USC Students for Justice in Palestine

history, analysis, news, and event updates on the struggle for justice in palestine

Archive for December, 2009

Egypt Bans Gaza Freedom March

Posted by uscsjp on December 25, 2009

First, see this very moving short piece from the Never Before Campaign for Palestine:

And from Viva Palestina:

No Christmas Cheer from Egyptian Authorities

“The Egyptian government has denied entry to the Viva Palestina  Aid Convoy carrying medical and humanitarian aid to Gaza.

Hundreds of tonnes of aid, including specialised medical equipment and powdered milk for babies, is now stockpiled in the Jordanian port town of Aqaba waiting for permission to enter Egypt via the Straits of Aqaba.

The international convoy of approximately 150 vehicles and more than 400 people from 17 countries was given the news by the Egyptian Consulate in Aqaba late on Christmas Eve.

British MP George Galloway, who is travelling with the convoy, said ‘We feel very sad that Egypt has turned us away on Christmas Day, but we hope they will reconsider. This is a very determined convoy and we’re not going anywhere except to Gaza.’

The convoy, jointly organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in the UK, left London on 6th December. It has enjoyed safe passage through Europe, Turkey, Syria and Jordan on its way to Gaza.

It hopes to enter Gaza and break Israel’s three and a half year illegal blockade of the Strip via the Rafah border crossing with Egypt on 27th December.

The date marks the first anniversary of the beginning of Israel’s three week land, air and sea assault on Gaza, which killed more than 1400 Palestinians…”

–Viva Palestina, 25 Dec, 2009

And the same for The Gaza Freedom March

Contact the Egyptian government for the Gaza Freedom March

“Using the pretext of escalating tensions on the Gaza-Egypt border, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry informed us December 20th that the Rafah border will be closed over the coming weeks, into January. We responded that there is always tension at the border because of the siege, that we do not feel threatened, and that if there are any risks, they are risks we are willing to take.

Please contact Egyptian embassies and missions all over the world with a clear message: Let the international delegation enter Gaza, let the Gaza Freedom March proceed!
Use our tool below to send an email directly to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Cairo, Egypt. You can use our suggested text and/or add your own message…”

–The Gaza Freedom March, Dec, 2009

And, from The Electronic Intifada:

Why I want to march in Gaza

Electronic Intifada: Peace and justice activists will soon travel to Gaza to show their support for Palestinians under siege. (Hatem Omar/MaanImages)

“On 29 December, I will attempt to cross into the Gaza Strip along with 1,300 other peace and justice activists from 43 countries. Some of us have traveled to Gaza previously. It will be my third visit since the Israeli invasion, which destroyed or damaged more than 50,000 homes and 90 percent of private industry.

But this time is different. The date of our arrival marks one year since the attack, and little has changed. Due to the ongoing blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt, with the acquiescence of the United States and the European Union, few homes have been rebuilt, unemployment is nearing 50 percent, children at two-thirds of the schools are studying without notebooks and pencils, and babies are suffering from nitrate poisoning due to contaminated water. Enough is enough. It’s time to do something dramatic: It’s time for the Gaza Freedom March…”

Pam Rasmussen, The Electronic Intifada, 23 December 2009

Finally, some local area actions sent by Jeff Warner of LA Jews for Peace

Screening of the award-winning documentary
“Billboard from Bethlehem”

Guest Speaker Sulaiman Khatib from Combatants for Peace
VENUE CHANGE  –  The screening will be held at
YOGA DESA, in the Pine Tree Circle, 120 Topanga Cyn. Blvd., Topanga 90290
Pine Tree Circle is across the street from the restaurant Inn of the Seventh Ray and the post office
FREE EVENT Sponsored by Topanga Peace Alliance

RSVP: (818) 225-9112 –

Monday evening, Dec. 28, 5-7 PM

Candlelight vigil at Israeli Consulate to mark 1-year anniversary of Israeli invasion of Gaza.

Bring your own candle

Israeli Consulate is on Wilshire Blvd at La Jolla (west of Fairfax and east of La Cienega and San Vicente

ACTIONS: Free Gaza March with 1350 people planning to enter Gaza through Rafah crossing on Dec. 28 is being stalled by the Egyptian government.

Contact the Palestine Division in Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cairo
Ahmed Azzam, tel +202-25749682 Email:
In the U.S., contact the Egyptian Embassy, 202-895-5400 and ask for Omar Youssef or email
Sample text:       I am writing/calling to express my full support for the December 31, 2009 Gaza Freedom March. I urge the Egyptian government to allow the 1,300 international delegates to enter the Gaza Strip through Egypt.


Posted in Activism/Divestment, Analysis, Blogroll, News, Opinion/Editorial | Leave a Comment »

“Hizballah’s call for legitimacy” and other news

Posted by uscsjp on December 13, 2009

Hizballah’s call for legitimacy

EI: "Hizballah supporters cheer as Hassan Nasrallah delivers a speech in the southern suburbs of Beirut, May 2009. (Matthew Cassel)"

“Last week Hassan Nasrallah delivered a speech over video link from an unknown location, as he frequently does. The leader of the Lebanese Shia Islamic resistance and political group Hizballah addressed the audience in Beirut to present the group’s new manifesto, their first since 1985 when the group unveiled its initial open letter.

The new political document, however, contained few surprises for some observers like independent Lebanese journalist Bilal el-Amine. ‘It’s not new for the people who have followed Hizballah over the past 20 years,’ he said. ‘The new document only formalizes Hizballah’s process. [Unlike the 1985 letter] there is no call for an Islamic state which has been the de facto position for many years now; this shows their commitment to become an integral part of Lebanese society.’

Hizballah was founded in the early 1980s, soon after Israel’s 22-year-occupation of south Lebanon began in 1978. Initially a resistance movement aimed at liberating Lebanese territory from the Israeli occupiers, Hizballah has since become a major political party in Lebanon officially entering the government in 2005.

Nasrallah has mostly remained underground since 2006 when Israel waged war on Lebanon after Hizballah led a cross-border raid that captured two Israeli soldiers. The war lasted 34 days and devastated much of Lebanon, killing more than 1,200 Lebanese — mostly civilians — and around 120 Israelis — mostly soldiers. The war was widely seen as a victory for Hizballah, and the group’s popularity skyrocketed in both Lebanon and the region. Today, Hassan Nasrallah is considered one of the most popular political figures among Arabs and Muslims around the world.

Opponents have long accused Hizballah, which is allied with both Syria and Iran, of operating a ‘state within a state’ and have frequently demanded that the group disarm, therefore leaving the Lebanese army as the only armed group in the country. Since the end of Lebanon’s bloody civil war in 1990, subsequent Lebanese governments have allowed Hizballah to retain its arms and serve as a resistance organization. After it was formed last month, the new Lebanese cabinet headed by Prime Minister Saad Hariri reaffirmed this right.

‘Hizballah reasserted its right as a resistance group but talked about it in the context of coordination between the state, the army and the resistance,’ el-Amine said. ‘The new document is a message to ease any worries internally in Lebanon about what Hizballah might be up to.’

El-Amine added, ‘the document was heavy in its use of leftist terminology, much more than Islamist language and particularly in its strong rejection of neo-liberalism’…”

–Matthew Cassel, Electronic Lebanon, 8 December 2009

Settlement Freeze, Schmettlement Freeze (or “We’ve heard this one before”)

“The following media release was sent out this afternoon by the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation:

U.S. Must Hold Israel Accountable for Lack of Real Settlement Freeze

Washington, DC – The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation welcomed today Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George Mitchell’s statement that Israel’s partial settlement moratorium ‘falls short of a full settlement freeze.’

Speaking at the State Department, Mitchell reiterated that “United States policy on settlements remains unaffected and unchanged. As the President has said, America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements.”

According to Josh Ruebner, National Advocacy Director of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, ‘The United States must continue to push Israel for a complete freeze of settlements, including in East Jerusalem. All Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territories are illegal and must be dismantled. The Obama Administration should counter Israel’s intransigence on settlements by cutting off U.S. military aid to Israel at least until it complies with U.S. policy and international law.’

While welcoming the Obama Administration’s continued insistence on the illegitimacy of Israeli settlements, the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation challenged its assertion that the partial settlement moratorium ‘is more than any Israeli Government has done before,’ noting that Israeli Prime Ministers and governments have pledged at least five times since 1978 to freeze settlements (see below for documentation).

According to David Hosey, National Media Coordinator of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, ‘Previous Israeli governments have often pledged to freeze settlement construction, yet they all have continued to expand them. Today’s partial moratorium falls into this same pattern. Unless the United States puts its money where its mouth is by ending military aid to Israel there is no incentive for Israel to stop settlement construction.’

Previous Israeli promises to freeze settlements include:

* As part of the 1978 Camp David Accords negotiating process, President Jimmy Carter stated that ‘Prime Minister Begin pledged that there would be no establishment of new settlements until after the final peace negotiations were completed.’ Source:

* In July 1992, the Israeli government of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin declared a settlement freeze. Source:

* Israel accepted the Mitchell Report of April 2001, which stated ‘The GOI [Government of Israel] should freeze all settlement activity, including the “natural growth” of existing settlements.’ Source:

* Israel agreed to the ‘road map’ of April 2003, which stipulated that ‘Consistent with the Mitchell Report, GOI [Government of Israel] freezes all settlement activity (including natural growth of settlements).’ Source:

* At the Annapolis Conference in November 2007, Israel and the Palestinian Authority agreed ‘to immediately implement their respective obligations under the performance-based road map to a permanent two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, issued by the Quartet on 30 April 2003 — this is called the road map.’ Source:

Read other US Campaign press releases on our website by clicking here…”

–US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, 25 November, 2009

See also:

New Israeli funds for West Bank settlements

“The Israeli cabinet has decided to include some West Bank settlements in a national scheme that will entitle them to millions of dollars’ worth of funds. They are being designated as national priority zones, meaning they will qualify for grants, tax benefits, and other forms of aid. The move comes amid anger by Jewish settlers at a government-imposed curb on new building in settlements. The Labour Party leader warned some of the new money might go to extremists. On Friday a mosque in the West Bank was set on fire, and sprayed with Hebrew graffiti. Labour leader Ehud Barak said: ‘I don’t think that we need to award them a prize in the form of including them in the national priority map.’ His five ministers in the coalition government voted against the plan. The other three right-wing parties in the coalition – Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu and Shas – voted for it…”

–BBC News, 13 December, 2009

And from Jewish Voice for Peace

Tell President Obama to demand that Israel free Bil’in nonviolent leader Abdallah Abu Rahmah

“On December 10, 2009 at 2 AM, the Israeli military surrounded the Ramallah home of Abdallah Abu Rahmah, a high school teacher and the Coordinator of Bil’in’s Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, and arrested him. Abu Rahmah is among the leaders of the West Bank village of Bil’in’s nearly five-year nonviolent struggle of protests, lawsuits and boycotts aiming to save the village’s land from Israel’s wall and expanding settlements. Abdallah Abu Rahmah joins Mohammed Othman from the village of Jayyous, Adeeb Abu Rahmah from Bil’in and many other Palestinians who are currently jailed by Israel for working for justice. Tell President Obama to demand that Israel free Bil’in nonviolent leader Abdullah Abu Rahmah! (Your letter will be cc’ed to the American Consulate in East Jerusalem)…”

–Jewish Voice for Peace, 11 December, 2009

Posted in Analysis, Blogroll, News | 1 Comment »

“Unprecedented Victory”

Posted by uscsjp on December 7, 2009

A message from Alex Shams:

“Fellow Students for Justice in Palestine, Last Thursday we witnessed an incredible and UNPRECEDENTED victory anti-racist and progressive students on campus, Muslim and non-Muslim alike. PUBLIC CONDEMNATION OF THE USC COLLEGE REPUBLICANS for fostering an environment of BIGOTRY in light of Horowitz’ comments at our school some weeks ago. In the Daily Trojan today, a full advertisement was placed by Vice President for Student Affairs Michael Jackson condemning the comments. This is a result of weeks of pressuring and campaigning by multiple individuals, in an attempt to have redress for the bigoted, hateful, and Islamophobic remarks the College Republicans invited Horowitz to say. Today, we see an Unprecedented step on the part of the Administration- the University has NEVER condemned a student group like this for its actions But this is only the beginning. We must work from here to ensure that our campus is not merely ‘tolerant”‘or ‘liberal’- but this campus strive to be anti-racist, inclusive, and progressive! We must lead the way for our nation and for the world, because if change does not come from the youth and from our centers of education, where will it come from? We are the instruments of social change, and we are powerful- now, we must wield this power on campus in a way that actively combats oppression and creates a more open and fair society and world. Join US! Next semester, on Wed January 13th at 5 PM we will have our first meeting- more details to be announced. We have already started planning a great number of events, speeches, and conferences for the 2010 Spring Semester- and we need all the help we can get! IN SOLIDARITY, alex shams

Transcript of Letter:

“December 3, 2009 An Open Letter to the USC Community The University of Southern California has taken many institutional steps to promote tolerance and mutual respect within our academic community. Committees have been created, policies have emerged, and acts of intolerance have been condemned by the USC administration. However, our community is not merely defined by administrative actions. We all must do our part to elevate tolerance and respect for others in our community. The university strives to provide an optimal learning community with an atmosphere of free inquiry and expression– an environment that fosters the examination of major issues of social, political, economic, ethical and aesthetic importance. Thriving in such an environment means we all encounter differences: different people, beliefs, cultures, religions, ethnicities and values. The manner in which we accept and work with these differences characterizes our individual principles. Recent events have led members of our community, our Muslim students, to feel threatened, unsafe, and betrayed. The students feel attacked in part by statements made by a speaker at a non-university sponsored event. These statements claim that the USC Muslim Student Union is a terrorist organization with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. The USC MSU is an outstanding student organization that contributes to a welcoming, safe environment for Muslim students to celebrate and share their culture. Further, this organization has never engaged in any campus activities that presented concerns for the university. The MSU is comprised exclusively of USC students and deserves to be treated with respect. Referring to Muslim students or any other group in derogatory terms will not be tolerated. We are a community of scholars and Trojans; bigoted name-calling has no place here. These past events underscore the importance of each person maintaining a basic respect for the rights of people to uphold their own beliefs and to work, learn, and prosper in harmony within our academic community. We each must pledge to encourage respect for human rights and dignity on our campus, in our society, and in the global community.


Michael L. Jackson Vice President for Student Affairs”

And finally, some upcoming events

On Saturday, Dec. 12 in Orange County and Sunday, Dec. 13 in San Diego, there will be special public forums and signings of the new book “Palestine, Israel and the U.S. Empire,” by Richard Becker, West Coast Coordinator of the ANSWER Coalition. We urge you to attend one or both of these important meetings.

Orange County Event (Anaheim)
Saturday, December 12, 2pm
Unitarian Universalist Church of Anaheim
511 S. Harbor Blvd., Anaheim, CA 92805
Map & Driving Directions

The Forum will feature:
Richard Becker, author, “Palestine, Israel and the U.S. Empire”
Muna Coobtee, Palestinian American Women’s Association

There will be discussion, questions, and a book signing, sponsored by ANSWER, the Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East and the PSL. Click here to RSVP to the Orange County Event.

San Diego Event
Sunday, December 13, 2:00pm
Latte Mi Corazon (Coffee Shop)
129 25th St., San Diego, CA 92102
Map & Driving Directions

Speakers include:
Richard Becker, author Palestine, Israel and the U.S. Empire
Yousef Abudayyeh, Free Palestine Alliance
Abel Macias, Party for Socialism and Liberation

There will be discussion, questions and a book signing. Click here to RSVP to the San Diego Event.

Posted in Activism/Divestment, Articles in USC Daily, Articles in USC Newspaper | 1 Comment »