Keep calling the Banksters. Your actions are helping.

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Yesterday we received a call from Tanya Kazak, the Vice President and Compliance Manager for Bank of the West within 15 minutes of posting our appeal for your action.  She had already received five calls and by the time we finished talking, she had received twelve.  Karen Nelson at the local branch was routing her calls to the 800 number, but here is a new number for her: +1 510 235 2981.

Here also is the text of a message that we sent after hours to Ms. Kazak after consulting with our attorney.  It explains further actions that we intend to take.  Your suggestions are welcome, and if you learn anything that might be of use, please send it to us.

Tanya Kazak
Vice President, Compliance Manager
Bank of the West
925-843-1060
 
Ms. Kazak,
 
Our legal counsel advises us that Bank of the West is illegally withholding our funds and that you have provided no justification to demand the information that you are asking.  He advises not to provide that information until and unless you demonstrate the legal necessity to do so, and he invites you to call him to discuss the matter further. His name is Tom Nelson and he can be reached at xxx-xxx-xxxx or xxx-xxx-xxxx.
 
Until now, Bank of the West has steadfastly refused to state that Bank of New York Mellon requires the requested information as a condition of releasing the funds to be returned to the Association.  In addition, Bank of the West refuses to state in writing what the consequences will be if the Association refuses to provide the requested information by your deadline of 4:00 p.m. PST, Feb. 18, 2015, which has now passed.
 
In the absence of such statements, we conclude that the demand is frivolous, malicious and insincere, and made in violation of the law but under the assumption that law enforcement will not act to protect our rights for a sum of money that would be within the jurisdiction of small claims court if we were an individual and not a corporation.  Clearly, BNY Mellon and/or Bank of the West consider themselves to be too powerful to abide by the law and the amount too small for theft statutes to be enforced.
 
However, we have other means of defending our rights, and we intend to pursue them.  These include state and federal banking authorities and public officials.  We also have the power of our supporters and human rights advocates everywhere, whom we can ask to demand from you directly and through public demonstrations and the press to honor our rights.  We can bring attention to your immoral and arrogant practices, and we can encourage the public to boycott your bank.  Please do not think that we are without recourse merely because our accounts do not represent a major part of your business.
 

Let me remind you that Bank of the West chose to use BNY Mellon for the subject transaction.  You may have business with them, but our business is with you and we hold you responsible for the return of our funds, regardless of your interaction with BNY Mellon.  Please do the right thing and return our funds without delay.

What you can do:
  1. Keep calling Tanya Kazak at +1 925 843 1060 and tell her to return our funds immediately.  If Bank of the West wants to use their own funds to reimburse us, we have no objection, and we will then allow them to keep any funds returned to them by Bank of New York Mellon.  Call Karen Nelson at +1 510 235 2980 and +1 510 235 2981 with the same message.  Perhaps sequential numbers above and below those two numbers will also work.
  2. Send the same message by email to tanya.kazak@bankofthewest.com, karen.nelson@bankofthewest.com, and nicky.davis@bankofthewest.com.
  3. You may wish to call Bank of New York Mellon at (212) 495-1784.  We have had no direct dealings with them, but you can perhaps ask the operator to direct you to the compliance section of the international wire transfer division.  You can tell them that it is in reference to a cancelled wire transfer in the amount of $3720 from the account of the Association for Investment in Popular Action Committees, sent from the Bank of the West, El Cerrito, California branch to the Charitable Association for Palestinian Relief in Lebanon on January 26, 2015.  They are not authorized to give you any information, but your purpose is to deliver the message to release the funds that they are illegally holding even after the transaction was cancelled.  Let us know about your experience.
  4. If you bank at Bank of the West, find a new bank, and let us and them know.  This kind of pressure makes a big difference.
Thank you for all your help.  The essence of the Palestinian struggle is that we won’t be bullied.

Stanford Senate reverses divestment vote, passes resolution

After a re-vote at the ASSU meeting on Tuesday, the divestment resolution passes. (ARNAV MARWALA/The Stanford Daily)

After a re-vote at the ASSU meeting on Tuesday, the divestment resolution passes. (ARNAV MARWALA/The Stanford Daily)

The 16th Undergraduate Senate passed the resolution supporting divestment from corporations identified as complicit in human rights abuses in Israel and Palestine. The vote comes a week after the Senate did not pass the same resolution.

The re-vote saw 10 Senators vote in favor of the bill, while four voted against and one Senator abstained.

Last week’s vote fell two percentage points short of passing – nine Senators voted in favor, five opposed and one abstained, meaning 64 percent of the Senate favored the bill, falling short of the two-thirds majority.

Read more here.

Settlers uproot hundreds of olive trees

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Israeli settlers uprooted around 550 newly planted olive saplings Wednesday in the town of ash-Shuyukh to the northeast of Hebron, according to local sources.


Sources told the Palestinian News and Info Agency that settlers from the illegal settlements of Asfar and Bani Kadim uprooted olive trees’ saplings belonging to the families of Abd al-Qader and Mousa al-Ayaydeh.

Local residents strongly denounced settlers’ ‘heinous actions’ of destroying residents’ land, stressing that they will remain steadfast in their land and replant the trees again.

Read more here.

Thousands of Palestinian homes on Israeli demolition ‘shortlist’

File photo of Israeli bulldozers demolishing a Palestinian home in Beit Hanina

File photo of Israeli bulldozers demolishing a Palestinian home in Beit Hanina

 

More than 20,000 Palestinian homes in Jerusalem have been shortlisted to be demolished by the Israeli occupation authorities, Jerusalem Centre for Social and Economic Rights (JCSER) has revealed.

The centre’s head, Ziad Hamouri, said that the reason these homes have been shortlisted for demolition is that they were built without building licences issued by the Israeli municipality in the occupied city. Applications for such licences from Palestinians are rarely approved.

See full story from Middle East Monitor here.

University of California – Davis student senate votes to divest from corporatations supporting Israeli human rights violations

The International Solidarity Movement Support Group in Northern California congratulates the students of the University of California at Davis for their principled stand against Israeli human rights violations.  When the universities become as principled as their students these violations will end.  Below is the announcement.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
On the night of January 29, 2015, a historic vote in support of global justice  and racial equality was taken by students at UC Davis as ASUCD passed a divestment resolution (Senate Resolution #9) with a two-third majority vote. The resolution called for the university to divest from American corporations (Caterpillar, Veolia, G4S and Raytheon) that are complicit in the ongoing human rights violations in Palestine, stating that:
 
“The investment portfolio of the University of California’s endowment and pension funds includes holdings in these corporations, making the University of California a complicit third party in the aforementioned human rights violations against the Palestinian people;”


This vote was the outcome of a democratic process and a grassroots student movement that was built over three years. UC Davis Senators, directly elected by and representative of the students of UC Davis, showed overwhelming support for the resolution due to its underlying anti-racist, anti-war message that is at the core of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS). This divestment resolution is part of the global BDS movement that calls for the end of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian people, equal rights for all palestinian citizens of Israel, and recognition of Palestinian refugees’ right to return as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.
 
Given that UC Davis has previously voted to divest from Apartheid South Africa, students on campus and across the US were inspired to divest from Israeli apartheid. Many were moved to do so after the massacre committed by Israel against the encaged Palestinians under siege in Gaza last summer that also destroyed Palestinian schools and universities. Israel’s occupation, perpetual wars and alleged war crimes have created a growing sense of urgency to respond to the call from Palestinian civil society IN 2005 to divest from companies that are complicit in the displacement, dispossession, and destruction of Palestinian lives.
 
Community members from various ethnic, racial, and religious backgrounds, such as the Black Student Union (BSU) and Chicana/o Student Movement (M.E.Ch.A.), stood in solidarity with divestment because they saw the struggle of the Palestinians as similar to their own. Many are aware that the police who are targeting black lives in cities such as Ferguson or Oakland are trained by Israeli police, and that the surveillance technology used on the US-Mexico border is also used in the Israeli apartheid wall. 
 
The passage of this divestment resolution makes Davis the seventh UC Campus to have voted to divest from Israel, following UC Berkeley, UC Los Angeles, UC San Diego, UC Irvine, UC Santa Cruz, and UC Riverside. We are part of the new student movement of the twenty-first century, a diverse anti-racist movement that has grown, despite the backlash, intimidation, and threats that it has encountered.
 
Many non-Palestinian students at UC Davis supported SR#9 and urged the senate table to be on the right side of history. I’m sick of the state of Israel and Jewish organizations that have a monopoly over the Jewish voice,” expressed a frustrated Jewish student. After listening to the arguments and facts presented before them, senators overwhelmingly voted in favor of the SR#9. The final vote was: 8-2-2. (8 Yes, 2 No, 2 Abstain).
 
We are proud of the senate and of our campus for finally taking the right decision for justice, racial equality, and human rights for all, including the Palestinian people. We know that our victory might trouble those in the powerful status quo but it cannot be taken from us, because it reflects our commitment to speak the truth in the jaws of censorship, to unite in the face of attempts to divide us, and to continue to demand justice for those wanting to live with justice and dignity in Palestine, and around the world. 

In Solidarity,

Students for Justice in Palestine at UC Davis.

Help free 14-year-old Malak

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Dear friends,

On January 21st, 14 year old Malak Khatib was sentenced by the Israeli military courts to two months in Israeli jails. Malak has been in Hasharon prison for over a month now as her family continues to endure the unbearable absence felt in their small apartment home in the West Bank village of Beitin.

Malak was arrested by Israeli forces one morning on her way from school. Her imprisonment came based on a testimony from Israeli soldiers. Regardless of her young age, she was interrogated without legal representation or the presence of a legal guardian. Today Malak continues to remain incarcerated in Israeli jails. The court has also sentenced the family to approximately 1,500 US dollars in fines. If they are not paid her release may be prolonged by the court.

Malak Khatib, is one of 700 Palestinian children to be arrested and interrogated by Israeli forces annually. Due to the family’s inability to cover the fine’s expenses, we are attempting to raise the money in order to have Malak return home as soon as possible. Especially as more prisoners are complaining of the escalating harsh conditions in Israeli prisons.

Prior to her arrest, Malak enjoyed to play soccer outside her home and sketching. She used to walk to school every day and her favorite sweets consist of gummy worms. She is the youngest of 8 children and despite her older age continued to enjoy sitting in her mother’s lap. She found refuge in it. Paralleling to that, Malak now sleeps in a jail cell with blue barred doors and grey concrete walls.

If the fine money is not paid, Malak may continue to be held within Israeli prisons. It is essential that we put forth our efforts in order to raise the money required to have Malak return home to the arms of her family, where her main concern once more is not wanting to wake up for school or arguing with her siblings.

To donate money, please go to the ISM donation page (palsolidarity.org/donate/) and then send an email to palreports@gmail.com. In the subject line of your email, write: ‘Donation for Malak’. In the email itself please say how much money you have contributed.

In solidarity,

International Solidarity Movement

UN: Dozens of children homeless after Israel illegally demolished Palestinian houses

The United Nations has condemned Israel for illegally demolishing houses of Palestinians in East Jerusalem, leaving 77 people, over half of whom are children, homeless in three days.

“Demolitions that result in forced evictions and displacement run counter to Israel’s obligations under international law and create unnecessary suffering and tension,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in statement Friday.

The demolitions took place in East Jerusalem and the districts of Ramallah, Jericho and Hebron, according to the statement.

See full story here.

Palestinian farmer shot and injured by Israeli troops near Gaza border

A 24-year old Palestinian farmer was wounded in the foot by Israeli forces stationed at a watchtower along the Israeli border with Gaza while the farmer was tending his field.

 Gaza border from the Israeli side (image by leahdgreen)

Gaza border from the Israeli side (image by leahdgreen)

The ‘no go zone’ established by the Israeli military next to the border was extended by Israeli troops to further encroach onto Palestinian farmlands and orchards following the Israeli assault on Gaza in summer 2014.

Read full IMEMC post here.

Dozens of olive trees felled in settler violence

Two incidents in the West Bank leave upwards of 60 olive trees severely damaged, according to human rights organizations.

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Vandalized trees in the West Bank village of Yasuf, January 11, 2015. (Photo by Zakariya Sadeh/Rabbis for Human Rights)

Dozens of Palestinian-owned mature olive trees were felled in a suspected settler attack Saturday night in the West Bank, according to two Israeli human rights organizations.

Villagers discovered the vandalized trees on lands belonging to the village of Yasuf, in the central West Bank in between the Israeli settlements of Rehelim and Kfar Tapuach.

See full +972 report here.

ISM Olive Oil Bottling Party to Benefit Palestinian Farmers and Nonviolent Resistance


Where:   Grassroots house, 2022 Blake St., Berkeley, CA (between Ashby and Berkeley BART)

When:    Sun, Jan 25, 2015 10AM to 5:00PM

The 2014 harvest oil has arrived, with zaatar (thyme) in the same shipment.  New keffiyehs, too, all needing packaging/bottling.  Please join us to benefit Palestinian farmers and nonviolent resistance in Palestine.  If you only want to buy, that’s OK, too.  The fun, fellowship and aroma of olive oil are hard to beat.  The bottled oil and other items will be sold to raise money and awareness for the work of the ISM.

Stopping nonviolent resistance volunteers from entering Palestinian is a major priority for the Israeli regime, but we continue to send them and to provide training.  Meet our volunteers and listen to their stories as you bottle oil.

The Northern California chapter of the International Solidarity Movement bottles and packages FAIR TRADE ORGANIC EXTRA VIRGIN Palestinian olive oil, olive oil soap, zaatar and Palestinian made kuffiyas, and has other interesting items as well as the art and jewelry of Katie Miranda.

You are welcome to bring food, but we will have some typical Palestinian dishes to offer as well. Bring family, friends, etc. Our products make great gifts with a human rights message.  These products are also available at the ISM-NorCal online store, but we have many more that are not on line.  It all helps Palestinian farmers and businesses as well as nonviolent resistance in Palestine.

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