Capitol Hill Briefing to be held in November on Settlement Expansion
Wadi Foquin Mayor Ahmad Sokar (pictured above) and Bethlehem Mayor Anton Salman will speak about the impact of settlement expansion on their West Bank communities.
Friends of Wadi Foquin is sponsoring a U.S. congressional briefing on Tuesday, Nov. 14, in Washington, D.C., in response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Aug. 3 visit to the illegal settlement of Betar Illit announcing the expansion of 1,100 new settlement units there. Since its establishment in 1985, Betar Illit and its accompanying outpost settlement, Hadar Betar, have annexed 500 acres of land belonging to Wadi Foquin. The expansion would cover a third hilltop belonging to the village.
Wadi Foquin Mayor Ahmad Sokar will be joined by Bethlehem Mayor Anton Salman at the briefing to describe the impact of accelerating Israeli settlement expansion on Palestinian daily life in their respective communities and opportunities for Congress to intervene. In addition losing land, Palestinians in these communities are severely restricted in their access to jobs, schools, healthcare facilities, and agricultural fields due to the close proximity of settlements. Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon, executive director of Churches for Middle East Peace, and UMC Rev. Michael Yoshii, co-chair of Friends of Wadi Foquin, will also be on the panel.
What You Can Do
• Ask your representatives and senators to attend the briefing by making simple phone calls to their offices and forwarding the briefing announcement. Staffers need not RSVP. Members of the public who plan to attend should RSVP to Kyle Cristofalo, CMEP’s Director of Advocacy and Government Relations, at email@example.com using the subject line Subject: Hill Briefing, 11/14.
• Help defray briefing costs. Checks may be made out to BMU-FOWF and mailed to Jean Hart, FOWF Treasurer, Berkeley Methodist United Church, 1710 Carleton St., Berkeley, CA 94703; please note “briefing” in the memo line.
For more information contact FOWF co-chairs Rev. Michael Yoshii at firstname.lastname@example.org or Rev. Naomi Southard at email@example.com, or communications coordinator Julie Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Speaking tour raises $8,000 for guest house project
Thanks to the generosity of several United Methodist churches and community organizations in Northern California, more than $8,000 was raised during Ata Manassra's September speaking tour for a guest house project to boost tourism and help offset agricultural losses due to encroachment by the illegal Israeli settlement of Betar Illit onto its land. Manassra is the coordinator of Narjes, the Wadi Foquin community development project supported by the United Methodist Church.
The guest house will provide economic activity for the village while serving as a visible sign of resistance to further land confiscation. Donations for the project may be made through the United Methodist Church's General Board of Global Ministries (Advance project #3021565).