US Demands Israel Explain Its Terrorist Designation of Palestinian NGO’s
PHILADELPHIA (October 22, 2021) On October 19, the Israeli Ministry of Defense issued a military order declaring key Palestinian human rights organizations “terrorist organizations.” The named organizations include Defense for Children International – Palestine, Al-Haq, Addameer, Bisan, the Union of Agricultural Working Committees, and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees. The declaration effectively outlaws these groups.
The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) – a Quaker organization that has been working with Palestinians and Israelis since 1948 – condemns this action against human rights defenders and Palestinian civil society and calls for its immediate reversal.
“The Israeli government has targeted these organizations for decades because of their human rights activism. They have arrested and detained staff, raided organizations offices, and made similar accusations to these organizations’ donors,” said Michael Merryman-Lotze, Middle East program director for AFSC. “This is an outrageous and dangerous escalation of Israel’s attacks on civil society. The U.S. government must immediately condemn this move, demand its immediate reversal, and insist on protections for civil society and human rights defenders.”
Help Save The “Tent Of Nations”
Daoud and Jihan Nassar, and the Nassar family are our dear friends
and Tent of Nations is one of ICMEP’s Mission Partners
FROM FRIENDS OF TENT OF NATIONS – NORTH AMERICA
Dear Friend and Supporter of Tent of Nations,
You have been a supporter of Tent of Nations or are receiving this email from a friend or colleague who wishes to inform you about this urgent situation. As you know, Tent of Nations is a peace project located on a farm owned for over 100 years by the Nassar family, located 6 miles southwest of Bethlehem in the occupied Palestinian territories. Since 2001, Tent of Nations has been a place where “people from many different countries come together to learn, to share, and to build bridges of understanding and hope.” The Nassar family runs empowerment programs for women and children in the local area and welcomes thousands of international visitors every year, inspired by the courageous and steadfast stand of this family for justice and peace.
Recent events have raised the concern that the farm is at increased risk of destruction or confiscation. On May 21, 2021, more than 1,000 fruit trees were destroyed by arson. On June 9, 2021, the Israeli military entered the farm with vehicles and a bulldozer, destroying over 50 trees and damaging the terraced land. In the last few months, the Nassar family have been under increased pressure as the pace of settlement expansion, construction of roads for settlers that restrict the movement of Palestinians, and the use of checkpoints has accelerated. Taken together, these acts are intended to pressure the family to leave their home so that the land can be taken and incorporated into the adjacent Israeli settlement.
Of greatest concern at this time is the delay in the re-registration of the property. Since 1991, the Nassar family has been in the Israeli Military and Supreme Courts defending their land from demolition and confiscation. The process has been subject to continued delays on the part of Israel, requiring that the Nassars re-initiate the process multiple times. Finally, in 2019, the Nassars received confirmation that their re-registration application to establish ownership was complete. After two more years of additional delays, a meeting was held in February 2021 by the Israeli Registration Committee, the purpose of which was to determine and inform the family about next steps for re-registration. Despite repeated inquiries, the Nassars continue to await notification of the results of that meeting.
Given recent events, the delay in the land re-registration process exposes the Nassar’s farm to severe risk. It is critical that the re-registration process of the Nassar land be concluded without further delay and that no demolition or eviction orders are issued. Completion of the land re-registration constitutes Israeli authorities’ recognition of the Nassars as the private owners of this land and ends their legal struggle.
Your help is needed to exert pressure on Israel to stop issuing demolition and eviction orders and to complete the re-registration of the land.
Here is what you can do:
1. Sign this petition, which will be delivered to the U.S. Secretary of State and the U.S. Embassy in Israel.
2. Contact your senators and representatives. Urge them to ask the State Department to question the Israeli government about the Israeli Military’s recent acts of destruction of Nassar property and the delays of the re-registration.
Click here for scripts to guide your phone calls and emails.
Click here to download a one-page backgrounder on Tent of Nations that you can send on to your representatives and to others.
Use these links to obtain the contact information for your elected representatives:
House of Representatives:
Thank you for your longtime support for the work of the Nassar family. You may share this with trusted others.
Navigating The New Reality, By Salim Munayer
We used to say life in Jerusalem is not boring; every day something is happening. But recent events have shaken a city even as unpredictable as this one, with major implications for multiple areas of our lives. I would like to highlight some of these changes which will affect the work of reconciliation.
- In the last few years, many thought that Israel had successfully marginalized the Palestinian “problem” domestically and internationally. However, now it is again at the forefront of the political agenda and media. This is a major blow to Israel’s strategic plan as pursued by former Prime Minister Netanyahu, who had been in power for twelve years. The new government will have to choose different strategies in order to address the conflict.
- The dominant local voices in recent events are that of Palestinian young adults in East Jerusalem. Young Palestinian men and women are refusing to accept either the occupation or the passivity of the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah. They are taking the lead by organizing mostly nonviolent protests and activism, which is often met with police brutality. These young adults wish to change the dynamic inside Palestinian society and the balance of power within the conflict.
- The Palestinian citizens of Israel, especially those living in mixed cities, such as Jaffa, Haifa, Lod, Ramle, among many others, have suffered from discrimination in virtually every aspect of their lives. The events in Jerusalem sparked violence between the Jewish and Palestinian residents of these cities and further complicated the relationship between them.
- After four elections in two years, major shifts are happening in the country. Palestinian citizens of Israel have voted mostly for the Joint List of Arab parties. In his quest to stay in office, Netanyahu made “kosher” an Arab lawmaker to be part of the government – Arab parties are now a force to be reckoned with. As such, for the first time in history, a Palestinian-Arab party will be in the coalition. Moreover, a radical right-wing Jewish party has gained enough votes to sit in the parliament, which has illuminated the increase of far-right voters.
- The violence, especially in mixed cities, has further divided Palestinian and Jewish citizens. At the same time, large segments of society are attempting to build bridges and counter hatred. There have been a number of protests and joint initiatives in the spirit of cooperation and dialogue.
- The division in Israeli society between religious and secular is evident and growing. As a result, it is escalating the division and fragmentation of society.
On the one hand, the fragmentation of society can lead to further violence and hatred. On the other hand, it can be an opportunity for new engagement between different segments of society. Some people may meet challenges to their worldview with denial; others might attempt to restore the old framework and resist any change. But still, others will seek to understand their new reality by questioning previously held assumptions. This last approach requires a great deal of courage as the path of self-reflection is never easy. In order for society to deal with these changes productively, there needs to be an intervention.
We at Musalaha see this fracture as an opportunity. Many organizations are joining us in this quest for change, as evident in the many joint initiatives we have undertaken since the dramatic events of last month. In order for these initiatives to have a real impact, we provide the platform for more permanent, fundamental change. It is precisely the work of reconciliation that turns good intentions into long-lasting transformation and healing.
– Dr. Salim J. Munayer
Musalaha Executive Director
(From the Musalaha newsletter)//
A Call From Kairos Palestine To The Vatican, The World Council of Churches, And Churches Everywhere
Kairos Palestine Call to The Holy See (Vatican), The World Council of Churches and Church Leaders Worldwide for Solidarity and Action
Thus says the LORD: Act with justice and righteousness and deliver from the hand of the oppressor anyone who has been robbed. Jeremiah 22:3
The Christian Palestinian Initiative, Kairos Palestine, urges the Christian community worldwide to act justly and speak the truth about Israel’s oppressive policies and practices, especially regarding violent attacks on Palestinians in Jerusalem and Israel’s deadly assault on the people of Gaza.
The latest cycle of violence began after Israeli security forces denied access to the Damascus Gate plaza, a popular gathering place for Muslims breaking their daily fast, and Israel’s subsequent violation of the status quo when security forces and settlers attacked fasting worshipers on the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, the third holiest site for Muslims, allowing extremist Jewish groups to gather provocatively to celebrate the 1967 capture of East Jerusalem.
At the same time, Israel’s courts again ruled in favor of radical settler groups, threatening some 500 Palestinian residents of Jerusalem with forced displacement from the homes they have lived in for decades. The bias of the Israeli courts and their discrimination against Palestinians in favor of Jewish settlers is part of a larger plan to ethnically cleanse Palestinians and non-Jews from Jerusalem. Kairos Palestine is also actively monitoring the status of church properties near Jaffa Gate and impending forced displacements in the neighborhoods of Sheik Jarrah and Silwan.
We insist that the latest violence be seen in its broader context.
Israel’s decades-long, brutal occupation of Palestinians has been shaped by a growing system of punitive racist policies, laws and practices. We don’t ask you to take our word for this. Civil society groups such as Human Rights Watch and the highly respected Israeli human rights organization B’tselem have recently declared that Israel is an apartheid state.
As much as one might question the response from Gaza military factions – and though we do not condone any act of violence and we mourn the death of every life – we must interpret these acts in their context. Gaza has been under Israeli siege for more than 14 years. It is time to lift this siege and give the people of Gaza the opportunity to live as other human beings. Furthermore, there is no justification for the outrageously disproportionate Israeli response that has left many dead, including children and hundreds of injured. Yesterday’s ground incursion into Gaza on the part of Israel’s defense forces will lead to even more death and the total destruction of civilian buildings, streets and other infrastructure.
Kairos Palestine repeats, still again, our 2009 word to the international community: “…stop the principle of ‘double standards’ and insist on the international resolutions regarding the Palestinian problem with regard to all parties.” As long as the international community does not have the political will to take concrete actions against Israel, it will continue to breach international human rights and humanitarian law with impunity.
We therefore call on the global Church and the international community to call things by their names, to speak truth to power, and to side with the oppressed. Shallow diplomacy serves only to empower the oppressors. Given such violent and severe escalations, empty words of condemnation are not enough. We do not need calls for calm and toothless church statements that “call for peace.”
This is yet another Kairos moment calling people of faith to take prophetic actions.
Kairos Palestine affirms its position that Jerusalem is a sacred city to all the monotheistic religions, and that everyone must enjoy the freedom to worship. We also affirm our position regarding our Israeli neighbors: “Our future and their future are one. Either the cycle of violence that destroys both of us or peace that will benefit both. We call on Israel to give up its injustice towards us, not to twist the truth of reality of the occupation by pretending that it is a battle against terrorism. The roots of ‘terrorism’ are in the human injustice committed and in the evil of the occupation.”
Palestine urgently calls upon the Holy See, the World Council of Churches, the ecumenical movement and all churches to demand that every country meet its responsibility to put pressure on Israel to immediately stop the deadly air strikes and ground attacks against civilians in Gaza and to stop its ethnic cleansing policies that target Jerusalemites.
The Backstory On Sheikh Jarrah and Gaza Bombs
By John Kleinheksel, Kairos West Michigan
Part I THE STORY
On Tuesday, May 11, rockets from Gaza and retaliation from the Israeli military are intensifying.
The May 9 Jerusalem Post explains why the Supreme Court delayed its eviction decision: It would send a signal that it will not shy away from applying its laws all over the city; that Jews will be able to live anywhere in the city; and that property rights will be respected.
The problem is that in the process it will highlight that while the 1970 Absentee Property Law allows Jews to reclaim lost property in east Jerusalem, no similar law exists allowing Palestinians to do the same in the western part of the city. Have fun explaining that legal lacuna to the world (Jerusalem Post article).
Part II THE BACKSTORY
According to ADALAH (Palestinian legal organization), here is the essence of the 1970 Absentee Property Law: Description: Defines persons who were expelled, fled, or who left the country after 29 November 1947, mainly due to the war, as well as their movable and immovable property (mainly land, houses and bank accounts etc.), as “absentee.”
Because they fled, Israel claimed their property as “State-owned” through legislation.
Property belonging to absentees was placed under the control of the State of Israel with the Custodian for Absentees’ Property. The Absentees’ Property Law was the main legal instrument used by Israel to take possession of the land belonging to the internal and external Palestinian refugees, and Muslim Waqf properties across the state.
Thus, after the 1967 war, Israel declared Jerusalem as the eternal, unified capital of the Jewish State. They enacted this Law to claim ownership of historic Palestinian property. When the Israeli Supreme Court ratifies the lower courts actions, it will assert the “right” of Israelis to claim these four properties as “belonging to Israel.” The intent is clear: Palestinians are no longer welcome in Jerusalem. You left. We’re in control now. And, we have “the Law” on our side (Source here).
Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights (LPHR), write this: The Absentee Property Law (APL) was enacted following the 1948 war to facilitate transfer of property of Palestinian refugees to Israeli authorities. Following the annexation of East Jerusalem in 1967 all Israeli laws, including APL, were applied to the annexed area.1 This resulted in property of almost all Palestinian residents of the city being regarded as “absentee property”, subject to a 1970 law. . .
And conclude with this: The evictions also raise important questions of international humanitarian law.17 Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits individual or mass forcible transfers, regardless of their motive, while Article 46 of the Hague Convention of 1907 requires respect for private property and prohibits its confiscation. As a result, Palestinians living in occupied East Jerusalem, as well as the West Bank, should be protected from forced evictions of this nature. Indeed, the extensive destruction and appropriation of property is designated a “grave breach” by Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, such that Israel as an occupying power is specifically required to enact legislation to ensure effective penal sanctions for anyone committing the breach (Source here).
Peace Now (an Israeli human rights organization with a US chapter Says this:
Perhaps Israelis can take a lesson from US history. Following a war with Mexico, the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo was signed in 1848. The US claimed land that was lived in for many generations by Mexicans. The US reluctantly granted US citizenship to the Mexicans who had previously lived on that land.
It was not easy or simple. For decades following, the Mexican citizens were wanted for the land and labor, yet rejected [because of] cultural and ethnic differences. As Robert Chao Romero puts it in his book, Brown Church, “We are wanted and unwanted. Necessary, yet despised. We are Brown” Rebecca Koerselman, The Twelve.
Is it too much to ask for a reversal of historic wrong? That is, to grant full citizenship rights to the Palestinians who stayed in E. Jerusalem following the war of 1947/1948?//
Reconciliation In Times Of Escalating Violence: From Our Friends At Musalaha
About two weeks ago we hosted Salim Munayer, Executive Director of Musalaha. We thought it important to share today’s Musalaha Newsletter.//
Do you want to make a difference TODAY in Israel-Palestine?
KWM invites our community to
take three concrete action steps to address urgent needs on the ground in Israel-Palestine.
An Interview With Musalaha’s Salim Munayer: The Ministry of Reconciliation
You can access our April 15 interview at this link.//
Is Confederation Worth A Try In Israel-Palestine? An Interview With Sam Bahour
Sam is a Palestinian businessman and writer from Youngstown, Ohio who moved with his family to Ramallah, Palestine during the hopeful period following the Oslo Accords in the mid-1990’s. This presentation is another in our “Palestine Direct Connect” series, endeavoring to bring you regional leaders directly from Israel – Palestine speaking on local and international issues.
Also, this articles of interest…..