CPTnet

SOUTH HEBRON HILLS: Pressure on Firing Zone 918 residents continues



On 15 May 2014, Israeli courts extended the mediation process between the Israeli army and the villages within Firing Zone 918 for another threemonths.  The Israeli army wants to use this area for training.  Israeli, Palestinian and international human rights organizations have condemned its bid to expel the villagers a violation of international law, which forbids forced transfer of the indigenous population of an occupied territory unless the occupying power is safeguarding them from an immediate danger.

During the previous period of mediation, the court allowed rehabilitation of damage done by storms, as well as access to the area by international humanitarian organizations.  As a result, some development was possible in the area, specifically to the schools in al-Fakheit and Jinba.  At the same time, as revealed in an article published on Ha'aretz, army officials admitted using firing zones as a way to deter the growth of Palestinian communities in Area C and to expel Palestinians from where they have lived since before the occupation of the West Bank in 1967.

Since 8 June, the Israeli military has conducted exercises in close proximity to, and on one occasion, inside the village of Jinba.  Some weeks before, the army drove armored vehicles over Palestinian fields close to Jinba and Mirkez, damaging their harvest.

COLOMBIA REFLECTION: I too am a woman

Increasingly, in our Colombian context, the terms “gender equality,” “women’s rights,” and “women in leadership” are being discussed, trampled on, and fought for.

Gender is a touchy subject.  No one wants to be called a sexist or machista.  Women are timidly and boldly stepping forward, and men are shuffling aside, abashed and apologizing as they tiptoe aimlessly around the stage.

CPT welcomes these spaces of dialogue because even through tears and frustrations, we hope to continue listening and learning along our journey for justice.  So we were very excited CAHUCOPANA asked us to accompany its members to Dos Quebradas for the First Regional Meeting of Women from Northeastern Antioquia: “For the Defence of Land and Dignity” 30-31 May 2014.

I was grateful to take part in sessions about unsung women heroines in Colombia’s history and panels with the women leading today’s agricultural movement, as well as a citizen’s workshop where the women of Northeastern Antioquia defined what peace meant to them.  The workshop led to the construction of a political declaration in which these women envisioned alternatives for ending the social violence and military conflict by transforming economical, social, and cultural norms and by creating space for women as political actors.  But the moment that had the most impact for me was an evening fireside conversation around apple sugar cane tea.

IRAQI KURDISTAN: Update from the Christian Peacemaker Team in Sulaimani

In the face of the recent violence in Iraq, the CPT Iraqi Kurdistan project is doing well.  CPTers are maintaining a presence there and have been able to accompany and support Kurdish efforts for justice and peace. 

The violence that started in the north of the country was not located in the Kurdish region.  From the border between the autonomous region of Kurdistan and the rest of Iraq, the militant ISIS group has moved down towards Baghdad.  See Isis road to Baghdad.

Kurdish military forces are located at the border with Iraq to contend with any possible violence against the Kurdish region.  In addition, they took the control of Kirkuk—a city of great emotional and political significance to the Kurds.  There are many analyses of how this violence will affect or not affect the Kurdistan, but nothing is clear at this point.  It is clear also that the are many powerful interests behind what is happening in Iraq and what could be the future of the country: One state?  Three states?

But the major concern for the people in Iraqi Kurdistan is the massive influx of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) from the south.  An estimated 500, 000 people fled last week towards Kurdistan—considered the safest place in the country right now. 

The possibility of a U.S. attack, invasion, or support? The role of Iran and Turkey?  What will happen in Kurdistan?  Time will tell. 

The CPT Kurdistan team will continue monitoring the situation and evaluating possible courses of action in conjunction with their partners and advisers in Sulaimani, in case the safety of the region and the city where CPT is located changes. 

Meanwhile, our team hopes to continue supporting Kurdish partners in peacebuilding efforts.  The expected humanitarian crisis—given the number of refugees from Syria and IDPs from within Iraq—will almost certainly take a part of our attention, as it will knock the doors of the CPT project. 

 




Iraqi Kurdistan team with CPT trainees during training session in Sulameini February-March 2014

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Hijacking a kidnapping, Part II

The public so far knows very little outside of the alleged time that Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel, and Eyal Yifrach were kidnapped.  But what we do know is the absolute mayhem the Israeli military has spread throughout the Hebron district among innocent families.  Additionally, routine night raids, day patrols, confiscation of public property for military outposts, and the blockades on all but two access points into Hebron have suffocated the livelihood of Hebronites…

On 15 June at around 9:30 p.m., an Israeli raid on a Palestinian home ended with a seven-year-old Palestinian boy hospitalized after the Israeli military used an explosive device to blow open the front door of the Akram Al Qawasmeh home.  The subsequent powerful blast shattered the tempered reinforced glass, shearing off the decorative steel and sending pieces of shrapnel into all corners of the home, which severely injured Akram Al Qawasmeh’s son.

After the explosion, Israeli soldiers did not allow Akram Al Qawasmeh to see his son, and according to reports, the military initially stopped medical personal from treating the victim.  CPT arrived the following day and found a home turned upside down. (See video below.)  Children’s belongings were spread and broken around the house.  Israeli soldiers demolished the kitchen, smashing fruits, vegetables, and other food items on the floor, and left feces on a rug in the basement.

Prayers for Peacemakers, June 18, 2014

Prayers for Peacemakers, June 18, 2014

The Iraqi Kurdistan team writes, “As violent struggles continue for control of key Iraqi cities, Kurdistan focuses on power and security. With the conflict unfolding, and our work with partners locked in land struggles with oil companies continuing, your support and prayers are appreciated for our team and for peace for the Iraqi and Kurdish people.”

 

Epixel for June 22, 2014


With your faithful help rescue me from sinking in the mire;
let me be delivered from my enemies and from the deep
waters. Do not let the flood sweep over me, or the deep
swallow me up, or the Pit close its mouth over me.

Psalm 69:13-15

*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing with a text from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.

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