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In light of the suffering in Ukraine, consider the ongoing suffering of Palestinians
By Frances ReMillard | The Public Forum | March 20, 2022, 6:00 a.m.
As we watch, horrified by the violence in Ukraine, I hope we realize that what Ukrainians are suffering today, Palestinians have been suffering for 74 years. Unlike Ukrainians, Palestinians do not have the luxury of taking refuge. Palestinians living in Gaza are sealed in – Israel will not let them out. And in the state of Israel, in occupied East Jerusalem and in the occupied West Bank, Israel has a history of sealing out Palestinians who have left to avoid war and violence. They are not allowed to return to their homes!
Yet, recently our Congress approved $13.6 billion in military aid to Ukraine and in the same bill quietly slipped another $4.8 billion in military aid to Israel. I suggest to those readers who care — watch and share Amnesty International’s new 14 minute YouTube Tutorial on Israel’s system of apartheid.
Amnesty’s study finding Israel guilty of apartheid is not the first legal study to draw that conclusion. The first was completed by the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa in 2009. Nor is it the second. The second was the Russell War Crimes Tribunal Hearings on Palestine held in South Africa, 2010. The third was completed by a United Nations committee. (Our country demanded it be withdrawn.) The fourth, B’TSelem, an Israeli Human Rights organization. The fifth, Human Rights Watch. And somewhere in the list is Adalah’s study. And now we have the seventh study, this time from Amnesty International, the largest and most well recognized human rights organization in the world! Will we listen? Stop funding these crimes? Isn’t there something a bit ludicrous about fussing when Russia does it and funding when Israel does it?
Frances ReMillard, Kamas, Utah
Amnesty International’s new research report, Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians: Cruel System of Domination and Crime Against Humanity shows that Israeli authorities impose a system of domination and oppression against the Palestinian people in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), and against Palestinian refugees. Laws, policies, and institutional practices all work to expel, fragment, and dispossess Palestinians of their land and property, and deprive Palestinians of their human rights. We conclude this treatment amounts to an institutionalized regime of oppression and domination defined as apartheid under international law.
Who are we?
In brief, Utahns for a Just Peace in the Holy Land (UJPHL) was founded in 2000 by a small partnership of individuals living in Utah concerned about violations of human rights in Israel-Palestine and the misrepresentation of Palestinians in major news sources. UJPHL is an all-volunteer educational organization and a registered non-profit 501c-3.
Over the years, UJPHL has sponsored, co-sponsored, and supported (through curation, promotion, and attendance) many events throughout Utah. These events have included presentations with guest speakers, panel discussions, films with Q&A, booths at various festivals, and general gatherings that have facilitated conversations beyond the standard rhetoric. UJPHL activists have written editorials that have been published in the Salt Lake Tribune and have focused on communication with state and federal legislators, and other local government entities.
Why should Israel-Palestine matter to people living in Utah?
- The U.S gives Israel 3.8 billion US dollars per year for military support. If you had a say in how those funds were used, would you like to see those tax dollars used at home instead? Learn more.
- The similarities in geography, climate, and even parallel histories between Utah and Israel-Palestine are striking and should make each one of us pause to consider the bond between the two locales.
- The analogous Great Salt Lake to the Dead Sea, the Sea of Galilee to Utah Lake, and the Jordan River between the two water bodies happens no where else.
- The climate of both places is arid. With minimal precipitation, both places are struggling to find a balance between a growing population and limited water resources.
- The history of both states abound with people who fled persecution elsewhere. Early followers of Brigham Young fled persecution by moving west. They would ultimately settle in the Great Salt Lake Valley, which would become home to and headquarters of the Church of Latter Day Saints, also known as the Mormons.
- These similarities serve to remind Utahns that we have a sister nation in the eastern hemisphere. Unlike the Zionist movement to create a Jewish-only nation in Israel-Palestine, however, Utah, while dominated by the presence of the LDS church, openly welcomes all people regardless of religious or ethnic affiliation.
- UJPHL opposes any act of antisemitism, but we also oppose any act that violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. UJPHL believes that no one is better prepared or better able to relate to and guide our sister nation to an understanding of the sustaining value of inclusion than the citizens of Utah.
BYU law school launches a new Jerusalem initiative with lofty aims
New program will allow students to study the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from afar and up close in hopes of making the world a better place.
“BYU is a global law school. Many of its students, for instance, speak second languages and have lived outside the United States. That’s why it desires programs that will support students interested in international law and conflict resolution.
Smith said BYU Law regularly sends students to the BYU Barlow Center in Washington, D.C., and the BYU London Centre, but the school wanted to take advantage of all possible resources.
Talks about the Jerusalem initiative began several years ago, Smith said, but didn’t solidify until BYU law professors Ben Cook and Eric Jensen developed a curriculum.
Jensen, who teaches international law, said the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is “steeped in millennia of history,” but the current fight has its roots in World War II. After the genocide of the Jewish people, Jensen said, the United Nations gave the land now known as Israel to the Jews to establish a homeland. In doing so, Jensen said, they “dispossessed” the Palestinians who were living there.
Thus “began a series of conflicts that happened over the last half of the 20th century,” he said, “between Israelis and Palestinians over who should control [this] area.””
Trouble talking with others about Palestine-Israel?
UJPHL strives to promote and support events that bring accurate information to light. All events, virtual and live, sponsored, co-sponsored, or supported by us will be posted here. Check back often.
Did you miss the past Virtual Event?
The live event was aired on Tues, Nov 16, 2021, 11:00 am MT, but you can still watch the recorded video conference through link below.
Settler Violence in Palestine: WHY?
A videoconference with Amira Hass journalist at the Israeli newspaper Haaretz
- Terror – a state of intense or overwhelming fear
- Terrorism – the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion
- Terrorist – an advocate or practitioner of terrorism as a means of coercion
Additional Palestinian sites below. Also see Links at the top of this page.
Gaza Mental Health Foundation – Healing the spirit, instilling hope….the Gaza Mental Health Foundation Inc was formed in 2001 to support the critically important work of providing mental health services for the people in the Gaza Strip, especially the children who are the region’s future.
“I am writing this letter looking at my terrified 6-year old son, who keeps putting his hands over his ears trying block the sounds of Israel’s bombardment, my two daughters, aged 13 and 10 and my wife. These faces show the anxiety of not knowing where they can be safe now. My two older sons, 16 and 15, sit stunned and silent and I know they are reliving the memories of the previous three offensives on Gaza Strip and the family members we lost. These are the feelings that every family in the Gaza strip are living through.”Dr. Abu-Jamei, May 13, 2021
Scientists for Palestine promote science and support the integration of the occupied Palestinian territories in the international scientific community. They also aim to raise awareness among scientists of conscience outside of Palestine about the challenges of studying and doing science under military occupation.
We Are Not Numbers – Palestinian youth tell the human stories behind the numbers in the news.
(The following was originally posted on June 7, 2021 on We Are Not Numbers.)
what kind of resistance
do you want me to do?
or nothing at all,
just dying silently
so as not to bother you?
What kind of resistance
would you do
if your home was stolen,
if your life was merely dough
in the hands of someone else?
Someone who says his god
promised him your land?
I imagine walking
the streets of Sheikh Jarrah
and find Yacoub (the settler)
standing at the door of my house,
ordering me to knock down
my own house, piece by piece,
or pay for him to do it while I watch.
I imagine the journalists
detained for simply doing their job:
documenting our attempts to resist.
And the protest leaders,
seized in their homes.
It’s not so different from here,
as I walk the streets of Gaza,
cloaked in darkness (no electricity).
I hear drones buzzing in my ears.
I see the rubble of a building,
hear the ghostly echo children crying,
their home gone in a burst of dust.
One war over, another will come.
Dear world, don’t I have a right to resist?
Is occupation ever right?
Would you not do the same,
if you were in my shoes?
Read more by Palestinian authors and see beautiful photographs and illustrations by Gaza’s artists at We are Not Numbers.