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Utahns for a Just Peace in the Holy Land

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Welcome to Utahns for a Just Peace in the Holy Land

Next meeting: Saturday, July 18, 2015, 10:00 am and the Salt lake City Public Library (200 E 400 S) meeting room D in the basement. All are welcome!


Professor Walter Hixson Comes to Utah


Professor Walter Hixson of Ohio was in Utah last week and spoke about how the North American history of settler-colonialism has shaped the U.S. government international policies and behavior today. He spoke about the roots of contemporary foreign policy, ethnocentric U.S. catastrophes (repeating Vietnam in the Middle East), and Zionist Settler-Colonialism in Palestine. 

Hixson is a scholar of U.S. diplomatic and cultural history.  Early in his career he edited a series of six books on the Vietnam War.  After decades of research, writing and teaching on the history of U.S. foreign policy, his most recent book American Settler Colonialism tells the story of European settler-colonialism in North America, U.S. settler-colonialism removing the indigenous people and spreading across the continent and onward, annexing Hawaii and the Philippines by the beginning of the twentieth century. Hixson sees a pattern of ethnocentric racist violence repeating in current U.S. wars and aggression. The U.S. government is deeply intertwined with the Zionist movement's occupation of Palestine and Israel's repression and ongoing removal of the Palestinian people.

Walter Hixson was a guest of the local Peace Advocacy Coalition  which is carrying out its third annual community education project around the theme of "Facing Up to Settler-Colonialism: from Bear River, Idaho to Palestine.  This is how the PAC explains its choice of theme:

"Working for peace and justice, we try to understand the sources of social conflict, violence and war.  Settler colonialism is an extreme cause of social conflict.  Settler-colonialism is different from more familiar colonialism in that an outside society is not just exploiting land, resources and labor but is also removing the indigenous people(s) from parts or most of the land to establish permanent settlement.”

"We want to learn and teach about the experiences of settler-colonialism around the world, some of the better known examples are in North America, Australia, South Africa and Tibet. We have to face up to our own settler colonial experience in the United States. Many of us Utahns are only now becoming aware that the largest massacre of American Indians in the West took place along the Bear River just north of the Utah-Idaho border. Does the dominant U.S. cultural background of settler-colonialism shape the forms of U.S. behavior in international conflict?  Does our past settler-colonialism influence us to support Israel rather than the Palestinians?  If settler-colonialism is a significant influence in shaping our policies, how can we encourage a fresh approach that is more open to the needs of all - including those being hurt by settler-colonialism? These are some of the questions we hope this series of discussions will explore."

Last month Leo Killsback of the Northern Cheyenne nation and a professor of American Indian Studies at Arizona State University spoke on Decolonizing Native Americans as a guest of the PAC.  PAC expects to have additional events in this series on settler colonialism next fall.  WCPJ is a participating organization in the Peace Advocacy Coalition.


Palestinian Protestors Embrace Nonviolence

By Dayne Goodwin, secretary of the Wasatch Coalition for Peace and Justice, in collaboration with Peace Advocate editors; reprinted from the March 2015 Peace Advocate, a Ghandi Alliance for Peace Newsletter 

A grass-roots movement of nonviolence is offering a ray of hope for progress toward resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

        At weekly demonstrations in communities located along the Israeli-built Separation Wall, Palestinian villagers, joined by Israeli Jews, are protesting against the building of the wall and the resulting confiscation of their ancestral land.

        As the wall was being constructed through the town of Budrus, peaceful protestors were successful in altering the wall’s planned route, saving 300 acres of land and 3,000 olive trees.

        Organizers cite Gandhi and Martin Luther King as their inspiration and hope that more Palestinians will adopt nonviolence.

        In 2002, Israel began building the separation wall as a “security barrier” to prevent terrorists from getting into Israel from the West bank. Most of the barrier consists of electrified barbed-wire fences over six feet tall, plus vehicle-proof trenches and an exclusion zone on the Palestinian side. In more densely populated urban areas, the wall is, in fact, an eight-foot-tall concrete wall. Instead of following the internationally recognized boundary, the wall, still under construction, carves out about one-tenth of the West Bank onto the Israel side of the wall.

        Most of the Jewish settlements, considered illegal by the international community, were enclosed on the Israel side of the wall. The 450,000 Jewish settlers have access to 83% of the water available from the West Bank aquifers, while the 2.25 million Palestinians are limited to the remaining 17%.

        Under Israel’s military rule, West Bank private property can be seized for construction of the wall. The wall’s serpentine route isolates about 150,000 Palestinians in 28 villages from the rest of the West Bank; it divides villages and separates Palestinians from large tracts of their farmlands and from hospitals and schools.

        Palestinian villages along the route of the wall that have defended their farmland and olive groves with peaceful resistance and civil disobedience include: Jayous, Budrus, Bil’in and Ni’lin.

        Bil’in, where the wall annexes 50% of village lands, won a small victory when the Israeli High Court of Justice ordered a one-mile change in the wall’s route. Meanwhile, on the other side of the wall, hundreds of new homes for Jewish settlers have been built on former Palestinian village land. The story of Bil’in has been documented in an award-winning film produced by an Israeli and a Palestinian working together. You can see Five Broken Cameras on YouTube at Film maker Ronit Avni tells about her experience documenting the peaceful resistance in Budrus at

        In 2004, the International Court of Justice ruled that the Separation Wall is illegal and that it should be torn down and compensation paid to those already affected. The U.N. General Assembly then passed resolution 150-6 supporting the ICJ’s call to dismantle the wall. The six “no” votes were Australia, Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, and the United States. With U.S. support, Israel has ignored the ICJ ruling and has now completed about 75% of the wall.

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#freepalestine #standwithgaza #gaza #westbank #endtheoccupation #zit  #standwithkeith 

Last Updated ( Thursday, 25 June 2015 )

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