Amos Gvirtz spoke at Calvin College

Israeli human rights activist, Amos Gvirtz, co-founder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, giving a talk at Calvin College on Friday on how the Israeli military occupation of Palestine undermines the human rights and security of Palestinians.

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Gvirtz noted that such violations of human rights as the ongoing confiscation of Palestinian lands and the demolition of Palestinian homes “have nothing to do with Israel’s security” and will ultimately end up underming it instead. He further explained that we need to enlarge our understanding of war and that home demolitions, land confiscation, and the building of illegal settlements on the West Bank are unilateral acts of war by a strong military power against largely defenceless Palestinian civilians.

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Israeli Activist Amos Gvirtz to speak in Grand Rapids April 9 & 10

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Amos Gvirtz, a long-time Israeli peace activist on a tour of Canada and US, will speak to the conflict in Palestine and Israel. A founding member of the Israeli Committee Against Housing Demolitions and other Israeli peace groups, Amos has developed an international audience with his weekly emails about unpublicized incidents, events, and government actions affecting the Palestinian and Bedouin communities in Israel and Palestine. Currently he is active in supporting the rights of the Bedouin in the Negev as a member of the Israeli Co-Existence Forum.

Gvirtz will speak at GVSU on Thursday, April 9 at 6pm in Cook-DeWitt on the Allendale Campus. This presentation is co-sponsored by Peace Means, Healing Children of Conflict and Middle East Studies.

The Israeli activist will then speak at Calvin College on Friday, April 10 at noon, in the Commons Knollcrest Room. This lecture is co-sponsored by the Middle East Club of Calvin College, Calvin’s History Department, Healing Children of Conflict, and Peace Means (Grand Valley State University).

Both events are free and open to the public.

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HCC Foreign Policy Briefs #1

One part of the HCC mission is to educate the West Michigan community about ongoing US foreign policy in Iraq, Israel/Palestine and Afghanistan. In each of these instances the US is either directly involved in military occupations (Iraq & Afghanistan) or providing funding and diplomatic support, as in the case of Israel’s occupation of Palestine.

The HCC Foreign Policy Briefs will consist of current analysis of US policy in the three areas of the world we focus on, with particular attention given to how this policy impacts children.download

In this first installment of the HCC Foreign Policy Briefs, we include the following:

Afghanistan – Despite the claims from the Obama administration that the US would withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, the 13 year US occupation continues, with at least 10,000 US troops operating in Afghanistan. This interview with long time anti-war activist Kathy Kelly and independent journalist Matthieu Aikins aired on Democracy Now on December 29. http://www.democracynow.org/2014/12/29/the_afghan_war_is_not_over

Palestinian medic tries to comfort a wounded boy at Shifa hospital in Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip,Israel/Palestine – Electronic Intifada founder and editor Ali Abunimah writes about a recent attempt by the Israeli government to use Palestinians orphans as a Public Relations campaign to boost the State of Israel’s public image. Abunimah not only exposes the PR effort, but writes that the campaign was primarily organized by an advocate of Israeli settlements. http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/revealed-gaza-orphans-israel-trip-was-government-backed-pr-stuntibc.logo

Iraq – With the US military escalating its role in Iraq in 2014, the group Iraq Body Count has released a new report on the rise in civilian deaths. Common Dreams provides a summary of the report in this article that appeared on January 2nd. http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/01/02/civilian-deaths-soar-iraq-us-soldiers-dig-long-haul

HAMZAH’S RETURN: FUNDRAISERS FOR RECONCILIATION AND JUSTICE

A Fundraiser for Reconciliation & Justice 

Two years ago, Healing Children of Conflict brought to Grand Rapids an Iraqi boy who lost one of his legs during a US missile assault in Baghdad. HCC was able to raise funds to bring him to West Michigan so he could be fitted for a prosthetic and get physical therapy to assist him in walking with the new leg. Hamzah has grown, as all children do, and we are bringing him back to be fitted for a new prosthetic.

UPCOMING HCC FUNDRAISERS FOR RECONCILIATION AND JUSTICE: 

Dinner & Silent Auction @ Noto’s Old World Italian Dining

Guests of Honor: Hamzah and his father Imad

Date and Time: Wednesday, April 17; Doors Open at 6:30PM — Dinner at 7:00PM

Location: Noto’s Old World Italian Dining [6600 28th Street SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546]

Tickets: $15 for students with id, $40 for adults, available now or at event. To purchase now email:  nidal_kanaan@hotmail.com or call 616-262-4525. If you’re unable to attend but would like to donate please visit our website. Please make checks out to AAAWM and send to P.O. Box 68562, Grand Rapids, MI 49506.

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Spaghetti Dinner @ Plymouth United Church of Christ

Date and Time: Friday, April 26th, 6:30PM

Location: Plymouth United Church of Christ [4100 Kalamazoo SE, Grand Rapids]

Tickets: $5 for children, $10 for adults, with a $30 maximum per family. Make your reservations by April 23: E-mail cayared@comcast.net or 363-9041. Make checks out to AAAWM – send to P.O. Box 68562, Grand Rapids, MI 49506

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Resources on Iraq

hamzahreturn1As part of our mission, Healing Children of Conflict advocates for these children more generally, raising awareness and hope that helps strengthen our own community and creates new networks for social justice. Below you will find a collection of resources:

HCC RESOURCES:

HCC Handout on Iraq

INTERNET SOURCES

Dahr Jamail’s Blog: http://dahrjamail.net/

Cost of War Iraq: http://costsofwar.org/iraq-10-years-after-invasion

Middle East Research and Information Project: http://www.merip.org/

Iraq: The War Card: http://www.publicintegrity.org/politics/white-house/iraq-war-card

Iraq Veterans Against the War: http://www.ivaw.org/

Sanctions Against Iraq: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanctions_against_Iraq

Congenital Birth Defects in Iraq: http://www.emro.who.int/irq/iraq-infocus/faq-congenital-birth-defect-study.html

National Security Archive: http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB326/index.htm

US War Crimes in Iraq: http://deoxy.org/wc/wc-index.htm

BOOKS

War Without End: The Iraq War in Context, by Michael Schwartz

The Freedom: Shadows And Hallucinations in Occupied Iraq, by Michael Parenti

In the Name of Democracy: American War Crimes in Iraq and Beyond, by Jeremy Brecher

Ending the Iraq War: A Primer, by Phyllis Bennis

Muqtada Al-Sadr and the Battle for the Future of Iraq, by Patrick Cockburn

The Best War Ever: Lies, Damned Lies, and the Mess in Iraq, by Sheldon Rampton

Iraq Under Seige: The Deadly Impact of Sanctions and War, edited by Anthony Arnove

Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal, by Anthony Arnove

FILMS

My Country, My Country

Iraq for Sale

Control Room

Independent Media in a Time of War

Meeting Resistance

Shocking and Awful

Buying the War

Resources on Palestine

As part of our mission, Healing Children of Conflict advocates for these children more generally, raising awareness and hope that helps strengthen our own community and creates new networks for social justice. Below you will find a collection of resources:

HCC RESOURCES:

HCC Palestine/Gaza

INTERNET RESOURCES

Electronic Intifada: http://electronicintifada.net/

B’Tselem – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories: http://www.btselem.org/

US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation: http://www.endtheoccupation.org/

Middle East Research and Information Project: http://www.merip.org/

Palestinian BDS National Committee: http://www.bdsmovement.net/

Palestine Solidarity Project: http://palestinesolidarityproject.org/

Haaretz Israeli News Service: http://www.haaretz.com/

Norman Finkelstein: http://normanfinkelstein.com/

BOOKS

This Time We Went Too Far: Truth & Consequences on the Gaza Invasion, by Norman Finkelstein

Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel, and the Palestinians, by Noam Chomsky

The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, by Ilan Pappe

Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair, by Jonathan Cook

Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Primer, by Phyllis Bennis

The Punishment of Gaza, by Gideon Levy

Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights, by Omar Barghouti

Overcoming Zionism: Creating a Single Democratic State in Israel/Palestine, by Joel Kovel

The Case for Sanctions Against Israel, edited by Audrea Lim

Popular Resistance in Palestine: A History of Hope and Empowerment, by Mazin Qumsiyeh

FILMS

Occupation 101

Peace Propaganda & the Promised Land: U.S. Media & the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict!

Budrus: It Takes a Village to Unite the Most Divided People on Earth

Life in Occupied Palestine

With God on Our Side

People and the Land

The People and the Olive

Little Town of Bethlehem

Five Broken Cameras

HCC Welcomes Rev. Naim Ateek of Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center

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Called the “Desmond Tutu of Palestine,” Rev. Naim Ateek is a peacemaker who was born in 1937 in the Palestinian village of Beisan. He was ordained in the Anglican Church in 1967, and holds a Doctor of Divinity degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary. Ateek established the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem in 1991. Prior to that, he served as Canon of St. George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem and also served as a priest in Haifa and Nazareth. He has authored many books including: Justice and Only Justice: A Palestinian Theology of Liberation, Faith and the Intifafa: Palestinian Christian Voices, Holy Land, Holly Jubilee: God, Justice and the Palestinians, and A Palestinian Christian Cry for Reconciliation.

For more information about Rev. Naim Ateek and Sabeel, please visit http://www.sabeel.org//.

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HCC board member Dr. David Alvarez [GVSU] introducing Rev. Naim Ateek at Grand Valley State University, an event co-sponsored by HCC.

HCC co-sponsored a lecture by Rev. Ateek at Grand Valley State University, where he spoke on the history, vision, and continuing work of Sabeel in Palestine-Israel as well as his own story as a Palestinian Christian. Students, faculty, and community members attended the event.

“Sabeel is an ecumenical grassroots liberation theology movement among Palestinian Christians. Inspired by the life and teaching of Jesus Christ, this liberation theology seeks to deepen the faith of Palestinian Christians, to promote unity among them and lead them to act for justice and peace. Sabeel strives to develop a spirituality based on love, justice, peace, nonviolence, liberation and reconciliation for the different national and faith communities. The word “Sabeel” is Arabic for ‘the way‘ and also a ‘channel‘ or ‘spring‘ of life-giving water.

Sabeel also works to promote a more accurate international awareness regarding the identity, presence and witness of Palestinian Christians as well as their contemporary concerns. It encourages individuals and groups from around the world to work for a just, comprehensive and enduring peace informed by truth and empowered by prayer and action.” [Sabeel. “Sabeel Purpose Statement,” http://sabeel.org/ourstory.php]

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For more information about Rev. Naim Ateek and Sabeel, please visit http://www.sabeel.org//.

HCC members welcomed Rev. Naim Ateek for dinner at the Pita House [www.thepitahouse.net], a local Grand Rapids restaurant owned and operated by HCC board member Basel Shatara.

HCC board member Dr. Bert de Vries [Calvin College] and Rev. Naim Ateek at the Pita House.

HCC board member Dr. Bert de Vries [Calvin College] and Rev. Naim Ateek at the Pita House.

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HCC members enjoying dinner with Rev. Naim Ateek at the Pita House.