Muslim coalition thanks Presbyterian Church for divestment vote

LETTER
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A coalition of national and local Chicago-area Islamic institutions, led by the American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), today sent a letter of gratitude and support to leading members of the Presbyterian Church(USA) in response to the 221st General Assembly’s vote to divest from three companies profiting from Israel’s occupation of Palestine.

AMP, rights groups call for an end to Israel’s collective punishment of Palestinians

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(Photo/Institute for Middle East Understanding)
Israeli Occupation Forces have invaded Hebron in the West Bank, closing all exits and placing the city's nearly 800,000 residents under siege.  

(CHICAGO 06/23/2014) — The American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), a national education and advocacy organization, adds its voice to the growing call for Israel to immediately stop its collective punishment of the Palestinian people, which has been ongoing since three Israeli settlers went missing on June 12. Israel’s disproportionate use of deadly force, massive arrests, administrative detentions, home demolitions, and airstrikes on Gaza go above and beyond rescue efforts for three Israeli settlers.

Amnesty International and several other human rights organizations on Sunday sent a letter to the Israeli Minister of Defense and Minister of Public Security demanding they refrain from collectively punishing the civilian Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The letter states Israel’s actions “harm the Palestinian population and do not serve” to secure the Israeli settlers’ safe return. In fact, the actions amount to collective punishment, in direct contravention of international law, the letter said.

All human lives are valuable; AMP demands equal recognition for Palestinian victims

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Ali al-‘Awour, 10, left is pictured with his younger sister. Ali died after being hit from shrapnel from an Israeli airstrike on Gaza. (Photo/DCI-Palestine).

(CHICAGO 07/01/2014) – The American Muslims for Palestine, a national education and advocacy organization, holds that all life is sacred. And while the world marks the deaths of the three Israeli settlers, AMP asserts that Palestinian life is no less important. We call upon western media and President Barack Obama to recognize the more than one dozen Palestinians who have been killed since Israel launched “Operation Brothers’ Keeper” on June 12 in response to the settlers’ disappearance.

AMP mourns the loss of:

Fatima Ismail Issa Rushdi, 78. Died of a heart attack during an Israeli raid in el Arroub Refugee Camp near Hebron.

Jamil Ali Abed Jaber, 60. Died of a heart attack during an Israeli raid on his home in Haris village.

Ahmad Said Suod Khalid, 27. Disabled. Shot by Israeli soldiers four times as he walked to morning prayers at the mosque in al-Ein Refugee Camp near Bethlehem.

Mahmoud Ismail Atallah Tarifi, 30. Shot by Israeli snipers. Bled to death.

Mustafa Husni Aslan, 22. Shot in the head by Israeli soldiers in Qalandia Camp, near Ramallah.

Mohammad Dudeen, 15. Shot by Israeli soldier in Dura, near Hebron.

Ahmad Sabarin, 21. Shot in the chest by Israeli soldiers during raids in al-Jazalon Refugee Camp.

Ali al-‘Awour, 10. Died from shrapnel wounds from an Israeli airstrike in Gaza.

Several human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, have condemned Israel’s disproportionate response to the settlers’ disappearance. The recent incursions into the West Bank, arrests of more than 500 Palestinians – including dozens of children -- thousands of raids, dozens of home demolitions, and airstrikes in Gaza are vestiges of the world’s longest-lasting military occupation, which not only violates international law but also serves to dehumanize Palestinians at home and on the world arena. On Monday, the Israeli air force launched massive airstrikes into Gaza, hitting at least 34 targets, and occupation forces blew up at least two houses near Hebron and raided several others.

Presbyterian divestment passes!

Photo/Omar Bseileh, AMP-Detroit

The plenary of the 221st General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA has voted 310 to 303 to divest from three US companies that profit from Israel's military occupation of Palestinian lands on Friday, June 20, 2014, by a vote of 310-303. After a long afternoon of respectful debate -- and 10 years' worth of effort on this issue -- commissioners passed a resolution to divest from Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions. Two years ago, the divestment resolution was defeated by two votes. 

"We at the American Muslims for Palestine were so honored to be a part of the interfaith coalition supporting the Presbyterian Israel Palestine Mission Network's divestment efforts," said Krsistin Szremski, AMP national director of media and communications. "Members of AMP Detroit helped flyer, attended the interfaith vigil in the rain, submitted presonal stories and also gave videotaped testimony as part of a large coalition that supported the divestment effort."

AMP also submitted a position paper to the IPMN to offer a Palestinian perspective on the facts on the ground in Palestine and on BDS. Jewish Voice for Peace, Friends of Sabeel North Amerrica, IPMN and Talat Othman also submitted papers. The large coalition included AMP, IPMN, Friends of Sabeel North America, Jewish Voice for Peace, the US Palestine Community Network and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. 

"After a decade of corporate engagement with Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola Solutions, these companies have failed to modify their behavior and continue to profit from Israeli human rights abuses and non-peaceful pursuits," said IPMN member Rev. Dr. Walt Davis, Professor Emeritus, San Francisco Theological Seminary. “This is a historic vote and the culmination of a long and deliberate internal process within the church."

Read the full IPMN press release

Empowerment Through Education and Action

The American Muslims for Palestine firmly believes that educating the American public is key to bringing about change in the Middle East. Because once Americans know what is truly happening on the ground in Palestine, they will no longer allow their tax dollars to be used to support Israel's military occupation of Palestine, the world's last and longest-lasting occupation. We are all empowered to act for justice when we know the truth.

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