I just returned home to Washington after spending 72 hours in Israeli prison. Why? Because I was aboard the Canadian boat that tried to sail to Gaza, part of the most recent “Freedom Waves” flotilla that was intercepted by Israeli forces in international waters, breaking international law. I was the only American civilian delegate* on the boat and am returning to the US with a clear message for our lawmakers: Tell Israel to lift the unlawful blockade on Gaza and stop enabling Israeli war crimes!
There's another dangerous passage – this time over land – that just happened this morning: six courageous Palestinian activists boarded a settler-only public bus and attempted to sit down and ride it from the Ramallah area into East Jerusalem, in the great tradition of the Freedom Rides that challenged segregation in the South. At approximately 5:15pm in the occupied West Bank today Israeli military forces boarded the buses and violently arrested the Freedom Riders. They were taken to a detention center at Atarot Prison and held for hours. Replay the livestream here.
► URGENT: Send a letter to the State Department.
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► Find local actions planned around the US today here. CODEPINKers plan to join actions in NYC, DC, LA, and SF.
Want to do more? Palestinian Freedom Riders will be riding Veolia and Egged buses – Veolia is the target of an international BDS campaign. Are there Veolia buses, offices, or SuperShuttle (a Veolia subsidiary) in your city? Click here to download an organizing toolkit from Jewish Voice for Peace and find out how to participate in the Veolia boycott here. You can also make your local bus a vehicle for change: Join DC CODEPINK, Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine, Sabeel and allies to bring this ad campaign to your public transit.
This courageous action is part of the Week Against the Apartheid Wall. Last week the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, held in South Africa, concluded that the situation in Palestine and Israel is apartheid. Read the findings here. Testimony on Ahava by CODEPINK's Nancy K and Rae is included in a new book from the Russell Tribunal titled Corporate Complicity in Israel's Occupation.
* Would you like me to speak in your community or school? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org – I'm eager to share my experience on the flotilla, and also during past trips to Gaza with CODEPINK.
Riding the waves of change,
… and the CODEPINK Middle East Team: Alli, Kristen, Nancy K, Medea, Rae, Sasha, and Tighe
PS: More breaking news: Occupy Wall Street was raided by police last night. Support the national day of action at the Occupy near you Thursday, Nov 17. Follow @womenows for the latest updates.