1. Action Alert
  2. Middle East & Iran

Stand up for Peaceful Protest in Palestine

Call on your Representative to defend Issa Amro

June 19, 2017

For over a decade, Palestinian activist Issa Amro and his organization Youth Against Settlements have used nonviolent resistance to peacefully challenge the Israeli occupation in his hometown of Hebron. He now faces politically motivated charges designed to shut down his calls for Palestinian freedom and an end to occupation. Call now to stand with Issa!

Please make your call, using the script at the end of this page, before the Monday, June 26 deadline for the Issa Amro congressional support letter.

''If he is convicted we will consider Issa Amro a prisoner of conscience.'' ~Amnesty International

We need you to raise your voice for Palestinians engaged in nonviolent resistance to injustice in their homeland. Palestinians have a long history of nonviolent resistance to oppressive Israeli policies, and nonviolent Palestinian resistance to the 50 year occupation stretches all the way back to the occupation's beginnings in 1967. Palestinian nonviolent protests in occupied territory are often met with repression by Israeli forces.

Issa Amro one among many extraordinary Palestinian nonviolent activists facing government repression

In his own words, Issa explains the power of nonviolent resistance to Israeli policies as such:

"It's about nonviolence in the community... Gandhi says, if you want to win with violence, you will win with violence, but the violence will stay in the community after you win... Nonviolence strengthens the civil society in the best way. This is why we try to educate, to convince the Palestinians about nonviolence."

As Peter Beinart explained in an article labeling Issa a "Palestinian Gandhi," his trial in Israel's military courts will lack any semblance of justice:

"Unfortunately, the Israeli government does not yearn for Palestinian Gandhis. It arrests them. Amro is currently facing 18 criminal charges. If convicted, he’ll likely serve a long prison sentence... If Amro were a citizen of the country in which he lived, and enjoyed due process, he would have little to fear in a court of law. Unfortunately for him, he will be tried in a military court where the conviction rate exceeds 99%."

Amnesty International, in an unequivocal statement that derided the charges as "baseless," wrote:

"The deluge of charges against Issa Amro does not stand up to any scrutiny. In their determination to silence him and stifle his human rights work, the Israeli authorities have apparently even reopened a closed case file. If he is convicted we will consider Issa Amro a prisoner of conscience."

And the principled, steadfast work that earned Amro the "prisoner of conscience" label has not gone unnoticed, and earned him a write up in the New York Times:

"Mr. Amro, 36, is among the most successful community organizers to have come of age in the Hebron of minority rule and sterile zones. For 13 years, he has been engaged in a creative, nonviolent campaign against the Israeli occupation. Through the organization he founded, Youth Against Settlements, he provides a space — a community center — and an outlet for young people to express their resistance to the occupation in nonviolent ways. Every week, up to a hundred kids gather at the center, where Mr. Amro screens inspirational films and instructs them in principles of political nonviolence. He involves them in projects that maintain the public pathways and repair stairway railings and water pipes. They run a summer camp and built and operate a kindergarten. For this work, the United Nations bestowed on Mr. Amro its “Human Rights Defender of the Year in Palestine” award in 2010."

Congress can sign a letter to stand with Issa

Representatives Mark Pocan (WI), Keith Ellison (MN), Betty McCollum (MN), and Earl Blumenauer (OR) are the lead signers on a powerful congressional letter that asks the State Department to “urge Israeli authorities to reconsider the charges against Mr. Amro, a principled and internationally recognized nonviolent human rights advocate.”

With such baseless charges in play, and with such strong support for Issa Amro, Congress can be persuaded to support Issa Amro's case. However, your Representative needs to hear from you, their constituent, in order to sign on. That's where you come in.

Defend Issa Amro's nonviolent resistance: Call your Representative right now at (202) 224-3121

To support Issa, Congress must hear from you.

Please call before the Monday, June 26 deadline asking your Representative to sign the letter and stand with Issa! Simply call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and enter your zip code to be connected. You can use the script below:

I am a constituent from [city] in Representative [name]'s district. I am calling to ask that the Representative sign on to the Pocan letter requesting that the State Department ask Israeli authorities to reconsider Palestinian nonviolent activist Issa Amro's charges, which have been derided as "baseless" by Amnesty International. I look forward to your response. Thank you.

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