November 18, 2013
Ellen Davidson is accompanying a delegation of U.S. military veterans in the West Bank. On Nov. 15, the delegation took part in the weekly demonstrations against the apartheid wall in the village of Bil’in. Below is the report from November 15. See reports from November 7, November 8, November 10 and November 15.
By Ellen Davidson
Al-Araqeeb: Bedouins Steadfast in the Face of Repeated Demolitions
Israeli dispossession of Palestinians from their homes and land is not limited to the occupied territories. Inside the Israeli borders, Palestinians, particularly Bedouins, face home demolitions and forced removal from lands they have cultivated for centuries.
The village of Al-Araqeeb in the Negev is one well-known instance. In July 2010, 1,300 Israeli police invaded and demolished the village. Village residents, with the help of Israeli and international activists, promptly rebuilt the village, which was then re-demolished. To date, Al-Araqeeb has been demolished 62 times.
The Veterans Peace Team visited Al-Araqeeb on Sunday, November 17, for the weekly vigil. We were welcomed by village leader Aziz al-Toury and his father, Sheikh Sayeh al-Toury. After settling us in a tent with tea and dates, Aziz and his father spoke to us of the history of their village. The main thing that came through was their passion for their land and their way of life.
Veterans Peace Team delegation participates in the weekly vigil in support of Al-Araqeeb village in the Negev. Photo by ELLEN DAVIDSON
November 14, 2013
The Senate could soon authorize the first steps to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay. As currently written, the Senate’s version of the National Defense Authorization Act would give the president new abilities to transfer the 164 remaining prisoners from Guantanamo for trial in the U.S. or to other countries for release.
Unless the current ban on transfers is eased the prison could remain open indefinitely. As Veterans For Peace, we know this would be unjust and immoral.
November 08, 2013
In photo, members from VFP Chapter 101 in San Jose CA
Veterans For Peace calls for the observance of Veterans Day to be in keeping with the holiday’s original intent. Congressional Act (52 Stat.351: 5U.S. Code, Sec.87a) approved May 13, 1938, made November 11th of each year a legal Federal Holiday,“A day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day’.”
The ceasefire on the, “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918 along the European Western Front was such a relief to all those involved as the world had never seen such horror and carnage as World War I. The horrible conflict that had come to be known as the “War to End War” brought the bulk of humanity to contemplate abolishing war.
Veterans For Peace calls on its members and allies to observe Veterans Day by rejecting militarism and the glorification of war. We call on the nation to honor veterans and all those who have died in war by working for peace and the prevention of war. There is no better way to honor the dead than to protect the living from the fear, terror and moral deprivation of war.
November 05, 2013
Elliot Adams, Veterans For peace (VFP) member from New York State and past president of VFP’s National Board, this summer lived 80 days on 300 calories/pay in solidarity with the Guantanamo Bay Detainees and Pelican Bay Prisoner Hunger Strikers. He ended his fast at a mosque in Albany, New York by partaking in a meal with mosque members at sundown during Ramadan. Now on a West Coast speaking tour intent on swelling the social movement “Close Gitmo!” Adams makes a strong case from multiple perspectives, shifting the discussion from the evils of Guantanamo to why we will all be better off when it is closed.
In the 1960s, Elliott Adams volunteered for the Army and served as a paratrooper in the infantry in Viet Nam, Japan, Korea, and Alaska. Over time, Elliott transformed into a nonviolent warrior, applying himself to building movements focused on creating justice and ending our war culture. Elliott has been arrested repeatedly for the cause of peace. He has also served his community in a variety of capacities, including president of the school board, mayor of his village and president of the rotary club.
Call Phoenix Mayor Stanton Now: Support VFP Phoenix Chapter's Right to March in the Veterans Day Parade!
October 30, 2013
Veterans For Peace urges its membership to contact or write the Mayor of Phoenix, Greg Stanton to pressure him to support and advocate for the right of the Winter Soldier Chapter Veterans For Peace in Phoenix, AZ to participate uncensored in the city’s Veterans Day Parade.
His phone number is (602)-262-7111 and e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
September 06, 2013
For the second time in less than three years President Obama is leading an effort to take the U.S. to war. Calling on Congress to follow his lead, the President’s reasoning is to punish Syria for alleged chemical weapons use and to deter future deployment of this obscene and banned weapon. The President claims military action and killing more people is necessary to protect American values and national interests and to enforce international norms.
August 28, 2013
Veterans For Peace strongly opposes U.S. military intervention,whether direct or indirect, in the war that is currently raging in Syria.
U.S. military aid to rebels in Syria only deepens the suffering and increases the casualties among the Syrian people. It destabilizes the region and risks escalating the conflict into a regional war. It violates the U.N. Charter and international law.
There should be no U.S. military intervention in any form, including a so-called “no-fly zone,” which would be a direct act of military aggression. Only the Syrian people can decide who should govern Syria.
Veterans For Peace calls for an escalation of diplomacy, not war. We call for a ceasefire from all combatants in Syria. We call for urgent diplomacy to stop the bloodshed and address the humanitarian crises in Syria and among Syrian refugees in neighboring countries.
Please take action and make your voice heard. Let’s stop a US attack in Syria before it starts.
August 21, 2013
On Wednesday, Aug 21, 2013, Military judge Col. Denise Lind sentenced Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison.
This decision can be changed by signing Veterans For Peace petition demanding Maj. General Jeffrey Buchanan, the commander of the Military District of Washington to reduce his sentence.
Veterans For Peace Joins United Peace For Justice for the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington: Shining a Light for Peace, Jobs, Justice and Freedom
August 20, 2013
VFP Meetup Point in Washington DC
Fri, Aug 23 - Vietnam Veterans Memorial at 8:00pmSat, Aug 24 - 14th and Constitution between 8:00 - 10:00am
We will gather together in Washington DC and in communities across the country to commemorate this great march and to renew our commitment to keep marching for a just future. We are taking an action for peace in Washington DC on Friday night and we will be making our call for peace, jobs, justice and freedom visible throughout the day on Saturday. We hope you can join us.
July 29, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 27, 2013
Fasted in protest of treatment of Guantanamo detainees,in solidarity with those on hunger strike
Elliott Adams of Sharon Springs, New York, a Vietnam War veteran who will have been fasting for 80 days in solidarity with Guantanamo detainees, will end his fast on Sunday, August 4 at the new section of the Masjid As-Salam, 280 Central Ave., Albany (next door to 278 Central Ave., the masjid itself). Veteran Tarak Kauff of Woodstock, who will have fasted for 58 days and also began his fast in solidarity with the Guantanamo prisoners, will also end his fast at the masjid. Both men will eat an iftar meal with mosque members at sundown, around 8:15 p.m., in keeping with the observance of the holy month of Ramadan, during which observant Muslims fast from dawn to sundown. Adams, a non-Muslim, and Kauff, who is Jewish, will speak beforehand at 7:15 p.m. about their reasons for undertaking their fasts, and then answer questions. Dr. Shamshad Ahmad, president of the Masjid As-Salam, will welcome all who attend and will speak about the meaning and traditions of Ramadan, which this year runs from July 8 to August 7.
The media and public are invited to hear the men's presentations at7:15 p.m.and then to enjoy theiftarmeal with the Muslim community.
Adams, former mayor of Sharon Springs, former president of the national organization Veterans for Peace, and a community activist, has long advocated for closure of the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He began fasting on May 17 because of his distress over detainees who continue to be held at the prison without charges or trial, and because of their treatment, saying that it goes against everything he fought for during his years in the military. He has limited himself to 300 calories and 3 liters of water a day.
Kauff serves on the board of directors of Veterans for Peace and is one of the founders of War Crimes Times, the organization’s newspaper. He is also one of the original members of Middle East Crisis Response, a group of Hudson Valley residents who support human rights for Palestinians and an end to the U.S.'s aggressive policies in the Middle East. He began his liquid-only fast on June 7 and has been consuming 300 calories a day.
Six other people in the U.S. are still fasting long-term in solidarity with the Guantanamo prisoners and with prisoners at Pelican Bay State Prison in California, who are on a hunger strike to protest conditions there.
About 10 peace activists in the area have chosen to support the long-term fasters, particularly Adams, through a “rolling fast”: either by fasting once a week for 24 hours or by fasting 24 hours at intermittent times. They have also stood in solidarity with the international movement to close Gitmo by gathering on six different occasions in public demonstrations at various locations in the Capital District, most recently at the corner of Wolf Road and Central Avenue in Colonie.
Among the 166 prisoners still being held at Guantanamo, 86 were cleared for release over a year ago. Over 100 detainees, with no hope of release in sight, began a hunger strike in February of this year; as of this writing, 69 are still on strike, 45 are being force-fed, and 3 are in the hospital. A recent video made by rapper and Hollywood star Mos Def, who volunteered to be force-fed, shows how excruciating the procedure is, and is considered torture by many human rights groups. The British rights organization Reprieve has documented the use of forcible cell extractions of those who refuse food, the use of unnecessary force during the force-feeding process, a new regime of invasive genital searches, and the use of solitary confinement to control prisoners.
On July 23, on the eve of a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing about Guantanamo, 26 of the nation’s most respected retired military leaders submitted a letter urging members of the committee to support steps to close the facility.
The event at the Masjid As-Salam is supported and organized by numerous peace and justice groups throughout the Capital District. One of those groups, the Muslim Solidarity Committee, notes that August 4 is the ninth anniversary of the arrests of Yassin Aref and Mohammed Hossain in 2004, two Masjid As-Salam members who were later convicted as the result of a phony FBI “terrorism” sting based at the masjid, where Aref was imam. Both are serving 15-year sentences in federal prison. Aref has recently submitted a new appeal.
For background information on Guantanamo, see:
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