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Dec. 2016 – UMKR has a (slightly) new name: United Methodists for Kairos Response
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Political Action Congressional Briefings
Congressional Briefing on Wadi Foquin and the
impact of West Bank Settlement Expansion
A delegation from the Bethlehem district in the occupied West Bank told a packed room of congressional staffers what daily life is like under the Israeli occupation and argued that Israel’s ongoing, illegal annexation of Palestinian land and settlement expansion are obstacles to any just resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. More than 45 staffers from the offices of 29 representatives and 9 senators attended the briefing at the Rayburn House Office Building, along with 25 representatives from Middle East peace and justice groups.
Congressional Briefing on Gaza – One Year Later
Speakers urged US lawmakers to raise serious concerns about lack of accountability for human rights violations and war crimes by Israeli military in Gaza. On 29 July 2015, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, Adalah and co-sponsors presented a congressional briefing in Washington D.C., to mark one year since the 50-day war on Gaza in 2014 that claimed the lives of 2,220 Palestinians, about 70% of whom were civilians. This coalition of human rights organizations and civil society partners urged US lawmakers to raise serious concerns with Israel about the total lack of accountability for gross human rights violations and alleged war crimes by the Israeli military in Gaza.
Congressional Briefing on Palestinian Child Detention
Defence for Children International-Palestine states that “Israel is the only country in the world that automatically prosecutes children in military courts that lack basic and fundamental fair trial guarantees. Since 2000, at least 8,000 Palestinian children have been arrested and prosecuted in an Israeli military detention system notorious for the systematic ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children.” A 2013 UNICEF report states, “Ill-treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized.”
This congressional briefing was part of a three-day series of advocacy events in early June organized by Defence for Children International-Palestine (DCI-Palestine), the American Friends Service Committee, the No Way to Treat a Child Campaign, and US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation to raise awareness of Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinian children in military detention. More than 100 people, including staff from 36 congressional offices, attended the briefing.
2nd Congressional Briefing on Wadi Foquin
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.
A Capitol Hill briefing was 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.
Congressional Briefing on Wadi Foquin
First of its kind briefing for Congress is organized by a United Methodist group, Friends of Wadi Foquin, with many allied organizations.
At a Nov. 19 briefing held at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center in Washington, DC, residents of the West Bank village of Wadi Foquin described the dire threat Israel’s occupation poses to their village. The event, organized by a myriad of organizations, was well attended, as more than 50 legislators sent staff members to the briefing.
Wadi Foquin is seeking international support because Israeli authorities are threatening to expand the separation (or apartheid) wall through the village. The villagers warn that this would destroy the village both economically and socially.
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