Archive

June 9th, 2014

JERUSALEM: The case of Rachel Corrie

 
 photo Ashraf Amra
 Craig and Cindy Corrie

[Note: This release was adapted for CPTnet from a longer piece on the Palestine team’s blog.  The Christian Peacemaker Team in Hebron provided nonviolence training for Rachel Corrie and Tom Hurndall, another International Solidarity Movement (ISM) activist killed by the Israeli military, when they entered the country along with waves of other ISM activists during the early years of the Second Intifada.]

More than a decade after an Israeli military bulldozer crushed Rachel Corrie to death in Rafah, Gaza, her parents Craig and Cindy Corrie found themselves in the halls of the Supreme Court of Israel on 21 May 2014.  The Corries were appealing a verdict handed down in 2013 by Judge Oded Gershon of the Haifa District Court.

Gershon ruled that Corrie was responsible for her own death by entering Gaza during a time of conflict.  “While not surprising, the verdict is yet another example of impunity prevailing over accountability and fairness and it flies in the face of the fundamental principle of international humanitarian law—that in a time of war, military forces are obligated to take all measures to avoid harm to both civilians and their property,” said Attorney Hussein Abu Hussein, the Corries’ attorney at the Haifa hearing in 2013.

June 6th

ABORIGINAL JUSTICE REFLECTION: Amplification

CPT takes seriously its mission of listening to marginalized people and speaking their truth to a wider audience.  For this reason, our delegation met community members in Grassy Narrows who represent their community’s interests in negotiations with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR), logging companies, and before the courts.

Our host, Andrew Keewatin (Shoon), is building manager and leader of the Trappers’ Centre.  Within the community, Shoon runs AA meetings and teaches children traditional skills like building canoes, snowshoes, and drums, filleting fish, and tanning hide to make moccasins. 

In recent years the MNR licensed logging companies to clearcut sections of forest on his land.  Occasionally he has been able to negotiate with the MNR to preserve bands of forest connecting water sources or to spare trees that have little commercial value.  But in the end, the MNR decides where and when logging companies may cut down forests, not the people who have lived and worked on the land and for generations.




Community member Cheryl Fobister at blockade

When a logging company constructed a road within kilometers of Grassy Narrows, disregarding the wishes of the community, the conflict with the Grassy Narrows community came to a head.  On a cold December afternoon in 2002, three youth blocked the road by cutting down nearby trees.  This bold action brought the people of Grassy Narrows together to form a blockade, an expression of nonviolent resistance that they had been contemplating for some time.

Among the countless people that participated in the blockade, Judy Da Silva emerged as a strong advocate.  Mrs. Da Silva has watched logging companies enter her Nation’s territory for years, clearcut vast swathes of forest, and disregard the concerns her community expressed.  She is a protector of the forest and of the broader ecosystem on behalf of her children and her children’s children.  For her, dispossessing First Nations of their land, refusing to investigate the murder of 1000 First Nations women and the disappearance of 200 more, poisoning the English-Wabigoon River system with mercury, and disregarding the wishes of First Nations peoples for the use of their territory are all connected by a White settler ideology that values only those things that can be converted into money.

June 4th

Prayers for Peacemakers, June 4, 2014

Prayers for Peacemakers, June 4, 2014

 Pray for those participating in the refugee-led Freedom March to Brussels, a protest against the repressive and racist European migration regime.

 *Epixel for Pentecost Sunday, June 8, 2014
 
 "And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?  Parthians, Medes,
Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia
and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both
Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs--in our own languages we hear them speaking
about God's deeds of power?" Acts 2:8-11
 Photo Johann Stemmler
 *epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing with a text from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.

June 3rd

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): CPT Palestine delegation marches in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners.

 On 31 May 2014, members of the CPT Palestine delegation currently in the region joined hundreds of demonstrators at Al Aroub refugee camp to protest the illegal administrative detention of more than 100 political Palestinian political prisoners held without charges by the Israeli government. Although the demonstration remained non-violent, Israeli soldiers fired tear gas, sound bombs, and rubber bullets to disperse the demonstrators.

 The Hebron Defence Committee, a grass roots organization dedicated to resisting nonviolently the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian Territories, helped organize the protest and invited the CPT delegation to attend.  CPT members accepted in order to observe and help document the action and show solidarity with those  imprisoned. 

 Dozens of Palestinian political prisoners are imprisoned without charge in Israeli prisons under archaic British Mandate era administrative detention laws.  These laws prohibit detention for more than six months. However, the Israeli authorities renew the detention orders repeatedly, incarcerating dozens of prisoners for  years without charging them.  Many have been on a hunger strike to protest their detention.

June 2nd

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): The Abu Haikel family—a story of resistance.

 
 Arwa (top left) and Faryel Abu Haikal climb onto their land to halt the demolition of their
property from the Israeli Antiquity Authority, hoping to enforce a police order previously issued.

With only a sliver of their land left to protect, Feryel and Arwa Abu Heikal climbed over a pile of rubble and boulders and stopped the Israeli bulldozer from shearing further into their property, dumping their dignity into the back of a dump truck, and hauling away their rights.  They stood under the unrelenting sun, staring into the teeth of the approaching bucket excavator, protecting their land from the ever-encroaching Israeli settlement enterprise, facing arrest and physical assault—a reality they have faced for decades.  Their resilience and steadfastness held off the Israeli Antiquity Authority (I.A.A.) for a few hours.

The I.A.A. continues to deploy a variety of tactics to annex privately owned Palestinian land on the hilltop of Hebron, including ignoring previous orders issued by the Israeli police to halt work.  Under the directive of Emmanuel Eisenberg, the I.A.A. project coordinator, the excavator bucket began carving deeper into Feryiel Abu Haikel’s land, breaking both Israeli and international law in the process.

In 1984, Jewish settlers first arrived on Tel Rumeida, the historical hilltop neighborhood of Hebron, which, according to some religious texts, is where Abraham first laid claim to land.  This historical interpretation provides impetus for the archeological digs designed to establish exclusive Jewish claims to the hilltop.  The Tel Rumeida settlement stands today on concrete pylons built directly on a previous archeological dig.  The establishment of this settlement marked the genesis of the heightened tensions that would continually boil over and spill onto the Abu Haikel’s land year after year.

May 30th

COLOMBIA: Ten questions for the next president

The Colombian people went to the polls on 25 May to elect a new leader for the country.  The incumbent President Juan Manuel Santos was seeking re-election in a race against five candidates, all aspiring to the most powerful office in the land and discussing issues such as education, corruption, environment, and as always, the peace accords with Colombia’s FARC guerilla organization.  He will face Colombian ex-finance minister Oscar Ivan Zuluaga in a 15 June 2014 runoff election.




Sign caption: "Dialogue is the way"

We as CPT Colombia, hope the next president fulfills her/his promise and works for the Colombian people.  Based on our work, the requests of our partners, and communities we accompany, we have created a list of questions that we would like to ask the next president that highlight some of our concerns and key issues for Colombia today:

1. Will you continue peace negotiations with the FARC-EP and ELN?

2. Are you willing to re-negotiate Free Trade Agreements in favor of Colombian small farmers?

May 29th

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Israeli Antiquities Authority destroys more Abu Haikel Land, despite order to halt work

The Israeli Antiquities Authority’s continued illegal excavations on the Abu Haikel land has led to further destruction of the family’s property.  On Monday 26 May 2014, a bulldozer driver working on the excavation site undermined the foundation of Abu Haikels’ retaining wall—the second time this month the excavators have damaged the wall.

The Abu Haikel family called the Hebron police department, reporting the damage the excavations were doing on their land, but the authorities failed to appear at the scene of the crime.

This destruction is not an isolated incident, but rather represents a prolonged campaign by lead archeologist Emmanuel Eisenberg and the Israeli Antiquities Authority to establish a “biblical museum” on the areas surrounding the Abu Haikel land.

Last week, the Abu Haikel family had reported the previous destruction of private property.  The authorities showed up and issued orders for Eisenberg to halt work until the survey lines clearly demarcating the boundaries of plot 54 and 53 had been drawn, which has not happened yet.

May 28th

Prayers for Peacemakers May 28, 2014

Prayers for Peacemakers May 28, 2014

Pray that Supreme Court of Canada will render a just decision, now that it has finished hearing the case presented by the Grassy Narrows’ Trappers that they have rights guaranteed by Treaty and Higher Authority to use their traditional lands.

Epixel* for June 1, 2014

 Rain in abundance, O God, you showered abroad; you restored your heritage when it languished;
your flock found a dwelling in it;  in your goodness, O God, you provided for the needy. Psalm 68: 9-10

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

May 27th

COLOMBIA: CPT accompanying CAHUCOPANA after threats to members by masked men

Later this week, CPT Colombia will be accompanying CAHUCOPANA to the First Regional Meeting of Women of Northeast Antioquia “In defence of the territory and dignity” taking place in Dos Quebradas.  As CAHUCOPANA prepares for the upcoming workshop, their members have received threats and harassment from armed masked men wearing uniforms with no identification, presumed to be Colombian military.

The following official complaint describes the harassment of Carlos Alfredo Palacio Usuga of CAHUCOPANA and Noemí Durango Pérez of the regional Women’s Team for Humanitarian Action and makes three demands:

  1. Colombian president, Juan Manuel Santos and his government must act accordingly to ensure the respect of human rights in the region;
  2. Respective authorities need to investigate the case and those guilty be penalized according to the infractions of International Humanitarian Law and the violations of the communities’ human rights;
  3. UN High Commission for Human Rights in Colombia should monitor the situation and recommend a course of action for the Colombian government.

May 24th

IRAQI KURDISTAN: “Fingers should be used for voting, not shooting”; CPT reports on Iraqi election




CPT Iraqi Kurdistan team members at 14 May press conference

On 14 May, CPT Iraqi Kurdistan released to the general public via the media its new report regarding the recent Iraqi Parliamentary and Kurdistan provincial councils election. The report summarizes concerns of the five-member international election observer team, which CPT coordinated, based on what they observed during the 30 April election and the subsequent vote recount process. The report title, “Fingers should be used for voting, not shooting” refers to the Iraqi electoral symbol: an index finger dipped in ink after a voter casts a ballot, and the intimidating presence and dangerous activities of the security forces that CPT observed.  The five page report can be read here in English  and here in Kurdish.

Two major Kurdish TV channels and one journalist attended the press conference. The KNN TV channel used the report as one of its main news headlines and broadcasted it repeatedly for two days.