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Take Action! Support freedom of movement and an end of blockade for the people of Gaza!

Movement of goods and people in and out of the Gaza Strip has presented a challenge for a very long time. There are only two crossing points for people to and from the Strip (Erez Crossing at the north into Israel and Rafah Crossing at the south into Egypt). For years passage through both crossings has been severely restricted. Following the Egyptian revolution in 2011, the Egyptian Government greatly increased the flow of traffic through Rafah Crossing. But current developments in Egypt have resulted in a return to crossing closures and severely restricted movement in and out of Gaza. The recent overthrow of Egypt’s Morsi government and intensified military operations in the Sinai Peninsula have made the crossing situation unpredictable.

On September 11, 2013, Egyptian authorities closed Rafah Crossing indefinitely for security reasons and opened it only for a few hours a day starting September 18th. This opening is only for “emergency cases” including medical patients, humanitarian cases, and students. The Israeli organization Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement this week reported “around 800 students from Gaza are currently unable to reach their studies because of the closure of Rafah. Similarly, some 5,000 individuals, who meet criteria for travel via Rafah and are registered at Gaza’s Ministry of Interior, remain stranded in Gaza. At least 600 Gaza residents who are currently abroad, are unable to return to Gaza because of Rafah’s closure – included among them are patients who traveled to Egypt for medical treatment.” Even on days when the crossing is open, hours of operation have frequently been cut in half.

Posted by on Sep 21, 2013

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A Letter to Jon Huntsman and the UW Class of 2013

Dear Graduates of 2013 and Mr. Jon Huntsman,

Congratulations to the UW graduating class of 2013! We – your fellow students, faculty, alumni, and members of the greater Seattle community – write to recognize your achievement but, also, to share with you and with commencement speaker, Jon Huntsman, our serious concerns about Mr. Huntsman’s connection to Caterpillar Inc. and to human rights abuses in Palestine/Israel.

The University of Washington has invited Jon Huntsman to give the Commencement keynote address that will set the tone for graduates’ first steps into their post-university lives. We know Mr. Huntsman most recently as one of the 2012 Republican presidential hopefuls. But in addition to a long and prestigious career in American politics, Jon Huntsman serves on the board of Caterpillar Inc. (CAT), an American firm that manufactures and distributes bulldozers and civil engineering tools. The CAT logo has become ubiquitous on most construction sites around the country. Most students are not familiar with CAT bulldozers that are part of the daily lives of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation.

For decades, CAT has sold specially militarized equipment to the Government of Israel used in the systematic demolition of Palestinian homes, the death and injury of unarmed Palestinian and international civilians, the uprooting of olive trees and destruction of agricultural land, and the expropriation of Palestinian territory through the construction of illegal Jewish-only settlements and a separation-annexation wall. Amnesty International, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, and Human Rights Watch have all reported on and denounced Israel’s breaches of international humanitarian law and CAT’s complicity in human rights violations. The CAT brand and its bulldozers have become a symbol of destruction in Palestine.

Posted by on Jun 12, 2013

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Keynote Address- Rachel Corrie & Freedom for Palestine: 10 Years—Looking back, Moving Forward

We would like to thank everyone who joined us in Olympia on March 16, 2013 to remember and celebrate Rachel Corrie.  The day was filled with moving speeches and personal accounts, music, dance and remembrances.  We want to share with you the incredible keynote addresses provided by Ramzy Baroud, Phyllis Bennis, and moderated by Dr. Steve Niva.

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Posted by on Apr 8, 2013

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37th annual commemoration of Land day in Palestine

March 30, 2013, marks the 37th annual commemoration of Land Day in Palestine when in 1976 Israeli military forces killed six Palestinians and wounded and arrested hundreds more during what began as nonviolent demonstrations. Protests in several Palestinian villages were in opposition to the Israeli government’s announcement of a plan to expropriate several thousand acres of land to build new settlements.  Land Day has more recently become an international day of protest through Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS).  Each year, people around the world join in solidarity actions targeting companies operating in illegal Israeli settlements.

We hope you will help us commemorate Land Day by educating about the Israeli company SodaStream that produces at home beverage carbonation systems.   We know you’ve heard about SodaStream, but did you know that the company is located on occupied Palestinian land in an illegal settlement, in violation of international law? Your local SodaStream distributor might not know either!  Follow this link for a template of a letter you can send or deliver  to stores near you asking them to stop selling SodaStream products in your community!

For those in the Seattle area March 30th, come out and join our friends and partners at Palestine Solidarity Committee-Seattle (PSC) for an afternoon of music, dance, and BDS action beginning at 1 pm at Westlake Park at 4th and Pine. Click here for more details. In other places, create your own gathering to creatively carry the word about SodaStream to local businesses supporting the settlement enterprise and Israeli occupation.

Posted by on Apr 1, 2013

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Olympia, WA remembers Rachel- Events planned for March

On Saturday, March 16th, Olympia will mark the 10th anniversary of Rachel’s stand in Gaza. It has been an extraordinary and challenging journey for the Rachel Corrie Foundation, for the Corrie family, and for those in our community and beyond who have worked tirelessly for justice and peace in Palestine/Israel, in the world, and here at home.

In this month’s launch of a special year-long Peace Works effort, we will feature multiple special events and a remarkable March 16th day of action, reflection, and celebration. We will focus on how Rachel has touched our community and the world; on all that has been accomplished these past ten years through our local, regional, national, and international peace-building; and on inspiring the work to come.

Please join us at these March events!

Saturday, March 16th – Rachel Corrie – 10 Years

Sylvester Park & The Olympia Ballroom (116 Legion Way SW, downtown Olympia) – expect a dynamic day of social action, speakers, music, dance, food, reflection, remembrance, and community!

  • 1 pm – Rally at Sylvester Park: Ten years is enough! Challenge U.S. aid to Israel and the lack of accountability for how those resources are used
  • 2:30 – 9pm – Olympia Ballroom – Keynote Speakers: Phyllis Bennis and Ramzy Baroud – 10 Years
  • Music and Dance- Batiste Dabke, House of Tarab, David Rovics, and more!
  • Community Potluck (5:00-7:00 pm) – an Olympia tradition
  • Remembrances – from Cindy and Craig Corrie and others
Posted by on Feb 22, 2013