45 Palestinians Killed in the Great Return March
Nabi Saleh Remains Under Siege
Students for Justice in Palestine Activism Grows
Dangerous Exchanges in Durham, NC
MennoPIN Signs Letter Calling for End to the Occupation
Take A Palestinian Liberation Theology Short Course
Transporting a wounded Palestinian demonstrator at the Great Return March. (Credit Mohammed Saber/European Pressphoto Agency)
As the Great Return March enters its fifth week, 45 Palestinians have been killed while thousands more have been injured. The nonviolent demonstrations, at the border between Israel and Gaza, began on Land Day, March 30, 2018 with protests against Israel’s refusal to allow refugees the right of return to their lands guaranteed by international law. The march will end on May 15, 2018, Nakba Day. Known as the “day of catastrophe” among Palestinians, Nakba Day this year marks the time seventy years ago when Israel became a state and violently drove hundreds of thousands of Palestinians into exile and killed thousands more. The demonstrations are expected to spread throughout Palestine on Nakba Day.Most Western media coverage of the Great Return March concentrates its attention on the few who have thrown rocks or rolled burning tires. Hamas is often portrayed as instigators of the demonstrations. Nothing could be further from the truth. The protests are intentionally nonviolent, and organizers of the march come from all segments of Gaza’s civil and political society, of which Hamas is one part, but only one player. It is the Israeli military forces, sheltered safely hundreds of meters away, who commit the violence, using sniper fire, teargas and grenades.Despite the continuing suffering, the spirit of Palestinian people remains strong and determined and the role of women at the forefront of peaceful protest is growing. Make sure that your congressional representatives know that you stand for peace with justice in Palestine.
Nabi Saleh Experiences Ongoing Siege
While 17-year-old Ahed Tamimi and her mother remain in prison, their village of Nabi Saleh remains under siege. For the last nine years, many of the village’s 600 inhabitants stage a weekly nonviolent protest following the Israeli confiscation of the main spring of the village for use by the Halamish settlement nearby. Israeli military forces respond to the peaceful demonstrators with teargas, arrests and sometimes bullets. Three people have been killed there and nineteen residents of Nabi Saleh are in prison.
Israeli soldiers shooting teargas in the center of the village of Nabi Saleh (Photo: Activetills.org)
Recent visitors describe their experience. A quiet Saturday in Nabi Saleh was broken by couple of booms: “Live gunfire followed by a stun grenade. Finally, a couple of minutes later we see teargas coming. In seconds, we were gagging, spitting up, coughing, tearing up—eyes on fire, throats chocking.”
Nabi Saleh is not alone in experiencing the Israeli occupation’s persistent violence against Palestinian villages in the West Bank. Many others also know similar unprovoked violence of Israel’s military forces.
Students for Justice in Palestine Activism Grows
Established in 2010, the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) has grown to more than 200 university chapters nationwide. Centering on freedom, justice and equality for the Palestinian people, SJP activists seek to educate and raise awareness among fellow students about the oppression experienced by Palestinians under the Israeli occupation, especially most recently in response to the killing of Palestinians in the Great Return March. But they also seek to pressure their respective universities to “divest its stocks, funds and endowment from companies that profit from the state of Israel’s violations of international law and Palestinian human rights through its ongoing system of settler colonialism, military occupation and apartheid,” as the Barnard College SJP chapter recently put it.
Barnard became the latest student body to approve a referendum, pressuring its administration to divest, with 64% of students in favor. More than sixty university student bodies have approved similar referendums and specifically name offending companies like Hewlett Packard, Caterpillar, GS4, Lockheed, Boeing and Elbit Systems. SJP works further to get their university to also approve of the measure.
Dangerous Exchanges and Durham, NC
Collaboration between the Trump and Netanyahu administrations has gone beyond embassy relocation and taken a deadly turn. The dangerous exchange programs bring together police, ICE, border patrol and the FBI from the United States with soldiers, police and border patrols from Israel for training in control, intimidation and the use of lethal force. In these mutual exchanges, the two countries learn from each other to promote discriminatory and repressive policies in both countries, including extrajudicial executions, shoot-to-kill policies, racial profiling, spying and surveillance, deportation and detention, and attacks on human rights defenders.
A coalition of racial justice and Palestinian solidarity activists in Durham, North Carolina set out to oppose these deadly exchanges between the Durham police force and agents of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Opposition included an interfaith petition to end the exchanges, calling on the city council to cut any police partnership with Israel. The petition was signed by 72 clergy from Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions. On April 17, 2018 the Durham City Council unanimously passed a resolution to oppose international military-style police training. Hopefully, the Durham City Council will not be pressured into rescinding this resolution like the New Orleans City Council did in repealing a divestment resolution it passed, also unanimously.
Does your city have a dangerous exchange? Do you want to organize opposition? Contact MennoPIN for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MennoPIN Signs Letter Urging End to the Occupation
MennoPIN has endorsed a letter calling for Palestinian Christians and Muslims to help end the occupation. Signed by 14 groups supporting Palestinian human rights, the letter expresses “deep concern at the increasingly hostile direction of Israeli policies and actions, emboldened by the equally aggressive foreign policy stance of the Trump administration toward the Palestinian people.” To see the entire letter and endorsers, click here.
Take A Short Course in Palestinian Liberation Theology
Join Naim Ateek for a short course in Palestinian Liberation Theology, in person or by live streaming. Ateek is the co-founder of Palestinian Liberation Theology and has been inspiring readers with his ideas about faith, justice and the Holy Land for many years. For more information and to sign up, click here.
MennoPIN encourages you to join Eugene Mennonite Church, Eugene, OR and Peace Mennonite Fellowship, Claremont, CA and become HP-Free. Reach out to your pastor, church council and congregation to sign the HP-Free Church pledge, committing to not purchase Hewlett Packard computers, printers, inks, and other products until HP stops profiting from occupation and human rights violations. For more on the HP-Free Church Campaign go here.Read More
Students for Justice and Peace
No Way to Treat a Child Campaign
The Palestinian Portal Resource
HP-Free Church CampaignPrayer
On the fourth Friday of popular protests in Gaza, Israeli forces killed four Palestinians. One of those killed was Mohammed Ayoub, a fifteen-year-old boy who was shot in the head by an Israeli sniper. This incident was caught on film The UN Middle East Envoy, Nickolay Mladenov, express his anger over the killing of the teenager and the European Union has demanded a full investigation into his death. Lord, we give thanks for the non-violent protests which continue to challenge the siege conditions suffered by those living in Gaza. We pray for those who take a stand for justice and raise their voices in protest against the oppression they experience. We pray for an end to the occupation and the liberation of the Palestinian people. Lord, in our mercy…
Sabeel Wave of Prayer, April 26, 2018
Tom Harder (Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church, Wichita, KS)
Joy Lapp (Pleasant View Mennonite Church, Mt Pleasant, IA)
Jonathan Kuttab (Palestinian lawyer and human rights activist)
Anita Rediger (Emmaus Road Mennonite Fellowship, Berne, IN)
Joe Roos (Peace Mennonite Fellowship, Claremont, CA)
Rod Stafford (Portland Mennonite Church, OR)