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Political Action Congressional Briefings
Action Alert: Bethlehem District Threatened by Land Confiscation in the West Bank
Settlement expansion planned for expropriated land
Invite your members of Congress to an important briefing in Washington DC
on Nov 24, 2014
Above: West Bank village of Wadi Foquin is overwhelmed by surrounding, expanding settlements
Violence in Israel and the occupied West Bank is escalating daily, leaving Israelis and Palestinians dead and injured and fanning the flames for even more violence. At the same time, land confiscation, settlement expansion, and home demolitions continue in the West Bank, with Israel resuming its practice of demolishing homes as a punitive measure.
As people of faith, we must speak and act to preserve life and prevent further suffering. To that end, it is crucial that we address the root causes for the violence.
A Capitol Hill briefing will be held on Nov. 24, 2014, on the issue of land confiscation, specifically the recent actions that threaten the West Bank village of Wadi Foquin and neighboring areas near Bethlehem.
This is an important opportunity for members of Congress to become informed on the underlying issues that are at the root of the currently escalating violence.
MAKE SURE they know their constituents (that's you!) want them to attend.
WHEN: Monday, November 24, 2014, 2:00 - 3:30 p.m.
WHERE: 2168 Rayburn House Office Building
WHO: Speakers from Wadi Foquin:
• Mr. Ahmad Sukar, Mayor and Village Council President of Wadi Foquin
• Mr. Ata Manasra, Coordinator, Wadi Foquin CDP
• Mr. Adel Hroub, Youth Coordinator, Wadi Foquin CDP
YOUR ACTION: Contact your members of Congress and
ask them to attend this important briefing!
Send the message to your Senators and Representative,
quickly and easily. [Editor's note: This alert is past.]
BACKGROUND ON THIS BRIEFING
Four days after the ceasefire took effect in Gaza late this summer, Israel announced it would expropriate 1,000 acres of Palestinian land in the Bethlehem district of the West Bank. The land annexation is intended for settlement expansion in violation of international law, which prohibits such actions in occupied territories. The area is currently in agricultural use by five Palestinian villages — Wadi Foquin, Husan, Nahalin, Surif, and Jab’a — supporting families and a rural way of life as it has for many generations.
This action was foreshadowed a year ago, when residents of Wadi Foquin travelled to Washington D.C. to
describe the existential threat expanding settlements posed to their homes, their families, and their livelihood.
Since 1967 every U.S. administration has opposed the settlements and has viewed settlement expansion as a major obstacle to peace in the region. The U.S. State Department has strongly urged Israel to reverse this latest action of land expropriation. The briefing will provide members with general information on the settlement enterprise and the specific impact of this latest action on Wadi Foquin and neighboring villages in the West Bethlehem district.
Ask your Senators and Representative to attend this briefing on Monday afternoon, November 24th » click here
Friends of Wadi Foquin
General Board of Church and Society (GBCS)
of the United Methodist Church
U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace (PCAP)
Faith Forum on Middle East Policy
Wadi Foquin in annexation area,
Israel to confiscate 1,000 acres of Palestinian land
Faith in Action, UMC General Board of Church & Society
- September 12, 2014
by Rev. Michael Yoshii
Above: A Wadi Foquin resident points to the quickly rising buildings of the Betar Illit Israeli settlement that is taking the village land by force. (Photo New World Outlook courtesy of CDP Wadi Foquin)
Land confiscation orders were issued Aug. 31 by the Israeli government for settlement expansion in the West Bethlehem District of the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The action will annex nearly 1,000 acres of Palestinian land.
Directly impacted by this order is the village of Wadi Foquin, a Community Development site supported by the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM). The Friends of Wadi Foquin (FOWF) is a partnership with the village of Wadi Foquin started in August 2009 initiated through United Methodist churches in the California-Nevada Conference.
Through our efforts, Wadi Foquin has been designated as a community development site through GBGM, as well as an "Advance" site for giving.
We also organized a Capitol Hill briefing about Wadi Foquin in November 2013 that addressed the impact of the Israeli military occupation and the existential threats facing the village.
FOWF is in direct communication with the village. We have been receiving daily updates since the confiscation orders were issued.
The village council is filing court papers in objection to the confiscation orders. It is also consulting an attorney to work through the legal process, and is organizing public demonstrations in the village.
In collaboration with FOWF, the village council is planning a speaking tour to raise consciousness about the situation, and to raise funds for the community development projects in the village.
Projects had been put on hold during the Gaza siege, but the council has resolved to continue work on them as a sign of its resistance to the theft of its land.
We have an opportunity to help Wadi Foquin with this while also creating venues to facilitate the voices of its people being heard. We are in the process of setting up a speaking tour in the United States for residents of Wadi Foquin.
In addition, FOWF is planning to organize another Capitol Hill briefing to amplify their voices and educate members of Congress about the specific situation in Wadi Foquin. The briefing will explain why U.S. policy needs to change to reverse the immoral treatment of the Palestinian people.
Our goal is to hold the briefing after the November elections, which will coincide with the speaking tour. This briefing will build on the efforts that were organized last year.
We ask your help in contacting congressional offices for the following actions:
• Sponsorship and/or support for a November briefing, and
• join in a collective voice to rescind the confiscation orders, and oppose further settlement expansion.
FOWF has prepared a sample letter that you can send as an individual, congregation, or organization to your members of Congress. Please feel free to edit it to suit your particular needs.
We encourage you to write letters on church letterhead, and scan and email to the offices of your members of Congress to request a meeting to discuss our proposals. It is important to identify possible supporters for our efforts first.
Larger mass email blasts will be encouraged as a second phase of advocacy.
If you have any questions or want to update us on any communication with your members of Congress: send an email to email@example.com.
Also, please let us know if you are open to hosting speakers from Wadi Foquin during November.
Editor's note: The Rev. Michael Yoshii is pastor at Buena Vista United Methodist Church, Alameda, Calif.
You can read more about Friends of Wadi Foquine and last year’s U.S. Capitol Hill briefing at www.friendsofwadifoquin.com.
New World Outlook magazine featured Wadi Foquin in its Nov. 1, 2013, edition. You can read its story at A Window of Hope in Wadi Foquin.
You can learn more about the most recent confiscation of land in the Occupied Palestinian Territories at the following:
• “Israel's newest land grab, (Faith in Action, Sept. 12, 2014)
• “Israel Claims Nearly 1,000 Acres of West Bank Land Near Bethlehem,” (New York Times, Aug. 31, 2014)
• “Protect Wadi Foquin,” (Faith in Action, Dec. 13, 2012)
United Methodist Resolution #6111, “Opposition to Israeli Settlements in Palestinian Land” states that the denomination opposes continued military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, the confiscation of Palestinian land and water resources, the destruction of Palestinian homes, the continued building of illegal Jewish settlements, and any vision of a “Greater Israel” that includes the occupied territories and the whole of Jerusalem and its surroundings.
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2nd Congressional Briefing on Wadi Foquin -
Land Confiscation, November 2014