Archive

November 21st, 2014

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Israeli military and settlers close down Old City of Hebron to Palestinians

An Israeli settler screams at young Palestinians in the court yard of
the Old City of Hebron.

Every Saturday a group of Israeli settlers and Jewish tourists, escorted by dozens of Israeli soldiers, parade through the Old City on a tour, in which they hear an exclusive rightwing Jewish narrative of the city's history.  Last Saturday, however, was a holiday commemorating Abraham‚Äôs purchase of land in Hebron to bury his wife Sarah, so an unusually large number of Israeli settlers, Jewish tourists (many from New York), and Israeli border police and soldiers were present.  For nearly three hours, hundreds of Israeli settlers and occupying forces overtook the Old City, restricting Palestinians' freedom of movement and causing shops to close early. 

While a normal Saturday tour means restriction of Palestinian movement and disruption of the lives of those living and working in the Old City, last Saturday‚Äôs holiday tour created greater disruptions.  The Ibrahimi Mosque was closed, which meant that not only could Muslims not pray there, but that the checkpoint leading to it was closed.  When the checkpoint is closed, Palestinians have to take much more circuitous (and hilly) routes from one side of the mosque to the other, adding time and difficulty to daily tasks.

The settlers and tourists, many of whom were young men, danced, jumped, and chanted Israeli nationalistic slogans as they slowly made their way through the Old City, blocking passage for residents and creating noise that interfered with any sense of normalcy.

As CPTers and representatives from other NGOs stood along the route, settlers and tourists questioned them, sometimes aggressively, about their presence and work and accused them of anti-semitism.  One tourist threatened to hit a CPTer; another asked a CPTer to take a picture and then threatened to break the camera (which he'd already tried to handle as he passed by).  A number of tourists said to observers, "Welcome to Israel," though no country in the world recognizes the Palestinian Occupied Territories as part of the nation of Israel.

November 20th

Prayers for Peacemakers, 20 November 2014

Prayers for Peacemakers, 20 November 2014

Pray for the work of CPT‚Äôs partner, Zhiyan Group, in Iraqi Kurdistan.  CPT recently accompanied Zhiyan Group to Khanke refugee camp in Duhok province, where it helped the women of Zhiyan Group collect 961 names of people kidnapped by ISIS/DAESH.

Epixel* for Sunday November 23, 2014
Zhiyan Group collecting documentation from families in Khanke Camp
For thus says the Lord GOD: I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out
‚Ķ I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, I will seek the lost, and I will bring back
the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak Ezekiel 34:11, 16a

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

November 19th

EUROPE: The Wealth Gap and its consequences on asylum seekers’ fates

 

 
 Refugees forced to sleep in the port of 
Mytilene on Lesvos, Greece

The consequences of the wealth gap in the world of the migrant is most stark when we hear the news of those migrants who have drowned in the sea, stifled to death in the container lorries, or who are raped while trekking through remote areas, tortured in the desert or even killed by the smugglers.

To avoid the above options, migrants who have the money can pay for much safer ways of entering countries illegally, or depositing an incredible amount of money to apply for legal immigration.  However, some asylum seekers must cross borders illegally at least once.

Some asylum seekers who receive asylum in a neighboring country after lodging an application have to wait a few years to be transferred to the third safe country.  People from this group may get stuck in the neighboring country like Turkey until they can pay off high resident fees.

November 18th

SOUTH HEBRON HILLS: Road to Resistance‚ÄĒPalestinians repair thoroughfare in nonviolent action

On Saturday, 15 November 2014 the South Hebron Hills Popular Committee (a nonviolent Palestinian organisation resisting occupation in the South Hebron Hills region), coordinated an action to develop the road that connects the city of Yatta to At-Tuwani and surrounding villages located in the area Israel has designated Firing Zone 918.  Under the watchful eyes of the Israeli military and police, the action was attended by members of the South Hebron Hills Popular Committee, residents of At-Tuwani, Israeli peace activists from Ta‚Äôayush, and internationals from Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and EAPPI.

The unpaved road that runs between villages and the town of Yatta is the access route that Palestinians travel for employment, education, water, healthcare, and other necessities of life.  Surrounded by the tarmacked roads developed by the Israeli state for the settlers living illegally in the area, the rubble and holes in the Palestinian roads illustrate the stark inequalities of power that characterise the Israeli occupation, and the specific context of the South Hebron Hills and Firing Zone 918. 

November 17th

COLOMBIA: Communities around El Guayabo establish a ‚ÄúSpace for Peace and Non-Violent Resistance against Dispossession.‚ÄĚ

On 14 November, seventy community members of Guayabo established a space for peace.  The women led the march, flying banners and singing, setting up camp around the house currently occupied by Rodrigo L√≥pez Henao‚Äôs men since the eviction of 29 October 2014.

Since the occupation of the property, L√≥pez Henao‚Äôs  men have destroyed about 100 plantain trees.  The community began replanting the trees with recovered sees on 14 November.

The community intends to remain on the land surrounding the house until their situation is legally resolved and the authorities return their land to them.  Through the below declaration of a space for peace and their commitment to nonviolent acts of resistance they hope to make their situation more visible.

November 15th

COLOMBIA REFLECTION: The Magdalena

 

 

 

Mary Magdalene is one of the most controversial and mysterious Biblical characters.  Unjustly pegged as a prostitute and temptress by Pope Gregory I, her reputation remained tarnished for around seven centuries before Biblical scholars redeemed her by untangling the three women whose stories Gregory had merged.  Though we know very little about her life, we do know that she was a person of importance to Jesus.  He used his gifts to cast seven demons out of her, and chose her to be one of the first people to see him after the resurrection.  Her story is an interesting one to contemplate as I travel along ‚ÄėEl Rio Magdalena,‚Äô a beautiful river named after her, that has a similarly tainted reputation.

 

The Magdalena is Colombia‚Äôs longest river, and stretches from the most southern tip of the Huila Department* in southern Colombia to the Caribbean Sea.  The river is CPT‚Äôs main mode of transportation between Barrancabermeja, the city where we live, and the communities that we accompany.  Its banks are peppered with trees, fishing canoes and water taxis traveling past each other lazily, and children swim in its murky water.  Outsiders may view the present tranquil atmosphere and have difficulty imagining anything else.  Those who have lived along the river‚Äôs banks for more than ten years, however, see it differently.

November 14th

CPT INTERNATIONAL: Next Chicago CPT training October 2015; Applications due by 1 March 2015

 

 
 

CPT trainees participate
 in public witness at
Israeli consulate in
Chicago during
 Gaza War, July 2014

Due to an exciting opportunity to partner with groups in Detroit, Michigan USA for a Peacemaker Congress in July 2015, Christian Peacemaker Teams has set the dates of 2 October ‚Äď 2 November 2015 for the next training to in Chicago.  The deadline for applications has moved to 1 March 2015.  This shift will allow more time between issuing invitations and starting training for applicants who may need to secure visas in order to participate.

Stay tuned for more information about the July Peacemaker Congress!

CPT is committed to anti-oppression work both within and outside of CPT, and we seek others interested in this work.  We are seeking applicants to train as part of our Reserve Corps.  At this time, no stipended (half to full time) openings are available in the Corps.  All CPT Reservists are eligible to apply for stipended positions as they become available.  For answers to more specific questions, contact Adriana Cabrera Velasquez, Personnel Coordinator, at personnel@cpt.org <mailto:personnel@cpt.org>. 

November 13th

COLOMBIA: Municipal authorities continue to abet seizure of El Guayabo community land

CPTnet
13 November 2014
COLOMBIA: Municipal authorities continue to abet seizure of El Guayabo community land


Puerto Wilches municipal authorities carried out an illegal eviction on 29 October 2014 in El Guayabo, during which riot police accompanied Rodrigo Lopez Henao in seizing Henry Rincon‚Äôs house and property.

Within an hour of arriving, 164 riot police had taken control of the house and removed all community members from the property.  Shortly after, unidentified men began to move into the house with suitcases.

They have remained in the house since, accompanied by the police for three days.  On Thursday, 30 October, the men removed a fence and began to chop down trees on the neighbouring farm with police accompaniment.  The community confronted the police about their partiality to Lopez Henao‚Äôs men and their illegal actions, and upon orders from their colonel in Barrancabermeja, the police asked the men to rebuild the fence along the original borders.

On 4 November, the attorney general’s office summoned two community members to make a statement against claims from Lopez Henao that they had threatened him and invaded his land.

The community has now built three houses around the property limits of Rincon’s house as part of a self-protection plan in light of the unknown men living in the house.

November 12th

Prayers for Peacemakers November 12, 2014

Prayers for Peacemakers November 12, 2014

 Pray for the CPT‚Äôs Aboriginal Justice Team who are exploring decolonizing their work by learning Anishinabek and Haudenosaunee languages.

                                              Epixel* for Sunday November 16, 2014
Thanksgiving address in Cayuga language
Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us, for we have had more than enough of contempt. Psalm 123:3

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

November 8th

COLOMBIA: Las Pavas questions collective reparation program. Will Santos government stand up for Las Pavas?

On Wednesday, 17 September the Victims Unit (Unidad de Victimas) and the Colombian Institute for Rural Development (INCODER) visited the Las Pavas community to move the Collective Reparation process forward.  They also investigated violations that the Aportes San Isidro (ASI) palm oil company has committed against the community.  The first was the reinstallation of a gate that prevents Las Pavas community members from traveling on the main road to their farms, forcing them to take a difficult detour through the jungle.  The second was the construction of a house and resettlement of a family on Las Pavas‚Äô land.  The latter is an illegal invasion of state land.

 The Collective Reparation process is a government program offered to communities or organizations as part of its efforts to compensate victims of the civil war.  The Las Pavas case is high profile because they one the 2013 National Peace Prize, so the government chose the community to be one of the first for collective reparation.  In theory, the process is a good one where reparation involves making services available to the community such as psychosocial care, housing, and development projects.  In October 2010, Presidente Santos announced his Shock Plan for land restitution.  He said that for peace to be achieved there needed to be serious measures taken about land redistribution and restitution.  The Las Pavas community was named as a priority case.  

In November of 2012, INCODER declared ‚Äėeminent domain‚Äô on the land of Las Pavas declaring it state land.  If Aportes San Isidro had respected this order, INCODER would then have divided the land and titled it to the families of Las Pavas.  However, powerful economic and political allies of ASI prevented the enforcement of this declaration.  Las Pavas community members have witnessed and documented ASI employees burning down families‚Äô homes, destroying crops, severely beating and firing shots at people, stealing tools and killing livestock.  They have done all of this with full impunity.  The local authorities have arrested no one from the company even though they have received reports of these crimes.

 Two community members putting up a new fence to keep cattle from the new Aportes San Isidro
house from destroying their crops.