Marking the 60th Year of Al Nakba

Southern California events marking the Palestinian Catastrophe (Al Nakba)

LA Jews For Peace Report on Sabeel Conference in Pasadena

Posted by nakba60la on February 20, 2008

Impressions of the Sabeel Conference,

All Saints Church, Pasadena, Feb. 15-16, 2008

By Jeff Warner

The Sabeel conference consisted of five plenary sessions with ten main speakers, and two workshop sessions. Advertised speaker Phyllis Bennis did not attend.

Sabeel mean “the way.” Sabeel is a West Bank Christian organization committed to justice, reconciliation, and non-violence. Sabeel supports the two-state solution as outlined by UN resolutions and international law. Sabeel was represented by Naim Ateek (see below).

In the following I summarize the essence of each of the ten chief speakers, list the workshops, and then address what was missing from the conference.

Sessions and Speakers

Session 1: “The Nakbah Then and Now”

· Rola Karam, a Palestinian American woman introduced a documentary video of the Nabkah as experienced in her parent’s hometown. This was a Christian town so it was not destroyed, but many men were executed.

· Anna Baltzer, a Jewish American woman who volunteered with the International Women’s Peace Service, gave a PowerPoint presentation showing the occupation: settlements, Israeli-only roads, the wall, and checkpoints. She published a book documenting her observations of the occupation. Baltzer gave a good presentation, although she tended to exaggerate and that detracted a bit from her credibility.

Session 2: “Keynate 1 and 2”

· Nabila Espanioly,.A Palestinian woman from Nazareth founded the Al-Tufla center and is chair of the Mossawa Center (Advocay Center for Arab Citizens of Israel) gave a PowerPoint presentation on Palestine from 1948-1967. She described life in Palestine under military rule. She called the events of 1967 as Al-Naksa, an expansion of the 1948 Al-Nabkah.

· Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek, is a founded of Sabeel. He was the Canon of St. George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem. Ateek described his position as seeking solutions based on faith principles of justice, peace, and non-violence and following international law. His talk focused on the post 1967 occupation, which he called evil. He claimed his work is modeled on Jesus’ resistance to the Roman Empire. Ateek reviewed the book by Israeli Abraham Burg (part of the Israeli elite, ex speaker of the Israeli Knesset) called “Hitler Won.” He pointed out that Burg was part of the Israeli elite, but has decided that the occupation is bad for Israel and Israelis.

Session 3: “Keynote: Why the Palestinian Conflict is a Colonial Situation.”

· Dr. Gabriel Piterberg, Jewish Argentinean who grew-up in Israel; now Professor of History at UCLA. Piterberg described the Jewish settlement of Palestine as a settler colonization where “white” settlers move in for the long-term, and attempt to completely replace the indigenous population (this contrasts with a different type of colonization where the indigenous population is used as a labor force). He notes that in the case of Israel, the Jews have partly succeeded – they expelled most, but not all, the Palestinians (the indigenous population). Piterberg says that Jewish efforts to replace the Palestinians continue, within the Green Line and within the West Bank. Piterberg suggested that “negotiations” toward a two-state solution only give the Jews the opportunity to continue their effort to replace the Palestinians. He suggested that the only solution for the Palestinians freedom is to give-up on two-states, and demand equal citizenship in Israel including the vote. He does not suggest that this will be easy to accomplish.

(Continued here:


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Burbank Neighbors Documentary Screening/Discussion, 02/17

Posted by nakba60la on February 11, 2008


“Life in Occupied Palestine” is the eyewitness photos and stories by Anna Baltzer who spent several months in Palestine. Because Ms. Baltzer is a Jewish American, she was able to freely move in both Jewish and Palestinian areas during her stay there. She has recorded stories of the effect of the settlements, the wall (or fence), check points, settler¹s roads, etc. on the Palestinian people. It gives a clear picture of what occupation really is and the effect on both the occupied and the occupiers. It is an insight into the Israeli/Palestine situation that most people do not have access to and would not otherwise see.



Filmmaker Anna Baltzer will be our special guest for the community discussion following the film and will be happy to answer any questions you may have after seeing it .


SUNDAY, February 17, 2008 beginning @ 1:30 p.m.
MCCAMBRIDGE PARK, Rec. Center Room #4

1515 N. Glenoaks Blvd., Burbank, 91504

Sponsored by

Burbank Neighbors for Peace & Justice


For Info. call (818) 842-5055 or email

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Sabeel Conference in Jerusalem: Sixty Years After The Nakba

Posted by nakba60la on February 10, 2008

Beyond Remembrance:

7th International Sabeel Conference
November 12-19, 2008

The conference will focus on the commemoration of 60 years since the Nakba, and the complex issues of memory, narrative, and identity raised by the events of 1948.

The conference will include:

  • 4 nights in Nazareth, with trips to villages that were destroyed in 1948 and visits with the local Christian community
  • 4 nights in Jerusalem, with trips to Jaffa, Ramle, and Lidda
  • Lectures, workshops, discussions, and cultural events focusing on the last 60 years and the future for Christians living in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories
  • Optional pre-conference travel to holy sites in the Galilee
  • Optional post-conference travel to understand the Occupation including visits to holy sites in Bethlehem and Jerusalem

Mark your calendars, and spread the word!

For more information, email: or call: (972) 2-532-7136
This is the phone number for Sabeel in Jerusalem.

Troubled Past, Complex Future

Among those who struggle for justice and peace in Palestine, our focus has been the fight to end the illegal Occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. However, in order to truly understand the complexities of memory, narrative, and identity faced by the Palestinian community, it is vital to examine the events of 1948—what the Palestinians refer to as the Nakba, or Catastrophe. For 60 years, the Nakba has cast its shadow over the struggles of identity and narrative undertaken both by Palestinian citizens of the state of Israel and those in the Occupied Territories. As the nonviolent resistance to Occupation continues, the question of what it means to be a Palestinian remains.

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San Diego Screening of “The Presence of Absence in the Ruins of Kafr Bir’im” – 6 PM, Saturday 2/16

Posted by nakba60la on February 10, 2008

“The Presence of Absence in the
Ruins of Kafr Bir’im”
Film screening followed by discussion
with filmmaker Dr. John Halaka
When: Saturday February 16, 2008 6 PM

Where: Al-Awda Center, 2734 Loker Avenue West Suite K, Carlsbad CA 92010

About the Film:  2007 release by SittingCrow Productions. Produced, filmed, written, narrated and directed by John Halaka. Edited by Marissa Bowman. Music composed and performed by the Ramallah based musician Mohsen Subhi. Running time: 60 minutes.  Language: English and Arabic with English subtitles

“The Presence of Absence in the Ruins of Kafr Bir’im” presents a seldom-heard Palestinian perspective. Shot on location in the ruins and cemetery of Kafr Bir’im, a Palestinian village located in Northern Galilee, the film introduces the viewer to Mr. Ibrahim Essa, an elderly poet who is a survivor of the mass dispossession and expulsion the native population of Palestine experienced in 1948 at the hands of the Zionists. Mr. Essa’s family has lived in Kafr Bir’im for the past 700 years.  Through his narrative and poetry, Ibrahim Essa recounts his experiences as a youth in the village, the hardships of a life in exile and the intense emotional, physical and historical connections to the land that he shares with the 7.5 million Palestinians who are also living in forced exile from their homes and land. Mr. Essa employs an ancient oral tradition of poetry that, in style, is similar to what is now referred to as “Spoken Word Poetry.”  This improvisational oral tradition has been around for centuries in Northern Palestine and continues to be used by farmers and villagers to express the community’s intimate relationship to the land; a yearning for past times and a better future; and their cultural, psychological and physical attachment to the ancient and modern ruins that exist throughout that region.

For more information, contact:

Al-Awda San Diego
The Palestine Right to Return Coalition
PO Box 131352
Carlsbad, CA 92013, USA
Tel: 760-685-3243
Fax: 360-933-3568

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Radio Intifada: Palestinians Struggling for Justice, 02/07

Posted by nakba60la on February 7, 2008


intifada=shaking off – oppression/silence

Voices from Kolkata to Casablanca
Voices of struggle, Voices for change

Thursday, February 7, 2008 3-4pm PST

KPFK/Pacifica Radio 90.7 fm, Los Angeles

streaming at – available on audio archive for 90 days


Reports on Gaza, Palestinians in Israel;

Arab Nationalism and the legacy of George Habash

This week’s Radio Intifada will focus on Palestinians continuing struggle for justice in Gaza and the political implications of the Gazan “prison break,” as well as the united Palestinian and Jewish Israeli support from inside Israel to lift the siege. We will also discuss the call for a General Strike by Palestinian Israelis in response to a recent decision exonerating the Israeli police who killed 13 Palestinians in the Galilee in 2000 and end with a retrospective of George Habash.


 Osamah Kahlil on the ground in Palestine and Egypt; doctoral student in political science at UC, Berkeley and contributor to Electonic Intifada.

 Hisham Naff’a, award-winning journalist, author and Palestinian political activist living in Haifa

 Michel Shehadeh, longtime Palestinian activist, former West Coast Regional Director of the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, member of the LA 8

Produced by Sherna Gluck; Co-hosted with Rana Sharif, South/West Asia and North Africa (SWANA) Collective, KPFK

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Friends of Sabeel Conference: February 15, 16

Posted by nakba60la on February 5, 2008

Keynote & Workshop Speakers

From a position of faith, Dr. Ateek seeks to find solutions based on the faith principles of justice, peace, and nonviolence. A former Canon of St. George’s Cathedral, Jerusalem, he helped found the ministry of Sabeel.
Dr. Gabi Piterberg was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and grew up in Israel. Currently he is Associate Professor of History at UCLA. He has also taught at the University of Durham, England, and Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Israel.
Ms. Bennis is a senior analyst at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C., and a fellow of the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam. She has been a writer, analyst and activist on Middle East and UN issues for many years.
Nabila Espanioly founded the Al-Tufula center in Nazareth in 1989 and has served as the director since that time. Nabila is a founding member and current chairperson of the Mossawa Center, the Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel.
Reverend Wagner is professor and director of the Center of Middle Eastern Studies at North Park University in Chicago. He is also on the steering committee of FOSNA.
Dr. Al-Marayati is the spokesperson and past president of the Muslim Women’s League, a Los Angeles based organization dedicated to disseminating accurate information about Islam.
Ms. Baltzer is a Jewish American Columbia graduate, Fulbright scholar, and volunteer with the International Women’s Peace Service. She brings a Jewish perspective to experiencing occupation.
Rizek Abu Sharr was the first Palestinian General Director of YMCA in West Jerusalem. For 46 years he worked for dialogue and reconciliation among Christian, Jew and Muslim.
Founder of Zatoun, fair trade olive oil from Palestine, Robert Massoud has used the glorious gift of olive oil from Palestine to weave a web of inspiration and mass support in North America and build bridges to Palestine.
Chris Brown is an independent journalist living in San Francisco. In 2004 he volunteered with Christian Peace Maker Teams near Hebron. While escorting Palestinian children to school he and a colleague were beaten by Israeli settlers.
Dr. Shalhoub-Kervorkian is currently a lecturer in law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Institute of Criminology. She also holds a teaching position at the Hebrew University School of Social Work.
Mr. Ayloush is the Southern California Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). He frequently lectures on Islam, media relations, civil rights, hate crimes and international affairs.

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Radio Intifada: “Settler’s Societies” – 01/31

Posted by nakba60la on January 31, 2008

RADIO INTIFADA – Voices from Kolkata to Casablanca
Voices of struggle, Voices for change

Thursday, January 31, 2008,  3-4pm

KPFK 90.7 fm; and streaming live @

and available on audio archive to 4/31/08

“Settlers’ Societies, Israel and Others”

Comparisons between Israel and the Apartheid regime in South Africa have become very common, and in some respects, the societies do resemble each other – both have been analyzed as Settlers’ Societies, focused on exploiting the resources of the country that they colonize at the expense of its indigenous people. A closer look, however, may reveal that there are important differences between these societies, and that these differences are crucial to the understanding of the nature of Zionism and the placement in an appropriate context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

This program is dedicated to the investigation of Settlers’ Societies, exploring in greater detail simlarities and differences between Israel, South Africa, Austraila and the US, among others.  We will be joined by Professor Gabriel Piterberg, of the History Department at UCLA, and by Dr. Patrick Wolfe of the History Department at La Trobe University in Melborne, Australia.
 Hosted and produced by Hagit Borer for the SWANA (South and West Asia and North Africa) Collective of KPFK

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Protest Gaza Siege at Democratic Debate Friday 5pm, Kodak Theater

Posted by nakba60la on January 31, 2008

Protest Israel’s Siege of Gaza
Thursday, January 31 at 5 PM

A humanitarian crisis exists in the Gaza strip due to Israel’s siege. It is important to show Israel and the United States that the Gaza siege policy is wrong. Israel must open negotiations with Hamas for a ceasefire that will stop the rocket attacks and end the siege so more general negotiation with a unified Palestinian government can proceed.

For additional information call 562-694-1637, email, or visit LA Jews for Peace.

In front of the Kodak Theatre
Hollywood Blvd and Highland Ave

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Gaza Protest At Israeli Consulate: Friday, 1/25

Posted by nakba60la on January 23, 2008

From L Jews for Peace … A Call to ALL Humanitarians …
**Join LA Jews for Peace**
Friday, January 25th, 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Protest Israel’s Fuel Blockade of Gaza
Demonstrate in front of the Israeli Consulate
6380 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, 90048
Speak out now.  Call your lawmaker:  202-224-3121
Though we do not condone violence perpetrated by either side of the conflict, we recognize that the Palestinians in Gaza offered to negotiate a truce recently, only to be rebuffed because Israel refuses to negotiate with Hamas. Collective punishment – blocking fuel shipments, cutting off clean water, and denying medical care to over a million people – will only create more hatred and terror. We call on the people of the governments of the world, and in particular those represented by the U.S. government and the European Parliament, to push to censure Israel’s action and end support for Israeli aggression.  We call on all sides to negotiate. 
Call your lawmaker:  202-224-3121
Israel has broken Jewish and international law in tightening its siege of Gaza, where 1.5 million Palestinians are suffering in freezing darkness.  Only when the world community condemned these actions did Israel partially lift the blockade. Gaza has become the largest open air prison on the planet with no ingress or egress – no fuel for heat, no food to eatno medicine for the sick, limited electricity, and no agricultural or commercial goods to sustain the economy.  The U.S. must support diplomacy, not collective punishment. 
Bring Signs and Banners
Suggested Messages:
        End the Israeli Siege of Gaza
        End US Support for Israel’s Siege
        End the Israeli Fuel Blockade of Gaza
        Feed the Children of Gaza
        End US Support for Israel’s Collective Punishment
No Flags, Please — Our Focus is on Humanism, not Nationalism
For more information:  call 562-694-1637   e-mail:
    web site:

RSVP, If you’ll be there  —

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Anaheim Protest Saturday, 1/26 – End the Siege of Gaza

Posted by nakba60la on January 23, 2008

Saturday, 1/26 1 pm – End the Siege of Gaza

Brookhurst Plaza: 512 S. Brookhurst St., Anaheim

Map and Driving Directions (Between Broadway and Orange)

ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition, joins with the National Council of Arab Americans, Free Palestine Alliance, Palestinian American Women’s Association, Al-Awda Palestine Right of Return Coalition and other anti-war and progressive organizations in calling for emergency protests demanding an immediate end to the Israeli blockade and siege of Gaza. Protests will take place on January 25-26 at Israeli embassies, consulates, U.S. federal buildings and other locations.

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