ACTION ALERT: Jews Call on Israel to Release Palestinia Peace Advocate
October 4, 2009
Sydney Levy / Jewish Voice for Peace
On September 22, Palestinian Peace Activist Mohammad Othman was arrested by Israeli soldiers on the Allenby Bridge Crossing, the border from Jordan to Palestine. He was returning from a trip to Norway, where he was advocating for Palestinian human rights. Jewish Voice for Peace is calling on peace activists around the world to write US President Obama, asking that he press Israel for Mohammad’s release.
Jewish Voice for Peace
(October 4, 2009) — I cannot tell you how many times I have been asked whether there is an Arab counterpart to Jewish Voice for Peace. The implicit false assumptions behind the question are clear: Palestinians are violent; Jews seek peace but there is no one peaceful on the other side of the equation.
Even President Obama, in his Cairo speech, exhorted the Palestinians to seek a resolution to the violent Israeli/Palestinian conflict through the use of nonviolence — without dedicating a word to Israel's attack on the civilians of Gaza.
I used to get frustrated when asked the question, because I know that that its framework is false. I no longer get frustrated--now I use it as an opportunity to share what I know about so many Palestinian organizations and individuals that carry out acts, both small and large, of peaceful resistance against the occupation. People like Mohammad Othman.
My list is too big to contemplate, and the acts are nothing short of heroic. In reference to the weekly demonstrations in Bil'in against the theft of that village's land to build the wall and to expand settlements, Archbishop Desmond Tutu said,
"Just as a simple man named Gandhi led the successful nonviolent struggle in India and simple people such as Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King led the struggle for civil rights in the United States, simple people here in Bilin are leading a nonviolent struggle that will bring them their freedom." (1)
Bil'in is not unique, of course. Neither is the crushing response from Israel.(2)
Palestinians who travel abroad to advocate their cause are at risk too. They may be unjustly detained by Israel when they come back home. This is what happened to Mohammad Othman. He was arrested September 22 by Israeli soldiers on the Allenby Bridge Crossing, the border from Jordan to Palestine. He was returning from a trip to Norway, where he was advocating for Palestinian human rights. He is now sitting in jail. International pressure on Israel may set him free.
Free Mohammad Now
On September 22, Mohammad Othman was arrested and detained by Israeli soldiers on the Allenby Bridge Crossing, the border from Jordan to Palestine. He was returning from a trip to Norway, where he was advocating for Palestinian human rights. Ask U.S. President Obama to press for his immediate release.
(If you are not in the US, consider joining this action alert. Hold President Obama. accountable for his Cairo speech.)
ACTION: Sign Petition to Free Mohammad Othman
Dear President Obama
Please tell the Israeli authorities to free Mohammad Othman.
He was arrested and detained by Israeli soldiers on the Allenby Bridge Crossing, the border from Jordan to Palestine. He was returning from a trip to Norway, where he was advocating for Palestinian human rights.
President Obama, in your Cairo speech, you have exhorted the Palestinians to seek a resolution to the violent Israeli/Palestinian conflict through the use of nonviolence.
In fact, Mohammad Othman and many other Palestinians have engaged in peaceful protest against the Israeli occupation for many years, in Bil'in, Nil'in, Jayyous and many other places that have lost their land to the wall and the settlements. Archbishop Desmond Tutu has compared them to Gandhi, who managed to overthrow British rule in India by nonviolent means, and to Martin Luther King, Jr., who took up the struggle of a black woman who was too tired to go to the back of a segregated bus.
And yet, protestors in the Occupied Territories face the same consequences: detention, injury, and even death.
Those that travel abroad to advocate their cause are at risk of being unjustly detained when they come back home. This is what happened to Muhammad Srour — an eye-witness at the UN Fact Finding Mission on Gaza — arrested on his way back from Geneva. This is what is happening to Mohammad Othman right now.
President Obama, you must come true to your words in Cairo and defend the right of Mr. Othman to speak up for Palestinian rights.
Here are a Few More Things
You Can Do for Mohammad
(1) Tell your friends to contact President Obama as well: http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/301/t/9047/tellafriend.jsp?tell_a_friend_KEY=5597
(2) Sign a petition for Mohammad Othman's release: http://www.petitiononline.com/stopwall/petition.html
(3) Learn more about his case:
(4) Read more about Palestinian nonviolent resistance.
>short article by Dr. Neve Gordon http://original.antiwar.com/neve-gordon/2009/09/27/palestinians-and-israelis-follow-thoreau-but-is-anyone-watching/ to share it with friends and family. And here's a pdf file with a more in-depth report, produced by the Palestinian human rights organizations Stop the Wall and Addameer:
P.S Read JVP's statement on the Goldtsone report.
To join our twitter feed for more tweets, got to http://twitter.com/jvplive.
• Related Story:
In Village, Palestinians See Model for Their Cause
Ethan Bronner / New York Times (August 28, 2009)
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