People of the World Unite to UNoccupy Jerusalem!


A two-day conference of the international committee for the “Global March to Jerusalem” in Amman concluded last week – with member committees, representing more than 60 countries present. The head of the Jordanian committee taking part in the meeting, Abdullah Obeidat, said that “trade unions and opposition parties decided to support the march and participate in defence of the holy city and Palestinian families in the occupied territories.”1

On March 30th, Land Day, in the spirit of the amazing people’s movements worldwide, Palestinian refugees will march with freedom lovers and justice seekers from all over the world, to Jerusalem. The aim of participants is to draw attention to the systematic discrimination of Palestinians in Jerusalem, and make a concrete effort to end the occupation, through peaceful means.

Recent, ongoing clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians at Al-Aqsa mosque have left dozens of Palestinians injured and detained, for throwing stones at police on the plaza; with no end in sight. The latest spark was caused by calls of right wing groups to ‘Occupy Al-Aqsa’2 who (in typical fashion, appropriated the name from activists from the Northern American movement to restore social and economic justice!) stormed the compound, containing the Al-Aqsa mosque – the third holiest site in Islam. Adding fuel to the fire, was an Israeli supreme court order earlier this month to allow the right of non-Muslims to pray in Al Aqsa Mosque. Finally, in a move reminiscent of Arial Sharon’s provocative visit to Al Aqsa mosque in 2000 which ignited the second intifada, far-right Israeli politician Moshe Feiglin distributed leaflets calling to remove “Israel’s enemies”, from Islam’s third holiest site.3

Meanwhile, despite criticisms by Palestinians, the US, UN and several Arab States- Israel preliminarily approved a plan to build 600 new settlements, deep inside the West Bank. Yariv Oppenheimer, director of Peace Now, an Israeli group that opposes settlement construction, called it the biggest settlement construction plan in the West Bank since Netanyahu took office three years ago.4 Yet again, the government’s unilateral policies and display of complete contempt, directly undermine ‘peace talks’ – which have been stalled for the past three years, over the issue of Jewish settlements. Unless a massive and just intervention is taken immediately, the results will be devastating, and are likely to trigger catastrophic, wide-spread violence.

‘Master Plan’, or ‘Final Solution’

To understand these ongoing policies, one can look directly to the Israeli government, which routinely publishes its plans involving the further judaization of Jerusalem. The most recent document is titled: “Demography, Geopolitics, and the Future of Israel’s Capital: Jerusalem’s Proposed Master Plan for Jerusalem-2020″ 5 . Within these pages, the Jerusalem Municipality’s District Planning and Building Committee has drawn up the blue print to completely transform the holy city for the three religions – into a Jewish city – by isolating it with a wall of settlements. In order to carry out their goals, official Israeli policies involve home demolitions, dispossession and settlement construction to solidify “the capital and spiritual center of Israel and the Jewish people”.

Since 1967, thousands of Palestinian homes have been demolished, many multiple times over and 20,000 Palestinian housing units face demolition to accommodate new settlements, Old City excavation projects and other Jewish only developments. If successfully implemented, Palestinians will be dispossessed, displaced and excluded from what remains of their city, and future capital. Palestinians comprise about one-third of the city’s population, confined to 7% of its land in mostly inadequate housing. Already, discriminatory measures exist, including encircling densely populated Palestinian neighborhoods by “green space” or “unzoned land” where building is prohibited. Applications to rezone, increase density, or build in small areas designated for residential construction are routinely denied. As a result, new housing can’t accommodate Palestinian population increases.

“Settlements built on the (city’s) outskirts also dissect the continuity between the northern and southern West Bank, jeopardizing the feasibility of a future Palestinian State. As second class residents, the right of East Jerusalem Palestinians to their increasingly occupied city keep eroding, including to their own homes.” While Israel’s Master Plan 2020 declares its goal to plan for the long term fate of East Jerusalem, “it has been prepared with no consultation of any kind with the Palestinian community.” As Stephen Lendman, in one of the few articles which discusses the plan put it, “Why? Because exclusion is eventually planned, though not explicitly stated in 2020′s language.” http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2010/12/israels-jerusalem-master-plan-2020.html

International Accountability in the Face of Israeli Aggression?

The US officially takes a position against Israeli settlement expansion and future construction projects in East Jerusalem. However, with strong ties to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the influential Jewish lobby in the U.S Barack Obama, has also said that Jerusalem should be the capital of Israel during his campaign in the Democratic primaries for the presidency and has since reiterated that there would be no limits on Jewish construction activity in a “united Jerusalem”. It is well known that right-wing Jewish groups in the US, directly finance the construction of Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem. Attempts by Israeli right-wing extremists to storm the mosque, are growing by the number and frequency each week. Awqaf officials also blame Arab states’ for the emerging crisis by failing to bring the case to the international community’s attention.”

People of the world taking action, where governments have failed.

For over 64 years, the state of Israel has been obsessed with one racist goal; demographics and keeping a Jewish majority. Some call it apartheid, others ethnic cleansing, the official terms are ethnocracy or ethnocide. Yet one thing is clear, every Israeli government has created policies with one goal in mind – to get, and keep Palestinians out of their homeland – and make way for a purely Jewish state. Meanwhile Europe and the UN, who created this problem, stand idly by and watch as Palestinians endure systematic dispossession and displacement–tantamount to ethnic cleansing.

Today, humanity is at a crossroads–people of the world are beginning to understand that we are the 99% and have far more in common, then our so-called leaders. We have an unprecedented opportunity to choose a new path, and join the millions world wide who have decided to take their destiny into their own hands. In the absence of governmental officials to do what’s legal and moral, Palestinians are calling on global citizen’s of conscious, to take a stand – before it’s too late.

The GMJ has heeded this call, and “inspired firstly by our convictions, secondly by the justice of our cause and thirdly by the spirit of the Arab spring revolution will peacefully march from surrounding countries, to the borders” – to fulfill a dream that lies in the center of every refugees heart, to return home. What makes this journey especially meaningful is not only do Palestinians have the oldest and longest running refugee population in the world, their home is at the center of the deeply contentious struggle to liberate Jerusalem, the capital of the world’s three religions – and quite literally the conscious and soul of humanity.

For more information about the Global March to Jerusalem, see: http://www.gmj-na.org/participationoptions.html or email: right2return@gmail.com.

1. Preparations continue for the Global March to Jerusalem, February, 27, 2012 – http://www.middleeastmonitor.org.uk/news/middle-east/3462-preparations-continue-for-the-global-march-to-jerusalem

2. Amidst Jewish calls to ‘storm Al Aqsa’, Arabs ‘largely silent’ Jordan Times; Rafiq A. Tschannen, February 25th, 2012 – http://www.themuslimtimes.org/2012/02/countries/israel/amidst-jewish-calls-to-storm-al-aqsa-arabs-largely-silent

3. Israeli forces clash with worshipers at Al-Aqsa, Maan News, February 24, 2012 – http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=462853

4. West Bank settlement housing gets initial approval Daniel Estrin, Associated Press, February 22, 2012: http://www.chron.com/news/article/West-Bank-settlement-housing-gets-initial-approval-3349564.php
5. Demography, Geopolitics, and the Future of Israel’s Capital: Jerusalem’s Proposed Master PlanJerusalem Center for Public Affairs – 2010, http://jcpa.org/text/Jerusalem-Master-Plan.pdf

6. Jordan warns Israel over Al Aqsa as tensions reach boiling point: Jordan Times, February 20th – http://www.menafn.com/qn_news_story_s.asp?StoryId=1093485000

7. Israel’s Jerusalem Master Plan 2020 – by Stephen Lendman – Thursday, December 16, 2010 http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2010/12/israels-jerusalem-master-plan-2020.html

8. From the Global March to Jerusalem, int’l campaign website: http://gm2j.com/main/about/

Advertisements

Candle Light Vigil In Solidarity With Khader Adnan & Political Prisoners

Today in Cairo at the Arab league near Tahrir 16:00 – 18:00

BREAKING NEWS: KHADER ADNAN IS SUPPOSED TO BE RELEASED APRIL 17, AND HAS AGREED TO END HIS HUNGER STRIKE. WE WILL STILL MEET TO CELEBRATE THIS NEWS, AND HAVE A VIGIL FOR THE OVER 300 PALESTINIAN PRISONERS STILL DETAINED UNDER ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION IN ISRAELI JAILS.

Please bring signs to end administrative detention and free all political prisoners–and end torture

Join us for a candle light vigil, in front of the Arab League to demand they help release Khader Adnan, who has been on hunger strike since 17 December 2011.

After the vigil, we will go to El Sawy, Culture Wheel where they will hold an event for Khader this evening.

Amnesty International: Israeli decision to release Palestinian detainee in April ‘insufficient’: http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/israeli-decision-release-palestinian-detainee-april-insufficient-2012-02-21 #KhaderAdnan

Mr. Khader is protesting his being held under administrative detention by the Israeli occupation forces. Adnan’s detention is based on military order with secret evidence that he and his attorney are not allowed to review. According to the order, he was sentenced to jail for a six month period that may be renewed without limitation. His detention is continuing without trial or charges. According to International Humanitarian Law, it is the responsibility of the ICRC to take active steps to save his life by applying pressure on the Israeli government to release him. Please bring candles and signs and Palestinian flags

#OccupyOakland Survives Attacks on Multiple Fronts

The #Jan28 action when #OccupyOakland attempted to take over a vacant building, led to nearly 400 arrests, and has since endured attacks from multiple fronts. In addition to Oakland police once again using tear gas and other chemical weapons, on largely nonviolent protesters, who were then kettled, arrested and mistreated in prison, what is the most hurtful is the blame being slung around by once supportive community members.

During the mass arrest that took place that night when we were illegally detained for the charge of “failure to disburse”. Illegally,  because the order I can assure you, WAS NOT GIVEN at that time. In fact, I came to later find out my arresting officer (who was an old family friend) was told we were given dispersal orders. And apparently there were orders to disperse given earlier in the day – however I was not there until later in the evening, so did not hear it. Plus the law states for the order to be repeated, for each related incident, which it was not. As we were peacefully marching to City Hall, we were blocked by police from all sides and prevented from proceeding. Had it been, I would have been the first to evacuate.

Because the media was prevented from entering, there is almost no coverage of this fact- making it ultimately the word of the police, against the protesters. After closing in on us from behind, someone at the YMCA told us to enter there for safety.  Using their batons, the police forced the rest of us into a corner and violently pinned us in. Terrified, we immediately began chanting “LET US DISBURSE”, for several minutes–to no avail.

After being held and then handcuffed on the sidewalk, many in excruciating pain, for several hours many of us were transported with the painful handcuffs for nearly 40 miles, then proceeded to spend 50 hours changing cells, with up to 24 others in a 10×10 cell (made to hold 3!), in inhumane and cruel conditions. I saw people being denied medication, including an HIV patient. I saw people with allergies to the food provided refused any substitute and unable to eat. Many arrested were covered in tear gas and pepper spray, and the chemicals continued to permeate the cells the entire time.

We were also not given a phone call until nearly 24 hours after our detainment, not read our Miranda rights, not given any pillows blankets or warm clothing –everyone was freezing (with one woman in shorts!) and most in not nearly enough clothing, for the cold temperatures they set the room to. Also in our cell were two young women who we later learned, were swept up while walking home after grocery shopping with their two friends, and held the entire time – because they happen to be in the city’s war path!

This was a clear attempt to beat and bully us into submission-and violently suppress the people’s yearning for justice. Yet most disturbingly, it also worked to effectively divide the movement, with arguments moving away from police brutality and systemic injustice-to heated debates of tactics, namely self-defense versus pacifism. Even the once staunch supporter of occupy, Chris Hedges, came out with his now infamous critique of Occupy Oakland and the black block titled: The Cancer in Occupy https://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/02/06-3. During the mass arrest, I asked why no one was going limp, a common non-compliance tactic used during the civil rights movement–which to do so I was informed, comes with a felony charge. By far the best response I’ve seen, is by non-violent practitioner Neil Frazier, in an article titled A Call To Oakland’s Non-Violent Movement: We Must Lead By Example in his response to the incredible backlash against occupy Oakland and the January 28th action:

“We must be the change we wish to see within the movement, even more so than in the world at large, and we must provide an example, not of the condemnation of violent activists — which is an argument all too easy for those opposing the movement against economic inequality to use to their own advantage — but, rather, of a path forward for those in the struggle beside us. Only when we begin to lead by example will people once again come to understand the meaning of “we shall not be moved” and “we shall overcome.” And if we can find the courage of our convictions, we surely will overcome their morally bankrupt violence and achieve Dr. King’s dream of equality.” http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/02/02/18706448.php

Looking at the larger picture, I also view this as part of the escalating attack on, and ongoing erosion of our freedom and rights – as most recently evidenced by the passing of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Lessons in resistance from Egypt
I spent 8 months in Egypt in 2011 (and am back here now), where I witnessed the counter revolution in full swing – due to almost identical tactics being used by the Egyptian army, (of course, completely armed and funded by the US government) to suppress dissent and political expression. Just as the US government supplies, weapons and funding to military dictatorships throughout the world to eliminate opposition to the regime, the US is moving slowly but ever so surely towards a total police state using the same laws, policies, tactics and weapons!

Perhaps most worth noting and dangerous, are the divisions within the occupy movement itself, are found the same criticisms of those once supportive of the Egyptian revolution, which serve to counter gains made by revolutionaries. For example, in an article titled: The pseudo-left in the Egyptian revolution

“The attitude of the entire official Egyptian opposition to the Egyptian revolution was summed up in a statement by ElBaradei shortly after the overthrow of Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali as a result of mass protests last January. Hoping that “change would come in an orderly way and not through the Tunisian model,” he said, “Things need to be organized and planned properly. I would like to use the means available from within the system to effect change.”

Only a week later, there was a revolutionary confrontation between the workers and the Egyptian “system”—that is, Mubarak’s police thugs and the army. The mass response to protests called for January 25, which stunned the political establishment and the police, led to street fighting and the defeat of the police in Cairo on January 28. The next day, Mubarak ordered the army to surround protesters in downtown Cairo. After refusing to step down on February 1, he sent thugs mounted on horses and camels through army lines to attack Tahrir Square. Protesters beat back the thugs.”

Just as ElBaradai (supposedly a leftist political figure) attempted to restore calm, many in the US liberal camp, who are opposed to using self-defense and hope for ‘orderly’ transitions of moderate change. By doing so they undermine and show complete lack faith in the people to be an agent of real, systemic change, versus a few meaningless reforms.

During this time of mass global unrest, people from all over the world (the 99%) are waking up and realizing that we have far more in common with each other, than with our so called leaders (the 1%). In the US, the occupy movement is attempting to break free, and take power into our own hands. It is not to say that occupy activists did not and will not make mistakes, nor have many lessons to draw from. However, those who dismiss Occupy Oakland as a bunch of violent outside agitators, fail to take into account the deeper moral questions of social justice and institutional violence, and take personal responsibility. If we believe in justice, freedom and are truly committed to achieving these aims, we must support those who are quite literally risking everything, and engage in the people’s brave movements, otherwise, step aside and let us lead the way!

To Mayor Quan and OPD, and all those who think they can beat and bully us into submission-and violently suppress the people’s yearning for justice, truth and freedom – and I can’t over emphasize us enough – you are truly and sadly mistaken. Despite the trauma from the police abuse and first hand experience, of the total erosion and loss of personal freedoms and rights -this is just the beginning. Every.attempt to break our will and drive a wedge in our resistance into submission, will only make us.bigger, better, smarter and stronger.

~SOLIDARITY FOREVER!!!

 

Noura

Since the media is full of their own explanations of what happened, wo hearing from those present, here are a few more accounts:

Response to Mayor Quan’s to OWS ‘leaders’, by someone from OWS: http://www.facebook.com/notes/daniel-marcus/one-of-many-open-letters-to-mayor-jean-quan-from-occupy-wall-street/314664571903053

SocialistWorker detailing the events of the day/night, and some of the reasons behind why we felt the need to support the important action: “Meanwhile, the media defended the repression, repeating wild accusations about protesters without questioning the brutality of police.” http://socialistworker.org/2012/01/31/oakland-police-attack-occupiers.

Another great article by OWS titled, ‘Regime Change in Oakland’: “The Police, under orders from Mayor Quan, responded to this peaceful demonstration of direct democracy and community building by arresting around 400 people. Hundreds more were injured when an army of officers marched on these unarmed families, raised their guns and fired bullets, tear gas canisters, smoke bombs, concussion grenades and other explosive devices into the crowd. Mayor Quan, on the same day as solidarity marches were organized by dozens of occupations across the nation, has called on the Occupy Movement to denounce Oakland’s show of bravery under fire and community strength. We stand with Oakland and call for the immediate resignation of Quan, who on Saturday made it clear that the state has abandoned democracy and joined the 1% in declaring war against the people.” occupywallst.org/article/regime-change-oakland/

My eye witness account of the attack by the city of Oakland & total erosion of our freedom – #OccupyOakland #Jan28 #movein

Palestinians urge international community to join Global March to Jerusalem

Please read the following call put out by Palestinians to join the Global March to Jerusalem, which is planned to take place March 30th. Sad to say that so far the US has showed pathetic support for what could be a historic opportunity to thrust the issue onto the world stage. This is similar in scope to the historic flotillas, and can be even more powerful since it will actively engage Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan an opportunity to march home for the first time, in solidarity with internationals.

I would like to urge you all to please please please do everything you can to support this effort by sharing it widely, donating and/or asking your organization and community groups etc. to endorse the campaign. We also plan to present this to get support from OccupyOakland, so if anyone is willing to help with that, please let me know. This a historic moment and it is due time we take a strong action, that will bring together all our energy, and this initiative will only be as powerful as it can be with mass US public support. As the statement says as American solidarity activists, we really need to step up and support it:

“It is very important that a strong contingent of American activists participate in the GMJ. In the United States, American tax dollars are endlessly being funneled into war, military occupation, and dictatorship throughout the Middle East. In addition to financing and arming oppressive regimes that have already been challenged by the Arab uprisings, U.S. tax dollars also continue to finance Israeli settlement expansion in Jerusalem and other such crimes against the Palestinian people. This is why it is essential for Americans to remain active in the push for a free Palestine through non-violent means, and they increasingly are. College campuses across the United States are organizing students to oppose Israeli oppression through non-violent campaigns such as the Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions movement. Hundreds of Palestine solidarity activists from around the U.S. converged last October for a student conference at Columbia University to organize a national campaign. Palestine continues to be a priority for those in the U.S. who seek justice in the Middle East. So while the U.S. government continues to harass American solidarity activists, they must remain steadfast in their support for their Palestinian counterparts through initiatives such as GMJ-NA, the North American division of the Global March to Jerusalem.

Salam, solidarity, hurriya,
Noura

Palestinians urge international community to join Global March to Jerusalem:

http://palsolidarity.org/2012/02/palestinians-urge-international-community-to-join-global-march-to-jerusalem/

#OccupyOakland, Not Palestine proposal passes overwhelmingly -thank you OO!

Last night, Occupy Oakland once again displayed its national leadership – by being the first occupy movement in the country, to pass a proposal in support of BDS (boycott, divestment & sanctions http://www.bdsmovement.net) nearly unanimously. Though the solidarity statement was mostly symbolic, it forced OO to take a stand – and that they did, by voting overwhelmingly in favor of BDS and in solidarity with Palestine.

The importance of supporting BDS is not only symbolic solidarity with Palestinians however. Ending tax dollars, weapons and other support the US provides to Israel, would have a direct positive impact for our communities, in that the much needed tax dollars could be spent on health care, education and housing (for info how much is being spent in your community see: http://www.endtheoccupation.org/section.php?id=376).

Also, especially following this weekend’s attack on Occupy Oakland, what is most immediately important to understand is that this was a direct escalation of repression, and that local law enforcement throughout the country is working with the federal government and will be further clamping down on the growing occupy movements. In his ground breaking article titled: The Israelification of American Domestic Security Max Blumenthal describes in detail, the intimate relationship between local law enforcement officials across the country, being trained in repressive Israeli tactics:

“The Israelification of America’s security apparatus, recently unleashed in full force against the Occupy Wall Street Movement, has taken place at every level of law enforcement, and in areas that have yet to be exposed. The phenomenon has been documented in bits and pieces, through occasional news reports that typically highlight Israel’s national security prowess without examining the problematic nature of working with a country accused of grave human rights abuses. But it has never been the subject of a national discussion. And collaboration between American and Israeli cops is just the tip of the iceberg.

Given the amount of training the NYPD and so many other police forces have received from Israel’s military-intelligence apparatus, and the profuse levels of gratitude American police chiefs have expressed to their Israeli mentors, it is worth asking how much Israeli instruction has influenced the way the police have attempted to suppress the Occupy movement, and how much it will inform police repression of future upsurges of street protest. But already, the Israelification of American law enforcement appears to have intensified police hostility towards the civilian population, blurring the lines between protesters, common criminals, and terrorists. As Dichter said, they are all just ‘crimiterrorists.”‘ http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/occupation-%E2%80%9Coccupy%E2%80%9D-israelification-american-domestic-security

We hope this is the first step to building support and awareness about these critical issues, and that this proposal will be followed by similar proposals in other GA’s. The process is simple and I would like to encourage those you involved in occupy movements throughout the country, to do the same.