Archive - May 2012


The approach of Naqba Day, the Day of the Catastrophe, brought a sense of trepidation to the Al-Khalil Christian Peacemaker Team. This day commemorating the displacement of Palestinians following the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948 is often marked by demonstrations and violence on both sides. While patrolling the evening before, we had observed Israeli soldiers conducting drills, moving portable barricades and simulating the rescue of fallen comrades. This stoked our anxious anticipation of the day to come.

As morning dawned on Naqba Day, additional military presence was evident throughout the Old City. Soldiers at their checkpoints checked every schoolchild’s bag. Having heard of a march planned in the city’s Palestinian-controlled sector, we proceeded as a group to the planned route. Various political parties, clearly separated and defined by their distinctive flags, participated in the march. When part of the Hamas Party group broke away and moved toward the Israeli-controlled zone in the Old City, we became concerned that heightened tensions could lead to violence.

May 30th

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Mother’s persistence wins five boys’ freedom from Israeli detention

CPTers accompanied the mother of two of five detained boys seeking their whereabouts. A soldier at a checkpoint asked her what she was doing on Shuhada Street. She explained that she was looking for her sons, and the soldier let her through. Further along the street a second soldier stopped the mother and CPT and asked CPT, “Who gave you the authority to bring a Palestinian woman along Shuhada Street?” A CPTer replied that the soldier at the last checkpoint had. The second soldier called and said his colleague denied this and that he should arrest the woman.

May 29th


“The entire history of man is war,” the speaker told us, “conflict driven by racial, religious and territorial ambition.”

He sounded regretful, as if he wished it could be otherwise, but knew it was foolish and negligent to trust any force other than violence for the common good. As he went on, outlining the dangers of Islamic immigration to Western countries, he branded those who disagreed with his analysis as “naïve,” even “traitors.” I saw that most of the crowd agreed.

May 28th

IRAQ REFLECTION: A moment for the martyrs

This is the story of Sardasht Osman. On 5 May 2010, his body was found, shot, outside the city of Mosul. He had been abducted from outside his university two days earlier, in front of a crowd of witnesses. 

The prospective journalist's final opinion piece, “I Am in Love with Massoud Barzani’s Daughter,” criticized the KRG president’s wealth in biting satire. “All my friends said, ‘Saro, let it go and give it up or you will get yourself killed. The family of Mulla Mustafa Barzani [Massoud Barzani’s father] can kill anyone they want, and they surely will.’ ”

It appears they did. 

May 26th

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): The Israeli Paradigm, Part II

In the first part of my reflection, I noted that historian Ilan Pappé challenged us to bring into the discourse of Israel and Palestine the words “Settler-colonialism,” “occupation” and “apartheid” and that the situation in Hebron supports the truth of these words:

Our neighbor in the old city of Hebron—where her family has lived for hundreds of years— requires a permit to live on Shuhada Street in but cannot go out of her front door.  When we walk through our neighborhood, I we see gun watchtowers and checkpoints.  On one street running near the Ibrahimi mosque, a concrete barrier divides the street in two.  The left half of the street is for Israelis and the right side is for Palestinians.  Israelis can drive on their part of the street but the Palestinian side is too narrow for cars.

Soldiers guard Palestinian house that settlers have occupied, March 2012

May 23rd

CHICAGO: CPT marches on NATO


As NATO war makers gathered for their summit in Chicago, dozens of CPTers and CPT supporters marched with thousands from throughout the city and around the world.  The marchers called for an end to military madness and gave witness to the way of nonviolence that will midwife a just and peaceable society.  Several CPTers played key roles in nonviolence training and as peace guides.  The spirit of the march is exemplified in these photos by CPTer Tim Nafziger.

May 22nd

Prayers for Peacemakers, May 23, 2012


Give thanks with CPT for the more than fifty First Nation representatives who made a Freedom Train journey across Canada’s West opposing Enbridge corporation’s proposed tar sands pipeline through their territory. Pray that support for their efforts will continue to grow.

COLOMBIA: Four things you should know about Colombia's armed conflict

Contrary to what major world news sources say, the war in Colombia is about more than drugs.  So much of what the global north consumes comes from Colombia—flowers, bananas, coffee, chocolate, gold, oil, coal, palm oil—so why do we know so little about this country?  The war in Colombia has been raging for the last forty-eight years, which begs the question, "why?"  To get to the heart of that question, here are four things everyone should know about Colombia's armed conflict…

 3. It is the most dangerous place for a union organizer in the world.

Names of assassinated Coca Cola union members

More union members are killed in Colombia than in the rest of the world combined.  In October, the United States and Colombia signed a Free Trade Agreement that will ensure the ongoing extraction of natural resources and the continued threats to the security of union members.  Over 2,500 trade unionists have been killed in Colombia in the last 20 years and in 98% of the cases, no one was brought to justice.  Human rights organizations brought these concerns to the US and Colombian governments before the signing of the FTA and the Labor Action Plan, meant to secure the rights of union workers.  However, worker rights have deteriorated.  In 2011, thirty trade unionists were murdered and four unionists have been killed thus far in 2012.

May 21st

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON) REFLECTION: The Israeli Paradigm, Part I

 I have been reading Ilan Pappé’s (1) book Forgotten Palestinians.  I find his writing to be informative and thought provoking and so was excited a couple weeks ago, when the team and I got a chance to hear Pappé speak at the Alternative Information Centre in Beit Sahour.

What Pappé said offered an alternative to much of the discourse surrounding Israel and Palestine.  Pappé argued that most people, even those who see themselves as being pro-Palestinian, still speak and think within the paradigm (2) created by Zionists.

According to Pappé, in this paradigm of peace the Zionists saw that they must establish full control over the West Bank, to fulfill their vision of the State of Israel.  He likened the situation in the West Bank to that of a prison.  If Palestinians within the West Bank are willing to work within the framework of the paradigm and ‘behave,’ they will receive rewards and benefits, and the prison will resemble an open detention center where people have some freedoms and can move around somewhat freely.  These benefits, Pappé stated, could even incorporate a state, but it would be a state without sovereignty, and a state that was still within the Zionist paradigm, and therefore still ultimately under Zionist control.  However, if the Palestinians dare to challenge the paradigm they will find themselves in a maximum-security prison where Israel severely restricts their rights and limits their freedoms.