Monday, October 5, 2009

October 2009 Action Alert

"Peace is not built on human suffering"
Norman Bourlag

Sources: U.N. Goldstone report on Gaza**

For articles, click on the following links: The Nation

United Nations website

**Editors note: There seem to be numerous opinion articles on the web about the Goldstone Report...we attempted to provide non-partisan information with the above links.

Tell Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama that Americans do care about what happened in Gaza in winter, 2009 and ask them to stop insisting that the Palestinian Authority reject the results of the Goldstone Report as a condition for peace negotiations.

excerpt from Palestinians Drop Support for War Crimes Report
Associated Press Writer

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas drew scathing criticism at home Friday for his decision to suspend a campaign to have Israeli officials prosecuted for war crimes over last winter's military offensive against Hamas in Gaza.

Abbas' reversal came under heavy U.S. pressure and means no further international action is likely for at least six months.

At issue is a recent U.N. report that alleges both Israel and Hamas committed war crimes in three weeks of fighting.

The 47-member U.N. Human Rights Council had been expected to vote this week on a resolution to refer the report to the U.N. General Assembly, moving one step closer to possible prosecutions.

However, the Palestinians agreed Friday to drop their support for the resolution after intense U.S. lobbying. With the Palestinians out of the picture, the council's Arab and Muslim states followed suit. A vote was delayed until March, meaning the report will now lie dormant while the global body decides what, if anything, to do with it.

Sample Letter:
Dear ,

I write to express strong disappointment in the United States' decision to pressure the Palestinian Authority to reject the Goldstone Report, which alleges Israel used disproportionate force and failed to protect Palestinian civilians during attacks on Gaza, and calls Hamas' firing of rockets at civilian areas in southern Israel a war crime. Delaying review and action on the report ignores potential war crimes and will not set the stage for comprehensive, lasting, peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. I urge you to reconsider our policy and instead use the Goldstone Report to hold both Israelis and Palestinians accountable for human rights. That would be a change we need in U.S. mideast policy!




To Contact Secretary Clinton or President Obama, click on the links below and complete the electronic form.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:

President Obama:

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Upcoming Sabeel Conference--Cedar Falls, Iowa

Attending a Sabeel Conference is an excellent way to learn more about peace & justice in Israel and Palestine, meet local and international activists and learn effective action strategies!

A Free Palestine and a Secure Israel:
From Occupation to Liberation and Reconciliation

Two days of fellowship and education
in support of Palestinian Christians and all those
who seek peace and justice in Israel and Palestine

October 9-10, 2009
Schindler Education Center
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, Iowa

Promoting awareness and understanding of the conflict
between the Palestinians and the State of Israel through
educational programs and interfaith dialogue.
For more information, click the Sabeel Iowa link in the right column of this blog.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

August, 2009 Action Alert-- House Evictions and U.S. Aid to Israel

U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

Friends of Sabeel--North America PO Box 9186, Portland, OR 97207

Write to your members of Congress to let them know you oppose house evictions of Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem, and ask them to stop sending U.S. funding!

At approximately 4:15 AM on Sunday 2 August 2009 dozens of Israeli police, accompanied by members of the Israeli occupation forces, forcibly evicted eight Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem. According to information gathered by the Civic Coalition for Defending Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem, the Israeli occupation authorities arrived at just after 4:00 am and began smashing the windows of the residential unit before breaking down the doors and forcibly removing approximately 70 members of the Al-Ghawi and Hanoun families. In addition, Israeli occupation authorities also removed numerous international solidarity activists living with the families and confiscated their mobile phones.
Link to news footage of the evictions:

Sample Letter:

Dear (Senator/Representative),

Recent evictions of Palestinian families from their homes in occupied East Jerusalem violate human rights and fly in the face of President Obama's call for ending the expansion of settlements and renewed peace talks. While Secretary of State Clinton has called the evictions regrettable, it is U.S. aid to Israel that make such violations of Palestinian human rights possible. I ask that you support President Obama's call for resuming peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians, and stop sending support to Israel while it is engaging in violations of human rights.




It is now necessary to go to each member of Congress' website to contact them. Website for Senators: senator last (example-, for representatives: representative last (example- Find your member of Congress

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Guardian article on water distribution for Palestinians & Israelis...

Israelis get four-fifths of scarce West Bank water, says World Bank
Palestinians losing out in access to vital shared aquifer in the occupied territories
Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem, Wednesday 27 May 2009 18.05 BST

A deepening drought in the Middle East is aggravating a dispute over water resources after the World Bank found that Israel is taking four times as much water as the Palestinians from a vital shared aquifer.

The region faces a fifth consecutive year of drought this summer, but the World Bank report found huge disparities in water use between Israelis and Palestinians, although both share the mountain aquifer that runs the length of the occupied West Bank. Palestinians have access to only a fifth of the water supply, while Israel, which controls the area, takes the rest, the bank said.

Israelis use 240 cubic metres of water a person each year, against 75 cubic metres for West Bank Palestinians and 125 for Gazans, the bank said. Increasingly, West Bank Palestinians must rely on water bought from the Israeli national water company, Mekorot.

In some areas of the West Bank, Palestinians are surviving on as little as 10 to 15 litres a person each day, which is at or below humanitarian disaster response levels recommended to avoid epidemics. In Gaza, where Palestinians rely on an aquifer that has become increasingly saline and polluted, the situation is worse. Only 5%-10% of the available water is clean enough to drink.

The World Bank report, published last month, provoked sharp criticism from Israel, which disputed the figures and the scale of the problem on the Palestinian side. But others have welcomed the study and its findings.

Gidon Bromberg, the Israeli head of Friends of the Earth Middle East, said there was a clear failure to meet basic water needs for both Israelis and Palestinians, and that Israelis were taking "the lion's share".

"The bottom line is there is a severe water crisis out there, predominantly on the Palestinian side, and it will be felt even worse this coming summer," Bromberg said at a conference on the issue in Jerusalem.

He said the Joint Water Committee, established in 1995 with Israelis and Palestinians as an interim measure under the Oslo peace accords, had failed to produce results and needed reform.
The World Bank report said the hopes that the Oslo accords might bring water resources for a viable Palestinian state and improve the life of Palestinians had "only very partially been realised".

It said failings in water resource and management and chronic underinvestment were to blame. In Gaza, the continued Israeli economic blockade played a key role in preventing maintenance and construction of sewage and water projects. In the West Bank, Israeli military controls over the Palestinians were a factor, with Palestinians still waiting for approval on 143 water projects.
"We consider that the efficiency of our aid in the current situation is compromised," said Pier Mantovani, a Middle East water specialist for the World Bank, which is an important source of aid for the Palestinians.

Most went on short-term emergency projects with limited long-term strategic value. It was a "piecemeal, ad hoc" approach, he said.

Yossi Dreisen, a former official and now adviser at the Israeli water authority, disputed the Bank's findings and said many remarks in the report were "not correct". He produced figures suggesting Israeli water consumption per person had fallen since 1967, when Israel captured and occupied the West Bank, while Palestinian consumption had risen.

Israel argues that the water problem should be solved by finding new sources, through desalination and water treatment.

"There is not enough water in this area," said Dreisen. "Something must be done. The solution where one is giving water to the other is not acceptable to us."

However, Fuad Bateh, an adviser to the Palestinian water authority, said Israel continued to have obligations under international law as the occupying power and should allow Palestinians water resources through an "equitable and reasonable allocation in accordance with international law".

He accepted that there was a lack of institutional development and capacity on the Palestinian side, but he said the Palestinians were caught in an unequal, asymmetric dispute. Palestinians had not been allowed to develop any new production wells in the West Bank since the 1967 war.
"Palestinians have no say in the Israeli development of these shared, trans-boundary, water resources," he said. "It is a situation in which Israel has a de facto veto over Palestinian water development."

This article was first published on at 18.05 BST on Wednesday 27 May 2009. It was last updated at 18.05 BST on Wednesday 27 May 2009.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

In Case You Missed It.....

Photos from our June 4th & 5th Al-Nakba Witness Event
at Nollen Plaza, downtown Des Moines

Volunteer Abby with the Nakba Then and Now banner

Looking at the display of keys (each key has one or more names
of Palestinian villages that were destroyed in 1948)

The house key is a symbol for Palestinians of the desire to return
to the homes & villages that were lost in 1948

Thanks Everybody!!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

June, 2009 Action Alert--Water in Israel/Palestine

Utahns for a Just Peace in the Holy Land
Salt Lake City, Utah

Please tell the organizers of the Western Governor's Association Conference that Israel is not a model of sustainable water usage and regional cooperation!

Some background- The annual Western Governors' Association Conference (, meeting in Park City, Utah, this year, (June 14 thru 16), has invited Israeli Professor Eilon Adar to speak on "Managing Water in a Changing World", including water practices in Israel.

Given Israel's long history of unilateral confiscation of Palestinian and regional water resources and discriminatory allocation of those resources, UJPHL believes an Israeli speaker closely tied to Israeli governmental policies will not present the whole picture when talking about Israeli water policies; therefore, any such speaker would make a poor choice to inform our state governors about water management in a changing world.

Please join UJPHL in letting the conference organizers and our Western Governors know how you feel about this issue.

To read more about Israeli policies and to review sources of information, the letter sent by Frances ReMillard, director of Utahns for a Just Peace in the Holy Land to the conference organizers and governors is posted on the UJPHL website:

Sample Letter:

I am pleased to learn that the focus of the upcoming Western Governors' Conference in Park City, Utah is "developing regional and global strategies for addressing the intertwined issues of energy, climate change, and water." This is an issue that is critical not just for the Western United States, but for the entire nation and the world.

I understand that one of the invited speakers is from Israel, Professor Eilon Adar of Ben-Gurion University, on a panel titled: Managing Water in a Changing World, during which “Governors and invited guests will discuss policies and technologies to address water use in an era of declining water supplies due to climate change.”

As an activist for peace and justice in Israel-Palestine, it is very concerning to me that the conference has invited a speaker closely tied to Israeli government policies to help inform our state governors about water management.

While Israel does have a reputation for managing water to “make the desert bloom”, the Palestinian people have paid a heavy price for Israel’s water use.

The United Nations and human rights organization reports show that Israel has seized control of almost all the Palestinians’ groundwater in the West Bank for distribution to Israel proper and illegal Jewish settlements, and currently follows a policy of taking more than its fair share of water from the Jordan River. It has also been found that Israel has ongoing practices of dumping wastewater and raw sewage onto Palestinian lands, over-pumping from wells along the Gaza Strip, and uprooting olive trees.

These ongoing Israeli policies do not seem to represent environmentally sustainable practices or regional and global cooperation in water usage.

As a concerned U.S. citizen, I would ask that the Western Governor’s Conference choose a more appropriate speaker, who can better inform our leaders about balancing sustainable water usage with the needs of all the surrounding human communities.



E-mail letters to:
Western Governors’ Association Conference Organizer, Chris McKinnon

The governor (Jon M. Huntsman Jr.) and lieutenant governor ( Gary R. Herbert) of Utah can be contacted at the website: and comments can be posted there. Note that Mr. Huntsman was recently given a post in the Obama administration as ambassador to China.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Al-Nakba Witness

We are pleased to announce our first Al-Nakba Witness event!
On Thursday, June 4th and Friday, June 5th we will be at Nollen Plaza in downtown Des Moines over the lunch hour (about 11a.m. to 1p.m.). We will have visual displays and tables with information and MEPEP volunteers to talk about the Nakba then (1948) and now (2009). Please drop by if you are able!