Posts Tagged ‘newsletter’

CWP Update: New Report, “All-Out War: Israel Against Democracy”

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

8 December 2010

CWP Update: New Report, “All-Out War: Israel Against Democracy”

1. Comprehensive Report on Intensifying Political Persecution in Israel

CWP published a new report today, titled “All-Out War: Israel Against Democracy.” This comprehensive report documents the increasing political persecution of peace and human rights organizations and activists, and describes the connections between the assaults led by Israeli government officials, security forces, courts, journalists, and extreme-right organizations in this well-orchestrated offensive on democracy.

The report was published in Hebrew, Arabic, Russian, and English.

Download the full report (in English).

“In the past two years, CWP has witnessed a growing wave of assaults on Israeli peace and human rights NGOs, and delegitimization and persecution of Jewish and Palestinian human rights defenders,” states the report. “According to our research and analysis, the assault on Gaza between December 2008 and January 2009, and the subsequent Goldstone Report, increased and accelerated international pressure on Israel to end the occupation. Thus, voices of resistance within Israel, and the support and information they provide to international bodies and to the global peace movement, have become a strategic threat to the continued enforcement of the occupation. Silencing them has therefore become a primary goal for the Israeli government and Knesset and for right-wing movements within Israel.”

But the report ends with the somewhat optimistic conclusion that: “The rise of such a coordinated offensive against the forces fighting the occupation, specifically at this moment in time, indicates the success of the local and global movements against the occupation […] This means that Israel will sooner or later have to address the criticism it attempts to suppress today.” The report marks the launch of a new CWP campaign responding to this political persecution.

Demostration against the proposed "Nakba Law" / Photo by Oren Ziv, Activestills.org

2. Petition to the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression

CWP’s new report on the growing political persecution in Israel, and specific cases of violations of freedom of expression of human rights NGOs, peace activists, academics, and Arab Members of Knesset, were sent today to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Opinion, Frank La Rue. The report was sent following a request from La Rue for information on violations of freedom of expression, for his upcoming visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories in January.

Among the examples of violations of freedom of expression and opinion documented in the report: anti-democratic bills proposed in the Knesset, such as the Nakba Bill, a proposed bill to dismantle NGOs that aid in the prosecution of Israeli officials abroad, and the Prohibition on Instituting a Boycott Bill; the recurring assaults on Arab Members of Knesset;  police brutality against protesters in solidarity vigils in Sheikh Jarrah and in peace demonstration during the assault on Gaza; and the attacks on leftist Israeli academics, led by the Minister of Education, Gideon Saar, and by the extreme right-wing movement Im Tirtzu.

“The circumstances and cases described raise concerns regarding an orchestrated and widespread assault on the freedom of expression and opinion of Israeli human rights and peace organizations and Palestinian and Israeli human rights defenders,” concludes the letter sent to the UN Special Rapporteur. “Based on the documents we have enclosed, we respectfully request that you investigate these matters and communicate your concerns to the government of Israel and to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.”

3. CWP in the Media

A few links to articles in English about CWP’s work:

Associated Press: “Israeli Fast Train to Run Through West Bank”

“Israeli government officials say they have taken steps to ensure that the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem line would one day benefit Palestinians […] But researcher Dalit Baum said that idea is ‘a cynical ploy that is only suggested in order to justify this train route as legal.’ Baum wrote a report on the project published this week by an Israeli watchdog group, the Coalition of Women for Peace.”

Der Spiegel: “German Rail Under Fire for Controversial Israeli Project”

“‘By crossing the border into the West Bank, the train line is unlawful and unethical,’ argues the Coalition of Women for Peace, a group of Israeli feminist peace organizations which has compiled a report on the project. The coalition argues that international law states that an occupier may not use occupied resources solely for the benefit of its own citizens.”

Ha’aretz: “Settlement Bus Company Hired to Shuttle OECD Jerusalem Participants”

“’The Coalition of Women for Peace and other organizations opposed Israel joining the OECD precisely because it’s impossible to separate the occupation economy – an exploitative element which runs contrary to international law – from the normative economy of Israel,’ the research coordinator for the organization’s Who Profits project, Merav Amir, told Haaretz.”

Associated Press: “Jewish Settlements Targeted in Divestment Campaign”

“’The big success is that is has become an issue,’ added Merav Amir of the Tel Aviv-based Coalition of Women for Peace, whose database of companies has become a resource for investors and activists.”

Baltimore Chronicle: “Israeli Banks Profiteering from Occupation”

And if you haven’t seen it yet, check out the fabulous video of the “Opertheid” flashmob, organized by the Coalition of Women for Peace and BOYCOTT!:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wElyrFOnKPk

Ynet: “Leftists Chant ‘Stop Apartheid’ Outside Tel Aviv Opera”

In solidarity,

The Coalition of Women for Peace

http://coalitionofwomen.org/home/english

CWP Update: Knesset Bills Threaten to Restrict Israeli NGOs

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

June 24, 2010

CWP Update: Knesset Bills Threaten to Restrict Israeli NGOs

1. EP Meeting on the Situation of NGO’s and Civil Society in Israel

On Wednesday, 23 June 2010, the European Parliament held a meeting regarding the situation of NGOs and civil society in Israel. The Coalition of Women for Peace published a position paper, which was distributed at the EP meeting. The full position paper is attached, but please note especially the following section on 3 proposed Knesset bills that are intended to restrict the international work of Israeli NGOs, and particularly CWP:

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4.    The 3 proposed Knesset bills, attempting to restrict the work of Israeli peace and human rights organizations, are:

a.    “Disclosure Requirements for Recipients of Support from a Foreign Political Entity – 2010” (a government-backed bill, submitted on 8 February 2010, passed a preliminary vote on 17 February 2010): Under the pretext of increasing transparency of foreign funding of NGOs, this bill stipulates that organizations “seeking to influence public opinion in Israel” should be deemed as political organizations and therefore will be required to register with the Registrar of Political Parties and lose their tax-exempt status. Any spokesperson of such an organization will have to declare in all public appearances and publications that they represent an organization that receives funding from a “foreign political entity.” This bill is intended to curtail the foreign funding that Israeli peace and human rights NGOs rely on, as well as to delegitimize and intimidate these organizations.

b.    “Associations Law (Amendment – Exceptions to the Registration and Activity of an Association) – 2010” (a private bill, introduced by 19 MKs on 28 April 2010, a revised version submitted by 25 MKs on 14 June 2010) – This bill aims to prohibit the registration of, or to close down any existing NGO, if “the association was involved in, or will provide information to foreign entities regarding, legal proceedings abroad against senior Israeli government officials or military officers, for war crimes.” Universal jurisdiction, the right of national courts to prosecute foreign war criminals for atrocities committed abroad, is a central enforcement mechanism in international law. As such, this bill undermines international human rights law and the ability of Israeli NGOs to demand accountability for human rights violations committed by Israeli officials. In interviews given to the Israeli media, the MKs specifically targeted the Coalition of Women for Peace, as well as Adalah – the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights, Physicians for Human rights and the Committee Against Torture.

c.    “Prohibition on Instituting a Boycott – 2010” (introduced by 25 MKs from the coalition and the opposition on 9 June 2010, not yet submitted) – According to the bill, Israeli citizens must not initiate, encourage, or provide support or information for a boycott against the State of Israel; internationals who do so will be barred from entering Israel for at least 10 years; and foreign governmental entities who engage in boycott activity against Israel will be banned from engaging in any activity in Israeli bank accounts, Israeli stocks, or Israeli land and assets. This bill is a violation of the freedom of speech and freedom of association and is intended to intimidate NGOs and individuals from engaging in a nonviolent, democratic and legitimate form of political activity. This bill also directly targets CWP, due to our research project “Who Profits from the Occupation,” which provides information on Israeli and international corporate involvement in the occupation.

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The full position paper is attached. CWP would like to particularly thank our Swedish partner organization Kvinna till Kvinna, for helping us in reaching the European Parliament.

2. CWP in the Media

A few links to articles relating to CWP’s work:

Ilana Hammerman, an Israeli translator and editor and activist in one of CWP’s member organizations, might be facing trial for taking 3 Palestinian girls on a fun day out in Tel Aviv: http://theonlydemocracy.org/2010/06/civil-disobedience-is-a-fun-day-out-in-tel-aviv/

“Dr. Dalit Baum and Merav Amir are waging a resolute economic battle against businesses operating beyond the Green Line. Their comprehensive study maps out all of those companies and served as the basis for the boycott throughout the world, which is expanding. In an interview with the Calcalist Supplement they explain they are not extremists — it is simply Dankner, Levayev, Arison and about a thousand other companies who are violating international law”. Ari Libsker, Calcalist: http://coteret.com/2010/06/21/maariv-targeted-boycott-and-divestment-pushing-companies-out-of-the-settlements/ (scroll down for this specific article).

“’The Coalition of Women for Peace declares its support for Italian supermarket chains COOP and Nordiconad’s decision to suspend sales of Agrexco produce in their stores, and hopes that more supermarket chains will follow in their footsteps.’ So begins the declaration of the prominent Israeli coalition of 11 feminist organizations, released in support of the Italian Stop Agrexco campaign.” Elena Hogan, Near East News Agency: http://www.nena-news.com/?p=1730

New bill attempts to outlaw boycott of settlements or Israel: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3902932,00.html

The full translation of this proposed bill is available on the “Who Profits” website: http://www.whoprofits.org/articlefiles/BDS%20LAW_Eng.htm

CWP’s declaration of support for the “Stolen Beauty” campaign: http://www.codepinkalert.org/article.php?id=5456

In France, the Ahava campaign comes to court. Adri Nieuwhof, The Electronic Intifada: http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11341.shtml

“Yoana Gonen, from the Coalition of Women for Peace, voiced her support of the international musicians’ decisions to cancel due to Israel’s current political situation. “I hope that the BDS movement will succeed […] If this international momentum is lost, maybe we all will be doomed to more decades of occupation, siege, poverty, bombings and separation.” Alison Avigayil Ramer and Ronnie Gross, Jewlicious: http://www.jewlicious.com/2010/06/cultural-boycott-recent-cancellations-by-international-musicians-spur-debate-in-israeli-public/

In solidarity,

The Coalition of Women for Peace

http://coalitionofwomen.org/home/english

CWP Update: Solidarity in Israel with Gaza and with the Freedom Flotilla

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

June 2, 2010

CWP Update: Solidarity in Israel with Gaza and with the Freedom Flotilla

1. The Siege of Gaza

Early Monday morning, we woke up to the horrible news of the Israeli raid on the peace activists of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, which killed more than 10 people and injured dozens. Many of the hundreds of activists, who were on the boats, are still imprisoned by Israeli security forces, awaiting their deportation. The flotilla was carrying 10,000 tons of food, medicine and other supplies to Gaza, which has been placed under siege by Israel since 2005 (with harsher restrictions since June 2007).

The siege, intended to isolate and debilitate Gaza, is a collective punishment of a civilian population of 1.5 million people. Since the siege has been placed, the Coalition of Women for Peace has been publicly denouncing it and calling for its immediate removal. The international community can no longer stand by – it must use any diplomatic and civilian means to pressure Israel to end the siege of Gaza, punish Israeli officials responsible for war crimes and end the occupation.

This Friday, the Coalition of Organizations against the Occupation and the Palestinian Popular Committees will hold a joint action to mark 43 years to the June 1967 occupation of Palestinian lands. 43 years of domination, oppression, segregation, settlement enterprise, theft of water and lands, military regime, restrictions on movement, house demolitions, political arrests, torture, war crimes and colonial expansion. In this action, we will call for Israel to remove the siege of Gaza, to end the occupation and to stop the separation between Palestinians and Israelis and between Palestinians and their lands. We call on our friends in the international community to hold solidarity vigils around the world – protesting the siege of Gaza, the ongoing occupation of Palestine and the deadly assault on innocent civilians, who tried to break the siege.

Demonstration at the Port of Ashdod, 31 May 2010

2. Solidarity in Israel with the Gaza Freedom Flotilla

The Coalition of Women for Peace stands in solidarity with the people of Palestine and with heroic members of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. Despite attempts by Israeli media and public officials to present a unanimous support for the illegal assault on international peace activists, thousands of Israelis have been protesting in the past few days against it.

Spontaneous demonstrations were held immediately after news of the brutal assault on the flotilla – in Haifa, Nazareth, Shefa-‘Amr and other cities in Israel. At the same time, 250 Israeli activists arrived at the Port of Ashdod, in an action organized by the Coalition of Women for Peace and other Israeli organizations, to protest the brutal killing and to voice their solidarity with the Flotilla and with the Palestinian people. On Monday evening, mass demonstrations were held in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa and Um-El-Fahem. The demonstrators called for international involvement to lift the siege of Gaza. More demonstrations are being held throughout this week across Palestine and Israel.

Prior to the deadly raid CWP published a public declaration in support of the flotilla:

http://www.shiptogaza.se/node/372

We would like to share with you some of the voices of CWP members following the raid:

In a personal account of the Israeli resistance to the attack on the flotilla, Inna Michaeli, CWP’s Resource and Development Coordinator, writes: “Despite this attempt to silence criticism, there are many Israeli citizens that object to this massacre and demand accountability from those responsible. The official version of the military and government has very little credibility, especially after imposing an electronic blockade on attempts to document the raid. The international community has done so little to bring to trial those accountable for war crimes committed against the Palestinian people. Will other countries make more of an effort to intervene after crimes have been committed against their own citizens?”

You can read the rest of her account here.

Eilat Maoz, the General Coordinator of the Coalition of Women for Peace, said: “The killing of more than 10 activists is exclusively the responsibility of the State of Israel, and it was fully within Israel’s power to avoid the wasteful spilling of blood.  The siege of Gaza and the pirate takeover by the Israeli Military of the Flotilla vessels – these are the real provocations. This atrocity must open the eyes of the international community to the crimes perpetrated by Israel.”

Areen Hawari, Balad activist, member of the Coalition of Women for Peace and a close person to MK Hanin Zoabi, who was on one of the vessels, said: “If this is what the State of Israel is capable of doing to peace activists, human rights defenders and members of parliament, then what is it capable of doing to civilians under military occupation? Now is the time to wake up the international struggle against the siege of Gaza and the occupation.”

Some interviews with CWP members in the international media:

The National – Israelis are Shocked but not Surprised

Maan News Agency – Israeli Activists Call for Ships to Enter Gaza

Christian Science Monitor – After Israeli raid, Freedom Flotilla aid starts to flow to Gaza

The Coalition of Women for Peace is currently working on additional local and international actions. Please contact us with your ideas, suggestions and information on actions you organize: cwp@coalitionofwomen.org

Demonstration in Tel-Aviv, 31 May 2010

CWP Update: 2009 Annual Report and Proposed Bill to Curtail Universal Jurisdiction

Friday, May 7th, 2010

May 7, 2010

CWP Update: 2009 Annual Report

1. Proposed Knesset Bill to Outlaw Peace and Human Rights Organizations

Below you will find the annual report of CWP’s activities in 2009. We are please to share with you some of the highlights and achievements of the peace movement, in an increasingly hostile Israeli atmosphere.

We have previously updated you about a proposed Knesset bill to limit foreign funding to Israeli peace and human rights organizations, intended to restrict their activity. While this bill is still being deliberated in the parliament, a new and even more dangerous law proposal, intended to curtail the freedom of Israeli NGO’s, has been submitted by 20 MKs on April 28 2010. This new bill calls to outlaw organizations that are involved in activities intended to issue arrest warrants against Israeli officials and officers on account of war crimes. The proposal does not name specific organizations, but in the media the MKs referred to the Coalition of Women for Peace, Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights, Physicians for Human Rights and the Committee Against Torture, among others.

The current wave of assaults on Israeli peace and human rights organizations, intended to silence and restrict us, further convinces us that our demands for accountability are sensed by the Israeli establishment. In this spirit of optimism, we would like to present you with a detailed report of our activities in the past year.

The cover of CWP's 2009 Annual Report

2. CWP 2009 Annual Report

The current wave of assaults on Israeli peace and human rights organizations, intended to silence and restrict us, only convinces us of the importance of our work and of the impact it has on the Israeli establishment. In this spirit of optimism, we would like to present you with a detailed report of our activities in the past year. You can download the full report as a pdf file through this link: http://bit.ly/CWP2009

We recommend downloading the entire report, it has a lot of wonderful texts and pictures. Here is a brief overview:

1. L i f e

“To ourselves, Arabs and Jews, Palestinians and Israelis, we need to say: We must not lose hope. We will continue this struggle until the Palestinian people are free and justice is done. And to the people of Gaza and all the Palestinian people we say: Do not despair, we will end the occupation!”

– Abir Kopty, CWP activist

Actions:

➢ Stop the War on Gaza – Immediate response to the Israeli assaults on Gaza

➢ Free Gaza – Ten days of action against the siege

➢ Freedom and Justice for Gaza – Mass demonstration to mark one year to the war

➢ Stop Crimes against Women – International Women’s Day march

2. J u s t i c e

“In a capitalist world, economic activism gives us the opportunity to fight the power of capital with its own instruments,  puts a dent in the smug disposition of the profiteers – and that’s very satisfying.

– Esti Micenmacher, CWP activist and member of the “Who Profits” Steering Committee

Actions:

➢ Who Profits from the Occupation – CWP’s online database about corporate involvement in the occupation

➢ The Norwegian Pension Fund – Initiating divestment from Elbit, an Israeli company that provides surveillance equipment for the Apartheid Wall

➢ Women March for the Right of Return – Commemorating the Nakba

3. V o i c e

“The most empowering experience for me was being able to talk with other women and to hear other women speaking, to think together and discuss the issues that are important for us all. I feel that political activism is a way for me to contribute to the process of freeing ourselves from the bonds of patriarchy”

– Dina Alterman, a member of FORA – Russian speaking women’s organizing within CWP

Actions:

➢ FORA – Russian-speaking women leading social and political change

➢ Media against the Occupation – Practical media course for activists

➢ Women Speak Out – Women’s conference one year after the war on Gaza

4. S p a c e

“Palestinians who engage in the popular struggle are arrested and terrorized and Israelis who protest the government’s illegal policies are marked as “traitors”. The Israeli policy regarding nonviolent protest is that any opinion that does not serve the so-called “national interest” should be persecuted, silenced and quashed”

– Yasmeen Daher, CWP board member and activist

Actions:

➢ Solidarity in the Face of Political Persecution – Solidarity actions with New Profile, a CWP member organization that was harassed by Israeli security forces

➢ Stop House Demolitions – Actions against house demolitions in Silwan and Wadi Ara

5. R e s p o n s i b i l i t y

“I wish to thank your Organisation’s stance with regard to impunities and ‘war crime’ as mentioned in your letter to the UK Government. As a member of the ‘Goldstone Report’ I also appreciate your supportive comments with regard to our work and its findings”

– Desmond Travers, a member of the Goldstone Fact-Finding Mission, in a letter to CWP

Actions:

➢ Hosting Naomi Klein – A public meeting with the Canadian writer, who spoke about strategies and BDS

➢ Goldstone Report – Sending a translation of the report to Israeli officials, urging them to take responsibility for war crimes committed in Gaza

➢ Maintain Universal Jurisdiction – Initiating an urgent appeal to the British Cabinet, signed by 99 feminist organizations, to not limit universal jurisdiction

6. L e a r n i n g

“The project was eye opening with regard the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Jewish-Arab conflict in Israel. It gave them the freedom to express their feelings and opinions and many of those who had strong and one-dimensional opinions changed them a bit. The tour in Jerusalem to see the Separation Wall was especially powerful”

– Reframing Security, facilitator’s feedback

Actions:

➢ Reframing Security as Human Security – Educational content pool on human security, conducted by women from various fields of expertise

➢ Rethinking the Feminist Peace Agenda – A strategic ideological seminar for activists

You can download the entire report through this link: http://bit.ly/CWP2009

In Solidarity,

The Coalition of Women for Peace

http://coalitionofwomen.org

CWP Update: Global BDS Day of Action and New Activity Center

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

March 28, 2010

CWP Update: Global BDS Day of Action and New Activity Center

1. CWP Opens a New Activity Center in Tel-Aviv-Jaffa

After nearly a decade of activity, CWP is finally opening an office and activity center. The new center is located on Yegia Kapayim Street, in South-Central Tel-Aviv, and will be open within the next few weeks. We hope that this center will become a home for local peace activists, serve as a space for political meetings and events and encourage new actions and initiatives. We also hope that the new space will be a meeting point for our international friends and supporters and enable them to join our activities and to work with us on joint actions.

2. Call for Action on Global BDS Day, March 30

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) has issued a call for action to mark the second Global BDS Day of Action on March 30 2010, in solidarity with the Palestinian people and for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israeli institutions and corporations. This Day of Action coincides with Palestinian Land Day, which marks the struggle against the expropriation and colonization of Palestinian lands and commemorates six Palestinian demonstrators killed by Israeli security forces on the first Land Day in 1976.

BDS is an effective and nonviolent form of struggle, intended to generate international pressure on Israel to end the occupation and to bring justice to the Palestinian people. As Desmond Tutu noted with regards to the end of apartheid in South Africa: “We would not have succeeded without international pressure – in particular the divestment movement of the 1980’s”. The Palestinian call for BDS measures against Israel, issued in 2005, has grown into a powerful global solidarity movement. CWP has decided in its General Assembly in November 2009 to support the Palestinian call for BDS and we see ourselves as part of this international movement.

What can you do?

CWP’s online database, “Who Profits from the Occupation?”, was launched in January 2009 and has since become a leading source of information about corporate involvement in the occupation and a key asset to the global movement of economic activism and BDS. You can search the WhoProfits website to find ideas for action on March 30. Some suggestions:

➢ Demand that your university, church council, workers union or pension fund divest from Israeli and international companies that are involved in the occupation. The WhoProfits research team can help in surveying investment portfolios to identify these companies. For example, in May 2009, following a campaign initiated by CWP, the Norwegian Pension Fund declared that it will divest from Elbit, an Israeli company that provides surveillance technologies for the Apartheid Wall.

➢ Organize a creative action targeting a corporation that is involved in the occupation. Hundreds of Israeli and international companies that violate international human rights law await you at the WhoProfits database. You might like to try:

Carmel Agrexco – Israel’s largest exporter of agricultural produce. In a court case in November 2006, the General Manager of Agrexco UK at the time testified that Agrexco markets 60-70% of the agricultural produce grown in Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories. 50% of Agrexco’s shares are owned by the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture and the company serves as a tool in Israel’s colonialist expansion and land expropriation. Agrexco exports are sold in many supermarkets around the world, particularly in the European Union.

Ahava – A privately held Israeli cosmetics company that manufactures products using minerals and mud from the Dead Sea, sold in beauty stores around the world. The company’s main factory and visitor center are located in the Israeli settlement of Mitzpe Shalem in the occupied West Bank and nearly 45% of the company’s shares are held by the Israeli settlements Mitzpe Shalem and Kalia.

➢ Support existing BDS campaigns facing challenges. Last week, UC Berkeley’s student senate voted in support of divestment from General Electric and United Technologies because of their involvement in the occupation. A week later, the senate president vetoed the bill. However, the veto can be overturned with just 14 senate votes – and the students need you to email the UC Berkeley senators to let them know why they should overturn the veto. Write a letter to senate@asuc.org (if possible, include ucbdivest@gmail.com in bcc).

In France, the Israeli lobby is trying to introduce new laws that will deem any BDS activity as “anti-Semitic” and the French Prime Minister and Minister of Justice have been attacking the BDS movement. One activist, Sakina Arnaud from Bordeaux, is facing trial for putting BDS stickers on orange juice at a local supermarket. You can sign the petition in support of Arnaud and against the criminalization of BDS (endorsed by CWP).

CWP and CODEPINK joint action calling to boycott Ahava Beauty Products. Read more about this campaign at www.stolenbeuty.org

3. Universal Jurisdiction Update

In December 2009, following an arrest warrant issued in London against Tzipi Livini for war crimes committed during the war on Gaza, the British government announced its intent to limit the principle of universal jurisdiction, which enables the prosecution of foreign war criminals. CWP initiated an urgent appeal to the British Prime Minister and to the British Foreign Secretary, urging them to not take this dangerous step. The letter was endorsed by 99 feminist peace organizations from 25 countries, among them 20 Israeli and Palestinian organizations.

The letter helped generate international and internal pressure on the British government. In March 2010, the British Cabinet announced that it will postpone any changes to universal jurisdiction until after the general elections. We would like to thank all of the people and organizations, who helped us in signing and spreading this appeal.

4. Stay in Touch

We are currently in the process of rebuilding and improving our website. We apologize for the inconvenience, but in the meantime you can receive regular updates about our work through our Facebook fan page:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Coalition-of-Women-for-Peace/94205446262

In Solidarity,

The Coalition of Women for Peace

http://coalitionofwomen.org

CWP Update: Goldstone Deadline and the Persecution of Palestinian and Israeli Human Rights Defenders

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

February 4, 2010

CWP Update: The Goldstone Deadline and the Persecution of Palestinian and Israeli Human Rights Defenders

1. Call for Action to Mark the UN Goldstone Report Deadline

Friday, February 5th, marks the deadline given by the UN General Assembly to Israel and to  Hamas to launch independent committees to investigate the findings of the Goldstone Report.

The Goldstone Report has concluded that Israel’s offensive against Gaza during Operation Cast Lead was “a deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population”. The fact-finding mission found concrete evidence that Israel committed war crimes such as targeting Palestinian civilian populations, using Palestinians as “human shields”, using white phosphorus munitions and direct and intentional targeting of civilian structures – among them a school, a hospital, a market, a mosque and a humanitarian aid warehouse.

Despite these severe findings, Israel has yet to conduct an independent and reliable investigation of the war crimes it has committed. Nor has Israel ended the siege of Gaza, which is intended to isolate and debilitate Gaza and constitutes a collective punishment of a civilian population.

We feel that it is the obligation of the international community to ensure that Israel will comply with international human rights and humanitarian law. We call on our friends in the international community to mark the February 5th deadline by organizing international actions and demonstrations – calling Israel to investigate the war crimes it committed, to punish those who were responsible for the crimes and to end the siege of Gaza.

Im Tirtzu’s Campaign Against Organizations that Provided Information to the UN Fact-Finding Mission

2. Persecution of Palestinian and Israeli Human Rights Defenders

Ironically, while Israel has not launched an independent committee to investigate war crimes committed in Gaza – the Israeli parliament decided this week to launch a committee to investigate foreign funding of Israeli civil society organizations. This process was sparked by a report published by the Israeli extreme-right organization Im Tirtzu (“if you will it”), citing 16 Israeli human rights organizations that provided evidence for the Goldstone Report and accusing them of collaborating with the enemy.

Among these organizations are the Coalition of Women for Peace, including our project “Who Profits from the Occupation,” and two of our member organizations: New Profile and MachsomWatch. Despite the factual inaccuracies and the anti-democratic premise of this right-wing report, the Coalition is proud to be mentioned among the Israeli organizations that struggle against the war crimes that Israel is committing in Gaza.

This McCarthyist parliamentary committee is part of a new wave of assaults on Palestinian and Israeli activists and organizations that are struggling against the occupation. Further examples are the violent quashing of the Palestinian nonviolent resistance by Israeli security forces, the nighttime raids and arrests of Palestinian organizers and activists, as well as attempts to delegitimize Palestinian human rights organizations.

While these constant assaults on Palestinian and Israeli human rights defenders are troubling, we feel that they also represent the growing fear among Israeli officials, who recognize the threat posed by international pressure and by the Palestinian nonviolent struggle. To quote Ben Caspit, a senior Israeli reporter who accused Israeli human rights organizations of destroying Israel from within: “They (Israeli organizations) are winning the war on public opinion, big time. Israel is bleeding, IDF officers are hiding in their headquarters, our leaders are canceling visits overseas, Israeli merchandise is taken off the shelves and this is only the beginning (…) Israel’s image is at an all-time low. International pressure is mounting, and with it the calls for boycott.”

It is clear that international pressure is currently one of the greatest threats to the continuation of the Israeli occupation. Therefore, we call on our international allies to increase this pressure – despite the growing political persecution – so that together we will bring an end to the occupation and justice to all inhabitants of this region.

In Solidarity,

The Coalition of Women for Peace

http://coalitionofwomen.org


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