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Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine
UK architects, planners and other construction industry professionals campaigning for a just peace in Israel/Palestine.

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Monday
Oct292012

In Opposition to Cornell University’s Collaboration with Technion—Israel Institute of Technology

Petition: We oppose Cornell University’s collaboration with Technion—Israel Institute of Technology


To:

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Cornell University

President David J. Skorton, Cornell University

Vice President Susan Murphy, Cornell University

Provost Kent Fuchs,

On Monday December 19 2011, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that the joint bid advanced by Cornell University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in the multi-billion-dollar competition to create a massive applied sciences and technology campus on Roosevelt Island had won. While this initiative is sure to benefit Cornell University and the City of New York in many ways, the partnership with Technion means that these benefits will come at the expense of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation and, thus, also of the moral standing of the University and the City.

More than any other university in Israel, the Technion, which is involved in the research and development of military and arms technology, is directly implicated in war crimes. Its joint programs with the Israeli military and its cooperative research programs with two of Israel’s major weapons corporations, Elbit and Rafael, renders Technion a full participant in the actions carried out by the Israeli military. Those actions include targeting civilians, as in the 2006 invasion of Lebanon and the 2008-2009 Cast Lead operation against Gaza, and physically contributing to Israel’s discriminatory practices in the West Bank with the construction of the separation wall that cuts sharply into the occupied West Bank and disrupts the lives of Palestinians in countless ways. The Cornell administration cannot plead ignorance of these facts. We refuse to collaborate with this.

Rafael Advanced Defence Systems LTD., which established a three-year ‘in-house’ MBA program at Technion University, has worked with students and faculty there to develop the ‘Ramtech’ rockets and different unmanned aircraft to be used in Israel’s ongoing occupation. Rafael also developed the armor used by the Merkava-4 tanks, which enabled the Israeli military forces to carry out urban warfare, as they did during the Cast Lead operation. In the course of that warfare, actions were taken that constitute war crimes under international law. We refuse to collaborate with this.

Elbit Systems, which established a training program for engineers in the Technion and has given research grants to Technion consisting of half a million US dollars a year for 5 years, is one of the two main contractors for Israel’s separation wall—which has been declared illegal by the international Court of Justice—and is the producer of the Hermes 450 drones, which were used during the flotilla attack, as well as during some of the deadlier incidents during the 2006 war against Lebanon and the 2008-2009 attack on Gaza. Human Rights Watch has condemned Israel’s use of drones for targeted killings. Such killings have prompted Amnesty International to call for a suspension of UK arms sales to Israel. Technion is complicit in these killings. We refuse to collaborate with this.

Institutional links with Technion will, furthermore, entail complicity in the unjust treatment of Palestinian Israelis within Israeli society and academia. At every level of the Israeli educational system, Israeli-Palestinian students encounter obstacles in terms of access to many programs—especially the ones tied to participation in the IDF—as well as to housing and resources. Beyond these pervasive structural inequalities, freedom of speech for Palestinian-Israelis is curtailed at Technion. For example, in the first few days of June 2010, in the wake of Israel’s attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, a pro-military students’ group was permitted to demonstrate, while the mostly Palestinian led rally against the attack was repressed brutally by the police and several demonstrators were arrested. Severe restrictions on freedom of speech and freedom of assembly for Palestinian students at Technion are part and parcel of a broader colonial and racist educational system, one that is by now integral to the functioning of the Israeli occupation. We refuse to collaborate with this.

The proposed partnership with an institution like the Technion, because of its direct and indirect assaults on the freedoms of speech and assembly, the right to education and to basic security, and because of its intimate bond with the needs and dictates of a discriminatory and brutal project of military occupation, would give the lie to Cornell’s founding values of universalism and inclusion embodied in the university’s motto “any person any study.’ We refuse to collaborate with this.

At both Concordia University and McGill University there are currently campaigns calling for divestment from Technion by ending the bilateral exchange programs with it. Norway’s pension fund, Europe’s largest investment fund, has divested from Elbit. The Swedish national pension fund, Kommunal Landspensjonkasse (one of the largest life insurance companies in Norway), Danske Bank (the largest bank in Denmark), and PKA Ltd., one of the largest Danish pension funds, have also divested. We, too, refuse to collaborate with this.

Cornell Provost Kent Fuchs commented on this successful bid with the words: "I think we were the only university that had unanimous support from the administration, faculty, staff, students and alumni." This is simply not true. On Monday December 12 2011, some of us met with Cornell Provost Kent Fuchs and with Cornell Vice President Susan Murphy and voiced our concerns about and our opposition to the collaboration with Technion. We informed them of the above facts, yet they decided to disregard them and move on with this collaboration. But we the undersigned do not and will not lend our voices to the “unanimous support” of this collaboration with an Israeli institute that facilitates war crimes. We refuse to be implicated in war crimes and we reject any attempt to normalize them.

We refuse to collaborate with this, and call on Cornell University to end the partnership with Technion!

SIGN THE PETITION

Thursday
Oct112012

Return the Baramki House to its Palestinian Owners!

The Baramki House   Past/Present        

http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=1988

PACBI     6 September 2012

Boycott from Within activists Ronnie Barkan and Renen Raz pay tribute to Gabi Baramki by calling on the Israeli museum occupying the Baramki House to return the pillaged house to the Baramki family.

We in the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) call upon international civil society to support our efforts to return the Baramki House in Jerusalem to its rightful Palestinian owners, the Baramki family. 

What is the story? 

In 1932, the prominent Palestinian architect, Andoni Baramki, built his own breathtaking house in Jerusalem. He dedicated it to his wife, Eveline. In 1948, during the Zionist ethnic cleansing campaign, or Nakba, the Baramki family, like hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, were uprooted and ended up briefly in Gaza, and then in Ramallah. The Baramki House was transformed into a military outpost: the Turjeman Post. The building stood on the seam line between what became Israel and what became the West Bank, across from Mandelbaum Gate, the only crossing point between the two sides of the divided city of Jerusalem.

After the 1967 war, Israel occupied the rest of historic Palestine and put the West Bank and Gaza Strip under its military control.  The Mandelbaum Gate was abolished and the military outpost was abandoned. Since Andoni and Eveline Baramki were residents in the now occupied East Jerusalem, they were issued Israeli identity cards from the Israeli authorities. The Israeli army had no more need for the house as a post, so the Baramki family felt their quest to reclaim the House could finally come to fruition. Alas, the family’s request was denied by the Israeli authorities under the racist Absentees’Property Law of 1950, which was used to pillage the property of Palestinians ethnically cleansed during the Nakba and even those who were internally displaced and declared as “present absentees.”(1) This infamous law recognizes the presence of internally displaced Palestinians as “residents or “citizens” of the state of Israel, but “absent” as far as their own individual property is concerned. 

Until his death in 1972, Andoni Baramki made a habit of visiting his precious house on a daily basis. He would walk around the house a few times every day, but he was never given permission to set foot into it.

After the death of his father, Gabi Baramki continued the effort to reclaim the family home, but to no avail. In 1999, the Baramki House was transformed into “The Museum on the Seam” by the Israeli Jerusalem Foundation, which advertised as its mission its hope to “advance dialogue amongst us despite our different viewpoints. We must commit ourselves to a social dialogue that is based on what we have in common and what unites us rather than on what divides us and keeps us apart.” (2)  This project was made possible through the “generous support of the von Holtzbrinck family of Germany.”

The story of the Baramki House is only one of thousands of similar stories; but this particular case exemplifies the wider injustice.  In August 2012, Gabi Baramki passed away, leaving behind a rich legacy of struggle for Palestinian rights and for developing Palestinian educational institutions. The struggle for freedom, justice and equal rights, to which Gabi dedicated his entire life, continues.

We in PACBI see this Museum as an embodiment of Israeli criminality, hypocrisy, property theft, colonization, oppression and persistent denial of the Palestinians’ very presence and the rights that go along with it. We demand that international law be implemented, and the Baramki House be returned to its legitimate Palestinian owners, the Baramki family.

 

What can be done? 

Suggestions for action:

● Stopping Israel from attending any architectural or cultural event unless it returns the Baramki House to its rightful owners, admits and redresses the injustice inherent in the massive property confiscation based on its “present absentee” law, and rescinds this racist law;

● Raising the issue of the Baramki House in each architectural and cultural event in which Israel might be present and insisting that Israel must comply with international law and return pillaged property to its respective owners;

● Exploring all possibilities to hold the von Holtzbrinck family of Germany (Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck, Holtzbrinck family Publishing/Stuttgart, Germany Revenues: $2.2 billion. Employees: 12,600  www.holtzbrinck.com/eng) complicit in this crime, as this family effectively facilitated the transfer of private Palestinian property to an Israeli cultural institution, in violation of international -- and possibly German -- law. This generous fund by the German company/ family is just one example of how aid to Israel by Germany, Europe or the US, has made these benefactors partners in the larger crimes committed by the state of Israel. That aid to Israel has invariably helped in covering up Israel's old crimes or facilitating new ones; 

● Pursuing all possible legal options available under international law in order to reclaim the House. 


Who is our target?

UNESCO, all architectural and cultural institutions, and all worldwide archeological and cultural organizations.

References:

1) For more information see, for example, Masalha, Nur (1992) Expulsion of the Palestinians: the Concept of "Transfer" in Zionist Political Thought, 1882-1948. Washington: Institute for Palestine Studies.

_____ Massalha, Nur (1997) A Land Without a People: Israel, Transfer and the Palestinians 1949-96. London: Faber and Faber.

Tom Segev, Arlen Neal Weinstein (Tanslator) (1998) 1949 The First Israelis, Henry Holt & Company, Bottom of Form

2) See: http://www.coexistence.art.museum/eng/museum/about.asp

Posted on 06-09-2012

 

 

 

 

 

Monday
Sep102012

Act now: Save Silwan - War on Want petition

 Thursday, 6 September 2012, 14:35
  http://www.waronwant.org/campaigns/justice-for-palestine
 
 
Palestinian families in Silwan, East Jerusalem, have been told they’ll lose their homes by the end of September. The Israeli authorities plan to demolish large parts of Silwan to build a controversial tourist site. But the community in Silwan is defiant, and they have come together to resist the demolitions. It’s vital that we support their struggle to stay in their homes.

Email the Mayor of Jerusalem now, and demand the Israeli authorities put a stop to demolitions in Silwan <http://www.waronwant.org/index.php?option=com_acymailing&amp;ctrl=url&amp;urlid=409&amp;mailid=142&amp;subid=43067>

Earlier this year War on Want reported on the use of British-made JCB bulldozers to demolish the children’s centre in Silwan, and uncovered evidence that JCB had sold armoured bulldozers to the Israeli army. Over a thousand people joined us to take action against JCB. Now, people in Silwan need our support as they fight to save their neighbourhood. The bulldozers could arrive at any time.

Take action now, and help stop the bulldozers in Silwan. <http://www.waronwant.org/index.php?option=com_acymailing&amp;ctrl=url&amp;urlid=409&amp;mailid=142&amp;subid=43067>

Share the campaign on Facebook <http://www.waronwant.org/index.php?option=com_acymailing&amp;ctrl=url&amp;urlid=411&amp;mailid=142&amp;subid=43067>  and on Twitter <http://www.waronwant.org/index.php?option=com_acymailing&amp;ctrl=url&amp;urlid=410&amp;mailid=142&amp;subid=43067>  using #SaveSilwan, and ask your friends to support Silwan.


Best wishes
Kat Hobbs
Save Silwan Campaigner
War on Want
War on Want is a registered charity no. 208724.

http://www.waronwant.org/campaigns/justice-for-palestine


Thursday
Jul192012

Act Now to Stop Mass Demolition of Unrecognized Villages in the Negev

The Prawer Plan

In September 2011, the Israeli government approved the Prawer Plan for mass expulsion of the Arab Bedouin community in the Naqab (Negev) desert. If fully implemented this plan will result in the forced displacement of up to 70,000 Arab Bedouin citizens of Israel and the destruction of 35 “unrecognized” villages. Despite the Arab Bedouin community's complete rejection of the plan and strong disapproval from the international community and human rights groups, the Prawer Plan is happening now. More than 1,000 homes were demolished in 2011 and in August a special police force is slated to officially begin implementing the plan, and demolish even more. Adalah and our NGO partners have been challenging the Prawer Plan before courts, government authorities and the international community, but we need your help to stop what would be the largest single act of forced displacement of Arab citizens of Israel since the 1950s!

Please sign our petition and visit our Facebook page to find out what you can do to Stop the Prawer Plan!

Sign up for Adalah's Newsletter to stay informed.

 
What is the Prawer Plan?
 
Arab Bedouin citizens of Israel, inhabitants of the Naqab (Negev) desert since the seventh century, are the most vulnerable community in Israel. For over 60 years, the indigenous Arab Bedouin have faced a state policy of displacement, home demolitions and dispossession of their ancestral land. Today, 70,000 Arab Bedouin citizens live in 35 villages that either predate the establishment of the State in 1948, or were created by Israeli military order in the early 1950s. The State of Israel considers the villages “unrecognized” and the inhabitants “trespassers on State land,” so it denies the citizens access to state infrastructure like water, electricity, sewage, education, health care and roads. The state deliberately withholds basic services from these villages to “encourage” the Arab Bedouin citizens to give up their ancestral land.
 
In September 2011, the Israeli government approved the Prawer Plan, the brainchild of former Deputy Chair of the National Security Council, Mr. Ehud Prawer.  If implemented, the Prawer Plan will result in the destruction of the unrecognized villages and the forced displacement of up to 70,000 Arab Bedouin citizens. This plan was completed without consultation of the local community, and is a gross violation of the constitutional rights of the Arab Bedouin citizens to property, dignity, equality, adequate housing, and freedom to choose their own residence.
 
Prawer is Happening Now
 
Despite complete rejection of the plan by the Arab Bedouin, and strong disapproval from the international community, Prawer is happening now. Media reports indicate that on 1 August 2012, a special police force will begin work to implement Prawer and demolish homes.  More than 1,000 houses were demolished in 2011 alone, and civil society is seeing the same practices in 2012.  Since Prawer was announced, the government announced plans that will displace over 10,000 people and plant forests, build military centers, and establish new Jewish settlements in their place.
 
In March 2012, the UN Committee on the Elimination for Racial Discrimination called on Israel to withdraw the proposed implementing legislation of the Prawer Plan, on the grounds that it was discriminatory.  If Israel applied the same criteria for planning and development that exist in the Jewish rural sector, all 35 unrecognized villages would be recognized where they are. 
 
In July 2012, the European Parliament passed a historic resolution calling on Israel to Stop the Prawer Plan and its policies of displacement, eviction, and dispossession. 
 
Adalah calls on the Israeli government to:
  • Cancel the Prawer Plan
  • Recognize the “unrecognized villages” and the land claims of the indigenous Arab Bedouin community
  • Halt home demolitions and forced evictions
  • Engage in meaningful dialogue with the Arab Bedouin community and the Arab political leadership to justly resolve the land claims
  • Invest in greater health, education, and employment opportunities for Arab Bedouin citizens of Israel
Find out More:

Briefing Paper: Analysis of the Prawer Plan
Briefing Paper: The Prawer Plan Bill
Adalah and ACRI Press Release: Prawer Plan Law Violates Rights of Bedouin
Four Reasons to Reject the Prawer Plan
The Arab Bedouin: Myths and Misconceptions
UN CERD Calls on Israel to Withdraw the Prawer Plan Law
European Parliament Pass Resolution Calling on Israel to Stop the Prawer Plan
Tuesday
Jul102012

URGENT: Please Condemn Settler Attack on Palestinian Farmers in Yanoun 

SUMMARY OF EVENTS:
On Saturday, 7 July 2012 at approximately 3:00PM (GMT+2) Israeli settlers from the illegal settlement of Itamar approached three Palestinian farmers in Yanoun who were harvesting their wheat and grazing their sheep. The settlers were armed with knives and killed three of the farmers’ sheep.
 
A clash then ensued, in which the settlers and farmers began throwing stones at one-another. When EAs arrived to the scene, three fires were ablaze in the fields, but it was unknown whether the flames were intentionally lit by the settlers or were started by teargas canisters that the Israeli military fired at the farmers. Nonetheless, two wheat fields and one olive grove were burnt, and when other Palestinian farmers arrived at the scene to turn out the flames, Israeli soldiers and police prevented them from reaching the fields by firing more teargas at them.
 
In total six Palestinians were injured, and five were hospitalized:
·      Jawdat Bani Jaber (Hospitalized): was beaten and stabbed multiple times by settlers, then shot in the face and foot by Israeli soldiers. He was then handcuffed by Israeli soldiers and attacked again by the settlers while the soldiers pursued other Palestinian farmers. After being attacked, the military did not allow a present ambulance take him to a hospital or care for him for approximately 3-hours.
·      Ibrahim Bani Jaber (Hospitalized): was beaten by a soldier on his head with the butt-stock of an M16 rifle, causing damage to his eye, and was later beaten by settlers while handcuffed.
·      Hakimun Bani Jaber (Hospitalized): was shot in the arm at close range by a soldier.
·      Adwan Bani Jaber (Hospitalized): was beaten by settlers with clubs.
·      Ashraf Bani Jaber: was beaten by a soldier with a club.
·      Jawdat Ibrahim (Hospitalized): was handcuffed, beaten by Israeli soldiers and then released for the settlers to attack as they watched. He was then tied up by the settlers and left on his land; he was found the next morning (Sunday, 8 July 2012).
  
Rashid, Mayor of Yanoun and long-time EAPPI local contact, expressed fear that settlers initiated the clash to enforce new invisible boundaries, which would defacto confiscate much of the area’s wheat fields to the Itamar Settlement.
 
ADDITTIONAL INFORMATION:
Yanoun is a small village in Area C of the West Bank, just southeast of Nablus. It has about 65 inhabitants who are dependent upon farming and animal husbandry as their main source of livelihood. The village is surrounded by the illegal Israeli settlement of Itamar and since 1996 the residents of Yanoun have consistently experienced settler harassment and violence, as well as property damage and confiscation.
 
In October of 2002 the settlers of Itimar forcibly evacuated Yanoun of its inhabitants. International humanitarian agencies and Israeli human rights organizations then came to Yanoun to provide a protective presence with the aim of facilitating the return of the community. These left Yanoun within weeks of the community’s return; however, the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) has remained in Yanoun since October 2002. Based in Yanoun Ecumenical Accompaniers (EAs) provide a protective presence, monitor, and report on human rights violations in the community, as well as the entire Nablus Governorate and Jordan Valley.
 
INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW:
The International Court of Justice has stated that the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention for the Protection of Civilian persons in Times of War applies to the occupied Palestinian territory.
 
All Israeli settlements are illegal according to Article 49 the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states, “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies."
 
Article 4
of the Fourth Geneva Convention states, “Persons protected by the Convention are those who, at a given moment and in any manner whatsoever, find themselves, in case of a conflict or occupation, in the hands of a Party to the conflict or Occupying Power of which they are not nationals.” Thus, according to International Humanitarian Law, Israel has the duty as an occupying power to protect Palestinians from settler attacks.
 
MAKE A DIFFERENCE:
We encourage you to:
·       Forward this email to your networks.
·       Inform your representative in parliament about what is happened in Yanoun.
·       Update news/media agencies (radio, TV & print) in your countries about this incident.
·       Contact (Preferably fax) the following officials and call on them to condemn this attack and hold Israeli settlers accountable for the human rights violations that they commit against Palestinian civilians:
o   Your Ambassador and/or Consul General in Israel
§  http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Sherut/ForeignInIsrael/Continents
o   The Israeli Ambassador in your country
§  http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/About+the+Ministry/Diplomatic+missions/Web+Sites+of+Israeli+Missions+Abroad.htm

You may use the sample letter below or draft your own:

Dear Ambassador / Consul General / Minister / Judge Advocate General / Lieutenant-General,
 
I call upon you to condemn Israeli settler violence against Palestinian civilians and to call for all those who violate human rights in the oPt to be held legally accountable for their actions.
 
On Saturday, 7 July 2012 at approximately 3:00PM (GMT+2) Israeli settlers from the illegal settlement of Itamar approached three Palestinian farmers in Yanoun who were harvesting their wheat and grazing their sheep. The settlers were armed with knives and killed three of the farmers’ sheep.
 
A clash then ensued, in which the settlers and farmers began throwing stones at one-another. Israeli soldiers and police arrived to the scene only to support the settlers’ attack on a defenseless community.
 
In total six Palestinians were injured, and five were hospitalized:
·      Jawdat Bani Jaber (Hospitalized): was beaten and stabbed multiple times by settlers, then shot in the face and foot by Israeli soldiers. He was then handcuffed by Israeli soldiers and attacked again by the settlers while the soldiers pursued other Palestinian farmers. After being attacked, the military did not allow a present ambulance take him to a hospital or care for him for approximately 3-hours.
·      Ibrahim Bani Jaber (Hospitalized): was beaten by a soldier on his head with the butt-stock of an M16 rifle, causing damage to his eye, and was later beaten by settlers while handcuffed.
·      Hakimun Bani Jaber (Hospitalized): was shot in the arm at close range by a soldier.
·      Adwan Bani Jaber (Hospitalized): was beaten by settlers with clubs.
·      Ashraf Bani Jaber: was beaten by a soldier with a club.
·      Jawdat Ibrahim (Hospitalized): was handcuffed, beaten by Israeli soldiers and then released for the settlers to attack as they watched. He was then tied up by the settlers and left on his land; he was found the next morning (Sunday, 8 July 2012).
 
Though the settlers were the attackers in this clash, the Israeli Military and Police provided them with protection to carry out the attack. The soldiers and officers attacked Palestinians who defended themselves from the settlers, did not attempt to put out the fires that blazed through Palestinians’ fields - nor let anyone else do so, and delayed medical attention for the victims of the attack.
 
Like the many Israeli settler attacks that take place on an on-going basis across the occupied Palestinian territory, no Israeli settlers were arrested during this attack.
 
Sincerely,
YOUR NAME

--
Nader Hanna
Advocacy Officer
Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine & Israel (EAPPI)
P.O. Box 741
Jerusalem 91000
Tel: +972 2 628 9402
Fax: +972 2 627 4499
Mobile: +972 54 815 7652
E-mail: eappi.advocacy@alqudsnet.com
Skype: eappi.advocacy
Website: www.eappi.org <http://www.eappi.org/>

You can now receive tweets when EAPPI articles hit the website. Sign up at www.twitter.com/eappi <http://www.twitter.com/eappi> .

 

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