Archive

April 9th, 2014

AT-TUWANI: Military escort misconduct exposes Palestinian children to risk on their way to and from school

 




Photo of March 2010 school escort. Soldiers in
jeep.

On 9 April 2014, settlers from the Havat Ma’on outpost attacked children from the Palestinian villages of Tuba and Maghayir Al Abeed.  The children were walking to school, accompanied by the Israeli military escort that has the duty to protect them every day on their way to and from school, as established in 2004 by the Israeli Knesset Committee on the Rights of the Child.  During the 2013-2014 school year, the misconduct of this military escort has exposed the children to danger on numerous occasions.

In order to reach the school in the village of at-Tuwani, the Palestinian children from Tuba and Maghayir Al Abeed, who are between the ages of six and seventeen usually walk through the shortest route that passes between the Israeli settlement of Ma’on and the outpost of Havat Ma’on (Hill 833).  This route is the main road linking their villages and At Tuwani and takes about twenty minutes to complete.

On the morning of 9 April at 7:40 a.m., two Israeli children coming from Havat Ma’on attacked the Palestinian children by launching stones at them with slingshots, injuring a twelve-year-old girl and fourteen-year-old girl on their legs.  At the moment of the attack, the Israeli soldiers were not walking with the children as they are supposed to, but were inside the military vehicle, following behind the group of children.

April 8th

CPT INTERNATIONAL: Send applications before 1 May 2014 to join the Christian Peacemaker Corps summer 2014 training

 
 CPT Trainees advocate for farmers of Las
Pavas, Colombia
at Colombian Consulate in
Chicago

Did you participate in a recent Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) delegation that whetted your appetite for embodied peace work, partnering with others working nonviolently for justice, and confronting the injustice that leads to war? Does CPT's style of peacemaking, confronting injustice, and undoing oppressions work fit with yours? Is now the time to take the next step and join the Peacemaker Corps?

If so, please send your application to join the CPT Corps before 1 May 2014 for participation in CPT's Peacemaker Training in Chicago, IL, USA, 11 July-11 August 2014. Participants are encouraged to apply right away. Doing so will make it possible to notify those accepted for training in plenty of time for them to make travel arrangements. You will find the application at http://www.cpt.org/participate/peacemaker/apply.

We are committed to anti-oppression work both in and out of CPT, and we seek others also interested in this work. We are seeking applicants available for stipend-eligible service, as well as reservists.  For answers to more specific questions, email Adriana Cabrera-Velásquez, Personnel Coordinator, at personnel@cpt.org.

April 4th

COLOMBIA URGENT ACTION: U.S. and Canadian citizens, ask President Santos to protect member of Organización Femenina Popular who has received death threats.


On 3 April 2014 at 10:30 a.m., Sor María Sampayo, a leader of the Organización Femenina Popular (OFP) received a threatening phone call from someone who identified himself as Alirio Torresa, commander of the neo-paramilitary group Los Urabeños.

He began the call by saying, “You should donate three million pesos [US $1500] to the paramilitary group to mobilize thirty men from Medellin to carry out a social-cleansing plan to eliminate drug addicts, prostitutes, and everything that smells like a guerrilla.” He described to Sor Maria her whereabouts, where she and her daughter worked, and the color of the motorcycle she drove.

When she asked him whether he was demanding a vacuna—paramilitary protection money—he responded, “No, it’s a donation, and you have 120 days to pay.” If she did not donate, he said he would “shoot her, because he knew where she lived.”

Minutes later, he called back demanding to know why she hung up.  This time, Yolanda Barreca, the director of the OFP had answered phone. She told him that threats against Sor María Sampayo are threats against the OFP, to which he responded, “I know who you are; you bastards are going to die too, you can be sure of that.”

COLOMBIA: Social Processes that Transform Reality—the songs of Garzal, Nueva Esperanza, Guayabo, and Las Pavas

“Where does peacebuilding take place?  Where does the transformation of our reality start?  What are some of the tools that we should use to achieve peace?  Where is peace born?  The actual peace process has caused all of the sectors of society to mobilize in favor of an accord that will finalize the conflict, but has also evoked different feelings in these diverse sectors of society about what it means to sign a peace accord with the guerrillas.…

In the communities of Garzal, Nueva Esperanaza, Guayabo, and Las Pavas are some of the processes being built in our country, processes that remain hopeful although distant from the important government decisions.  These communities live their lives between songs, sermons, tears, and concerns, hoping that truth will prevail even lies appear so powerful.  Their songs express the truth of what conflict looks like in our country and describe how the consequences of poor decisions always fall on them.

Song “Mi Acordeón” – Music from the communities of Garzal and Nueva Esperanza.
For more songs from the Colombian agricultural communities Christian Peacemaker Teams accompanies, click here.

April 3rd

Prayers for Peacemakers, April 3, 2014

Prayers for Peacemakers, April 3, 2014

Give thanks for the successful conclusion of the training in Iraqi Kurdistan.  It  was an important step in changing how training is done in CPT.  In addition to local participants from Iraqi Kurdistan, trainees, and trainers from Poland, the Czech Republic, Germany, Sweden, Colombia, and Canada.

See IRAQI KURDISTAN: Participants in Iraqi Kurdistan training reflect on their five weeks

See video participants put together about their training experiences.

April 2nd

IRAQI KURDISTAN: Participants in Iraqi Kurdistan training reflect on their five weeks

We knew that the first training in Iraqi Kurdistan would be special not only because of the setting but also because we were training local partners to become official members of the organization.  In addition, we had trainees and trainers from Poland, the Czech Republic, Germany, Sweden, Colombia, and Canada, which created a multicultural atmosphere for the five weeks from 22 February to 29 March 2014 we were together.

The trainees helped to create a video portraying their experiences https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AH7sF4kx5u0
This training was an important step in changing how training is done in CPT. Training and including local peacemakers is a crucial part of our work - please, consider supporting this training and future local trainings by making a donation!

April 1st

SOUTH HEBRON HILLS: Settlers force shepherds off grazing land near Qawawis; break solar panels in Bir al ‘Idd




Settlers direct soldiers to chase Palestinian
shepherds away from livestock well near
Qawaw

On 23 March in the South Hebron Hills, settlers from Mitzpe Yair outpost forced shepherds off grazing land near the village of Qawawis.  The settlers came out above where the shepherds were grazing their flock, below the settlement of Mitzpe Yair, then called soldiers who came down and forced the shepherds to leave a livestock well, saying that the area was closed to both Palestinians and settlers.

After the soldiers left, the same settlers chased the shepherds and their flock down the valley, shouting at the sheep and goats.  They continued to chase the shepherds from valley to valley for the rest of the day, following them almost all the way back to the village of Qawawis. 

March 31st

IRAQI KURDISTAN: Iraqi Kurdistan trainees undertake public witness on behalf of Plowshares activists

From 9-11 March, participants in Christian Peacemaker Team’s Iraqi Kurdistan training planned and participated in a demonstration on behalf of Megan Rice, Michael R. Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed, three American peacemakers  imprisoned because of their nonviolent action at the Y-12 Oakridge Tennessee Highly-Enriched Uranium Manufacturing Facility.

On 28 July 2012 Rice, Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed, unimpeded by security, crossed four fences and walked for two hours in the area before the guards found them.  They splashed human blood on the walls and spray painted peace messages.  While waiting for the facility security, they picnicked, and when the guards arrived, they offered to share bread with them.  For this action, which exposed to the world the threat of the nuclear weapons, the peacemakers received sentences of five (Walli and Boertje-Obed) and three (Rice) years in prison.

To mirror the Plowshares’ action, the trainees agreed, “Let’s make a picnic.  If it is possible to make a picnic at a nuclear facility, it should be also possible to do one on the sidewalk outside the US consulate in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan."  After preparations going far into the night, and four-hour early morning drive, the group of eight (trainees, trainers and a support person) arrived with a picnic carpet, apples, leaflets, photos of the prisoners, cookies tagged with internet links, and banners stating: “Being a peacemaker is NOT a crime” and “Thank them, don’t punish them.”

March 28th

THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS: CPTers arrested at The Hague Nuclear Security summit—report by Maarten van der Werf

On 24 March 2014, CPTer Maarten van der Werf, along with Cocky de Graaf and Jet Visser, who had participated in CPT delegations to Palestine, were part of an effort by Dutch peace organizations and the Amsterdam Catholic Worker to hand-deliver a message to world leaders attending the nuclear summit at The Hague.  The message, according to van der Werf, was essentially this: “The commitment to nuclear disarmament is a better way to achieve nuclear security than enhancing the protection of present nuclear installations.”… Van der Werf wrote later of the experience,

We were arrested after diverting from the compulsory path to a field where we were allowed to demonstrate.  We, however, were not demonstrating, we were going to hand deliver a letter to the world leaders!  After 150 meters, we were met by an overpowering crowd of regular police and military police.  An estimated sixty participants were arrested.  We received fines or [orders to appear in court.]

I sat the full six hours [the maximum allowed] in a cell of one by two meters without any windows or outside light coming in.  It was an experience of complete loss of control over my situation.  It was very boring as well, so [it was a good time to reflect and I had some of the following thoughts]:

Our experience and the topic of the summit are all about security.  Security and overreaction have to do with fear.

We were mostly people over sixty who also participated in the actions against cruise missiles beginning in the 1980s.  B-61 bombs are still here and will be modernized (the nuclear part as well as new tailpieces to make them GPS guided bombs).  Business for Boeing!

The summit was about terrorists.  Can we trust ourselves with a nuclear arsenal?  Are we sure we are not going to use it?  If we decide not to use them, threatening is without substance, and we had better make them into bicycles.

March 27th

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Settlers attempt construction of new access path at Tel Rumeida

Attempt by settlers to begin construction of walking path on Tel Rumeida.  The blue fence is on the
settlement, and the new stake on right is in a washed out area that would link the settler path to
an existing path along the outside of the fence surrounding the settler archaeological dig.

On 24 March 2014, settlers attempted to begin construction of a walking path outside the fenced “archaeological” dig near the Abu Haikal home on Tel Rumeida.  The settlers pounded in metal stakes in an area just below the fence erected by Israelis around what was once the orchard of the Abu Haikal family, and is now an archaeological site to which Palestinians, including Palestinian archaeological experts, are denied access.  The stakes are a first step in an apparent attempt to link the settlement of Tel Rumeida to the fenced area of the archaeological dig.

Palestinians living in the building adjacent to the land on which the settlers were trespassing called the police, who ordered the settlers to stop.  However, the following day, 25 March, soldiers arrived at the home of the Abu Haikal family and threatened them with arrest.

 Feryal Abu Haikal had just finished hosting a group of neighbors, along with the Palestinian Liaison Officer and an officer from the Hebron Governor’s office, when soldiers arrived at her home and began to dispute the ownership of some of the land on Tel Rumeida, showing her a map that contained false information.  The soldiers told Feryal Abu Haikal that no visitors are allowed on the land surrounding her home, and threatened to arrest and deport any internationals there, including members of the Abu Haikal family.

For background on the settler archaeological dig on Tel Rumeida click here 

To see a map of multiple land-grab efforts by settlers in Hebron click here.