Archive - Mar 2009

March 28th

AT-TUWANI: Israeli army refuses to escort Palestinian school children past settlers

Israeli soldiers in charge of escorting schoolchildren from At-Tuwani to their homes in the villages of Tuba and Maghayir al Abeed refused to escort the children past two adult settlers on 23 March 2009.  As the soldiers and children approached the chicken barns that mark the end of the area where settlers frequently attack, they saw settlers approaching the barns.  The children asked the soldiers to complete the escort.  Internationals watching from a nearby ridge also called the army twice too, specifically demanding that the escort complete the obligatory accompaniment past the chicken barns as required by the protocol.

March 27th

ASUBPEESCHOSEEWAGONG: CPT announces Aboriginal Justice Delegations to Asubpeeschoseewagong First Nation (Grassy Narrows)

Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) seeks participants for delegations to the First Nations community of Asubpeeschoseewagong (Grassy Narrows), located in the Treaty 3 territory, with visits to other nearby First Nations communities and the northwestern Ontario town of Kenora.

March 26th

IRAQ UPDATE: 21 February-15 March 2009


Sunday, 15 March
The team visited the town of Bamarne where a villager told the team of their worries about two Turkish bases inside the town.  These bases are inside Iraq, forty km from the border of Turkey.  Twice a year, summer and autumn, the soldiers burn the fields around the base using tank-fire.  The KRG government has promised compensation to the land owners but none has been forthcoming.  

They said they would welcome CPT coming and document the burning when it happens next (probably in August).  They also spoke of how Turkish soldiers shoot at farmers retrieving animals who have ventured too close to the base and how Turkish dogs from the base threaten the villagers’ animals at night.  Local officials have petitioned the KRG to expel the bases, but the bases remain at the desire of the Iraqi government.  Turkey says that PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) are located in the nearby mountains and that it uses the bases to launch operations against them

March 25th

Prayers for Peacemakers, Wed., Mar. 25, 2009


Pray for the children of Tuba in the south Hebron hills of Palestine. They are frequently chased or attacked by Israeli settlers while they walk to school. Israeli soldiers are supposed to accompany the children but are often late.

Doug Pritchard
Christian Peacemaker Teams
Toronto, Canada

March 24th

COLOMBIA: Small steps toward justice for Garzal

"I wanted to let out a loud shout of joy right there in the courthouse I was so happy," said Don Salvador about the ruling in favor of the Garzal and Nueva Esperanza communities on Wednesday, 4 March 2009.  The previous week, the judge called the communities to a mediation session with the Barreto family.  That action generated many questions for the community: "Is the struggle for our land finished?"  "Will the judge force us to negotiate the surrender of our land?"  In the bed of a small truck, twenty members of the community traveled to Simiti to hear the ruling. 

March 23rd

AT-TUWANI UPDATE: 1-18 February 2009

Monday 2 February 2009

In the morning, Israeli soldiers shot dead a Palestinian man on the Israeli side of the border near the Palestinian village of Jinba and the Israeli settlement of Beit Yatir.  Taysir Manasra, 27, from the Hebron area, was attempting to travel into Israel for work.  Following this incident, CPTers documented two Israeli checkpoints in separate locations, at which Israeli soldiers detained, beat and harassed Palestinians (see 12 February 2009 CPTnet release, “AT-TUWANI: Soldiers kill Palestinian migrant worker, increase harassment of villagers in South Hebron Hills.”)  At one checkpoint, an Israeli soldier told Sarah MacDonald that two of the Palestinian detainees had no registration or ID, were likely terrorists, and  "may cut your throat next!"

March 21st

BRANTFORD, ON: Nothing but the truth

On Friday, 27 February 2009 in Brantford, Ontario, T.R.U.E. (Two Row Understanding through Education) hosted Stan Farmer, Wes Elliott, Gene Johns and Kelley Curley as representatives from the ‘Hoskanigetah’ of the Grand River (Haudenosaunee Men’s Fire) as well as Ken Hewitt, a non-native resident of Caledonia.  (T.R.U.E.) was formed by non-natives who describe themselves as being “dedicated to the building of bridges of understanding with our Six Nations' Brothers and Sisters.”

March 20th

COLOMBIA UPDATE: January-February 2009

24 January
The Bishop Jaime Prieto led a Mass in commemoration of the victims of the massacre of 16 May 1998.  Several other priests were present, including Jesuit Francisco Deroux, former director of the Program for Development and Peace in the Middle Magdalena, who closely followed the 16 May process when he was in Barrancabermeja.  Politicians, UN representatives, the army, and police were present.  Before the mass began, the authorities were invited up to the stage.  As police and military began to go forward, a young man started to shout slogans against the military.  Some other people, including a woman who lost a relative in the massacre gathered, saying,  "Go away.  They were the ones who allowed the massacre to happen.  Why are you here?"  After some tense moments, the armed authorities decided not to take the stage.  The bishop focused his homily on the “bitter rest” experienced by the dead and their families.  Their relatives finally are able to bury them, but they have not found justice. 
  After Mass, the group left in a funeral caravan to the cemetery. There, with the military listening, Father Francisco Deroux spoke out against the involvement of the police force in the massacre and the impunity they enjoy to date. 

14 February

Paul Horst and Jenny Dillon attended the funeral for an important leader of the fishing community in Barrancabermeja.   Luis "Lucho" Alberto Arango, president of the Llanito Association of Fishermen and Fish Farmers (APALL), was killed on February 5 because of his work with APALL against illegal fishing practices.  He once said, "It is clear to me that we may have different ways of seeing things, but when our goal is the same, we just have to learn to listen to the opinions of those around us and seek the well-being of everyone, without judging anyone.  This is peace.  And it begins by respecting each other."

AT-TUWANI: At-Tuwani hosts Tony Blair to address Israeli occupation and violence in the southern West Bank

On 19 March 2009, Tony Blair, representative of the Quartet on the Middle East visited the Palestinian village of At-Tuwani, located in the southern West Bank.  His said his reason for visiting was "really to draw attention to the fact that without a new and different system applying in Area C [the area in the West Bank under Israeli military and civilian control], then it is very hard for Palestinians to enjoy the standard of living that they should enjoy and be able to develop their land as they should be able to develop in freedom."

Mr. Blair met with the mayor of At-Tuwani as well as members of Christian Peacemaker Teams and Operation Dove, who described the attacks and harassment Palestinians experience from Israeli settlers and soldiers when Palestinians attempt to access their land.  The conversation also highlighted Israeli government inaction toward settler aggression, exemplified by the government's failure to follow through with the demolition orders on the illegal Israeli outpost of Havat Ma'on.  When asked what he will do about this situation, Mr. Blair answered, "It's got to be stopped, hasn't it?  This is what should happen.  But it needs to be done in a systematic way so that the whole way this area is looked at and administered is changed to make it fair."

March 19th

IRAQ: After six years of war...


After six years of war, Iraqis are living with

The deaths of an estimated million Iraqi civilians.  (See

A devastated society and infrastructure. 
Water is still contaminated.  The average Iraqi has an average of four hours a day of electricity, and the poor have inadequate medical care.

Continuing economic crisis. …