PalBox: a new way to support Palestine‏

Palbox is a new project that supports Palestinian farmers, artists and craftspeople and benefits the nonviolent resistance in Palestine, as well.  Palbox is a gourmet gift box delivered four times a year to your doorstep and includes:

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• a 750ml bottle of Palestinian olive oil

• 2 bars of olive oil soap

• a bag of za’atar

• a new, hand-curated Palestinian cultural product in each box (the first box will contain a downloadable album of music from Haidar Eid)

• a sterling silver piece of Arabic calligraphy jewelry.

The first Palbox ships December 1, just in time for the holidays. You must order during October to receive the December 1st shipment. 

Here is our 2 minute promo video below:

The challenge in creating Palbox was how to support Palestinians living in Gaza, faced with an Israeli blockade of exports. Palbox overcomes with electronic downloadables from Gaza, like music, which bypass the blockade.

Here is Katie Miranda’s 10 minute “interview” with singer, BDS activist, and  professor of Postcolonial and Postmodern Literature at Gaza’s al-Aqsa University, Haidar Eid, about his new album titled Gaza Blues: Hymns of Love, Death and Resistance. The album comes with the first Palbox. The reason “interview” is in quotes is that due to the inconsistent supply of electricity in Gaza, Katie could not do the interview over Skype, so she emailed him the questions and he recorded the answers.  Katie is a successful career artist and former ISM volunteer who is part of the Northern California coordination team.

Palbox is most of all an act of solidarity with Palestinians. In addition to supporting the Palestinian economy with Fair Trade principles and practices, proceeds from the sale of Palbox products go to the Northern California chapter of the International Solidarity Movement, a Palestinian-led movement committed to resisting the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land using nonviolent methods and principles. We cannot single handedly stop bombs from raining down on Gaza but we can vote with our pocketbooks by boycotting Israeli goods and buying Palestinian.

What if you and everyone you knew used ONLY Palestinian olive oil ? Think  what that would mean for Palestinian farmers…

Subscribe to Palbox Today and Please Share this Email Widely !

Appeal from U.S. to World: Help Us Resist U.S. Crimes

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Roots Action Petition

Since the end of the Cold War, the United States of America has systematically violated the prohibition against the threat or use of force contained in the UN Charter and the Kellogg Briand Pact. It has carved out a regime of impunity for its crimes based on its UN Security Council veto, non-recognition of international courts and sophisticated “information warfare” that undermines the rule of law with political justifications for otherwise illegal threats and uses of force.

Former Nuremberg prosecutor Benjamin B. Ferencz has compared current U.S. policy to the illegal German “preemptive first strike” policy for which senior German officials were convicted of aggression at Nuremberg and sentenced to death by hanging.

In 2002, the late U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy described post-September 11th U.S. doctrine as “a call for 21st century American imperialism that no other nation can or should accept.” And yet the U.S. government has succeeded in assembling alliances and ad hoc “coalitions” to support threats and attacks on a series of targeted countries, while other countries have stood by silently or vacillated in their efforts to uphold international law. In effect, the U.S. has pursued a successful diplomatic policy of “divide and conquer” to neutralize global opposition to wars that have killed about 2 million people and plunged country after country into intractable chaos.

As representatives of civil society in the United States, the undersigned U.S. citizens and advocacy groups are sending this emergency appeal to our neighbors in our increasingly interconnected but threatened world. We ask you to stop providing military, diplomatic or political support for U.S. threats or uses of force; and to support new initiatives for multilateral cooperation and leadership, not dominated by the United States, to respond to aggression and settle international disputes peacefully as required by the UN Charter.

We pledge to support and cooperate with international efforts to stand up to and stop our country’s systematic aggression and other war crimes. We believe that a world united to uphold the UN Charter, the rule of international law and our common humanity can and must enforce U.S. compliance with the rule of law to bring lasting peace to the world we all share.

This will be sent to all the world’s national governments. You can sign as an individual on this page. To sign as an organization click here.

Click HERE to sign petition

North America Nakba Tour

Author: Norcal ISM Editor

Date: April 2016

Amena and Mariam

Amena and Mariam

Photo Credit: Samir Salem

We are strong in spirit and we know that justice is on our side. We believe that our exile will end if we do not give up.

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From a Stateless Palestinian Refugee to Signers of the “Leahy letter” in the US Congress

Date: April 2016

Mariam cooking while on tour

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The following letter is from 86-year- old Mariam Fathalla, a stateless Palestinian from a refugee camps in Lebanon. It is addressed to the eleven Congressional signers of the “Leahy letter”, asking secretary of State John Kerry to report on Israeli and Egyptian violations of human rights. Mariam personally took the letter
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Tree Planting and Protest in Beit al-Baraka

Author: International Solidarity Movement, al-Khalil Team

Date: April 2016

Palestinians fear is that the entire Gush Etzion junction will be closed to Palestinians, permanently closing the road between Hebron and Behlehem for them.

Villagers Protesting on their Land

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Photo Credit: ISM
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SUPPORT PALESTINE! PROTEST AIPAC! #SupportPalestineInDC2016

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March 20, 2015, 12-5pm
12 Noon: Assemble at the White House
1pm-5pm: March to the Washington, D.C. Convention Center
Facebook Event Page

Al-Awda, The Palestinian Right to Return Coalition and the ANSWER Coalition are co-sponsoring the National March to Support Palestine and Protest AIPAC. We are expecting hundreds of organizations and individual leaders to endorse this activity and join the effort!

12 Noon: Assemble at the White House
1pm-5pm: March to the Washington, D.C. Convention Center

On March 20, 2016 we aren’t just protesting AIPAC but we are being direct about supporting Palestine hence the theme! We are asking people from all over The United States of America to come support justice for Palestine by standing against AIPAC which will be convening in DC on this day! We cannot continue to let AIPAC (which advocates for an illegal foreign entity not on US soil) dicatate our American foreign policy.

SUPPORT PALESTINE! PROTEST AIPAC! #SupportPalestineInDC2016

Please support our work in making this national rally the great success it deserves! Thank you! Please click on this link to donate: https://www.gofundme.com/zu9y3a5z

It is a Life of Desperation: Palestinian Refugees in Jordan

Author: Claire Thaliana | Date: April 2015

Jabal al-Hussein refugee camp in Jordan.  Photo: C. Thaliana

This message came from Umm Ahmed, a Palestinian grandmother who’s lived her whole life in the Jabal al-Hussein refugee camp in Jordan. She was recently able to visit her daughter in Palestine for the first time after seventeen years of being denied by the Israeli embassies. She asked me to get bring the message home about the injustices Palestinian refugees face every day. This story is my attempt to do just that.

Economic Conditions

“It is a life of desperation.” Each of the ten people I interviewed said that at some point when I asked about the economic conditions in the camps. The youth in particular face unemployment, low wages and an impossibly high cost of living, and can’t raise the money they need to leave the camp even if they want to. These issues can ultimately be traced back to the disparities in legal status between Palestinian refugees and Jordanians in Jordan. Less than half of students make it through secondary or professional school, and those lacking Jordanian citizenship are given lower consideration for scholarships and jobs in their fields than Jordanian citizens with less education. Exploitation of low-wage workers is common, and labor laws in Jordan are rarely enforced.

Meanwhile, the cost of living has drastically increased in the last few decades, and even more since the Syrian crisis.

Let me tell you a truth about poverty everywhere, for poverty is in my lived experience too – it means making terrible choices when all the other options are gone. Saeed (pseudonym) a young married man with several children, painted a clear picture of day-to-day living in the camp. Young people just want to buy a coffee or cigarettes, but can’t afford even these simple pleasures in their circumstances. So they ask older people for money… but it’s humiliating.

After a long time of living every day in desperation, youth get to where they don’t feel anything. And then they say they wish it were a chaotic situation like Syria, so they could move about and steal what they needed. One even said that if he could join one of the terrorist organizations he would, because they would provide a living for him, but if he had any other way to feed his children and cover his expenses, he would be the first one to fight against such organizations.

We’d live under a tent in the rain as long as we could live in our homeland.

Access to Healthcare

The intermittent employment people face in the camp also affects their access to healthcare, since health insurance is only available to employed people. Refugees with Jordanian citizenship can access the same healthcare system as Jordanians but those without citizenship are in a vulnerable position. UNRWA clinics cannot help in emergency situations. One young man related how his wife had a miscarriage because he could not obtain the necessary 30 JD in time to have her admitted for a complication. The Jordanian government provides some medical aid to refugees with citizenship, but this ends up stratifying refugees by legal status.

Right of Return

Under international law, refugees displaced by military engagements have the right to return to their homeland, but this right is systematically denied by the Israeli government and has been ever since the Nakba (Arabic for “catastrophe,” the term for the Israeli takeover of the 1948 territories) displaced at least 750,000 Palestinians in 1947-49. Though families have lived out their lives in the camps, people overwhelmingly told me they would exercise their right of return and live in Palestine given the chance. I also heard several older people exclaim with exasperation after years of being denied entry into Palestine that they just wanted to visit – their homes, their villages, their families who are still there.

The stories I heard from people who were unable to visit their family members in Palestine made me sick with rage, especially since I, with no family or cultural connections to Palestine, have the privilege to cross those borders any time I want. Umm Ahmad, the same woman who couldn’t visit her daughter for 17 years, said that her husband was unable to attend his brother’s funeral, nor can he visit is 90-year-old mother in ‘Aqa. Also in Jabal al-Hussein, a woman named Su’ad Abu Sharma told me that she’d been denied a visa consistently from 2000-2013; when she finally visited her family she stayed one extra day, and for that reason she’s being denied again now. Because of this, she was unable to attend her brother’s funeral. This would be painful for anyone; no one should have to live cut off from the ones they love.

Under international law, refugees displaced by military engagements have the right to return to their homeland.

Messages for the West

I asked each interviewee what messages they most wanted me to carry back to a Western audience. People had two main messages which I’ll go into in detail.

First, people wanted to correct the Western story about Islam and Palestinians. Islam as a religion teaches peace, social justice and harmony with others; terrorists represent only themselves and not the Palestinian people and certainly not Islam. Palestinians don’t hate Americans either, only our government as it gives unmitigated support to the Israeli state while it commits human rights abuses. People often joked that if they thought the American people were like our government I would not be allowed into the camps.

Finally, in the words of a lady I interviewed in Jabal al-Hussein Camp, “No more talk! It’s time for direct action.” We need to support people on the ground. Monetary assistance is great, and it should take such forms as funding businesses and providing scholarships to local universities, but the most important thing we can do is fight for the Palestinian right of return. For Westerners, that means the struggle is here in our home countries as well – it’s time to hold our elected officials accountable for being complicit in Israeli oppression, and keep fighting until all our governments recognize the Palestinian right of return.

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