Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Institute for Palestine Studies Senior Fellow Nadia Hijab discusses Palestinian Refugees

Nadia Hijab: Palestinian Refugees -- Rights vs. Realities in Today’s Middle East
Two dates and locations

Saturday, March 4, 2006 2:00pm
Lincoln Park Branch, Chicago Public Library 1150 W. Fullerton
Sponsored by Not In My Name Information: 312/409-4845 or www.nimn.org

Sunday, March 5, 2006 2:00pm
Oak Park Public Library Veterans Room 834 Lake Street Oak Park
Sponsored by Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine

Information: 312/427-2533x18 or www.cjpip.org

With the election of Hamas to the Palestinian Parliament bringing the issue of Right of Return into sharp focus, Nadia Hijab will provide a timely overview of the history and legal framework relating to the situation of Palestinian refugees today. She’ll address key questions—What are the financial as well the political implications of the Right of Return for the state of Israel? How does the Right of Return relate to the nature of the state and the Israeli Law of Return? Hijab will also discuss positions of Palestinian and Israeli political negotiators and contrast this with the evolution of movements among Palestinian refugees and exiles to press for their rights, as well as the positions of Israeli human rights advocates. Hijab will conclude by focusing on strategies for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that fulfil human rights.

Nadia Hijab is an author and expert on the Middle East and Senior Fellow at the DC-based Institute for Palestine Studies. She also serves as co-chair of the US Campai gn to End the Israeli Occupation. She co-authored Citizens Apart: A Portrait of Palestinians in Israel. Hijab worked with the United Nations from 1989 to 1999.


Candidate Claypool meets with Muslim Media Panel


February 26, 2006

A Panel of Muslim Journalist met Democratic Party's Candidate running for Cook County Board President.

Following are the Editors and Reporters of Chicago Muslim Media attended the press conference:

  • Afghan News Network (weekly Pashtoo/Persian) Salman Aftab
  • Aftab-e-Nau (weekly Persian) Dr. Daud Miraki
  • Arab Radio WCEV Saturday 1450 AM, Yusef Marei
  • Asia News, WSBC Saturday 1240 AM, Athsham Hussein
  • Pakistan Times (weekly English), Muhammad Nadeem
  • Pakistan News (weekly Urdu), Rana Jaweed
  • Urdu Times (weekly Urdu/English), Nemmatullah Chaudary

Forrest Claypool's Press Conference was held at Usmania Restaurant 2253 W Devon Ave with Chicago Muslim Media. Issues discussed were those pertinent to the Muslim community such as open dialogue between the Muslim community and cook county officials as well as general state policies such as economic policies, cleaning up the forest preserves in Cook County and an expansion on current healthcare policy to establish a better doctor-patient relationship for uninsured and working families, and education where the issue of sensitivity training was brought up and creating more jobs for minorities including Muslims and Arabs.

When asked about the practice of racial profiling among the cook county law enforcement, he said that he'll enforce cultural sensitivity training into the general policies of law enforcement.

He also wants to institutionalize methods that provide alternatives and offer safer options for minors in the juvenile reform system. In addition Claypool, if elected, expressed his interest in establishing a Muslim advisory taskforce which he would consult before making major decisions.

CONTACT: Salman Aftab, (312) 493-4822
(E-Mail: saftab02@yahoo.com )


Monday, February 27, 2006

Israelis undermine Christian presence in Bethlehem through illegal land confiscations

Fears of new Israeli settlement as wall completed around Bethlehem

For Immediate Release
27 February 2006

The final section of Israel’s wall separating Bethlehem from Jerusalem will be completed in a matter of days.

The wall around Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem will not only sever the connection between the region’s most holy Christian sites, but will also herald the creation of a new ‘fact on the ground’ - an illegal Jewish settlement which will be home to some of Israel’s most extremist religious groups.

The ultra-orthodox Kever Rahel Fund announced last year that it intended to build about 400 apartments at the site. This week their work has begun. Settlers are planning to move into houses around the tomb as soon as the wall is completed.

Bethlehem’s population fears that town will become another Hebron– where Jewish extremists have expelled Palestinians from their homes and with the support of the Israeli army, intimidate and harass the local population. Hebron was once the busiest shopping town in the region, but is now a ghost town. Christian Peacemaker Teams have a permanent presence there to monitor and report abuses by the army and settlers on local people.

A former member of the Israeli parliament, Hanan Porat, was quoted today in Israeli newspaper Haaretz : "With the help of God we are progressing toward maintaining a permanent Jewish presence and a fixed yeshiva in Rachel's Tomb, as Rabbi Kook [religious Zionist fundamentalist] urged, and bringing Israelis back to where they belong."

The mayor of Bethlehem, Dr Victor Batarseh, a Palestinian Christian, said: “The recent land confiscation and works around Rachel’s Tomb are illegal and have no security basis. This is an act of land expropriation. It is a serious threat to the economic and social life of the town. As the Mayor of Bethlehem, I share the concern of all Bethlehemites, Christians and Muslims alike, that this could be the first step towards building a new illegal Israeli settlement right in the heart of Bethlehem. That is how it all started in Hebron a few years ago.”

In a statement to the international community, he says: “We call on all religious and political leaders, to intervene and protect the lawful rights of the town of the Nativity. The ghettoization of Bethlehem is not only destroying ancient communities, but is destroying the prospects of peace in the Middle East and the whole concept of international law”.

Rapid construction of the final section of the wall separating Bethlehem and Jerusalem is proceeding following the rejection by the Israeli Supreme Court of the appeal of 18 Palestinian families and the Bethlehem and Beit Jala municipalities to re-route the wall at Rachel’s Tomb. As a result, the area will now be included within the borders of Jerusalem municipality, in direct violation of the Oslo agreements. The wall was declared illegal by the International Court of Justice in The Hague (9 July 2004).

The Rachel’s Tomb area, once a vibrant neighbourhood and a central artery between Bethlehem and Jerusalem, has seen 72 out of 80 businesses close in the last four years. The tomb itself, a major Bethlehem landmark and a shrine holy to three religions, is now barred to the city’s inhabitants. The neighbourhood has been devastated to accommodate the expanding military base around the tomb, confiscating family homes and businesses and carving out a major landmark from the heart of Bethlehem. The wall pushes one and a half kilometres inside the city’s boundaries and confiscates 3km2 of its land.

Leila Sansour, Chief Executive of Open Bethlehem says: “We are now racing against time. Israel has stolen our land to build a settlement. It is a disaster for us. A city of international importance may soon become history. We are calling for divestment from any international company that gives support to, or is engaged in, this illegal project. Divestment is one of the few non-violent options open to us”


Chicago Candidates discuss issues with Arab Media Panel

Candidates discuss issues with Arab media panel

Arab American Media Services
Permission granted to reprint

A dozen candidates for local and statewide office participated in a first-ever public discussion with seven representatives of Chicagoland's major Arab American media at a meeting hosted February 21 by the Southwest Arab American Coalition.

Editors and publishers of both of the city's two largest Arab American newspapers, The Future News and al-Offok al-Arabi, and Yousef Marei the host of Chicago's only Arab radio program "Islamic and Arab Voice of the Chicago Community Radio" participated in the panel that quizzed the candidates. Caise Diab, an award winning freelance reporter and columnist, also served on the media panel. The event was also co-hosted by The Salam Newspaper.

Each visiting candidate for public office was able to address the audience at the Bridgeview Community Center, where SWAC hosts its monthly open meetings, and then addressed questions put to them by the panel.

Several candidates spoke about the importance of addressing the issues facing the Arab American community and promised that their doors would remain open to representatives from the community.

"During my 10 years in the Illinois Senate, I have always worked closely with every community group in my district include the Arab and Muslim community," said State Sen. Christien Radogno, who is the Republican candidate for Illinois treasurer.

Radogno said that when she becomes State Treasurer, succeeding Judy Baar Topinka who is running for governor and was represented at the meeting, that she would work with Arab and Muslim community leaders to use portions of the more than $5.75 billion in state investments to leverage programs

"My record speaks for itself. I was a key sponsor on the Hallal bill and also the Safe Charity Act," Radogno said.

Radogno said that she also would consider leveraging investments to reward banks that offer low-interest credit card rates and review investments in banks that exploited the public's interest with excessively high interest rates.

"It's a free market but those banks that charge excessive credit card interest rates should be looked at closely," Radogno said, noting that credit card debt is one of the primary financial burdens stifling the economy and the public.

Longtime activist Moon Khan spoke on behalf of Topinka, and said that when she is elected governor she will rehire representatives of the various ethnic communities to maintain a liaison relationship with the governor's office.

One of the first acts by Gov. Rod Blagojevich was to eliminate the positions of ethnic liaison, which in many cases were the only offices held by Arab Americans. Blagojevich instead gave lucrative contracts to some Arab American businessmen, who later found themselves under justice department scrutiny for questionable investment practices.

"We cannot afford another four years of Rod Blagojevich," Khan told the audience and panel of Arab American journalists. "The fiscal situation of the state is a mess and that affects all of us."
Khan said that Topinka would restore the state's ethics, hold the line on spending and maintain an open door policy with leaders of the Arab and Muslim American community. Khan himself is Muslim and a clear example of how Topinka has reached out to the Arab and Muslim community.

Other candidates included Andy Martin, a maverick Republican candidate for governor who spoke with a first-person understanding of the issues facing Arabs and Muslims. Martin detailed his extensive knowledge of the Middle East but noted that while the office of Illinois Governor does not address foreign policy issues, "the fact that I am familiar with the issues that concern the Arab American community shows that I can identify with the needs of the Arab and Muslim community."

Martin is a radio talk show host, columnist on Middle East issues and spoke forcefully against the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

John Kelly, a businessman and brother-in-law of Arab American activist Robert Sweis, said that the issue of the Middle East would be as much of his concern as bringing fiscal responsibility to the federal government.

Kelly said he would oppose the legislation now being discussed in the U.S. Congress to Declare Palestine a "Terrorist State" and withhold funding.

Kelly's opponent in the race is Congressman Dan Lipinski, who could not attend the meeting.

"We need to end the Iraq war," Kelly said, explaining he supported an exit strategy of three to five years to remove American soldiers. "We can't abandon them but we need to set a timetable for withdrawal."

Radio Host Marei quizzed Kelly on the issue of engaging Arabs and Muslims in the national debate and Kelly vowed his office would be open to all communities, including the Arab and Muslim community.

"As a congressman, my job is to listen to your views and work with you to address your needs," Kelly said.

Republican candidate for Cook County Sheriff Peter Garza was an energetic speaker who promised that his office would be sensitive to the needs of all of the county's residents, regardless of religion, race or ethnicity.

Garza promised that he would hire Arab and Muslims to work in the sheriff's office. The primary responsibility of the sheriff's office is to manage the Cook County Jail, where accused criminals and recently convicted criminals are held pending outcome of their trials or relocation to permanent prison facilities. The Sheriff also provides police services to unincorporated areas of cook county and villages that lack police departments.

Also attending were County Board candidate Michael Hawkins and representatives from other congressional and legislative races in the state.

Participating on the panel representing the region's two largest Arab American newspapers were Shafiq al-Khalil and Mansour Tadros, co-publishers of The Future News Newspaper, and Amanai Ghouleh and Kawthar Othman, editor and publisher of al-Offok al-Arabi newspaper.
Salam Newspaper Publisher Ibrahim Bazed and Editor and attorney Fadi Zanayed were unable to attend but do support all SWAC events. Zanayed is also the publisher of several books on poetry.

Hosting the meeting was Ray Hanania, an award winning columnist with the Southwest News-Herald Newspaper and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald. Hanania also hosts a weekly cable TV show on Comcast Cable Channel 19 every Friday night at 8:30 PM. He is a syndicated columnist with the Arab News in Jiddah Saudi Arabia and Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel's largest daily newspaper.

SWAC meets every month. The meetings are open to the public. The next meeting is Tuesday March 28 and will feature a showing of the Oscar nominated Palestinian film "Paradise Now."


Sunday, February 26, 2006

Christians, Muslims and Jews join together for peace (Michigan)

BREAKING BARRIERS: Christians, Muslims and Jews Join Together to Present a New Kind of Peace Initiative

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich., Feb. 24 -- For more than two months Muslim, Jewish and Christian teens from metro Detroit came together to discuss their lives, their fears, and the possibility of peace between their three religions. Results of those powerful conversations are now "Reuniting the Children of Abraham," an engaging multi-media "ToolKit 4 Peace" presentation, followed by interactive dialogue and additional workshops.

"Reuniting the Children of Abraham" is a creative response to show how it is possible to break through the long standing barriers of fear, prejudice and hate.Brenda Naomi Rosenberg, founder of Pathways to Peace Foundation, is the creator of "The Children of Abraham Project," author and co-executive producer of the documentary "Reuniting the Children of Abraham" and the multi-media "ToolKit 4 Peace" with Julie Fisher Cummings, in collaboration with NCCJ Interfaith Partners and the University of Michigan Arts of Citizenship Program. The play was inspired by Imam Abdullah El Amin and Rosenberg, directed for the stage by Rick Sperling, written by Rachel Felbin Urist and youth writers from Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit: Sofia Begg, Yusef Begg, Gal Ben Josef, Jon Black, Andrea Davis, Adriana Faycurry, Julie Gershenson, Harold Adam Harris, Miriam Leibman, Ariella Lis, Mohamed Qazwini, Blake Rowley, Sammy Satar, Irene Sorser, Jasmine Way, with assistance from Darnishia Slade, Jasmine Rivera, Brenda Naomi Rosenberg and Rick Sperling.

The performance is sponsored by St. Hugo of the Hills, Muslim Unity Center, Kirk in the Hills, Temple Beth El, NCCJ Interfaith Partners and Pathways to Peace Foundation. Tickets are free, but reservations are required.

Supporters include: Fetzer Foundation, Andrus Foundation, University of Michigan, Michigan Humanities Council, ACCESS (Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services), Jewish Community Council, Interfaith Partners of NCCJ (The National Conference for Community and Justice), The Metropolitan Christian Council Detroit-Windsor, B'nai B'rith, ADL Anti Defamation League, American Jewish Committee, JET Theatre, American Middle East Christian Congress, Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan, Cities of Peace Project, World Sabbath of Religious Reconciliation, Metro Detroit Center for Attitudinal Healing, The Michigan Institute for Nonviolence Education, ACC (Arab American and Chaldean Council), Greater Detroit Chapter Hadassah, NAACP, Pathways to Peace, Wings 4 Peace, Nonprofit Enterprise at Work, and Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.

Interfaith Partners is a program of NCCJ. Its mission is to create a deeper understanding among the Abrahamic faiths and to improve social welfare through education, dialogue and cooperative service projects. The primary takeholders of Interfaith Partners are the Jewish Community Council, the Metropolitan Christian Council Detroit-Windsor and the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan. Other partners include local Jewish, Christian and Muslim congregations and organizations such as Pathways to Peace.

"REUNITING THE CHILDREN OF ABRAHAM" Recipient of the 2004 National Conference for Community and Justice Community Service Award 2005 Vanguard Award from Women in Communications Featured as a CBS network special on religious reconciliation in America Saturday, March 4, 2006 at 7:00 p.m. Kirk in the Hills, 1340 Long Lake Road Bloomfield Hills, Michigan 48302 Tickets are free, but reservations are required. For information contact Rev. Sharon Buttry at 586-943-7259.Source: National Conference for Community and Justice

CONTACT: Brenda Naomi Rosenberg, Executive Producer of "Reuniting theChildren of Abraham," +1-248-790-1544,

or email: pathways2peace@comcast.net

Thursday, February 23, 2006

al-Haq criticizes Israeli policy

February 22, 2006
Palestinians to be Starved by New Israeli Measures
By: Al-Haq

Al-Haq is disturbed by the measures recently adopted by the Israeli Government in its 19 February Cabinet meeting, ostensibly in response to the results of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) elections. Such measures will have a deteriorating effect on the already dire situation of the Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).

During the meeting, the Israeli Government decided to take five immediate measures - stopping the transfer of taxes and tariffs to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) which Israel collects on its behalf; lobbying the international community to refrain from all financial assistance to the PNA; preventing the transfer of means to the Palestinian security services; restricting the movement of individuals affiliated with Hamas, including members of the PLC; and tightening checks on both people and goods at checkpoints. In addition to these measures, the Annexation Wall, whose construction in the OPT was declared illegal by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in its 9 July 2004 Advisory Opinion, is being accelerated. The Israeli government also threatened to take any other measures it deems "necessary" in the OPT.

Al-Haq categorically condemns the retention of Palestinian funds as a punishment for the legitimate results of Palestinian democratic elections, which local and international monitors determined to be free, fair and transparent. While there is no international legal obligation on Israel to recognise the Palestinian Government, its aggressive measures to undermine the PNA’s functioning constitute an attack on the exercise of the right to self-determination by the Palestinian people in electing their representatives. This right is recognised by the UN Charter and upheld by the UN General Assembly, Security Council, Commission on Human Rights and the ICJ.

The withholding of tax revenues and tariffs will further impair the PNA’s ability to exercise its duties and prevent it from carrying out its functions, notably those pertaining to the judiciary and law enforcement. These funds are Palestinian property and the means of subsistence for tens of thousands of civil servants and their families.

By freezing funds, lobbying against international assistance, and preventing the transfer of means to Palestinian security services, Israeli officials have stated their intention to bring the Palestinian economy to the point of starvation. Comparing these measures to "an appointment with a dietician," the Special Adviser to the Israeli Prime Minister, Dov Weissglas, stated that "the Palestinians will get a lot thinner, but won't die." Weakening the PNA’s economic capabilities will result in the violation of the economic rights of Palestinians, and breach Israel’s obligations as the Occupying Power in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The combination of these new economic constraints and additional movement restrictions will severely affect the Palestinians’ ability to fully realise their right to freely pursue their economic development.

In the aftermath of the Palestinian elections, Israeli officials have sought to capitalise politically on the outcome, diverting the attention of the international community from Israel’s violations of international human rights and humanitarian law in the OPT. On 18 February 2006, one day before the Israeli Cabinet meeting took place, Al-Haq documented increased restrictions on movement, as flying checkpoints were erected around Hebron, Bethlehem and Nablus, and longer delays were observed at already existing checkpoints. These intensified restrictions have continued since then.

It is imperative that the Palestinians not be punished for the legitimate exercise of their right to self-determination. Irrespective of the political situation, Israel is bound to uphold the fundamental norms of international human rights and humanitarian law in the OPT. In addition, the international community must take effective steps to ensure that Israel ceases its violations therein, and that those found responsible are held accountable.

Al-Haq calls upon the international community to intervene with the Israeli authorities seeking immediate revocation of these measures, and concrete assurances that Israel will not implement any additional measures that would further undermine the Palestinian right to self-determination. The Israeli rhetoric must not blind the international community to the on-going violations of international human rights and humanitarian law characteristic of Israel’s 38-year-long occupation of the OPT.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Future of the UN Discussion Thursday Feb. 23

Americans for Informed Democracy (www.aidemocracy.org) is hosting back-to-back events on “The Future of the United Nations” this Thursday at DePaul and the University of Chicago. The events will feature Gillian Sorensen, the former Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations from New York. The events will take place at 5 p.m. at DePaul and 8 p.m. at the University of Chicago. The events are free and open to all and both will offer free food and refreshments. Exact details are in the announcement about these events below. I encourage you to could share the announcement pasted below with your colleagues. This is a rare and amazing opportunity and I hope you can join us.
Seth GreenAmericans for Informed Democracy (www.aidemocracy.org)
The Future of the United Nations: Foreign Relations, International Health, and Economics in a Changing World


Gillian Sorensen
Senior Adviser and National Advocate at the United Nations Foundation
Former Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations
Former Head of the Office of External Relations for Secretary General Kofi AnnanClick here to read more about the speaker.

Date: Thursday, Feb. 23rd

DePaul: 5:00 p.m. at DePaul University in Room 161 of the SAC Building at 2320 N Kenmore + FullertonClick here for Directions to the DePaul event

University of Chicago: 8:00 p.m. at University of Chicago’s Biological Sciences Learning Center at 924 E. 57th Street
Click here for Directions to the University of Chicago event

Refreshments and Food will be served.

ADC on Anti-Arab legislation an US Port Authority Contract to UAE

ADC Press Release

Anti Arabism Now at a Port Near You

Washington, DC, February 21, 2006—The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is concerned by controversy surrounding the acquisition of the London-based company, Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. (P&O), by Thunder FZE, a subsidiary of the UAE-based Dubai World Ports (DP World).

The White House, the National Security Council, Department of Homeland Security, and the Treasury Department's Committee on Foreign Investments have all agreed with the $6.8 billion sale. According to reports, DP World also won approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS), which is a US government panel with representatives from 12 agencies. CFIUS assesses security risks associated with foreign companies buying or investing in the US. CFIUS said in a statement, they "thoroughly reviewed the potential transaction and concluded they had no objection."

ADC President Mary Rose Oakar said, "ADC fully supports all measures to keep our country secure and DP World has received clearance from the highest levels of government to operate here in the US. ADC is strongly opposed to the rhetoric and bias surrounding the company solely because it is Arab owned. Those who purport that ports can be securely run by a British company, but not an Arab one, are engaging in racial profiling on the corporate level."

As it currently stands, P&O, the fourth largest ports company in the world, has been running major commercial operations at ports located in Baltimore, Miami, New Jersey, New Orleans, New York, and Philadelphia. With the recent acquisition, barring any unforeseen legislation, DP World will takeover this role, making it one of the three largest port operators in the world, with a presence in Germany, Australia, Hong Kong, and many other ports.

However, neither P&O nor DP World, or any other port company determines or sets standards for security in the US; these are determined by the US government. All port owners must abide by the Maritime Transportation Security Act, passed by Congress in 2002 and the International Ship and Port Facility Security codes enacted in 2004. Both sets of security measures are enforced in the US by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) which is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). CBP combines the inspectional workforces and broad border authorities of US Customs, US Immigration, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the entire US Border Patrol. Furthermore, CBP works to keep cargo safe through its "Container Security Initiative" whereby cargo containers destined for the US are inspected and pre-screened by CBP officers in that country.

The UAE signed onto CBP’s "Container Security Initiative" in December 2004.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

SABEEL Conference in Washington DC March 3-4

Friends of Sabeel—North America
Voice of the Palestinian Christians

From:"Sister Elaine Kelley" friends@fosna.org
Pursue Justice, Seek Peace!

working together to build a better future
in Palestine & Israel

A Sabeel Conference

March 3-4, 2006

New York Avenue Presbyterian Church
1313 New York Ave., N.W., Washington, DC

"Those who desire life and desire to see good days...let them never yield to evil but practice good; let them seek peace and pursue it." 1 Peter 3:10, 11

This conference will offer local churches and area denominational bodies, as well as other religious and secular peace and justice organizations in the DC Metro area an arena to inform ourselves, network widely and acquire practical tools to become pro-active peacemakers. We also welcome participants from throughout the United States as well as other countries.

Keynote speakers include Rev. Naim Ateek from Sabeel Jerusalem; Quaker Peace Activist Jean Zaru from Ramallah; Jeff Halper of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions from Israel; Afif Safieh Palestinian Ambassador to the U.S.; Don Wagner, a Presbyterian Minister/Advocate for Divestment; Bill Fletcher of TransAfrica on the Apartheid S. Africa divestment experience ; Professor Susan Akram of Boston U. on international human rights and humanitarian law; Professor Sara Roy of Harvard University; and many others. Workshops and panel discussions will be led by many individuals with first- hand knowledge of the Israeli/Palestinian question.

This two- day conference will bring together Christians of Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox traditions, along with Jews, Muslims, peoples of other faiths, and secular persons. Together we will explore and affirm our shared commitment to the active non-violent pursuit of a rights-based, just peace in Palestine and Israel.

For registration, visit www.wiamep.org
For further information please contact:
Email: john.salzberg@verizon.net Tel: 202-258-0569
SABEEL DC 2708 Ontario Road, N.W., Washington, DC 20009

Coordinated with Sabeel Center Jerusalem,www.sabeel.org, and Friends of Sabeel-North America,www.fosna.org, with co-sponsorship from a broad spectrum of peace, human rights, and faith-based groups.

Sabeel Conference
Washington DC, March 3-4, 2006

Registration Form

Please print and mail this form with your registration fee.


Street___________________ City ____________
State ______ Zip ______

Phone Number(s)_______________________
Email _______________________________

Religious affiliation & local church membership (if any)

Organization affiliation (if any)

Registration Fee Schedule
$85 Pre-registration (by February 14)
$100 Registration (after February 14) (All but $35 of these amounts is tax-deductible)
$50 One day only (All but $15 of this amount is tax-deductible)
$35 Student/low income fee

No fee for volunteers (Please contact Keren Batiyov at keren4L@comcast.net)

Please consider making an additional tax-deductible contribution.
Registration fees do not cover the full cost of the conference.

Payment Method (circle one): Visa MasterCard Check /Checks payable to Friends of Sabeel

Credit Card Number (print clearly)

Expiration Date: _______________
Name on Card (print)

Signature for Authorization

Billing Address

Additional tax deductible contribution ________
Total Amount _____________________

Mail registration form with your payment to:

2708 Ontario Road, N.W., Washington, DC 20009

St. James

The Moderator

Issued by: Jenny Shields, Director, Media and Public Relations AFSC

February 3, 2006

The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a Quaker peace and social justice
organization, has nominated two candidates for the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize: Jeff Halper from
Israel and Ghassan Andoni from the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

In a region torn by conflict, these grassroots peace activists have resolutely followed nonviolence
as the path to justice, peace and reconciliation. For decades they have worked to liberate both the Palestinian and the Israeli people from the yoke of structural violence . symbolized most clearly by the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. They have opposed every element of the Occupation, including settlements and the Separation Barrier, striving for equality between their peoples within the framework of sovereign and democratic states.

Ghassan Andoni is a Palestinian, a physics professor at Birzeit University and a resident of the
Christian town of Beit Sahour, next to Bethlehem. He already began his peace activities while a
college student in Iraq, leaving his studies in order to work in the Palestinian refugee camps in
Lebanon during that country’s civil war. Returning home to Palestine from Lebanon, he was
arrested by the Israeli authorities and jailed for two years for his membership in the PLO. He
subsequently traveled to the UK where, in 1983, he earned his MSc in Physics.

Once more back in Palestine, Ghassan was one of the main initiators of the famous Beit Sahour.s
tax revolt against the Israeli Occupation during the first Intifada (1987-1993), perhaps the most
effective broad-based community resistance to have been organized since the start of the
Occupation in 1967. Ghassan understood the power that nonviolence has in leading a mass
movement of liberation and utilized it effectively. After serving another jail term for his
participation in the tax revolt, he co-founded in 1988 The Palestinian Center for Rapprochement
Between Peoples, which sponsored dialogue and joint activities between Israelis and Palestinians.

As the Occupation wore on, Ghassan and Rapprochement moved from dialogue to direct
nonviolent action intended to end the Occupation. In this connection he co-founded the
International Solidarity Movement (ISM), in which international volunteers and Palestinians
initiated grassroots nonviolent actions of resistance to the oppression created by years of
occupation. In working with ISM, Ghassan has insisted that all international participants commit
themselves to nonviolence, both physical and verbal.

As he continued his peace work, Ghassan proceeded strategically. He realized that a nonviolent
movement must always be able to respond creatively and effectively to ongoing developments.
His creative, brave and proactive responses have made him one of the leading figures of the
Palestinian peace movement.

P a u l L a c e y
C h a i r p e r s o n
M a r y E l l e n M c N i s h
G e n e r a l S e c r e t a r y
American Friends Service Committee
1501 Cherry Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19102-1479
Phone: 215/241-7000 • www.afsc.org

Jeff Halper is an Israeli professor of Anthropology. A Vietnam War resister in America, he
emigrated to Israel in 1973. Although he insists that Jews have a legitimate place in
Israel/Palestine, he has always rejected the exclusivity of Jewish claims to the country that has led to the displacement of Palestinian refugees and to the Occupation. As an Israeli citizen he has refused to bear arms even during his military service, and refused to serve in the Occupied
Territories. Two of his children have been imprisoned as conscientious objectors.

Jeff co-founded The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) in 1997, which
was among the first Israeli peace groups to work with Palestinians inside the Occupied
Territories. ICAHD works closely with other critical Israeli groups such as Bat Shalom, Rabbis
for Human Rights, Gush Shalom and the Alternative Information Center, as well as with
Palestinian partners such as the Land Defense Committee, Rapprochement and the Palestinian
Agricultural Relief Committee (PARC). ICAHD resists the demolition of Palestinian homes,
actions in which Jeff often displayed immense courage, sitting in front of bulldozers, confronting
Israeli soldiers and suffering arrest. He and ICAHD also organize Israelis and internationals to
rebuild demolished homes with Palestinians as acts of political resistance to the Occupation.

Through resistance to Israel.s house demolition policy, ICAHD exposes the injustice of the
Occupation and asserts the crucial role of the international civil society in bringing about change,
just as Ghassan Andoni has done with the founding of the International Solidarity Movement.
ICAHD has been well ahead of other peace organizations in its appeal to the international
community, disseminating information and networking, analyzing what Jeff calls the "matrix of
control" employed by Israel in its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza . the framework createdby strategic settlement blocs, settler-only highways and the Separation Wall. In ways that parallel the development of Rapprochement, ICAHD has come to see that reconciliation cannot be placed ahead of the restoration of justice . a justice to be brought about through nonviolent direct action and adherence to human rights.

Jeff Halper has in recent years spent a great deal of time traveling abroad to inform the public
about the .realities on the ground,. and has established ICAHD chapters in the US, the UK and
else where. His travels and writings have added to his international stature. Ghassan and Jeff arecurrently working on a book about nonviolent resistance to the Occupation. They share a
fundamental belief that Palestinians and Israelis who stand for human rights, international law,
peace, justice and reconciliation are on the same .side.. This is what makes their message
relevant and universal, and why their voices . the seldom heard voices of critical advocates of
peace and non-violence . are acknowledged in this nomination.

The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that includes people of
various faiths who are committed to social justice, peace and humanitarian service. It was the
1947 co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. The AFSC’s national headquarters is in Philadelphia.
It has nine regional and 34 area offices in the US and is active in 22 countries around the world.
Its work is based on the belief in the worth of every person and faith in the power of love to
overcome violence and injustice. Additional information about the AFSC can be found at
www.afsc.org. Ghassan Andoni can be reached at g_andoni@yahoo.com; Jeff Halper at

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Statement from President Bush and Jordan King Abdullah II

Remarks By President Bush and His Majesty King Abdullah Of Jordan
In Photo Opportunity

The following is a transcript of remarks by President Bush and His Majesty King Abdullah Of Jordan in a joint press conference:

The Oval Office 9:26 A.M. EST

PRESIDENT BUSH: Your Majesty, welcome back. I have had two good discussions with His Majesty. Last night His Majesty and the Crown Prince came to have dinner with Laura and me and some members of Congress, and we had a really good discussion. We had a little time by ourselves to talk strategically about the world and our deep desire for this world to be peaceful.

Of course we talked about Iraq, Iran, the Palestinian territories. I appreciate your vision and your desire to achieve a better world for the people in your neighborhood.

We also talked about a topic that requires a lot of discussion and a lot of sensitive thought, and that is the reaction to the cartoons. I first want to make it very clear to people around the world that ours is a nation that believes in tolerance and understanding. In America we welcome people of all faiths. One of the great attributes of our country is that you're free to worship however you choose in the United States of America.

Secondly, we believe in a free press. We also recognize that with freedom comes responsibilities. With freedom comes the responsibility to be thoughtful about others. Finally, I have made it clear to His Majesty and he made it clear to me that we reject violence as a way to express discontent with what may be printed in a free press. I call upon the governments around the world to stop the violence, to be respectful, to protect property, protect the lives of innocent diplomats who are serving their countries overseas.

And so, Your Majesty, thank you for coming. I'm proud to share the moment with you.

KING ABDULLAH: Thank you very much for your kind words. And I would just like to echo what the President said. We've had some very fruitful discussions, and we're appreciative of the vision and the desire that the President has for peace and stability in our part of the world. He has always strived to make life better for all of us in the Middle East, and I tremendously appreciate that role.

The issue of the cartoons, again, and with all respect to press freedoms, obviously, anything that vilifies the Prophet Mohammed -- upon him or attacks Muslim sensibilities, I believe needs to be condemned. At the same time, those that want to protest should do it thoughtfully, articulately, express their views peacefully. When we see protests -- when we see destruction, when we see violence, especially if it ends up taking the lives of innocent people, is completely unacceptable. Islam, like Christianity and Judaism, is a religion of peace, tolerance, moderation.

And we have to continue to ask ourselves, what type of world do we want for our children? I too often hear the word used as, tolerance. And tolerance is such an awful word. If we are going to strive to move forward in the future, the word that we should be talking about is acceptance. We need to accept our common humanity and our common values. And I hope that lessons can be learned from this dreadful issue, that we can move forward as humanity, and truly try to strive together, as friends and as neighbors, to bring a better world to all.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you, Your Majesty. I appreciate it.

9:31 A.M. EST Source: White House Press Office
CONTACT: White House Press Office, +1-202-456-2580
Web site: http://www.whitehouse.gov/

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Illinois AutoZone sued for discrimination

AutoZone sued by Muslim employee for discrimination
February 4, 2006
Chicago, Illinois -- El Bakly v. Autozone, Inc., 04C 2767 Autozone Inc. (NYSE: AZO), the nations’ leading retailer of automotiveparts, filed its motion for summary judgment in a case brought by aformer Muslim employee at one of its Franklin Park, Illinois stores forreligious and racial discrimination and harassment following the onsetof the Iraq War.

The lawsuit alleges that, for a period extending several months,several managers at the Autozone location in Franklin Park, Illinois repeatedly and intentionally used religious and racial epithets againstemployee Moustafa El-Bakly, who is of Muslim and Egyptian-American descent and mocked his religion. He alleges that his store supervisorsregularly called him a “terrorist,” referred to Saddam Hussein andAl-Quaeda as his “buddies” insulted his prayer practices with sexualgestures. His complaint claims that, although he had been promoted byprevious management to a commercial specialist position and performed well at his job, his new management assigned him to the uniform andtasks of those of inferior positions and to degrading and humiliating tasks including cleaning out the toilets and parking lots, before eventually terminated him on June 2, 2004.

Mr. El-Bakly had recently undergone heart surgery and treatment for diabetes before his employment with Autozone, and was attending college part-time before he was fired. He said his condition deteriorated dueto the stress. “The people I can complain to, my bosses, were the onesdoing this to me. No one else, they don’t believe me; they think it’sfunny. I was their joke, alone,” stated Mr. El-Bakly.

A Motion for Summary Judgment is a request made to the court to decidethe case based on statements and evidence without a trial. The courtmay grant such a motion when there are no genuine issues of materialfact that would require a trial to resolve. With the filing of this motion, the Autozone is asking the court to dismiss all counts of Mr.El-Bakly’s complaint on the merits of the submitted evidence.

The lawsuit seeks reinstatement, front pay, back wages, compensatory and punitive damages. Autozone’s Bellwood offices are at (708)493-2677, and its corporate headquarters are in Memphis, TN.

The company is represented by Ms. Renee Gluth of Frilot, Partridge, Kohnke& Clements, (504) 599-8000.

Contact: Luis A. Oviedo, Attorney, 312-563-9983


Friday, February 03, 2006

Christian Arab Leader denounces Danish cartoons


Contact: Fadi Zanayed
708-741-4040 office
708-257-7755 cell

Statement by Fadi Zanayed, Attorney at Law, a Christian Arab-American Leader,
Regarding the Caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad:

“At a time when the world is moving towards a global economy and religious tolerance, it is disturbing to note that some segments of our worldly society would inflame the followers of a major and significant religion for no other reason then to spread hatred. While I am a strong believer in a free press, those media outlets that published the caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad have done a grave injustice to not only Muslim believers who number over a billion, but to the whole 6 billion people who live on this earth.

“The world is changing at a geometrical pace and the boundary lines of countries are being eliminated by the cyber world. By emitting such hatred, the press is redrawing the lines that isolate people. The press should have the common sense to know what is right from wrong and govern itself accordingly. Spreading hatred has no place in our society. The Press owes not only the Muslims an apology; it owes an apology to the world.

Fadi Zanayed
Attorney at Law
7265 W. 87th Street Suite A
Bridgeview, IL 60455

Thursday, February 02, 2006

American Arab/Muslim Food Company suspends dealings with Danish Firm over Prophet Mohammed insults


Feb. 1, 2006 708-222-8330

Chicago food distributor SUSPENDS all Business with Denmark-based Arla Foods

Cicero, Il. Feb. 1, 2006 - Ziyad Brothers Importing, one of the largest distributors of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food products, announced today it SUSPENDED all business with Denmark-based Arla Foods.

Nemer Ziyad, vice president of Ziyad Brothers Importing, said the decision is in response to the insulting and offensive caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed published by Denmark's leading newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, and the growing controversy.

"I am furious with what the newspaper did. I am disappointed with the hesitation of the Government of Denmark to speak out against this. I support free speech, but I believe that we must speak out when free speech crosses the line and incites hatred, as the publication of these extremely offensive cartoons has done," Ziyad said.

"We have enjoyed a relationship with Arla Foods, acting as the exclusive distributor of three of its most popular products here in the United States. We are encouraged that this issue may be resolved, but until it is properly resolved, we must take this action"

Ziyad Brothers Importing is the exclusive American distributor for three of Arla's most popular products, Puck Cheese and Puck Cream, and Lurpak Butter. Ziyad said the three food items are very popular with customers. Ziyad said the decision to suspend the product line will have a significant impact on Ziyad Brothers Importing revenues, but he added, "We will always stand by and support our community."

Ziyad said, "This isn't just about being Muslim or Arab. What Jyllands-Posten did crossed the line. It is wrong. I would do the same thing in any other similar circumstance involving any other religion. All people have a responsibility to speak out whenever an act of hateful incitement occurs and touches on the community."


Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Statement of Middle East Christians on Hamas election victory

Jan. 30, 2006
From the ELCA Middle East Networking List

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL) put out a statement yesterday from Bishop Munib Younan on the Palestinian elections.

January 2006 Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land Bishop Dr. Munib Younan Salaam and grace to you from Jerusalem, City of Peace

Thoughts on the Palestinian Elections

This week the Palestinian people have spoken in a clear and democraticprocess that they want a new and more effective government. With a voterturnout of 77 percent, one of the most effective expressions of democracy inthe Arab world was achieved despite the hardships of occupation. We areproud of this great achievement and believe it illustrates our people'sdesire for a modern, civil, democratic state.We are still somewhat in shock, however, at the extent of the Hamas victory.We need time for self-evaluation to ask ourselves why this happened and whatit means.We believe it was probably an accumulation of many things:

1) Desperation in the street that despite an ongoing "peace process"occupation continued unabated as did land confiscation, settlement growth,home demolitions, the deteriorating situation in East Jerusalem and thecreation of the Separation Wall that enclosed us into enclaves intended tosomeday be euphemistically named a "state." In talking with many who votedfor Hamas, they did not support a radical Islamist agenda or violence, theywanted change and reform in a system that has been broken for a long time.

2) Division, corruption and lack of accountability within the former rulingparty of Fatah.

3) Lack of substantial political support by the US and Israel for thePalestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) and his non-violentmandate - support which could have led to more tangible signs ofimprovement - instead caused less security and more disorder.

4) In the face of the economic hardship, Hamas' social programs providedthe aid and comfort Palestinian families needed, while the administrationcontinued in mismanagement and deadlock over the ongoing conflict.

5) The unilateral nature of the withdrawal from Gaza was then interpretedby some as a sign that Israelis weren't negotiating with Abu Mazen anyway,and that perhaps it was Hamas that ultimately triggered the withdrawal.

Today there is fear and hope, threat and promise, and time will tell whetherwe as two peoples can seize this opportunity to break out of our torturedhistory of standoff and conflict. Partners for peace are made, not born, bythe ways we treat one another and shape together our common destiny.

We in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL)will continue our Christian witness and service for justice, peace andreconciliation. We will still continue to renounce any kind of violence fromanyone - including suicide bombing, extra-judicial assassinations,incursions,home demolitions, land confiscation or any other kind of destruction of lifeand liberty.

We still envision a two-state solution with two, viable,contiguous and independent states living equally side by side with sharedresources, a shared Jerusalem and a just resolution for the refugees and theproblem of illegal settlements and land confiscation according tointernational law. We will continue to work adamantly for a modern, civil,democratic society that respects freedom of religion, freedom of speech andequal rights for women and men.We ask the Palestinian people, especially Palestinian Christians, not topanic and arrive at hasty conclusions but to persevere and remain steadfastin this land. Now more than ever we need to continue to be an active,integral part of the people and to continue as Christian witnesses forjustice, instruments of peace and ministers of reconciliation.

This is a moment of challenge and possibility in the midst of unexpectedchange. We as a church pledge ourselves to watch, pray and work unceasinglyand prophetically so that the policies implemented for the Palestinianpeople will be guided by justice, equality and freedom.We ask you as faith and world leaders to support these positions of ourchurch because this is the path that will ensure pluralism, human rights,justice and freedom for all at this crucial stage. We urgently ask our Christian sisters and brothers to work with our ministries in schools,churches and organizations to ensure that Christian witness is strengthenedand not diminished. Please keep us in your prayers, thoughts and actions.

We also challenge both sides to go beyond the tired old rhetoric that hasonly brought us stalemates and conflict. Let us work together to find newlanguage and proposals to build common ground on our shared interests forjustice and reconciliation and an end to occupation and violence. We believethat isolation of those with whom we disagree only adds to prejudices andstereotypes and the probability of more extremism.

We continue to believe that Israeli security is dependent on freedom andjustice for the Palestinians, and freedom and justice for the Palestiniansis dependent on the security of the Israelis. We urge both sides torecognize this because our futures are intertwined, and our children shouldbe able to live in freedom without fear, occupation, violence or anyviolation of Human Rights.

Bishop Dr. Munib Younan

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If you have received this bulletin directly from us, it is because yousubscribed to the ELCA Middle East Networking List. Please forward thisbulletin to others who are interested in a just peace for Palestine andIsrael.To Join (or Leave) this List, go to www.elca.org/middleeast on the web.Ann HafftenCoordinator for Middle East NetworkingDivision for Global Mission, ELCAwww.elca.org/peacenotwalla800-638-3522, ext. 6466