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The Consortium for Middle East and African Studies invites you to a special presentation:

 

Towards a Just and Viable Peace? A View from the Ground

 

Presented by Speakers from the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD):

 

Salim Hassan Shawamreh (Palestinian Ministry of Industry) and

Jeff Halper (Ben Gurion University)

 

Thursday, February 8

7:30-9:30pm

Education North 2-115

University of Alberta

 

Jeff Halper and Salim Shawamreh are working for a lasting peace in the

Middle East. With a thought-provoking slide-illustrated presentation, they

shed light on ways in which the actions of the Israeli authorities are

pushing the attainment of such a peace further beyond our reach.  But, they

also provide some concrete ideas of what can be done and is being done--by

Israelis, Palestinians, and their supporters abroad to change this situation.

 

Jeff is an Anthropology professor at Ben Gurion University. For ten years

he directed the Middle East Centre of Friends' World College in Jerusalem,

eventually heading its entire worldwide campus. Jeff has been active in the

Israeli peace and justice movement for many years and is now the

coordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions  (ICAHD).

Salim is a Palestinian engineer and family man, whose Jerusalem-area home

has been demolished twice by the Israeli authorities and rebuilt twice with

the help of ICAHD and other Israelis and Palestinians in an act of

non-violent civil disobedience to the Israeli Occupation authorities.

 

Jeff and Salim see house demolition and related issues, such as land

confiscation and the building of bypass roads, as being part of a dynamic

working to foreclose on the possibility of a real and lasting peace in the

area. The duo toured the U.S. between January 13 and February 13 of this

year, speaking in a variety of venues in 18 cities.

 

 

Local Sponsors:

Consortium for Middle Eastern and African Studies (CMEAS)

Departments of  Anthropology, Political Science, History & Classics, Sociology

The Canadian Islamic Centre

Canadians for Equality and Peace for Palestinians (CEPPal)

 

                                                                   * * *

 

Canada-US Speaking Tour of Salim Shawamreh and Jeff Halper

(January 25-February 18, 2001)

 

Most of what the public knows about the Israeli-Palestinian "peace process"

comes from the media, which by its nature tends to focus attention on the

political dimension -- the negotiations, deals, agreements and differing

positions. Looked at solely in this way, it appears that great progress has

been made since the signing of Oslo. Israel has recognized the PLO as the

representative of the Palestinians; Arafat has returned from exile and a

Palestinian Authority has been elected; a series of interim agreements have

been reached and some withdrawal of Israeli troops from West Bank and Gazan

territories has taken place; and Israel has declared its intention to

eventually recognize a Palestinian state.

 

Why, then, did the Second Intifada break out? Was it really because Arafat

is not a "partner" for peace, as Israel has charged, that in the end the

Palestinians cannot accept a "reasonable peace"? Or, as the Palestinians

counter, was it because Israel attempted to impose a final status agreement

that would have left them only a truncated and non-viable state composed of

enclaves under complete Israeli control, with most of the settlements

intact and the refugee issue left unresolved?

 

Salim Shawamreh, a Palestinian whose house has been demolished twice by the

Israeli authorities and who is still unable, for political reasons, to

inhabit his rebuilt home, and Jeff Halper, the Coordinator of the Israeli

Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), evaluate the peace process

from a perspective largely hidden from public view -- that of Israeli

policies "on the ground." By diverting attention from the Occupation of the

West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem to the "peace process," Israel has

managed to conceal the matrix of control it has laid over the Occupied

Territories -- the massive expropriation of Palestinian lands for

ever-expanding Israeli settlements; the construction of massive highways

for control; confining Palestinians into dozens of cantons while imposing

an economic "closure;" pursuing forms of economic warfare such as uprooting

of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian fruit and olive trees and

exploiting to depletion Palestinian natural resources; causing massive

environmental degradation to the Holy Land, one of the world's most sacred

and historic heritage sites; demolishing thousands of Palestinian homes and

committing other human rights violations.

 From "the ground," Shawamreh and Halper argue, an entirely different

picture emerges of a "peace process" that never really was. Through

presentations using slides, maps and dialogue with the audience, Shawamreh

and Halper reveal the hidden reality on the ground that must be taken into

account in any comprehensive evaluation of the "peace process" and its

prospects for success. Shawamreh and Halper are not interested in merely

criticizing the parties, however. They have definite ideas of what has to

be done to ensure the just, viable and lasting peace that both Palestinians

and Israelis desire. Scenarios of what may happen in the region after peace

is secured are also brought up for discussion.

 

 

Canadian tour sponsors:

Canadian Arab Federation (CAF)

Mennonite Central Committee (MCC)

Canadian Auto Workers (CAW)

Near East Cultural and Educational Foundation (NECEF)

Canadian Friends' Service Committee (CFSC)

Steelworkers' Humanity Fund

Christian Peacemaker Teams--Canada (CPT)

The Canadian Network to End Sanctions on Iraq (CANESI)

 

THE ISRAELI COMMITTEE AGAINST HOUSE DEMOLITIONS (ICAHD)

Rehov Tiveria 37, Jerusalem, Israel

Tels: (+972-2) 624-8252; 050-651425Fax: (02) 623-6210

e-mail: icahd@zahav.net.il

Jeff Halper, Coordinator

 

What is ICAHD? ICAHD is a non-violent, direct-action group originally

established to oppose and resist Israel's demolition of Palestinian houses

on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem. Since 1967 some 7000 Palestinian

homes have been destroyed on the West Bank, in Gaza and in Arab East

Jerusalem, more than 2000 since 1987, leaving 30,000 people homeless,

destitute and living in fear and trauma.

 

The work of ICAHD and other organizations has made a difference: in 1999

"only" about 100 homes were demolished, down from 277 in 1998. Yet 2000

demolition orders remain outstanding in the West Bank, another 2000 for

East Jerusalem, altogether threatening some 6000 families. The Bedouin

population, harassed and being driven into tiny "reservations," is also

targeted. The motivation for demolishing these Palestinian and Bedouin

homes is purely political and violates all human rights covenants, although

an elaborate system of planning regulations, laws and procedures gives it a

legal facade. The goal is to confine the 3,000,000 residents of the West

Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza to small, crowded, impoverished and

disconnected enclaves, thus effectively foreclosing any viable Palestinian

entity and ensuring Israeli control even if the Palestinians achieve some

form of internal "autonomy."

 

ICAHD's activities, therefore, extend to resisting all aspects of the

Occupation - human rights violations; the massive expropriation of

Palestinian lands for Israeli settlements, by-pass highways and industrial

parks; "cantonization;" the closure, forms of economic warfare such as the

government's uprooting of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian fruit and

olive trees; exploitation to depletion of Palestinian natural resources;

environmental degradation (as Israel moves its most polluting industries to

the West Bank); as well as house demolitions.