Remembering Rachel Corrie on the anniversary of her death

contact@ifamericansknew.org

 

 

Dear Friend,

On this day 13 years ago, American peace activist Rachel Corrie was crushed to death by Israeli soldiers driving a military bulldozer. She was trying to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian family’s home. According to numerous witnesses and photographic documentation, she was killed intentionally.

Representative Brian Baird from Washington State introduced a resolution in Congress calling on the federal government to “undertake a full, fair, and expeditious investigation” into Rachel’s death. The bill was co-sponsored by 77 representatives, but Congress took no action. 

The Corrie family then filed a lawsuit against Caterpillar Inc in 2005, alleging that Caterpillar supplied Israelis with bulldozers even though they knew they were being used to commit war crimes. The lawsuit was dismissed.

The Corrie family’s appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit was also dismissed. The court acknowledged that the U.S. government paid for the bulldozer that killed Rachel, but said that they didn’t have the jurisdiction to rule on the “political question” of U.S. military aid to Israel. 

In 2010, the Corrie family filed a lawsuit in Israel against the Israeli Defense Forces. Israeli officials prevented the physician who had examined Rachel’s wounds from testifying in the case. The court ruled that Rachel was responsible for her own death. In 2014, the Corrie family’s appeal was rejected by the Supreme Court of Israel, and the IDF was absolved of any wrongdoing.

Keep Rachel’s message alive by sharing her story with your community. We have cards, a booklet of Rachel’s letters, and posters available for download and order.

#SupportPalestineInDC2016

U.S. taxpayers send Israel over $3 billion a year in military aid with virtually no strings attached, and now the prime minister of Israel wants $5 billion a year.

The majority of Americans oppose taking sides in the Israel-Palestine conflict, but virtually all Democratic and Republican members of Congress continue to supply Israel with more and more weapons each year (Palestinians do not receive military aid).

American taxpayer dollars have enabled Israel to continue its decades-long illegal occupation of Palestinian land and deny Palestinians basic legal and human rights. With our money, Israeli forces have killed over 9,200 Palestinians as well as numerous international journalists and peace activists since 2000.

We are driving the violence in this region, and we must stop it.

This weekend, AIPAC kicks off its annual policy conference in Washington, D.C., with Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, and Donald Trump scheduled to give speeches. We hope you will join us this Sunday at noon at the White House to protest AIPAC’s influence on American politics and support Palestinian human rights. Your voice is urgently needed!

As always, thank for your commitment to peace, justice, and equality for all people.

The If Americans Knew team

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Order or download Rachel Corrie cards, letters, and posters on our site

Protest AIPAC in DC on March 20th! Join this rally spearheaded by Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition.

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Human Rights Newsletter

mazin@qumsiyeh.org

Gratitude blog available here where you can leave comments

http://popular-resistance.blogspot.com/2016/02/grateful.html

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming

gardeners who make our souls blossom.” Marcel Proust

I am so grateful for all that is happening in resistance to the incredible

odds and repression practiced by the elites in power. While some may get

activism or compassion “fatigue” , there are literally millions of people

deciding to leave their apathy behind and put their hands with other people

to work.  Our tiny little small part of the world (Palestine now an

apartheid sate called a “Jewish state”) has become a major center of global

activism. This centrality can be due to many factors:

1.Religious centrality to three main religions, one of which was hijacked

for political purposes locally in the past (Christianity –> Crusaderism),

the other hijacked in the past 150 years and is still strongly hijacked

(Judaism –>Zionism) and the other more recently and in nearby areas

beginning to be hijacked (Islam –> Isis and Wahhabism).

2. Nowhere else on earth is Western government hypocrisy more evident than

in Palestine. While the western leaders speak of democracy and human

rights, they support an apartheid racist “Jewish state” that engaged and

engages in racism, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing

(so far 7 million of us Palestinians are refugees or displaced people).

Thus, this is the Achilles heel of Western propaganda.

3. The 12 million Palestinians in the world, most refugees and others

squeezed into bantustans have been remarkably peaceful and tolerant and had

a long history of popular resistance for the past 130 years that provided a

stellar example to the world (see my 2012 book “Popular Resistance in

Palestine: A history of hope and empowerment”).

4. Israeli citizens and the global community are increasingly joining hands

with us to demand justice as the only road to peace.

5. More and more people realize that peace in the “Middle East” (Western

Asia) and around the world is dependent on peace for Palestine. Zionism

with its (sometimes dominant, sometimes subservient) twin US imperialism

are and have been most destructive forces in causing global conflict.

But what really gives us optimism daily are the people we interact with.

Students at the universities who see the importance of knowledge (power)

and come to school with enthusiasm even in the face of suppression of their

movement. Farmers that work hard in their fields even as land and water are

being taken from them by the occupiers. Unarmed young demonstrators showing

bravery in challenging the heavily armed Israeli forces (who occasionally

murder them). Thousands of political prisoners and “administrative

detainees” who resist the prisoners (one on hunger strike is close to

death). Activists who sometimes sacrifice comforts to be with us.

Organizers of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) activities around the

world who refuse to be silenced by illegal measures their governments try

to impose on them to suppress free speech. Volunteers at our activities

from refugee camp youth centers like Al-Rowwad to our Institute of

Biodiversity and Sustainability (http://www.palestinenature.org/about-us/ ).

Sometimes small actions make us retain our sanity and gives joy and meaning

to our lives. Just this past week:

– A small village of Izbet al-Tabib managed to gather 300 demonstrators

protesting the illegal confiscation of land and resources to serve settlers.

-We saved a cattle egret (bird with long legs and beak from the heron

group) which had been shot and with a macerated wing. We did an operation

that saved its life (unfortunately the wing had to be amputated).

-We released a fox that was drowning in a water treatment pool in the

Bethlehem garbage dump site.

– My tourism class did an exercise to help in a local tourism promotion

project.

-We noted several species of butterflies in our botanic garden already and

the flowers of rare orchids and even the Star of Bethlehem

-We had our first class in biodiversity for the new master program in

environmental biology at Birzeit University.

-We received dozens of visitors to our facilities and added to our very

large network of friends (now tens of thousands)

-We submitted two small grant proposals (we hope to start to do major

fundraising soon for our museum, botanical garden, and institute of

biodiversity and sustainability)

-Our aquaponic system is doing great and we expect our first harvest next

week (lettuce)

– We said goodbye to some volunteers and we welcomed others who helped us

build this institution.

We expect to receive more volunteers next week including a professor from

Jordan and an aquaponics researcher from Switzerland and at least 10

students from Bethlehem University doing their community service. We are so

grateful for all the above and we welcome volunteers and supporters with

all backgrounds and skills. We are guided by love and respect (to

ourselves, to others, then to nature). We are strengthened amid all the

suffering (here in Gaza, in Syria, in Yemen etc) by human connections and

by caring for each other.

Israeli soldiers beat detained Palestinian teenaged boys

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mzw2D5iL0bg

Palestinian Teacher Among World’s Top 10

http://www.palestinechronicle.com/palestinian-teacher-among-worlds-top-10/

Reconstruction Of Gaza: Zero Buildings, Massive Profit

http://www.whoprofits.org/content/reconstruction-gaza-zero-buildings-massive-profit

Should Jews Have To Pay Reparations for Slavery? Richard Kreitner

http://forward.com/culture/213776/should-jews-have-to-pay-reparations-for-slavery/

“Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have

roses.” Alphonse Karr

Stay human

Mazin Qumsiyeh

Professor and (Volunteer) Director

Palestine Museum of Natural History

Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability

Bethlehem University

Occupied Palestine

http://qumsiyeh.org

http://palestinenature.org

You need to know about Yemen

Shining a light on Yemen’s children.

View in browser

Hi,

Today, I need to talk to you about a group of kids from a country that I don’t think you’ll know much about. Until recently, I didn’t either.

You hardly ever hear about it in the press, and our government doesn’t seem to say a huge amount about it either.

The group of kids is a pretty large group of kids – more than 10 million in fact. And they are all in urgent need of humanitarian aid. Aid agencies like Save the Children are having serious problems reaching them. 

So which country are we talking about, and how could I possibly not have known about 10 million kids being in urgent need of humanitarian aid?

I’m talking about Yemen. Who knew?

Find out more about what you can do

Global Citizen has joined forces with our friends at Save the Children – who are on the front line of this terrible crisis, delivering emergency medical assistance, water, food and much more to these children and their families.

Together, we are bringing Yemen’s children into the spotlight by encouraging everyone we know to read this powerful blog by one of Save the Children’s campaigners, Jack Wilson.

Why now?

High level talks on what to do about the crisis are few and far between – but now, the EU is meeting next Tuesday and the crisis in Yemen is on the agenda.

But as long as global citizens like me and you are in the dark about this crisis, there is little pressure on our leaders to take the concrete measures necessary to protect Yemen’s children.

Now is the moment to help change this – please read this important blog.

Thank you for doing what you do.

Amy and the Global Citizen team

    

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MEDIA NOTE: Statement by the Members of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL: The Coalition at One Year

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE

Office of the Spokesperson

For Immediate Release

 MEDIA NOTE

September 28, 2015 

Statement by the Members of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL

The Coalition at One Year

In the year since the formation of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL we have made progress on our campaign to degrade and defeat this unprecedented terrorist scourge.  As we have acknowledged from the beginning, this will be a long-term campaign.  But the situation one year ago was dire: ISIL, also known by its Arabic acronym Da’esh, had advanced across Iraq and was threatening Erbil, Kirkuk and Baghdad.  Additional attacks against the Yezidi people appeared imminent.  Since that time, despite inevitable setbacks, the Coalition has followed through on its comprehensive, strategic approach, and has proven its ability to constrain Da’esh’s freedom of movement in Iraq and Syria.  The Coalition has also made progress organizing efforts to slow down ISIL’s reinforcement of fighters, counter the group’s messaging, and decrease its finances.

The dedication and sacrifices of Iraqi Security Forces, including Kurdish Peshmerga and Popular Mobilization Forces, and of Syrian opposition forces, have been central to this effort.  In Iraq, with support from Coalition air forces, Da’esh can no longer operate freely in more than 30% of the populated territory it once held.  Tikrit has been liberated, and more than 100,000 civilians have returned there and to surrounding areas.  In northern Syria, Da’esh has lost much of the territory it had seized, and is now cut off from all but about 100 of the 822-kilometer border between Syria and Turkey.  More than 5,000 Coalition trainers and advisors from 18 countries are in Iraq supporting the Iraqi government’s efforts to strengthen and develop local security forces in the campaign to liberate Ramadi and in preparation for the liberation of Mosul. Separately, more than 900 Coalition personnel are assisting the train and equip mission for Syrian opposition.

Through collective action we have created a vital Coalition that was only an idea just over a year ago.  It features not only military coordination, but also innovative working groups focused on:

[if !supportLists]·         [endif]disrupting the recruitment, travel and sustainment of foreign terrorist fighters, in coordination with the Global Counterterrorism Forum;

[if !supportLists]·         [endif]countering Da’esh’s extortion and exploitation of economic and energy resources, and its use of the financial and banking system, in coordination with the Financial Action Task Force;

[if !supportLists]·         [endif]exposing Da’esh’s message of hate and violence, while presenting an alternate and inclusive vision of hope for a better future; and

[if !supportLists]·         [endif]stabilizing areas in Iraq liberated from Da’esh’s control by helping the Iraqi government restore local services and policing to enable the safe, voluntary and sustainable return of refugees and the internally displaced. 

This week, as Coalition members gather with other nations and organizations on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly, working group co-leads will outline progress on their initiatives and note how these are being synchronized with other multilateral institutions as noted above.

In Iraq, the Coalition supports the government led by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in its efforts at reform, reconciliation and decentralization, including its cooperation with the Kurdistan Regional Government and representatives of Sunni-majority areas and ethnic and religious communities.  These reforms are an important component in healing ethnic and sectarian divisions, establishing long-term peace, stability and prosperity for Iraq, and defeating Da’esh.

In Syria, the Coalition supports the Syrian people in their efforts to confront Da’esh, and to establish a transitional government based on the principles of the Geneva Communiqué, leading to a democratic, inclusive, and pluralistic government that represents the will of all the Syrian people.

The Coalition is also rigorously assessing the threat represented by Da’esh in other countries and calibrating how to degrade and defeat them, relying on existing counterterrorism efforts and considering the use of tools and best practices that the Coalition is able to offer.  Defeating Da’esh in Iraq and Syria will also help to discourage and disrupt these groups.

The Coalition strongly supports the efforts of the United Nations and the international humanitarian community in Syria and Iraq and throughout the region in providing assistance to meet the critical needs of those displaced or harmed by conflict and violence.  In this regard, we commend countries and communities in the region hosting refugees and internally displaced persons – notably Egypt, Iraq (including the Iraqi Kurdistan Region), Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey – and those in Europe and elsewhere that are admitting and caring for refugees.

We have a great deal more work to do together.  Da’esh continues to recruit and radicalize susceptible populations, especially via social media.  It carries out savage atrocities against all ethnic and religious groups, with minorities especially vulnerable; destroys the cultural heritage of humankind; and seeks to inspire and commit acts of terrorism worldwide.  As such, defeating Da’esh requires a long-term commitment and multi-track approach.  The world is united in its rejection of Da’esh and its debased ideology.  Our Coalition reaffirms its continuing determination to work together to achieve the lasting defeat of Da’esh.