of Peace enjoys the respect of communities in Gaza, Israel and the West Bank. We are the go-to organisation if contacts need to be made. We act as a conduit or peace channel for groups or communities who wish to connect across the divide but cannot do so through direct means.

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Our projects and programmes focus on alleviating poverty within disadvantaged communities, bringing children together from Israel and Palestine through the arts, sports, healthcare and education.
Every year – with Israeli affiliate Humans Without Borders – we help bring dozens of sick or disadvantaged Palestinian children and their families to the seaside in Israel from towns and villages in the West Bank. This is one of the cherished dreams of many landlocked West Bank children – just to see the sea.

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We just funded the refurbishment of the Leir Peace Pre-School in Jerusalem where Christian, Jewish and Muslim children learn and play together. Through another affiliate Rabbis for Human Rights we have provided grants to assist the resource centre for the Negev Bedouin. In Gaza, we work with various groups funding clinics, hospitals and education facilities.

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A few months ago, for example Celtic FC contacted us days before playing a match in Israel. As part of their commitment to diversity in soccer they wanted our help in linking them up with Israeli and Palestinian youth sports groups and within hours the Chairman of Celtic FC Foundation met up with three groups in Israel and Palestine in Jerusalem to gift them football kit and other resources.

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None of this would be possible without the commitment of our extraordinary team at Children of Peace from the Board of Trustees to the Regional Representatives to the volunteers.

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This trust is reflected by the support we receive from world leaders including Pope Francis, former US Vice President Biden, French President Hollande, the Palestinian Envoys to the UK and Washington and the last four British Prime Ministers including Theresa May.

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What are, according your experience, the most effective strategies in order to promote tolerance and democratic values among children? 
It’s simple……contact, contact, contact. And dialogue. Meeting people face-to-face and developing a relationship with a real person from a “group” or “community” that you have been brought up to distrust or be suspicious of….changes everything.

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I recall a magic moment when some young Palestinians who were staying here in the UK as our guests were busy texting their Jewish friends in Israel, following an incident….concerned for their safety.
Once you break bread together, everything changes.

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Can you tell me more about the researches on children health issues? What were their findings and conclusions?
Richard: In 2007, Israeli-Palestinian Kassim Baddarni and myself completed a huge research study on the impact of conflict and the presence of violence on Israeli and Palestinian children. We looked at the effects of stress and tension on the physical and mental health of children – on their educational attainment, on family life, on relationships, on their own sense of well-being and adjustment. It is too complex to spell out here but the findings confirm that children from all communities are seriously and adversely affected by the dire situation.

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Israeli children have excellent healthcare but suffer from worrying levels of morbidity whilst Palestinian children have poorer healthcare – they have the highest levels of childhood diabetes, for instance – they too suffer from fear and anxiety. Too many children know of someone in their lives who has died or been injured or negatively affected by sudden and unexpected acts of violence.

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Do you cooperate with any local authority or institution? If yes, how?
Children of Peace is a UK based non-partisan, conflict resolution organisation, that aims to protect children and build friendship, trust and reconciliation between Israeli and Palestinian children, aged 4 -17 through arts, education, healthcare and sports projects and programmes, so that a future generation and their communities might live in peace, side-by-side.
As an entirely independent organisation we will cooperate with local government or national governments to further our aims in helping the children, promoting tolerance and building a better place for the next generation.

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Israeli and Palestinian supporters talk about the ‘Children of Peace family’. I like that.

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Original source and more photos HERE

IN PHOTOS ~~ FREEDOM DENIED TO STUDENTS AT FORDHAM UNIVERSITY

Fordham flunks a free speech test

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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Fordham flunks a free speech test 

BY AHMAD AWAD

This month, Fordham University, my alma mater, denied students on campus the chance to form a student group to support Palestinian rights.

We thought we’d go through the same application process as any other student group. Instead, we were subject to a protracted 13-month review process.

We were eventually approved by the student government and started preparing for our inaugural event — only to learn that Dean of Students Keith Eldredge implemented a rarely used veto power to ban the group from campus

I was still a student when the application to form the group, Students for Justice in Palestine, was first submitted. The process included repeated meetings with administrators; questioning around Gov. Cuomo’s widely criticized executive order against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement; and numerous administrative hurdles.

All of this drained my time and energy and had a serious impact on my studies. I graduated and was never given a chance to advocate for what I believe in on my campus. Now, current and future students won’t have that chance, either.

Advocating for the basic rights of Palestinians is more than just a conviction for me, it is an integral part of my identity. My mother’s father was a Polish survivor of Nazi labor camps, and my father’s parents were born in Palestine prior to the establishment of Israel in 1948. These two histories of oppression taught me to value human dignity and to fight injustice wherever I see it.

My relatives in the West Bank have been forced to live under Israeli military rule for decades now, with no ability to control even the most basic aspects of their lives. The Israeli government controls the borders, which means that even though my grandparents — one of whom is a U.S. veteran — were born there, they are now prohibited from living in their birthplace. They can only obtain a visitor’s visa for three months a year, if they’re lucky.

When I travel to Palestine to visit my relatives, I am routinely discriminated against and threatened by Israeli soldiers at checkpoints simply because I am Palestinian.

It’s only natural that I wanted to establish Students for Justice in Palestine — an organization that exists on over 170 campuses nationwide — at Fordham.

I was devastated to discover that Fordham would prohibit SJP — and, even worse, do so not because of any bad behavior, but simply because of what it represents on paper. This decision violates the free speech and academic freedom the university guarantees under Title VI of the federal Civil Rights Act in addition to its own values as an institution “committed to research and education that assist in the alleviation of poverty, the promotion of justice, the protection of human rights and respect for the environment.”

This experience has underscored how difficult it is to talk about Palestinian freedom in America without facing serious suppression. In recent years, students and faculty who choose to speak critically of Israeli policies have faced increasing pushback, a problem that has been widely documented by constitutional and civil rights attorneys. In the first half of 2016 alone, there were 171 such incidents of suppression across the country.

Despite these obstacles, support for Palestinian rights has grown over the years as more Americans have become aware of the oppression facing Palestinians. Recent polls found that 60% of Democrats and 46% of all Americans support sanctions or stronger action against Israel for building settlements on Palestinian land, and that sympathy for Palestinians among millennials has tripled since 2006.

Fordham and other institutions can try to shut down this growing social justice movement, but they won’t succeed in silencing people who feel a moral imperative to create a better world.

The great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who called on the U.S. government and consumers to boycott and divest from the apartheid regime in South Africa, once said, “A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true.” Despite Fordham’s wishes otherwise, I won’t give up this fight. I will continue to stand up for what is right until freedom rings. I will not die.

My request of Fordham is a very modest one: Let Students for Justice in Palestine live.

Awad is a recent Fordham graduate.

COLDPLAY TO PLAY BOTH SIDES OF THE WALL

The British rock band Coldplay will play two “peace concerts” for Israelis and Palestinians.

Coldplay singer Chris Martin

Coldplay singer Chris Martin

Coldplay to Play 2 Israeli-Palestinian Peace Concerts in West Bank

The British rock band Coldplay will play two “peace concerts” for Israelis and Palestinians.

The concerts, set for Nov. 3 and 4, will be performed at an outdoor location north of the Dead Sea, Israel’s Channel 2 reported Monday.

The shows will aim to promote human rights and bring people together, The Times of Israel reported. The tickets — 50,000 for each concert — will be sold in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Coldplay, which has sold over 80 millions records worldwide, will arrive in Israel two weeks before the shows and record a song with Israeli and Palestinian artists.

Few artists have attempted similar Middle East peace-themed concerts on this scale. Roger Waters, the former Pink Floyd frontman, played a concert in the Israeli Jewish-Muslim coexistence village Neve Shalom in 2006. He has since become a leading proponent of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.

Leonard Cohen made a failed attempt to play a concert in the Palestinian territories in 2009 while touring in Israel.

Coldplay singer Chris Martin is currently the artistic director for the Global Citizen Festival, which is run by the Global Poverty Project, an organization devoted to ending extreme poverty by 2030.

Two of Coldplay’s recent musicvideos were directed by Israelis.

From Coldplay’s FaceBook Page

The band fronted by Chris Martin has come under fire after posting a link to a “Freedom for Palestine” video by the band OneWorld on their Facebook page.

The song, which contains the controversial lyrics: “No matter your faith or your community/ this is a crime against humanity” and “Enough illegal occupation/ violence and racial segregation,” calls for people to rally in support of Palestine. As the chorus goes, “We are the people/ this is our time/ stand up, sing out/ for Palestine.”

TOP TEN BDS VICTORIES OF 2016

“People now realize that it doesn’t make any sense to claim that you’re a progressive or that you care about basic principles of equality and human rights if you can’t apply those principles to the question of Palestine … and a freedom struggle that has gone on for decades now.”

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What were the top 10 BDS victories of 2016?

2016 began with a bang: French telecommunications giant Orange announced in early January it was dumping its Israel affiliate.

This came just months after boycott activists renewed their campaign against the company over its support for Israel’s 2014 assault on Gaza and its complicity in Israel’s colonization of the occupied West Bank.

The same week, a major Irish corporation yanked its cement contracts with Israel following boycott pressure.

Meanwhile, churches, student unions and local activists continued to organize strong boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns that caused panic among Israeli leaders.

Embarrassed by these significant victories, Israel spent 2016 waging “an all-out war” on the global BDS campaign, “in a desperate attempt to crush it,” according to the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC).

Bullying

Israel resorted to threatening and bullying individuals, adopting policies to expel suspected boycott activists and to bar others from entering.

This followed last year’s naming by Israel’s leading financial daily of Omar Barghouti, a co-founder of the BDS movement, among 100 people most likely to influence Israel’s economy in 2016.

Israel imposed an effective travel ban on Barghouti, following threats against him and other Palestinian human rights defenders by top Israeli government ministers in March.

Amnesty International condemned the threats, which included a call by intelligence minister Yisrael Katz for “targeted civil eliminations” of BDS leaders with the help of Israeli intelligence.

“Israel has attempted to stigmatize, demonize and in some cases delegitimize BDS from above, after failing to crush the movement at the global grassroots and civil society levels,” notes the BNC.

But throughout 2016, BDS has only grown stronger, the group adds.

“The logic of appeasing Israel’s regime of oppression has started giving way to the logic of sustained international pressure, which proved instrumental in ending apartheid in South Africa,” it says.

With that spirit in mind, here are the top 10 BDS successes of 2016, as covered by The Electronic Intifada.

10. Activists rose up against Hewlett Packard. Campaigners in dozens of cities across six continentsparticipated in an international week of action against Hewlett-Packard, bringing attention to the company’s role in enabling Israel’s rights violations.

9. Irish company divested from Israel’s cement industry. One of Ireland’s largest companies, CRH, announced in January that it was chucking Israeli assets after sustained grassroots boycott pressure. CRH held 25 percent of the shares in Mashav, owner of Israel’s top cement manufacturer Nesher.

Nesher cement has been used in constructing Israel’s wall and settlements in the West Bank and in the light rail network serving Israeli settlements in occupied East Jerusalem.

8. Spanish municipalities declared themselves “apartheid-free zones.” More than 50 cities across Spain now declare themselves free of Israeli products in a campaign that began in July 2014, at the height of Israel’s attack against Gaza.

With more than 120,000 residents, Cádiz, in Andalusia, is one of the largest cities to support the campaign.

7. Norwegians ditched Israeli products. Two major cities in Norway voted to boycott Israeli goods and services produced in settlements inside occupied Palestinian territory.

6. Churches continued to mobilize for Palestinian rights. Denominations voted in 2016 to boycott Israeli financial institutions, and to dump or bar investments in corporations that profit from Israel’s occupation.

A church in California vowed not to purchase supplies from Hewlett-Packard, a company that provides equipment to Israel’s military and settlements.

Presbyterians reaffirmed their previous commitments to divestment, while 24 denominations together called for “economic leverage” against businesses or governments that violate human rights.

Lutherans voted to call for an end to US aid to Israel.

5. Governments and political parties stood up to anti-BDS bullies. Sweden, followed by the Netherlands and Ireland, publicly upheld the right of citizens to work for BDS.

Meanwhile, the European Union and the US State Department admitted that boycott advocacy is a protected free speech right.

The Canadian Green Party and the Dutch government rejected pressure by right-wing Israel lobby groups.

4. Activists helped defeat anti-BDS legislation. Grassroots campaigners fought back against a growing wave of legislation promoted by US state and federal lawmakers – and encouraged by Israel lobby groups and the Israeli government – to suppress BDS activism.

In Massachusetts, an anti-boycott amendment was withdrawn in the state senate in July following a campaign by Palestine solidarity groups.

The amendment, which was tacked onto an unrelated economic bill, would have blacklisted individuals and businesses that engage with the Palestinian-led boycott of Israel. Organizers said that in order to successfully counter the imminent anti-boycott legislation there, they knew they had to engage directly with lawmakers over a sustained period.

In the UK, a test case for banning BDS campaigning failed in the high court.

And in France, a court overturned a government ban on a meeting to support individuals facing trial for their Palestine solidarity activism. The BDS campaign in France continued to flourish despite the government’s crackdown.

In May, lawmakers in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, made history: theirs was the world’s first full legislature to vote down an anti-BDS law.

3. G4S was forced to buckle under BDS pressure. Under years-long pressure by grassroots campaigns, the world’s largest private security firm, G4S, ditched most of its Israeli businesses.

Four UN agencies in Jordan and one in Lebanon ended their contracts with the corporation.

The city of Berkeley, California, also voted to divest from private prison corporations, including G4S, for its role in human rights abuses against undocumented persons in the US and Palestinians under occupation.

2. Telecom giant Orange quit Israel. The French telecommunications company Orange announced it was quitting Israel in January, following sustained international boycott pressure.

The campaign calling on Orange to cut ties with Israel’s Partner Communications began in 2010 and involved unions and groups in France, Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt, countries where Orange or its affiliates have tens of millions of mobile phone subscribers.

The campaign received a major boost in May 2015 when BDS Egypt called for a boycott of Orange subsidiary Mobinil, which has 33 million customers. This came after The Electronic Intifada revealed the extent of Orange’s complicity in Israel’s 2014 assault on Gaza.

“Orange had no choice but to realize that investing in occupation, profiteering from Israel’s colonization of Palestinian land and involvement in violations against Palestinian rights is a commercially bad investment,” said Abdulrahman Abou Salem of BDS Egypt, a coalition of trade unions, political parties and campaign groups.

Partner Communications, which operated under the Orange Israel brand, built and operated extensive mobile telephone infrastructure in Israel’s settlements built on Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank in violation of international law.

1. Students stood strong. Students in the US, Canada and the UK passed strong divestment measures in their student governments and trade unions, amidst intensifying smear campaigns by outside Israel advocacy groups and shady websites.

Students “are eventually going to be members of the public in various capacities after they graduate. And the rapidly shifting politics around Israel-Palestine on campuses is something that we should really take heart in,” Rahim Kurwa, a graduate student at UCLA, told The Electronic Intifada in August.

Since the beginning of 2016 alone, more than a dozen campuses around the US passed some form of divestment resolution or boycott measure, Kurwa, a member of Students for Justice in Palestine, said.

“People now realize that it doesn’t make any sense to claim that you’re a progressive or that you care about basic principles of equality and human rights if you can’t apply those principles to the question of Palestine … and a freedom struggle that has gone on for decades now.”

SOLIDARITY FOR STANDING ROCK CONTINUES TO GROW

As the crisis in Standing Rock continues, so does the support  both internationally and nationally.

Solidarity has always been a thing of beauty in our hands.

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Cuba-Trained Doctors Head to Standing Rock

A delegation of doctors trained at the Latin American School of Medicine in Cuba announced they will head to Standing Rock to “serve in solidarity.”

In a late Thursday Facebook post, a group of U.S.-based medical professionals trained at Cuba’s famous Latin American School of Medicine, or ELAM, announced they will head to Standing Rock “to humbly serve in solidarity with the Sacred Water Protectors on the front lines of the current human rights and ecological crisis occurring right now in North Dakota.”

Dr. Revery P. Barnes, a graduate of ELAM, said in a post on Facebook, “We answer the call to serve in alignment with the mission and core principles of our alma mater and dedication to our commitment to serve underserved communities in our HOME country.” The delegation will work in collaboration with the Standing Rock Medic and Healer Council.

“While Cuba instilled in us an unwavering commitment to internationalism, with the acceptance of a full scholarship to medical school at ELAM, we made the moral commitment to respond to the needs of our most vulnerable communities here at home in the U.S.,” the statement continued.

On Wednesday, the Standing Rock Medic and Healer Council – which has been providing emergency and chronic health care services to the thousands of water protectors gathered at Standing Rock – issued a warning about the grave health and safety threats posed by escalating use of violence by Morton County Sheriff’s Department and Dakota Access Pipeline security personnel, whom they described as creating “war-like conditions.”

While the Facebook statement did not give details about the size of the delegation or when it is expected to arrive, the announcement comes as thousands of U.S. Army veterans are expected to arrive at the Oceti Sakowin camp this weekend in anticipation of the Dec. 5 eviction notice given to the camp by the Army Corps of Engineers and North Dakota Governor, Jack Dalrymple.

Health and safety concerns for the thousands of Water Protectors, who are asserting their Indigenous sovereignty in attempts to block the multi-billion dollar Dakota Access Pipeline project, are also on the rise as harsh winter conditions have been exacerbated by state law enforcement threats to cut off supplies and access to emergency services.

The Latin American School of Medicine was created in 1999 by the Cuban government and is one of the largest medical schools in the world, with approximately 19,550 students from 110 countries. All students receive a full scholarship, including room and board, and preferential treatment is given to applicants from marginalized groups who intend to return and practice in their own communities. The school plays a key part in Cuba’s widely-hailed medical internationalism, which has seen the socialist country send over 80,000 health care workers to over 94 countries to provide treatment and assistance to impoverished or underprivileged populations.

And from within ….

Family & Friends of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade

Jim Williams is taking our flags to Standing Rock! He left Friday morning with a busload of veterans who plan to join 2,000 or more other veterans in protecting the indigenous peoples rights to their lands. He is the son-in-law of Lincoln vet Matti Mattson. Jim remembered helping Matti carry the VALB flag as well as the FFALB banner, and he wanted to take ours to Standing Rock.  As we waited for the bus in Manhattan early Friday morning, we had a chance to explain the significance of the Brigade and the flags. There were tons of supplies and food — and excitement. I felt as if I were sending them off to Spain!

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And the best news of the day …..

(Click on link)

Alternate Route for Dakota Pipeline to Be Explored

  • The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe won a major victory in a battle that has become a global flash point for environmental and indigenous activism.
  • The Army Corps of Engineers said that it would not approve permits for the Dakota Access Pipeline at a site that the tribe said would threaten a water source and sacred sites.

BLACK FRIDAY PROTEST AT HP

Reaching out to Best Buy shoppers on Black Friday with materials and information about HP’s role in human rights violations, protesters faced the rain for several hours to spread the word about Hewlett Packard’s involvement in the oppression of Palestinians.

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NYC Black Friday protest draws dozens to protest HP involvement in oppression of Palestinians

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On the busiest shopping day of the year, protesters in New York City – hailing from Manhattan to Gaza – joined in the Black Friday kick-off of the International Week of Action against HP’s complicity with Israeli attacks on Palestinian rights, protesting outside Best Buy in Union Square.

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Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network organized the protest, which highlighted HP’s role in providing servers and management systems to the Israel Prison Service that imprisons over 7,000 Palestinian political prisoners. Hewlett Packard is also involved in providing imaging equipment for Israeli checkpoints and ID cards, enabling the siege of Gaza, providing services to Israeli settlements, and supporting other occupation infrastructure. The New York City event is one of over 99 protests around the world between 25 November and 3 December demanding a boycott of HP and an end to HP’s involvement in deportations, incarceration and oppression in Palestine, the United States and around the world. These protests were organized in response to a call from the International Boycott HP Coalition and the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC).

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Reaching out to Best Buy shoppers on Black Friday with materials and information about HP’s role in human rights violations, protesters faced the rain for several hours to spread the word about Hewlett Packard’s involvement in the oppression of Palestinians.

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Several Zionist counter-protesters, including one person dressed in an Israeli military uniform, repeatedly heckled the protesters and attempted, yet failed, to provoke confrontations. Throughout the protest, demonstrators chanted loudly against HP and its complicity in the occupation of Palestine, urging shoppers to boycott Hewlett Packard technology products. A wide range of activists, groups and writers concerned with Palestine participated in the demonstration, while a group of youth from a video training class organized by Picture the Struggle interviewed participants. Picture the Struggle works to document justice movements, including the Black movement, in New York City, through video, photography and audio recording.

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Samidoun is planning to join and encourages all to attend the protest on Monday, 28 November in New York City in solidarity with Rasmea Odeh, former Palestinian prisoner and torture survivor facing persecution in the United States. A major hearing in her case to determine the entry of evidence relating to her PTSD after torture will take place on 29 November in Detroit, which is also the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The Rasmea Defense Committee is organizing protests and buses to Detroit to support Odeh, while protests are taking place in Tampa, Tucson, Fort Lauderdale, Salt Lake City and elsewhere to demand justice for Rasmea. In New York City, protesters will gather at Zuccotti Park at Liberty Street and Broadway at 3:30 pm on Monday.

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Photos 1, 3 by Bud Korotzer/Desertpeace

Photos 2, 4, 6 by Joe Catron

Photo 5 by Anne Pruden

 

WRITTEN FOR

FIDEL’S PALESTINIAN CONNECTION

The deceased Cuban leader and PLO chief Yasser Arafat enjoyed close relations and shared anti-imperialist ideology.

Cuban President Fidel Castro greets Palestine leader Yasser Arafat, right, at a dinner reception.

Cuban President Fidel Castro greets Palestine leader Yasser Arafat, right, at a dinner reception.

Fidel Castro: The Palestinian connection

Dalia Hatuqa

 It’s November 1974, and Yasser Arafat, sporting his signature Ray-Ban sunglasses and checkered black-and-white headscarf, is waving to a cheering crowd on the tarmac of Jose Marti International Airport outside Havana.

He descended from the Algerian Airlines plane that took him from New York City to the Cuban capital, where he was greeted and embraced by Fidel Castro, who was at that time prime minister and had been in power for 15 years.

Castro died late on Friday at the age of 90, according to the Cuban government.

The moment in Havana wasn’t the first time the two men had met – their initial encounter happened just over a year earlier at the 4th Summit of Non-Aligned Countries in Algeria. However, it was the first time they met on Cuban soil.

Despite not being a head of state, Arafat was given a presidential welcome in Havana: Cuban Communist Party officials, ministers and others warmly welcomed the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leader that day.

Later on, he was awarded one of the country’s highest decorations, the Orden Nacional Playa Giron, or Bay of Pigs Medal, which, according to Cuba’s government radio, is “awarded to Cuban citizens or foreigners who have excelled in the struggle against imperialism, colonialism and neo-colonialism, or who have done great deeds for peace and progress of mankind”.

The iconic picture of Arafat and Castro walking on the tarmac – housed at the Yasser Arafat Foundation in Ramallah – tells the tale of how an unlikely relationship between the two men, and the PLO and Cuba, were forged.

And while Cuban-Palestinian relations can be traced as far back as the 1966 Tricontinental Conference in Havana, it was Arafat’s November 1974 trip that “cemented the official Palestinian relationship with Cuba”, said Hosni Abdel Wahad, the Palestinian Authority’s assistant foreign minister for the Americas.

“It was during that visit that the official PLO-Cuban ties were forged and the first [PLO] representative office was opened in Havana thereafter.”

Cuba recognises the PLO

It is believed that unofficial ties were made between Cuba and the Palestinians during a first-of-its-kind trip by Fidel’s brother, Raul Castro, and Che Guevara to the Gaza Strip in late 1959.

Events in the 1950s set the stage for this trip: during that time, all Latin American countries, with the exception of Cuba, consistently supported the Israeli position over that of the Palestinians in international forums.

Che Guevara, who was not Cuban but was an instrumental figure in the country’s revolution, spoke in support of the Palestinians in the coastal enclave and elsewhere.

This culminated in Cuba’s recognition of the PLO when it was founded in 1964, making it one of the first countries to do so.

The Cubans trained Palestinian cadres, and Fidel himself was a staunch advocate of the Palestinian quest for freedom and independence.

– Mansour Tahboub, former acting director of the Arafat Foundation

Many of Arafat’s pictures at the Yasser Arafat Foundation, which traces and commemorates the life of the late Palestinian leader, attest to a close relationship with Fidel Castro and Cuba.

The mostly black-and-white images document a series of visits by Arafat to the Latin American country – by some accounts, as many as eight; and these are just the official ones, said Mohammad Odeh, who heads Fatah’s Latin America department.

“That’s a significant number considering Cuba is such a geographically distant country.

“It was, at best, a 12-hour plane ride from any European country, yet Arafat made the trip on numerous occasions. Castro always welcomed him like he was a head of state.”

Mansour Tahboub, former acting director of the Arafat Foundation, said such visits were also a testament to the close historical ties.

“Cuba has always been a strong supporter of Palestinians in all realms: political, military, vocational training,” Tahboub said.

“The Cubans trained Palestinian cadres, and Fidel himself was a staunch advocate of the Palestinian quest for freedom and independence.”

The rare archival footage at the foundation provides a window into many milestones of Cuban-Palestinian relations, such as Arafat pictured on stage – with former Syrian president, Hafez al-Assad, in the background – condemning Egypt for signing the 1978 Camp David Accords with Israel, during the 6th Non-Aligned Summit in Havana in September 1979.

During that time, Egypt was suspended as a member of the Non-Aligned Movement after its agreement with Israel was criticised as “an act of complicity with the continued occupation of Arab territories”.

But these pictures show only a portion of the decades-long relationship between the two men. The PLO and Cuba were natural allies, as both championed what their leaders saw as a struggle against imperial and colonial powers.

Quest for independence

Indeed, Castro conflated Cuba’s “strife to fight imperialism” with the Palestinian quest for independence from Israel’s occupation.

“Cuba’s backing of the Palestinians wasn’t exceptional,” explained Abdel Wahad, who studied journalism in Cuba.

“It was part of the Cuban support system to all people struggling for freedom and fighting against colonialism.”

Castro reaffirmed this belief on numerous occasions, including during an interview with the French weekly Afrique-Asie in 1977.

“The Palestinian movements have shown their ability to resist imperialist … aggression … [The Palestinian cause] will prevail sooner or later in spite of the betrayal by Arab reactionaries, imperialist manoeuvres and Israeli aggression.”

In almost every one of Castro’s many speeches, he voiced support for the Palestinians alongside condemnations of US “imperialist plots”.

Following the end of the Six-Day War, Cuba condemned Israel for the first time at the UN. And of all the Latin American countries that had PLO representative offices at the time, only Cuba and Nicaragua granted the PLO full diplomatic status.

Yet despite its close relationship with the PLO, Cuba continued to maintain relations with Israel until 1973. It was during the Non-Aligned Movement summit of that year in Algeria that Cuba announced it would break off relations with Tel Aviv.

Several historical accounts refer to a dramatic scene unfolding at the event after Castro was reportedly convinced to cut ties with Israel.

Tales were told of an embrace between Castro and former Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi, and some claimed that “Arafat ran across [the hall] to embrace Fidel, and the applause lasted for minutes”.

During the Non-Aligned Movement’s heyday, before the end of the Cold War, Cuba also gave much-needed political support to the Palestinians in international fora, such as the UN.

Around that time, Cuba co-sponsored the UN General Assembly resolution that equated Zionism with racism.

Even when the UN later repealed the resolution in 1991, Cuba stood in opposition.

Quid pro quo?

Some argued that the prominence Cubans gave to the Palestinian cause was a quid pro quo for helping the Castro government secure influence among “Third World nations”.

“The symbiotic relationship between the two … enabled Castro, despite his role in Latin America and Africa as a Soviet client and surrogate, to assume a leadership position in the Third World and within the Non-Aligned Movement,” wrote David J Kopilow, a former consultant for the Hudson Institute in Washington specialising in Central America.

Cuba assisted the PLO – especially left-leaning factions like the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) – in forging ties with neighbouring states.

The Cubans had a huge role in us seeking the status of non-member observer state, and we still liaise with them on all high-level international matters.

– Mohammad Odeh, head of Fatah’s Latin America department

“The Cubans played a vital role in facilitating our interactions on the Latin American scene,” said Hisham Abu Ghosh, a member of the DFLP’s political bureau.

The DFLP had an especially close relationship with the Cuban regime; the party’s leader Nayef Hawatmeh made dozens of trips to the island, the most recent of which was made in November 2013.

The PLO also found fertile ground in Cuba for political training and support, giving “logistical and professional guidance for Palestinian factions”, according to Abdel Majeed Sweilim, professor of political science at Al Quds University.

The Latin American state also took a special interest in providing educational support to Palestinians.

“Despite Cuba’s economic woes, the government would give more than 150 Palestinians annually opportunities to study medicine, engineering and other disciplines,” said Odeh, who studied dentistry on the island in 1970 under a full scholarship granted by the Cuban government.

Close relations have been maintained between the Palestinians and Cuba, but “the nature of the relationship has differed”, explained the PA’s Abdel Wahad. “There is an official relationship with the state of Palestine.”

Cuba was even consulted in the lead-up to the UN’s recognition of Palestine as a “non-member observer state”.

“I was in Cuba two years ago to consult with officials about the UN bid,” Fatah’s Odeh said.

“Not many people know this, but the Cubans had a huge role in us seeking the status of non-member observer state, and we still liaise with them on all high-level international matters.”

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More from MA’AN HERE

From Palestine to Cuba: Palestinian leaders remember the late Fidel Castro

EVEN THE DEAD SUFFER FROM CORPORATE GREED

See the similarities …..

In North Dakota

daplprotest

And in Occupied Jerusalem …..

Mamilla cemetery does not exist anymore. What exists now is a hotel, a school, a parking lot, a public garden, a nightclub and the US consulate. Also a museum to celebrate tolerance. But the meaning of tolerance in West Jerusalem, a few steps away from the Old City, is surreal — to build the story of a new Jerusalem, the Israeli authorities are erasing its past.

Mamilla cemetery does not exist anymore. What exists now is a hotel, a school, a parking lot, a public garden, a nightclub and the US consulate. Also a museum to celebrate tolerance. But the meaning of tolerance in West Jerusalem, a few steps away from the Old City, is surreal — to build the story of a new Jerusalem, the Israeli authorities are erasing its past.

Therefore, Palestinians stand in solidarity with the Souix 

Image by Carlos Latuff

Palestinians and Dakota People together

Palestinians and Dakota People together

A LETTER FROM GAZA TO STANDING ROCK ~~ ‘YOUR STORY IS OUR STORY’

As a Palestinian in Gaza, I have grown up feeling detached from the rest of the world as Israel tightens its decade-long blockade. I am sure many of you feel the same way. But we are not isolated. We are “soulmates” in the way that counts.

standingrockgaza

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Gaza writes to Standing Rock: Your story is our story

Israa Suliman

Dear Native Americans:

Although we are of different color, religion, culture and place, I have learned, as I read about the protests at Standing Rock, that we have much more in common than differences. When I read your history, I can see myself and my people reflected in yours. I feel in my core that your fight is my fight, and that I am not alone in the battle against injustice.

My ancestors were not the only ones who lived in Palestine. Jews, Christians and Arabs all lived side by side in my country. But my ancestors—including my grandparents and great-grandparents—were the indigenous people, just like you. And they suffered the same fate as your people. America’s policy of occupation and displacement through forced marches like the Trail of Tears, and the gradual transfer of so many of your people to massive, impoverished reservations, hurts me deeply because it is so similar to the ethnic cleansing of my ancestors by the Israeli military occupation in what we call “al-Nakba” (the catastrophe). We know what you know: that our land is sacred.

In 1948, my ancestors—along with nearly a million other Palestinians—were frightened away or forced off their lands, in some cases at gunpoint. More than 10,000 others were massacred. Hundreds of our villages and cities were completely destroyed in a systemic plan to erase our identity—just as yours has been under continuing assault.

Palestine today is just 22 percent of our original homeland. Like you, some of my people (an estimated 1.5 million) must live in degrading “camps” (our word for reservations), where living conditions are “comparable to the Third World.” Like your reservations, they are characterized by high rates of unemployment, poverty and suicide.

Many other Palestinians (about 6 million)—now including descendants of the original residents—are scattered elsewhere around the world, just as yours are around the United States. Today, not only has the military occupation taken over our land and declared it “the state of Israel,” but it continues to carry on a policy of expulsion, demolishing Palestinian houses in the little bit of land we retain, building illegal settlements and preventing free movement with a network of “security checkpoints.”

Like you, we don’t control our natural resources. Just as you were not consulted about the Dakota Access Pipeline that will traverse your land and contaminate your water supply if installed, we are not consulted by Israel, which wants to mine the gas supply in our harbor for its own use and monopolizes the water supply in the West Bank for the green lawns of its own residents—leaving Palestinians parched and dry. In Gaza, where I live, only 10 percent of our water supply is drinkable due to the conditions in which we must live. We too know that “water is life.”

When I was young, I saw how the media portrays negative images of you, especially in Hollywood films—depicting you as uncivilized, savage, racist and drug abusers. Likewise, my people are portrayed as terrorists, “backward,” misogynists and anti-Semitic. And yet no one regards whites as all the same.

Like yours, our resistance has been labeled as acts of terrorism and violence rather than as a fight for survival and dignity. That’s not surprising, since this is the policy of every oppressor who seeks to criminalize others to justify its acts. It is the oppressor’s way to create its own version of reality to rationalize its behavior and brainwash the masses. And it is the oppressor’s plan to make the colonized feel weak and alone. But you are proving they won’t succeed and I want you to know that my people are with you.

Seeing your women, elders and youth stand together to protest the pipeline and your exclusion from decision making is so inspiring! It gives us strength to go on with our own struggle.

As a Palestinian in Gaza, I have grown up feeling detached from the rest of the world as Israel tightens its decade-long blockade. I am sure many of you feel the same way. But we are not isolated. We are “soulmates” in the way that counts.

Sincerely,

Israa Suliman
We Are Not Numbers

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Image by Latuff

Palestinians and Dakota People together

Palestinians and Dakota People together

#InternationalSolidarityExtraordinaire ~~ BRAZILIANS AIDING PALESTINIAN FARMERS

The Landless Rural Workers Movement, or Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST), sent its yearly delegation to Palestine for the olive harvest in solidarity with farmers in the West Bank.

A delegation from Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement joins the harvest to help Palestinian farmers pick olives and resist Israeli violence.

A delegation from Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement joins the harvest to help Palestinian farmers pick olives and resist Israeli violence.

Brazil’s MST begins solidarity olive harvest

The Landless Rural Workers Movement, or Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST), sent its yearly delegation to Palestine for the olive harvest in solidarity with farmers in the West Bank.

MST is a mass social movement in Brazil formed by rural workers and those who want to fight for land reform and against injustice in rural areas.

Members of the delegation are assisting with the physical work of picking olives as well as serving as witnesses to Israeli state or settler violence directed against Palestinian farmers. The hope is to ensure Palestinian farmers, even in high-risk areas, are able to harvest their olives.

The olive oil industry constitutes 25% of Palestine’s agricultural income and supports the livelihoods of approximately 100,000 Palestinian families. The constant threat of Israeli state and settler violence and upsets the olive harvest in Palestine each year.

The MST activists have already taken part in olive harvests across the West Bank, mainly in areas targeted by Israeli settlers. As a part of the 20-day olive picking delegation, MST representatives are also meeting with Palestinian civil society organizations, unions, and politicians.

On Monday, MST met with the Alternative Information Center (AIC) in Beit Sahour. AIC Director Nassar Ibrahim provided an overview of the Palestinian national movement, stressing the importance of mobilizing democratic forces against the occupation in both Palestinian and Israeli societies. AIC Senior Project Coordinator Ahmad Jaradat discussed the relationship of the Palestinian struggle for liberation to other international social justice movements.

MST has acted in support of the Palestinian national movement for years. It is one of the largest social movements in the world, with a membership of 1.5 million.

2landlesspal

Source

#InNorthDakota ~~ PALESTINIANS STAND WITH THE SIOUX

Palestinians know too well the threat to their own water supply ….

As Native communities face an ongoing genocide and continue to resist the imperialist settler-colonial regime of the United States, Palestinians are too experiencing a genocide and ethnocide within our homelands from the settler-colonial state of Israel.”

Image by Carlos Latuff

"Water is life for all of us": Palestinian activists join Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to protest DAPL

“Water is life for all of us”: Palestinian activists join Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to protest DAPL

Palestinians join Standing Rock Sioux to protest Dakota Access Pipeline

Nadya Raja Tannous

“Perhaps only in North Dakota, where oil tycoons wine and dine elected officials, and where the governor, Jack Dalrymple, serves as an adviser to the Trump campaign, would state and county governments act as the armed enforcement for corporate interests. In recent weeks, the state has militarized my reservation, with road blocks and license-plate checks, low-flying aircraft and racial profiling of Indians. The local sheriff and the pipeline company have both called our protest “unlawful,” and Gov. Dalrymple has declared a state of emergency.

It’s a familiar story in Indian Country. This is the third time that the Sioux Nation’s lands and resources have been taken without regard for tribal interests. The Sioux peoples signed treaties in 1851 and 1868. The government broke them before the ink was dry.

When the Army Corps of Engineers dammed the Missouri River in 1958, it took our riverfront forests, fruit orchards and most fertile farmland to create Lake Oahe. Now the Corps is taking our clean water and sacred places by approving this river crossing.”

Dave Archambault II, Chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, opinion piece in the NY Times

The Bakken formation in the northern United States and southern Canada is listed by US energy companies as one of the most promising options for national oil extraction, only surpassed in size by the oil fields in Alaska. The fields in North Dakota have beenincreasingly targeted for Bakken shale oil resources over the past years and they are quite familiar with public controversy: many of us remember the proposal of the infamousKeystone XL pipeline from 2008-2015, which was held in starkly low public opinion andstruck down twice by the Obama administration. The proposed Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is not so different from its failed counterpart. It is mapped out for the same length of 1,172 miles as the Keystone XL and is targeting the same Bakken shale reserves for carry across the upper Midwest. The proposed $3.8 billion dollar DAPL would transport 570,000 barrels of crude oil per day across four states and cross the Missouri River itself. Parent company, Energy Transfer Partners is selling the pipeline as an economic booster, job creator, and sure investment for the future of the American people. Yet, who exactly are they referring to and who did they consult?

In the hills outside of Bismarck, North Dakota is the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, sitting along the banks of the Cannonball River, a tributary to the Missouri River. The pipeline construction sites can now be seen from the reservation, but many people here saw the pipeline coming before it even arrived. Just as Energy Transfer Partners and TransCanada failed to consult Native Tribes who live along the planned pipeline route and whose sacred lands, ancestral lands, and main water sources will be compromised by construction, there has not been a single tribal consultation around the proposed DAPL.

On April 1st , Sacred Stone Spirit Camp was erected on the bank of the Cannonball as a residence for water protectors, many whom came from within and off the reservation to stand against pipeline construction, call for water preservation, and call for recognition of the Federal treaties held with the Great Sioux Nation. What started out as a few hundred people quickly increased into the thousands, stemming the creation of the Oceti Sakowin and Red Warrior Camps on the other side of the Cannonball.

Protectors, support, and solidarity with Standing Rock are arriving from all edges of the world, many of them representing Indigenous Nations. My own caravan set out from California the 2nd week of September, preceding the Palestinian Youth Movement-USA Caravan that arrived soon after. As a contingent of Indigenous peoples in diaspora and recent settlers on Turtle Island, we attest that those standing at Standing Rock are standing for our present and future as well. We must in turn stand for each other against the present, future, and historical supremacies of erasure, the active legacy of settler-colonialism, and the viciousness of greed.

The pipeline company seems to remain unconcerned by the risk of polluting the reservation’s main water source, the highly probable degradation of land and sacred sights, and their trespass against a series of federal laws, and they are becoming increasingly reactionary to the flow of protectors in and out of the protector camps and surrounding areas. Just a few weeks ago, on September 28th, alarming images and video were released of armed police and military-style vehicles cornering protectors holding a prayer ceremony at a North Dakota construction site. The video portrayed the intensity on the ground and just how vulnerable the protector camps are without the gaze of the public eye:

“They are moving in”
“They won’t let us leave. They have locked us in on both sides”
“They’ve got their weapons drawn”
“They’ve got snipers on top of the hill”
“They’re blocking me on Facebook”
“They are arresting everyone now. Everyone is running”
“Share this far and wide”

Transcript of LiveStream video via Unicorn Riot

The militarized forces blocked the only exit from the site to the public road before arresting 21 protectors. Other attendees posted photos of a crop dusting plane releasing a gas or chemical over the crowd. There has been little clarity thereafter of the makeup of the compound or the purpose of the spray.

The participation and planning of direct actions against DAPL construction, however, are continuing, with over 100 cars caravanning out to 5 construction sites the week of October 3rd and successfully halting construction for the day. Local authorities, private security hires, and the National Guard are seemingly disturbed by the presence of protectors as well, and are going out of their way to restrict access in and out of the protector camp area and intimidate newcomers. Indeed my own caravan coming from California was discouraged from approaching the reservation on the main road running from Bismarck, ND due to the checkpoints erected by North Dakota authorities. Our longwinded encounter with the highway patrol on our way to North Dakota — who insisted on not only checking all of our IDs followed by standing on the side of the highway outside of the car for an hour but also “passed our information down the line to the authorities higher-up” including suspicions of illegal activity — seemed to be motivated to dissuade an influx of supporters into the area. Stories of license plate checks, racial profiling of Native and ethnic drivers and/or car passengers, as well as arrests at roadblocks, circulated through the camps. Democracy Now, The New York Times, Huffington Post, and many independent news sources also reported these same tactics.

Why did I go in the first place? Because somewhere in the awkward power dynamic of being a US citizen, a non-native inhabitant of Turtle Island, and a Palestinian in the Diaspora, I saw the struggle for livelihood and culture, the struggle against settler-colonialism, the struggle to protect the sacred and maintain your own legitimacy, and the ever ominous force of erasure and historical amnesia. What I later saw at Standing Rock both embodied this and became bigger than it; as a Mohawk Elder said to me, “Without water, we [humans] are infertile dust”.

At a council fire in Oceti Sakowin during my stay, 280 Indigenous Nations were thanked for their support and representation at the camps. Movement leaders at Sacred Stone Spirit Camp have repeatedly stated that the gatherings of different Indigenous Nations near Cannonball, ND is the largest in the past 150 years on the North American continent.

The council fire sits at the mouth of the main entrance of Oceti Sakowin Camp, outlined by rows of flags representing many of the Indigenous Nations who have come to stand with Standing Rock. At the end of one of the rows is the Palestinian flag. Seeing it filled me equally with joy and sadness because it confirmed two things that I had pondered throughout the long drive from California to North Dakota: the first thought is that the power of collective resistance against greed and settler-colonialism is a mighty force. That thought was embodied by my joy to see a representation of will by the presently unseen Palestinian siblings who had come to take a stand against destructive powers. The second thought was embodied by sadness for, if the struggle for protection of water, culture, land, heritage, and livelihood is truly mirrored in Standing Rock and Palestine, then the struggle ahead is both vast and uncompromising.

I spoke with many inspiring protectors from the Maori in New Zealand, indigenous representatives from Ecuador, Canadian representatives from the Blackfoot Nation who were longtime activists in the “Idle No More” mobilizations, and Dakota/Lakota/Nakota from Standing Rock and the neighboring reservations among so many others.

From a variety of perspectives and personal stories, the same foundational message was repeated back to me: this stand isn’t just about standing for Native rights, it is about protecting the water, protecting our earth and securing the livelihood of our next generations. Water is life for all of us.

Myself and fellow members of the Palestinian Youth Movement–United States Branch had reflected on the latter thought when we authored our statement of solidarity “with the Standing Rock Sioux, the Great Sioux Nation and our other native sisters, brothers and siblings in the fight against the DAPL”, circulated on September 7th. Segments read:

“We condemn all forms of state violence against our First Nation siblings and denote that the undermining of their sovereignty and livelihood is a part of the continuing dialectic of settler-colonialism transnationally.

Since the arrival of settlers on Turtle Island, First Nations have resisted genocide and displacement. From seizure of land to reservations, from boarding schools to massacres, the state has done everything in its power to erase and eradicate First Nation peoples. Yet, they are still with us today and they continue to resist. Protecting their land, people, and future generations from the DAPL is a testament to their strength and resilience.

….

As Native communities face an ongoing genocide and continue to resist the imperialist settler-colonial regime of the United States, Palestinians are too experiencing a genocide and ethnocide within our homelands from the settler-colonial state of Israel.”

The comparisons are uncanny. I had spent most of the hours on the road to North Dakota contemplating the connections between the obstacles and oppressions facing those in Standing Rock and the obstacles and oppressions facing we Palestinians under occupation and apartheid. However, upon arriving at Standing Rock, I no longer just thought about the similarities, I felt them in my bones.

When protectors at Standing Rock asked me about what Palestinians experience in our own fight against settler-colonialism, oppression, and greed, I answered sometimes through the language of statistics. Yet, more often, I told them narratives of genocide, exile, delegimitzation, broken promises, and resounding resilience.

Sitting around a fire, burning sage and cedar wood, Darlene Meguinis of the Blackfoot Nation in Canada reflected on the beginnings of the Idle No More movement, in which she is still an active organizer. She told me: “Everything must start with prayer and ceremony, especially organizing.” She reminded me that the founders ofIdle No More, elders Nina Waste, Jessica Gordon, Sheelah Mcleen, and Sylvia McAdams, had rooted the movement in ceremony. The result of doing so, Meguinis maintained, was to center the focus of the collective actions for change.

Native youth in the #NoDAPL Youth Council at Standing Rock reiterated similar ideas about DAPL actions. Two youth leaders recounted to me, “we are striving for the results that we want to see but are being directed by our ancestors. We are here, acting now, for our children.”

Intention and prayer surrounded much of the daily camp life and easily dispersed the tensions outside, even as the DAPL Company and National Guard helicopters flew low over the camps each morning, afternoon and night (something that pointedly reminded me of life in Palestine).

Some mornings along the bend of the Cannonball River, which delineates Oceti Sakowin/Red Warrior Camp from Sacred Stone Spirit Camp, Native artists reflected the beauty around them in paintings and art installations. One of the organizers was Albuquerque artist Monty Singer, whose picture is shown below.

The time set out to create art and music, to gather around fires and drum circles, toparticipate in prayer and ceremony with each other uplifted the vibrant energy of the camps and the people within them. We cheered, prayed and supported the direct actions as best we could every day; donations from across the U.S. and internationally flooded into the main entrance in the afternoons and community kitchens and donation booths ran 24/7 to maintain the swelling of protector numbers. Hundreds of people ebbed and flowed into the camps every single day.

The sheer power required to uphold the movement is sobering: in light of the failed injunction by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe against the US Army Corps of Engineers at the lower court level, a Federal Appeals court officially halted construction of the pipeline, underlining the same temporary hold parameters as the decree proposed on September 9th by the Department of Justice (DOJ). That hold applies solely within 20 miles on either side of Lake Oahe near the Missouri River.

Other locations on the planned pipeline route are still open for construction and, though direct actions at sites of DAPL construction have not wavered, they are increasingly receiving less and less media attention with increasingly severe charges being applied to protectors. For example, the 5 protectors who strapped themselves to bulldozers at an active DAPL construction site 100 miles down Hwy 94 from the reservation during my stay at Oceti Sakowin Camp were slapped with felony charges for “criminal trespassing”, the same charges outlined against Amy Goodman in her arrest warrant as a result of her coverage of the DAPL in early September (although her charges at the time constituted a misdemeanor and were thankfully dropped October 17th after a court hearing). Some of those arrested were even extradited back to their home states to face their charges from North Dakota in addition to preexisting protest charges in other states.

My last night in Standing Rock, I spoke with a woman by the name of “Terry”, a resident of Bismarck, ND. I asked her why I had met so few non-natives from the local area at Standing Rock. Her response was direct and had very little to do with the sheriff’s implemented checkpoints and roadblocks: “It is because of the media propaganda. For example, during the dog attacks, Bismarck news covered a worker’s injury at the site and the hospitalization of a guard. No one gave popular air time or writing space to cover the effects of the dog attacks on protectors.” She mentioned that an article in the conservative paper, Town Hall, soon after the attacks read: “So dogs were unleashed on these protestors. Good”. She and a few others from Bismarck came to the camps because they saw past the media pressure. “We understand that the fight for clean water and recognition of Native sovereignty affects everyone in the surrounding area”, she told me, which would become increasingly apparent if oil leakage wells up in the Bakken region.

In Geneva, on September 20th, Dave Archambault II, Chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, urged the UN Human Rights Council to stand with the tribe in opposing the DAPL project and advocate for the recognition of their sovereign rights, including the protection of water and sacred places. Protectors are remaining vigilant on and off site, many walking to pay respects to the graves of the Dakota/Lakota/Nakota ancestors that have been disturbed by construction.

Martina Looking Horse, a longtime writer from Cheyenne River Reservation, has been camping at Standing Rock for over a month. She told me that she and her family plan to stay until the pipeline is defeated but stressed that the conditions at camp are not easy to live under. The torrential rainstorms, the swings of hot and cold, and the impending North Dakota winter discourage many from staying longer than a few weeks. Yet, Looking Horse affirmed her belief that she and many others will carry on, with or without the support of mainstream media. The hope, she reaffirmed, is that the national and international people of conscience will continue to support in all the ways that they can, hold the US government accountable to their promises, and not forget that the protectors are still there taking a stand.

The day that I left, the PYM-United States Branch’s official caravan came into Oceti Sakowin, bringing supplies, people power, and small gifts for the tribal council as visitors to the land. They also read our statement at the tribal council fire and met many people, as I had, who stated how glad they were to see Palestinians supporting the front lines against movement suppression. The solidarity with Palestine for all of us who participated in caravans from PYM was overwhelming. What was supposed to be a few-day trip was extended into a week.

Inspired by the stories, the people, the call to our moral responsibility to protect each other and the water that keeps us alive, we hope to return back to Standing Rock and bring supplies for winter.

Friends of Sabeel North America also sent forward a statement of solidarity, in part remarking:

“we know that settler colonialism depends on the exploitation of land and natural resources to the detriment of indigenous communities…Today, we see you, the Sioux nation and members of the other 280 Native American tribes who have joined you to protect the water of the Missouri River and stop the Dakota Access Pipeline, taking a stand for all life, the embodiment of resilience. As the Israeli occupation continues, Palestinian land is stolen, ancient olive trees are uprooted, and blood is shed, your struggle inspires our work and we redouble our efforts to witness and nonviolently resist. We stand in full support of indigenous sovereignty and self-determination.”

The light of hope in Standing Rock is not fizzling out. Upon returning to the Bay Area, I came across many art builds and donation efforts, and have been seeing many more events publicized by friends and family in New York State, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Arizona.

Thanks to Caleb Duarte and the wonderful youth from Fremont High School in Oakland (recently arrived unaccompanied youth from Chimeltenango, Guatemala) who made this solidarity banner:

Art build in Oakland, CA : Recent unaccompanied minors from Guatemala write “Water is Life” in Maya. (Photo: Nadya Tannous)

Art build in Oakland, CA : Recent unaccompanied minors from Guatemala write “Water is Life” in Maya. (Photo: Nadya Tannous)

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Dignidad Rebelde woodblock print at the Oakland Art Build for Standing Rock. (Photo: Nadya Tannous)

Dignidad Rebelde woodblock print at the Oakland Art Build for Standing Rock. (Photo: Nadya Tannous)

I remember thinking as I left Standing Rock to return to California: peoples suppressed by power and greed have strength when they rise together. There is a poignant uniting force through something as important as the world that sustains us.

The river was quiet when I left, with lots of green and tall grass on its banks. The river flats lay muddy and fertile, the slow current reflecting the sky day and night, the water turning pink and orange by sunset.

A water protector strapped to heavy machinery down the Hwy 94 shouted out, before being removed to jail,

“This pipeline is a pipeline to the past. We need to be building sustainable infrastructure for the future, not destructive unsustainable industries that hurt land, that hurt water, that hurt people. Everything is wrong about this pipeline… We’re here standing in solidarity with millions of people from around the world that are against this pipeline.” (via Unicorn Riot)

The collective call for justice is ringing loud and clear. Mni Wiconi –Water is life.

Please support Standing Rock. Donate here to Sacred Stone Spirit Camp.

Donate here to the Sacred Stone Camp Legal Defense Fund.

Donate here to the next PYM caravan to Standing Rock.

Source and more photos HERE

IN PHOTOS ~~ PROTESTING U.S. MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM [THAAD] IN SOUTH KOREA

Over one hundred people gathered in Manhattan’s Korean business on October 21st to protest  the American missile “defense” system [THAAD] in South Korea.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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SOS VIDEO MESSAGES FROM THE WOMEN’S BOAT TO GAZA

SOS video messages were released by the Freedom Flotilla group after the all women crew members were reportedly intercepted and taken by Israeli forces en route to the shores of Gaza. Shortly before the release of the videos, Al Jazeera reported that the activists were expected to be detained and taken to the Israeli port of Ashdod, then deported.

Image by Carlos Latuff

Womens BoatTo Gaza intercepted by the Occupation Navy. Piracy on the open waters! Israel is the enemy of all mankind.

Womens BoatTo Gaza intercepted by the Occupation Navy. Piracy on the open waters! Israel is the enemy of all mankind.

SOS video messages from Zaytouna-Oliva

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Contact President Barack Obama    (202) 456-1111
Contact Secretary John Kerry           kerryj@state.gov or
                                                          (202) 647-4000

Unlike other nations that have women on the boat, we Americans provide military equipment to Israel that may very well have been used against Ann and our international friends.  Please ask Secretary Kerry and President Obama to demand Israel immediately release the women and that they do an investigation on the incident as there are a number of troubling circumstances that are against US and international law. And don’t forget to say that the blockade on Gaza must end.

More contact info here ….

UN: His Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-moon
United Nations Secretary-General
E-mail: sgcentral@un.org
Twitter: @UN_Spokesperson

EU: Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
Email: federica.mogherini@ec.europa.eu
Twitter: @FedericaMog

AUSTRALIA

Julie BishopMinistro de Asuntos Exteriores
E-mail: Julie.Bishop.MP@aph.gov.au
Teléfono: +61 8 9388 0288
Twitter: @JulieBishopMP
Facebook: Julie Bishop MP

CANADA

Justin Trudeau, Primer Ministro
Casa de los Comunes
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6
(No necesita franqueo!)
Teléfono: +1 613 995 0253
Teléfono: +1 514 277 6020
E-mail: j+ustin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca
Twitter: @JustinTrudeau

Stephane DionMinistro de Asuntos Exteriores
Casa de los Comunes
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6
Información de contacto
mailto:stephane.dion@parl.gc.ca

Para más contactos en Canadá: http://canadaboatgaza.org

FRANCE

Monsieur le Président, protégez la Flottille des Femmes pour Gaza
http://www.plateforme-palestine.org/Monsieur-le-President-protegez-la-Flottille-des-Femmes-pour-Gaza

NEW ZEALAND/AOTEAROA

Please contact: https://kiaoragaza.wordpress.com/2016/10/04/demand-israel-allows-womens-boat-to-gaza-safe-passage/

NORWAY

Børge Brende
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
N-0032 OSLO
E-mail: utenriksminister@mfa.no
Twitter: @borgebrende
www.shiptogaza.no

SOUTH AFRICA

Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Womensboattogazasouthafrica/?fref=ts

SPAIN

  • Please check the following link for detailshttp://www.rumboagaza.org/convocatorias-asalto-zaytouna/
  • Rumbo a Gaza calls on civil society and organizations to gather at 7pm in front of Spanish government offices the same day of the possible interception.
  • Rumbo a Gaza calls on the Spanish Government and Spanish MPs and MEPs to protect the Women’s Boat to Gaza mission and their participants, including the Spaniard Sandra Barrilaro.

UK

Boris Johnson, Foreign Secretary
Tel: +44 20 7219 4682
E-mail: boris.johnson.mp@parliament.uk
Twitter: @borisjohnson
Facebook: facebook.com/foreignoffice
Twitter: @foreignoffice

70 AMERICAN INTELLECTUALS THAT ARE ACTUALLY INTELLECTUAL

More than 70 American intellectuals called for a targeted boycott of all goods and services from Israeli West Bank settlements.

This picture taken on June 5, 2015 shows people walking past a sign painted on a wall in the town of Bethlehem in the south of the Tel Aviv-occupied West Bank on June 5, 2015, calling for a boycott of Israeli products coming from illegal settlements. (Photo by AFP)

This picture taken on June 5, 2015 shows people walking past a sign painted on a wall in the town of Bethlehem in the south of the Tel Aviv-occupied West Bank on June 5, 2015, calling for a boycott of Israeli products coming from illegal settlements. (Photo by AFP)

70 American Intellectuals Call for Boycott of Israeli Settlements

More than 70 American intellectuals called for a targeted boycott of all goods and services from Israeli West Bank settlements.

The boycott call, an open letter, was published in the most recent issue of the New York Review of Books, which is dated Oct. 13.

Among the signers are Bernard Avishai, Peter Brooks, Peter Beinhart, Todd Gitlin and Martin Sherwin.

The letter said the signatories “oppose an economic, political, or cultural boycott of Israel itself as defined by its June 4, 1967, borders,” which they refer to as the “so-called Green Line.” This boundary, according to the letter writers, “should be the starting point for negotiations between the Israeli and Palestinian parties on future boundaries between two states. To promote such negotiations, we call for a targeted boycott of all goods and services from all Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories, and any investments that promote the Occupation, until such time as a peace settlement is negotiated between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority.”

The letter also calls on the U.S. government to remove Internal Revenue Service tax exemptions from West Bank entities and to exclude the settlements from Israeli trade benefits.

IN PHOTOS ~~ NETANYAHU’S MINION OF ABOMINATIONS

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PROTESTING NETANYAHU @ HIS AWARDS DINNER @ PLAZA HOTEL NYC

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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IN PHOTOS ~~ PROTEST AGAINST APARTHEID

What was still is ....

What was still is ….

Be sure not to miss this post from yesterday (Click on link)

TRANSFORMATION OF A SELF HATING JEW TO A TERRORIST

PROTESTING THE JEWISH NATIONAL FUND CONVENTION @ THE NYC HILTON HOTEL

Photos  © by Bud Korotzer

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IN PHOTOS ~~ DEMO AT G4S ~~ GET OUT OF PALESTINE AND STANDING ROCK!

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On September 16, people gathered at the NYC office of G4S demanding G4S get out of Palestine and Standing Rock North Dakota USA-where recently G4S security guards released some dogs on the “PROTECTERS” of their Native historic lands against the attempt to lay  an oil pipeline(the Dakota Access Pipeline)  through their lands.

At the end of the protest the protesters marched through the public access of the building loudly chanting “G4S out of Palestine and Standing Rock” much to the consternation of the building’s security guards.

Photos and commentary © by Bud Korotzer

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