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One of the classic questions in philosophy is “if a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it, does it make any noise?”. I was reminded of that silently falling tree when I read of this cry from the US Bishops. Whatever noise they think they are making is barely relevant. Nobody is listening. 

Father Dave

Most Reverend Richard E. Pates

Most Reverend Richard E. Pates, Chairman, Committee on International Justice and Peace

source: www.zenit.org…

US Bishops Reiterate Call for 2-State Solution in Israel Conflict

Decry Plan to Confiscate Convent Land

Washington, D.C., May 07, 2013

The U.S. bishops support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and oppose policies that undermine a just resolution to the conflict, such as Israel’s decision to re-route the separation wall through the Cremisan Valley, said the chairman of the bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace in a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry.

In his May 6 letter, Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, said the proposal would harm the livelihood of 58 Christian families in the region.

He added, “The route will separate a Salesian monastery from a Salesian convent, and will separate both from their lands. The Salesian Convent and Primary School will be surrounded on three sides by the barrier that will confiscate most of the convent’s lands.”

Bishop Pates echoed the concern of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, who spoke on behalf of all bishops in the Holy Land in saying that such moves only exacerbate tensions in the region.

“The Cremisan Valley is a microcosm of a protracted pattern that has serious implications for the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” wrote Bishop Pates. “As the wall moves and constricts more communities in the West Bank, the possibility of a future two-state resolution becomes less likely. Moving the wall and disassociating Palestinian families from their lands and livelihoods will incite more resentment against the State of Israel among residents of the West Bank, not less, increasing the frustrations that can lead to violence.”

Full text of Bishop Pates’ letter: www.us…

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With President Obama now at a safe distance, the takeover of Palestinian lands continues as before.

It is tragic to think that only four years ago in Cairo Obama had spoken of Palestinian statelessness as ‘intolerable’. On this visit he spoke only of settlement construction being ‘unconstructive’.

Clearly the US is not going to stand in the way of Netanyahu’s program of annexation and ethnic cleansing. How ironic for Bethlehem’s Christians that a new ‘via dolorosa’ should appear during Easter week. 

Father Dave

Bethlehem today

Bethlehem today

source: www.worldbulletin.net…

Israel to build settlements on Palestinian lands in Bethlehem

 A military order has been issued by Israeli authorities in the occupied West Bank for the illegal confiscation of Palestinian lands and orchards, leaving dozens of families without their main source of livelihood and without the ability to build homes. 

A military order has been issued by Israeli authorities in the occupied West Bank for the illegal confiscation of Palestinian lands in the Khirbit Ed-Deer area, west of Nahhalin village, in the Bethlehem District, in order to build 70 units for Jewish settlers and public buildings, the Palestine News Network (PNN) had reported.

PNN quoted the deputy head of the Nahhalin village council Jamal Najajra stating that the lands in question are dozens of Dunams, located near the Beit Illit illegal settlement which is built on lands that belong to the residents of Husan, Nahhalin and Wad Fokeen, and are planted with olive trees.

Najajra added that Israel intends to build 70 units for Jewish settlers in addition to a number of public buildings.

He said that the new planned constructions are meant to connect the Beit Illit settlement with the Gavot settlement by illegally confiscating Palestinians orchards, leaving dozens of families without their main source of livelihood and without the ability to build homes.

Najajra added that the village council has contacted attorney Ghayyath Nasser so that the necessary appeals in Israeli courts can be filed.

Najajra also said that this is not the first time Israel has decided to annex Palestinian lands in the area. Israel previously confiscated lands in the Al-Jamjoum area, the Salem Valley, and Ein Fares where Israel dumps waste-water coming from the Beitar Illit settlement, PNN reports.

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Fighting Father Bob Birch writes: I urge you to take the time to read this and to forward it on to your friends and contacts. You may be unable or unwilling to volunteer in Palestine but you will be doing a great service for human rights and justice if you can, at least, make more people aware of the dire situation being faced by Palestinians living under a brutal and demeaning military occupation.

Source: palsolidarity.org…

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Join the olive harvest 2012

02.09.2012 | International Solidarity Movement

At a time of increasing settler violence in the West Bank, the International Solidarity Movement is issuing an urgent call for volunteers to participate in the 2012 Olive Harvest Campaign at the invitation of Palestinian communities.

The olive tree is a national symbol for Palestinians. As thousands of olive trees have been bulldozed, uprooted and burned by Israeli settlers and the military – (over half a million olive and fruit trees have been destroyed since September 2000) – harvesting has become more than a source of livelihood; it has become a form of resistance.

The olive harvest is an annual affirmation of Palestinians’ historical, spiritual, and economic connection to their land, and a rejection of Israeli efforts to seize it. Despite efforts by Israeli settlers and soldiers to prevent them from accessing their land, Palestinian communities have remained steadfast in refusing to give up their olive harvest.

Palestinian and ISM volunteers join Palestinian farming communities each year to harvest olives, in areas where Palestinians face settler and military violence when working their land. Your presence can make a big difference. It has been proven in the past to deter the number and severity of attacks and harassment. The presence of activists can reduce the risk of extreme violence from Israeli settlers and the Israeli army and supports Palestinians’ assertion of their right to earn their livelihoods and be present on their lands. International solidarity activists engage in non-violent intervention and documentation and this practical support enables many families to pick their olives. In addition, The Olive Harvest Campaign also provides a wonderful opportunity to spend time with Palestinian families in their olive groves and homes.

The campaign will begin on the 8th of October and run until the 15th of November.  We request a minimum 2 week commitment from volunteers but stress that long-termers are needed as well.  We ask that volunteers start arriving in the first week of October, so that we will be prepared when the harvest begins.

Training

The ISM will be holding mandatory two day training sessions which will run weekly on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Please contact palreports@gmail.com… for further information.

Ongoing campaigns

In addition to the olive harvest, there will also be other opportunities to participate in grass-roots, non-violent resistance in Palestine.

ISM maintains a constant presence in Hebron, where settler harassment and violence is a regular occurrence. Lately, Israeli army violence has escalated for Palestinians living in proximity to the illegal inner-city settlement. Israeli forces have used the Palestinian neighborhoods for military training and two videos surfaced lately of soldiers brutally assaulting a young man and a child. The annual demonstration for the opening of Shuhada street has also been brutally oppressed by Israeli military forces. Weekly, illegal Israeli settlers are brought on a tour of the Palestinian old city in Hebron, supported by the Israeli army. Every week, the Palestinians are put under curfew and shops are forced to close so that settlers can take a stroll. ISM maintains a presence on these tours for purposes of prevention and documentation, as Palestinians are often assaulted by the radical settlers.

ISM also has an apartment in Nablus from where we work on a number of projects including resisting demolitions in various villages, and supporting Palestinians resisting settler theft of their lands.  In addition to these activities, we participate in the weekly demonstration in Kafr Qaddum, where protesters face excessive force by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF).

ISM activists have also been attending weekly demonstrations against the Apartheid Wall, the annexation of Palestinian land and the construction of illegal settlements in Al Ma’sara, Ni’lin, Bil’in and An Nabi Saleh.

Come! Bear witness to the suffering, courage and generosity of the Palestinian people under Israeli occupation.

Experiencing the situation for yourself is vital to adequately convey the reality of life in Palestine to your home communities and to re-frame the debate in a way that will expose Israel’s apartheid policies, creeping ethnic cleansing in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem as well as collective punishment and genocidal practices in Gaza.

In Solidarity,

ISM Palestine