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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: Sat, March 21, 2015, 10:00 am and the Salt lake City Public Library (200 E 400 S) meeting room D in the basement. All are welcome!


Living in the Rubble

Photo by Ezz Zanoun, from Electronic Intifada "Nothing is improving nearly 6 months after ceasefire ended Israel's summer onslaught." Read more at





"Free Palestine" Voice in Salt Lake City Grows Stronger at Protests in July and August, rain or shine.





Read more in the Deseret News: 




UJPHL Director, Frances ReMillard Gives Us a Personal Take

Gaza, My Experience

In 2008 I traveled to Israel/Palestine with plans to visit Gaza. It was my second visit and my second try at visiting Gaza. By 2008 Israel had completed their wall around Gaza (2004), moved their Jewish only settlements out of Gaza (2005) and Hamas had been elected (2007). I had applied for a permit to enter Gaza well in advance.  I was carrying a donation for the Episcopal Hospital in Gaza and planned to discuss with them how our group here in Utah might support them. My traveling partner was a British reconstructive surgeon who had thirty patients in Gaza waiting to see her. 

We arrived at the Gaza crossing early and spent many sobering hours waiting to get in. There was already a long line of people standing at the entry tunnel into Gaza. A camera, tethered to the ground but hanging from a balloon perhaps 150 feet over our heads peered into Gaza. Intermittent massive booms vibrated the air-- Israel was exploding sound bombs and sonic booms over Gaza.  We saw occasional arcs of smoke coming out of Gaza-- rockets set off by Palestinians. These rockets were clearly aimed south, towards the historic Palestinian town of Najd. The Palestinian residents of Najd had been driven out years earlier in another of Israel’s assaults-- “Operation Barak.” Israel had forced the Palestinian residents into Gaza, confiscated their land for Jewish settlers, and renamed the location Sderot. It is the story and the history of nearly all Palestinians.

During the hours I stood outside the wall enclosing Gaza, not one individual was allowed to enter.  One child, wrapped from head to toe in bandages, exited, carried out of Gaza and laid in the back seat of a waiting taxi, the door left open. The taxi did not leave. Hours later when we finally left, denied entry because our mission was not “humanitarian,” that child was still lying alone in the backseat of the taxi. As we drove away I wondered, “Was it really possible to have 1.5 million people, sealed in by a wall, and only one case serious enough to merit exit? None to merit entry?”

Today the Gaza population Israel is bombing has grown to 1.8 million, half of them children. Nearly all are refugees, a protected population under international law. Most were originally from Israel, driven or dumped into Gaza as part of Israel’s mission to create a pure Jewish State on all of historic Palestine.

The Israeli government and most U.S. leaders say it is Palestinian rocket-fire and those illegal tunnels which bring about Israel’s assaults. I don’t believe them. Common sense tells me that violence will erupt from any trapped population when their food, water and basic supplies for living are limited and their life made futureless.  I pray for the people of Gaza and look forward to the day when our government and leaders look past the latest shooting, instead address the root cause----Israel’s apartheid system in which laws spell out that it is Jewishness, not citizenship, which determines who deserves basic rights and only Jews, (from anywhere in the world) are entitled to the land. To accomplish that goal, Palestinians, whether in Israel or occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza are being stripped of their land and squeezed into ever shrinking enclaves. Right now Israel is choosing to focus on Gaza.

Frances ReMillard is a co-founder and the director of UJPH, a non-profit focused on increasing public understanding of the Israel/Palestine issue. She is the author of the booklet, “Is Israel and Apartheid State?,” and was a U.S. Delegate at the Russell Tribunal on Palestine hearings held in South Africa, 2011. 

September 4, 2014 - UN Update on Gaza ( 

-2131 Palestinians killed (more than 75% civilians; 501 were children)

-71 Israelis killed (4 were civilians) 

-18,000 homes destroyed 

-110,000 Palestinians internally displaced

-450,000 people without water


In the News



Protest against the Gaza operation, Tel Aviv, July 26, 2014. Photo by Tomer Appelbaum

Thousands assembled at Tel Aviv's Rabin Square on Saturday evening for what became the largest protest against the Israeli military operation in Gaza thus far. According to official estimates some 7,000 protesters attended. 



Tens of thousands of demonstrators in London marched from the Israeli embassy in Kensington to Downing Street. Others protested in dozens of cities around the UK, including Birmingham, Cardiff and Edinburgh, as Palestinian officials announced the death toll had passed 1,000.

Watch some of what has happened on You Tube. <>


Other pro-Gaza demonstrations were also mounted in cities around the globe, including Dublin, Singapore, Washington DC, San Francisco, Auckland and Melbourne.


A Response to the claim that Hamas uses 'Human Shields'

-Gaza, Israel and ‘Human Shields’

The People Putting Innocents in Danger are the Israelis

by Sarah Gillespie
July 25, 2014

What does it mean to use human shields? Employed by the Germans and Japanese in the Second World War, the tactic is premised on an underlying trust in your enemy’s humanity. It appeals to the compassion and mercy of the combatant that they not slaughter the innocent in order to avenge their target. The ‘shield’ is not the human bodies surrounding the ‘guilty’ party, the shield is the clemency that mankind instinctively affords the innocent. The shield evaporates only when confronted by an enemy who is not merely a fellow solder locked in a power battle, but a psychopath unconcerned with the pain of others. Such is the case with the Hamas. They are faced with an enemy who is willing to obliterate pregnant women, babies, kids, handicapped people, schools and crowded hospitals in order to smash their target. The Israelis repeatedly demonstrate a pathological disregard for any life that is not a Jewish life, and it is for this reason alone, that the Hamas are utterly incapable of ever using ‘human shields.’

However, Netanyahu, pro Israeli media and Zionist supporters can’t resist endlessly recycling their trope that the Hamas use civilians to guard their rockets. They are clearly flummoxed as to why this assertion does nothing to quell the snowballing international outrage at the massacres they are committing.  Their argument attempts to plant in our minds the notion that the Hamas actively invite the Israeli military to slaughter and maim innocents and, in doing so, prove that their savagery deserves to be annihilated. Paradoxically therefore, according to the twisted logic of Zionists, the more innocent Palestinians that die, the worse the Palestinians are. As a collective they are guilty of being innocent.

But this propaganda ploy doesn’t work. Not only does it not work, it boomerangs completely. Every time a Zionist apologist repeats their ‘human shield’ accusations they merely advertise their own deficit of basic humanity. They tell us ‘the Hamas think we have empathy for our fellow human beings, but if you look at the casualty figures, you’ll see how mistaken they are.’

The other issues at play here are the rights of the Palestinians to defend themselves and the pragmatics of warfare in a refugee camp. Israel is extremely fond of telling the world that they have the right to defend themselves. They enjoy a nuclear arsenal, cutting edge American weaponry and the formidable Iron Dome technology. Yet, although Israel constantly brags about its own egalitarian credentials, for some reason Israel refuses to grant the Palestinian people this same intrinsic right to defense that it demands for itself. Palestinians are not allowed to protect themselves. They are not allowed to fight. Instead we are invited to imagine that it is somehow acceptable for the Palestinians to have no weaponry whatsoever, no army, no solders, no rights. We are lead to believe that the only way for Palestinians to prove their integrity, is to lie down like lambs and quietly live out the unspeakably miserable lives of squalor, poverty and despair that Israel has designed for them. In short, Israel wishes the Palestinians were suicidal but, inconveniently, they keep proving to us that they are not.

Obviously asking a people to passively embrace their own ethnic cleansing is implausible. One would hope that the Jews, more than anyone, might be capable of grasping such a fundamental truth – but sadly not. Given then, that the people of Gaza, like any other human beings, have right to defense, where exactly should they store their weapons? In the rolling valleys and tumbling hills of Haraat al-Daraj? Amid the fauna-filled acres of Shuja’iyya? Gaza is home to approximately 1.8 million people, it is 25 miles long by 5 to 7 miles wide and sealed by both an Egyptian and Israeli blockade. It is the most crowded open air prison on earth. The only place to feasibly store weapons is inevitably in the proximity of the people forced to live there cheek by jowl. Israel has now ordered some 43% of the territory to be evacuated. But where to? The Kafka-esque request to insist people go, knowing there is nowhere to go to, is clearly there to benefit Israeli PR, not save lives. And it doesn’t fool anyone. There are currently hundreds of thousands of displaced. The schools that have opened to receive those fleeing are already overflowing and Palestinians that endured the bombings of schools during Operation Cast Lead, know that even a so-called ‘refuge’ can not guarantee safety. Let’s be clear: the only people putting the Palestinians in danger are the Israelis. The only people killing innocent people are the Israelis. Hamas may not be the party that the chattering classes of the West would want to govern them, but they are democratically elected and they have as much right as Israel, Britain, France and America to fight against an oppressor that quite literally wants to ‘wipe them off the map.’ They face a tough job, but one thing they can’t do is use human shields against an enemy that doesn’t recognise them as human.

Sarah Gillespie is a writer and musician living in London. 



Utahns for a Just Peace in the Holy Land

UJPHL director, Frances Remillard, responds to documentary about Israel that aired on KUED in December 2013. She states, "In Israel, 'citizen' is an empty word. It is only those that are designated 'Jewish nationals' that enjoy rights that we Americans expect as citizens."

Connect to the entire Salt Lake Tribune editorial from the Links tab in the orange Main Menu to the left.

Read more about UJPHL... 

Read about past events... 

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

Last Updated ( Thursday, 26 February 2015 )

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