EAPPI Newsletter: July-September 2009
EAPPI Newsletter: July-September 2009
EAPPI News July-September 2009
EAPPI presents the third edition this year of our web-based newsletter, covering the period July-September 2009. If you would like to receive instant alerts about new articles on the EAPPI website, please sign up to the new EAPPI Twitter service at www.twitter.com/eappi.
Recent diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict in the Holy Land have taken place against the grinding daily reality of occupation. House demolitions, evictions of whole families and denial of the basic freedoms of Palestinians have continued to strangle life in the Occupied Territories as well as damaging the fabric of Israeli society. EAs continue to stand with Israelis and Palestinians campaigning for peace, working to expose the brutality of the occupation and supporting those who seek justice and human rights for all.
The 31st team of EAs completed their terms in August and left Israel/Palestine to begin their advocacy activities in their home countries around the world. Meanwhile, we welcomed Team 32 who hail from nine countries including, for the first time, two EAs from the Netherlands. We also welcomed two new members of staff to the Jerusalem office to oversee EAPPI’s advocacy and communications.
Settlements on the agenda
Settlements continue to occupy the land of Palestinians as well as the minds of western diplomats. In August, the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC) labeled occupation a “sin against God.”
“Settlements have been and will remain incompatible with a just peace that must serve both Palestinians and Israelis and must secure viable and mutually recognized states for both peoples,” he told the WCC’s Central Committee.
The Committee responded by calling on the Israeli government to freeze and begin to dismantle settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. It urged a commitment to non-violence and peace negotiations, and reiterates the need for an international boycott of products and services from settlements.
Settler violence and land confiscation are major issues for remote West Bank communities such as Khirbet Tana and Yanoun. Both have lost swathes of land to the settlement of Itamar. Violence by settlers has also brought poverty to the once thriving city of Hebron.
West Bank Palestinians working in Israel face a humiliating and exhausting daily routine as they commute via Israeli checkpoints. Some arrive at 3am to start queuing. Read more….
Qalandiya checkpoint is one of the main crossing points for West Bank Palestinians heading to Jerusalem. It is a tedious place at best, but at peak times it is crowded, chaotic and dangerous.
The Islamic holy month of Ramadan was a particularly difficult time for worshippers hoping to pray at the Al-Aqsa mosque.
Israeli border police prevented many Palestinian worshippers from reaching the Al Aqsa mosque to pray on Fridays in Ramadan.
Thousands were forced to wait for hours at over-crowded checkpoints. Many were injured in the crush. Read more…
EAPPI stands with evicted Palestinian families
In the early hours of the morning on 2nd August, police officers in riot gear smashed their way into the homes of the Hanoun and Ghawi families in East Jerusalem. Within minutes, they had evicted 53 people, among them 20 children. Hours later, religious Israeli settlers took over the houses, protected by heavily-armed Israeli security forces. The evictions followed years of court cases brought by Zionist groups against the families, refugees who fled West Jerusalem in 1948.
The 32nd Team of EAs arrived in Israel-Palestine the day after the evictions. Jerusalem EAs joined Israeli, Palestinian and international campaigners in a candle-lit vigil for the families, organized by the Israeli organisation Rabbis for Human Rights in defiance of a heavy police presence. Read more…
EAs also joined bishops of the Lutheran, Orthodox and Latin patriarchates of Jerusalem who visited to show solidarity, and shared with Israeli peace groups in a peaceful demonstration against the Israeli government’s discriminatory policies in East Jerusalem. Read more…
Heads of the churches in Jerusalem visited Maher Hannoun, evicted with his family from their East Jerusalem home in early August and now living on the pavement opposite.
A call to action
EAPPI urges you to pray for peace in the Holy Land and invites all those who believe in justice and human rights to support EAPPI’s efforts to that end. Find out how on the EAPPI website.