Sunday, May 29, 2011
Sign the petition and get updated news about the Freedom Flotilla II - Stay Human: http://bit.ly/stayhuman
We are writing to ask for your support for the Gaza Freedom Flotilla scheduled to set sail in the second half of June to the besieged Gaza strip.
At least ten ships with dignitaries, doctors, professors, artists, journalists, and activists, as well as construction supplies and humanitarian aid, will sail from ports in Europe to Gaza in an act of non-violent civil disobedience to persuade the international community to fulfill its obligations towards the Palestinian people and end Israel's four-year illegal blockade of Gaza.
This is the second, large-scale citizen-to-citizen flotilla to be launched by international grassroots groups. Organized by 14 national groups and international coalitions, the flotilla will carry approximately 1,000 passengers. It includes a US boat named The Audacity of Hope, which will have aboard dozens of dedicated social justice activists (visit: http://ustogaza.org/).
The last Freedom Flotilla in May 2010 included seven vessels carrying nearly 700 passengers from 36 different countries. Israeli commandos attacked the boats, shooting and killing nine passengers, injuring over 50 and imprisoning all aboard.This tragedy opened the subject of Gaza on the world stage and put considerable pressure on Israel to ease the draconian siege on Gaza – something the international community had failed to do for 3 years. For more information about the Free Gaza Movement, visit: http://www.freegaza.org/
We ask you to sign this petition to show the overwhelming public support for an end to siege of Gaza and the rights for Palestinians. We also demand that the American administration apply pressure on Israel to ensure that passengers are not violently attacked and to allow the flotilla to sail to Gaza.
Freedom Flotilla to Gaza
Dear President Obama,
We demand that the US government apply political pressure on Israel to ensure that passengers aboard the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza are not violently attacked by the Israeli military.
The Freedom Flotilla II, to sail in late June, will hold around 1,000 passengers demanding for an end to the draconian siege on Gaza. International organizations, including the United Nations, have condemned the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip. Your administration must pressure Israel to uphold international law and allow the Flotilla to pass to Gaza.
Around 35 American social justice activists will partake in this mission aboard a boat named, The Audacity of Hope. We ask for your support in ensuring their safety on this passage.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Friday, May 13, 2011
For just $40 you can send a kid to summer camp in the West Bank village of Beit Ommar.
From June 20 – July 20 the Center for Freedom and Justice will be hosting its second annual summer camp for Palestinian youth. The summer camp will give Beit Ommar kids an inspiring, empowering and educational way to spend their summer vacation.
Last years summer camp, named the Freedom Flotilla Summer Camp by the camp counselors, had over 100 participants. The camp combined educational, recreational and cultural activities, including sports, English lessons, traditional Palestinian dance classes and workshops on a wide range of topics, including settlement expansion, Israel’s “separation barrier,” international law, conflict resolution and human rights.
This years camp, entitled the Yousef Ikhlayl Summer Camp*, will offer an even wider range of activities, including arts and crafts, drama, music, sports and gardening programs, as well as nonviolence workshops and trainings. Weekly field trips will also be offered to different areas throughout the West Bank. Through a program of enriching experiences and educational opportunities, the summer camp will give Palestinian youth a chance to enjoy what the Israeli occupation has systematically denied them: a chance to just be kids.
Give a Palestinian kid a summer they’ll remember – Donate Now
*Yousef Ikhlayl was a participant in the Center for Freedom and Justice’s Freedom Flotilla Summer Camp in 2010, and a regular attendee at the Center’s events and programs. On January 28, 2011, Yousef was shot and killed by an Israeli settler while working in his family’s vineyard. The 2011 summer camp has been named in his honor. The case of Yousef Ikhlayl illustrates the dangers Palestinian youth in Arroub and Beit Ommar face, and the need for a safe, positive program for young people in this region.
For general contributions, or to donate an unfixed amount, visit our donate page.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Document obtained by Haaretz reveals that between 1967 and 1994 many Palestinians traveling abroad were stripped of residency status, allegedly without warning.By Akiva Eldar
Israel has used a covert procedure to cancel the residency status of 140,000 West Bank Palestinians between 1967 and 1994, the legal advisor for the Judea and Samaria Justice Ministry's office admits, in a new document obtained by Haaretz. The document was written after the Center for the Defense of the Individual filed a request under the Freedom of Information Law.
The document states that the procedure was used on Palestinian residents of the West Bank who traveled abroad between 1967 and 1994. From the occupation of the West Bank until the signing of the Oslo Accords, Palestinians who wished to travel abroad via Jordan were ordered to leave their ID cards at the Allenby Bridge border crossing.
Israeli soldier checks Palestinians' identification.
|Photo by: Baz Ratner|
They exchanged their ID cards for a card allowing them to cross. The card was valid for three years and could be renewed three times, each time adding another year.
If a Palestinian did not return within six months of the card's expiration, thier documents would be sent to the regional census supervisor. Residents who failed to return on time were registered as NLRs - no longer residents. The document makes no mention of any warning or information that the Palestinians received about the process.
Palestinians could still return in the first six months after their cards expired, or appeal to an exemptions committee.
The Center for the Defense of the Individual said yesterday it knew that a clear procedure was in place, but the details and the number of Palestinians denied their right to return remained classified. A former head of the Civil Administration in the 1990s was surprised to hear of the procedure when contacted by Haaretz.
Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. (res. ) Danny Rothschild, who served as coordinator of government activities in the territories from 1991 to 1995, said he was completely unaware of the procedure, even though it was in use during his term. "If even I wasn't told of the procedure, one may infer that neither were residents of the occupied territories," he said.
The Central Bureau of Statistics says the West Bank's Palestinian population amounted to 1.05 million in 1994, which means the population would have been greater by about 14 percent if it weren't for the procedure.
By contrast, Palestinians who immigrated from the West Bank after the Palestinian Authority was set up retained residency rights even if they did not return for years.
Today, a similar procedure is still in place for residents of East Jerusalem who hold Israeli ID cards; they lose their right to return if they have been abroad for seven years.
Palestinians who found themselves "no longer residents" include students who graduated from foreign universities, businessmen and laborers who left for work in the Gulf. Over the years, many of them have started families, so the number of these Palestinians and their descendants is probably in the hundreds of thousands, even if some have died.
Also, several thousands Palestinians with close links to the Palestinian Authority were allowed to return over the years, as did a number of Palestinians whose cases were upheld by the joint committee for restoration of Palestinian ID cards. As of today, 130,000 Palestinians are listed as "no longer residents."
Among them is the brother of the Palestinians' chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat. Erekat's brother left for studies in the United States and was not allowed to come back; he still lives in California.
Erekat told Haaretz he had learned from his brother's experience, and when he himself left for studies abroad, he made sure to visit home from time to time so as not to lose his right to return.
The regulation's existence was discovered by the Center for the Defense of the Individual by pure chance, while it was looking into the case of a West Bank resident imprisoned in Israel.
The Civil Administration told the prisoner's family his ID card was "inactive." After a request for a clarification, Israel's legal adviser for Judea and Samaria said this was a misapplication of a certain policy by the census supervisor in the occupied territories.
The adviser added that three residents were mistakenly defined as no longer residents while in prison or in detention, and that their residency had now been restored. He wrote that their status had been changed not because of a policy but because of a technical error, without any connection to their imprisonment.
The Center for the Defense of the Individual said that "mass withdrawal of residency rights from tens of thousands of West Bank residents, tantamount to permanent exile from their homeland, remains an illegitimate demographic policy and a grave violation of international law."
It noted that an unknown number of Gaza residents had lost residency rights in a similar manner, but that the exact number was still a secret the center vowed to uncover. "The State of Israel should fix the ongoing wrong at once, restore residency rights to all affected Palestinians and allow them and their families to return to their homeland," the center said.