Saturday, March 31, 2007

Friday, March 30, 2007

'Educator learns of Palestinians' Plight'

This is a very old article that I discovered never got posted to this blog. It's really the first article I ever wrote about Palestine, so I'm a little sentimental. I like it very much, but sadly, the only copy that I've got left is this a photocopy of the newspaper article. It should be readable if you click on the image. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

What's happened to our ability to disagree? Just what are we afraid of?


(click for bigger vrs.)

Apparently, a peaceful march memorializing the 40 anniversary of the Israeli occupation of Palestine is just too much to advertise. This ad was originally rejected CBS Outdoors, which manages advertising for the Washington, DC metro rail system. Thankfully, the ACLU stepped into defend this ad, put out by US Campaign to End the Occupation, and CBS Outdoors relented. It will be displayed on the DC metro, commuters will see it some 9 million times and the sky wont fall. More and more, I find myself just saddened by our inability to civilly disagree with each other, especially about the Holy Land. There's a raging debate in Israel about the ins-and-outs of the occupation, but the only socially acceptable opinion here in the United States goes something like this: "I support both Israelis and Palestinians. It's such a complicated situation." I hope that more and more people will begin to offer real friendship the Israel - the sort of friendship that prevents a friend from destroying itself through violence.

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Easiest Targets - Part 2

The Easiest Targets

If American Knew, an organization I worked for (and compulsively mention, because they're so awesome)has done it again. The Easiest Targets is on my short list of resources to examine if you're interested in authentically understanding what is going on in Palestine.

The Easiest Targets shares the stories of women who have been the subject of stripe searches and sexualized harassment at checkpoints and boarder crossings. SURVIVORS OF SEXUAL ABUSE, ASSAULT, RAPE, ETC., SHOULD UNDERSTAND THAT THIS VIDEO MAY BE TRIGGERING because of its subject matter.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Caterpillar Campaign FAQs: CAT Company Structure, Manufacturing and Sales Practices

Here in Portland, we've began developing a campaign to urge Caterpillar, the manufacturer of bulldozers used to demolish homes in Palestine, to end sales to the Israeli military. Through the course of our work, we've had some questions. I'd like to offer up what we've discovered so that other campaigns can access this information easily and quickly.

How does CAT sell bulldozers to Israel?

According to a legal memo published by the US Campaign to End the Occupation, "Caterpillar has been selling their bulldozers to Israel through the United States Foreign Military Sales Program. Caterpillar alleges that the US provides Israel with military aid earmarked for Caterpillar bulldozers."

How do CAT's bulldozers become "weaponized"? How does the Israeli military modify their product?

The Caterpillar D9 bulldozer is a track-type tractor ready for agricultural and construction purposes, but easily modified. Once supplied to Israel, the Israeli Military
Industries, a state-owned Israeli arms manufacturer, and Israeli Aircraft Industries’ Ramta Division adds bullet proof glass, machine gun mounts, smoke projectors, and grenade
launchers. The front blade is more than 6 feet high and 15 feet wide. On the bulldozer’s back is called the ‘ripper’ and can penetrate five feet and five inches into the ground. Once again, this information comes from a legal memo published by the US Campaign to End the Occupation.

Does CAT have dealers or suppliers in Israel?

As near as I am able to tell, no. On their website, Caterpillar writes, "Caterpillar products and components are manufactured in 50 U.S. facilities and in over 60 other locations, in 23 countries around the globe," but Saudi Arabia and The United Arab Emirates are listed as their Middle East locations, not Israel.

Where are the D9 and D10 bulldozers manufactured?

I've still been unable to find the answer to this question. Caterpillar suppliers are located around the world, though not in Israel.

What is the relationship between the local Caterpillar dealership in our town and Caterpillar Inc.? The dealer said that it's a separate company? Is that true?

We are still investigating and evaluating the relationship between a Caterpillar dealer and Caterpillar Inc. This is what we are sure of: yes, a dealer is a separate company from Caterpillar Inc. However, they certainly do facilitate Caterpillar's work. You can read what Caterpillar Inc. says about their dealers here. To quote Caterpillar Inc.:

Your local dealer knows your industry and what Caterpillar can do for you, arranges our financing and insurance, provides service and support after the sale, nearly always has any replacement part you'd need on hand. We've been developing our dealer relationships over decades, and we trust them with the most important aspects of our business. Quite frankly, we couldn't do this without them. And we're not about to try. (Emphasis mine.)

Have the D9 or D10 bulldozers been used in other wars or conflicts?

Yes, that seems to be the case. Several sources point towards in the United States using the D9 in the current occupation of Iraq. According to Israeli-Weapons.com, "The United States Army has purchased several armor kits from the IDF and used them to produce similarly equipped D9s. These have been used to clear destroyed vehicles from roads, to dig moats, erect earthen-barriers and construct field fortifications. It was also used to destroy a house which hosted snipers who shot at an American base..." The reliability of this particular source, in my mind, may or may not be questionable.
An Open Letter to Halton Co., Local Caterpillar Dealer

March 16, 2007

Dear Mark Fahey:

Thank you for the opportunity to meet with you today. Today we are writing to urge you to convey to your corporate headquarters our request that Caterpillar stop permitting its D9 and D10 bulldozers to be used by the Israeli army to demolish Palestinian homes in the West Bank and Gaza strip.

We come to you as a people who are directly and indirectly impacted by the human rights violations made possible by Caterpillar products. Many of us have spend time living in the West Bank, visiting with Palestinian families whose home have been slated for demolition and standing in front of piles of rubble that represent the homes and dreams of Palestinians. All of us our tax payers who pay for the $3 billion dollars in aid that goes to Israel each year- . As such, we echo the many international and Israeli human rights organizations who believe that Caterpillar has an obligation to prevent its equipment from being used to commit violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. We call on Caterpillar to:

• Suspend sales of D9 bulldozers and parts to Israel, so long as the product is used to destroy homes and property in violation of international law.

• Take public steps to ensure that Caterpillar’s goods and services will not be used to abuse human rights, in accordance with the U.N. Norms on the Responsibilities of Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with Regard to Human Rights.

We have chosen to visit you today on the 4th anniversary of the death of 23-year-old American Rachel Corrie who was deliberately run over and crushed by a D9 bulldozer as she sought to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home. Rachel Corrie is only one person of many who has been killed during home demolitions performed with Caterpillar products. The D9 and D10 Caterpillar bulldozers have been used to destroy some 12,000 Palestinian homes, leaving an estimated 70,000 people without shelter They have demolished large tracts of the most fertile agricultural land, roads, water and sewer systems in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and uprooted hundreds of thousands of Palestinian olive and fruit trees. They are being used to build Israel’s annexation Wall, in violation of the ruling by the International Court of Justice and intimidate non-violent Palestinian, Israeli and international peace activists.

Amnesty International has denounced Israel's razing of Palestinian dwellings as “a grave breach of international humanitarian law.” Human Rights Watch on October 29, 2004 demanded that Caterpillar “immediately suspend” the sale of D9 bulldozers to the Israeli military since it is the “primary weapon to raze Palestinian homes, destroy agriculture and shred roads in violation of the laws of war.” On May 28, 2004, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Jean Ziegler, wrote to the Caterpillar CEO Jim Owens that Caterpillar bulldozers have been used “to destroy agricultural farms, greenhouses, ancient olive groves and agricultural fields planted with crops, as well as numerous Palestinian homes and sometimes human lives.” Ziegler warned Caterpillar that the delivery of the bulldozers to the Israeli government “might involve complicity or acceptance on the part of your company to actual and potential violations of human rights, including the right to food.”

In its Code of Worldwide Business Conduct Caterpillar makes a commitment to, “accept the responsibilities of global citizenship” and “take into account social priorities.” In light of these high standards, we sincerely believe that Caterpillar will see its way clear to refusing to be complicit in human right violations. We ask you to please convey our heartfelt requests to Caterpillar Corporate Headquarters. We plan to continue to raise this issue and we hope that you will be willing to continue to dialogue with us until Caterpillar’s complicity in these human rights violations is ended.


Sincerely,

Representatives of Dorothy Day Portland Catholic Worker House, Christian Peacemaker Teams, Friends of Sabeel and other Portland, Oregon organizations

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Musical Video from DAM

Da Arabian MCs (DAM)is a Palestinian hip-hop group from Lod, Israel, and my vote for the best Palestinian hip-hop group. Check 'em out at: www.dampalestine.com/

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Video from the Face 2 Face project, which is putting up images of Palestinians and Israelis on both sides of the Wall and in other unavoidable places.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Israelis are entitled to enter the closed zone between the Wall and the Green Line without permits while Palestinians require permits to enter the closed zone; house demolitions in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are carried out in a manner that discriminates against Palestinians; throughout the West Bank, and particularly in Hebron, settlers are given preferential treatment over Palestinians in respect of movement (major roads are reserved exclusively for settlers), building rights and army protection; and the laws governing family
reunification unashamedly discriminate against Palestinians. It is less certain that the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid is violated. The IDF inflicts serious bodily and mental harm on Palestinians, both in Gaza and the West Bank; over 700 Palestinians are held without trial; prisoners are subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment; and Palestinians throughout the OPT are denied freedom of movement.

Can it seriously be denied that the purpose of such action is to establish
and maintain domination by one racial group (Jews) over another racial group (Palestinians) and systematically oppressing them? Israel denies that this is its intention or purpose. But such an intention or purpose may be inferred from the actions described in this report.

From the United Nations "Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights
in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, John Dugard
" You'll want to read it.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Occupation Arabic 101
A Visual Poem


The first words I learned in Arabic were:

Marhaba
Hello

Yalla!

Let's go!

Habbibi
Dear one

Halas!
Enough!

Then I learned:

Ween jesh?Where's the army?


Il Jedar
The Wall

Gaaz
Tear Gas

Haajez
Checkpoint

Ana mein Amerika
I am from America


It was a long time before I learned to say:

Keef halek?
How are you?

Biddi shay, iza mumkin
I'd like tea, please

Aradak Jamel
Your land is beautiful

Asefa
I am sorry