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Thank You to MPT Team Members

Thank You from the MPT Core, Staff and Volunteers to all our wonderful MPT International Peace Team Members in 2010!

All of our team members in the field have returned home safely at this time.

Please watch our blogs for updates on Teams and International programs in 2011/12 and beyond!

As always, if you have any questions or are interested in joining an international team please do not hesitate to contact me directly (NicoleR.mpt@gmail.com).


Nicole Rohrkemper
International Teams Coordinator


Demonstration in Jerusalem

MPT joins in demonstration with affiliate peace group Women in Black in Jerusalem. One of several demonstrations in Israel, this one is held every Friday at Paris Square, a busy intersection in West Jerusalem.

Before Women in Black (WIB) began in Israel, there were earlier movements of women who demonstrated on the streets against political oppression in South Africa and Argentina.

In 1987, 20 years after Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza, the Palestinian intifada began. WIB in Israel began as response to the violence in 1988. Women gathered weekly to hold silent protest for peace wearing black clothing, a sign of grief for lives affected by the violence of militarism and war.

Israeli WIB have been recognized with peace awards in 1991,1994, and 2001. Today there are WIB organizations in over 40 countries. http://www.haaretz.com/news/women-in-black-marks-20th-year-but-occupation-continues-1.236160
After the demonstration, the group gathered for a photo. In addition to the women(and men) from Israel, there is pictured MPT and people from Interfaith Peace Builders based in Washington,D.C.


Typical Palestinian Village

In a valley south of Nablus lie a number of villages. MPT talked to Ali Omar from Huwwara who works for the Palestinian Authority. The village in the picture is Oldala, to the right- out of picture range - is Beita.

Each village in Palestine grew up around a spring, where water comes to the earth’s surface usually part way down these low mountains. In this semi arid region, water is very precious. Illegal Israeli settlements locate on tops of mountains and drill deep wells to access the water.

A Settler uses 8 times the amount of water an average Palestinian uses according to Ali Omar. There is also a problem of mountain top settlements discharging their sewage down to Palestinian communities.

The village of Oldala’s spring is 100% dried up. The Palestinian Authority closed the water bottling plant in Beita five days ago because of sewage contamination to the water.

The illegal Israeli settlement of Itamar is west of these villages. The settlement was founded in 1984 “ to take advantage of the large reserve of state lands. Itamar is known for the many farms and hamlets (outposts) the dot the otherwise barren hills east of the village” http://www.middleeastexplorer.com/Israel/Itamar


Friday in Bil'in

Friday MPT participated in the nonviolent demonstration against the apartheid Wall in Bil’in for the second week in a row. We were privileged to meet not only some of the brave Palestinians we observed in the film Bil’in Hababti but also many astounding internationals who attend each week to support Bil’in’s struggle for freedom and justice.

We met a young man who is paralyzed after being shot at a demonstration some years ago and now attends the weekly demonstrations in a wheelchair, wearing a gas mask and sometimes filming the action. We met members of the families Abdullah Abu Rahmah and Adeeb Abu Rahmah, who are both in prison for their nonviolent resistance.

Palestinians opening the gate at the apartheid fence, Israeli Occupation Forces behind cement barrier

We met Khamees Agurahma, a 29 year old man who sustained a head injury from the kind of tear gas canister that killed Bassem, the man who was known as the heart and soul of Bil’in. After 8-10 days in a coma and being paralyzed for 4 months, Khamees is much better but not completely healed. He still attends the demonstrations but “stays back” now. He helps out as a caretaker of the International House that the Popular Committee of Bil’in provides for the lodging of the many internationals, a courtesy MPT accepted last week. Khamees stated this type of canister has been made illegal now. Khamees was injured Jan 23, 2009. He is Bassem’s cousin.

Tear gas driving demonstrators away from apartheid fence

We met Iyad Burnat who was also in the film, participating in the demonstration with some very creative messages the Popular Committee has put together. He is the acting leader of the Committee, since the imprisonment of Abdullah Abu Rahmah and continues to play a very active role in the weekly protests. He spends a lot of time with the various internationals, explaining the various methods of Boycott, Deinvest and Sanctions, which the Popular Committee all over Palestine endorses.

We met a Norwegian parliamentarian and mayor, both in Bil’in to observe and participate. We met two young women from So Korea, a young man from Spain, two young women from Poland, all spending their vacations with International Solidarity Movement (ISM), picking olives and supporting Bil’in. The young women who provided our orientation for international “first timers” were Israelis from Tel Aviv, one a Ukrainian immigrant. There was a group of senior citizens from Oxford, England, an author of children’s books from Indiana. Women from the Netherlands encouraged us to change our government’s policies concerning Israel/Palestine and acknowledged the hypocrisy of their own country. There was a young man from Germany who works in Ramallah and his visiting mother in law.

Iyad (in Palestinian flag), Emily, MPTer, & British demonstrators networking

We met Emily Schaeffer, an impressive 31 year old Human Rights attorney, who is an Israeli immigrant from Boston. She devotes most of her time to working on legal issues of Palestinians, such as the battle Bil’in has fought to get their land returned to them, and the trials of Palestinians arrested for speaking out against the wall. She is a regular visitor to Bil’in, traveling frequently from her home in Tel Aviv.

It is so encouraging to witness the persistence of the Palestinians and the support of the internationals. The atmosphere is very enthusiastic. It feels so good to be a part of that, one can forget momentarily that in spite of these positive forces for good, the Palestinians are still living in a large crowded prison.


A Blue Sky Day

Razor wire fencing bordering Palestinian olive trees

Picking olives overlooking the settlement

From the village of Kafr Qaddum, it was a 30 minute steep climb then descent to the farmer's trees.

For many Palestinians, the olive harvest is a major source of income. One middle aged mother working the 10 hour day consumed only tea and water. When MPT asked why she declined the prepared food, she said that she gets sick whenever she eats. She is postponing recommended hospitalization in order to help finish picking olives.

The olive trees are surrounded on three sides by various sections of the illegal Israeli settlement of Qadumim. At times the voices of playing children were heard from the settlement.

It was a beautiful day. The anticipated disruption by Israeli soldiers or settlers didn't happen on this particular day.


A Palestine refugee camp

Meet Handala. He is a Palestinian refugee who represents the sadness and hardships endured by the Palestinian who longs for a homeland with justice and human rights. Although created in the 1970’s by Naji Al-Ali, the Handala figure can be seen on t shirts and painted on walls throughout Palestine.

Balata Refugee Camp, one of the largest in the West Bank, is located in the southeastern section of Nablus, the largest city in the West Bank, directly across the street from the religious shrine known as the ancient Jacob’s Well. It exists in stark contrast to the elaborate cathedral and lush green gardens, well tended by a staff. In Balata camp there is almost no green to be seen, mostly just gray cement.

Approximately 800,000 Palestinians were kicked out of their homes in 1948, when Israel declared itself a nation, in possession of the native Palestinians’ land and homes. At first the Palestinians were determined and hopeful of return to their homelands but after a few years some accepted the United Nations (UN) offer of refugee camps. Balata is one of these UN camps.

Mustafa Farah, the tour guide and translator at Balata, explained some of the history to MPT members today. Originally, the one square kilometer was home to 4-5,000 refugees, living in tents, with 2-4 public bathrooms. Over the years the UN built very small cement block houses in place of the tents and the population has grown to 25-26,000 inhabitants. The houses are built with adjoining walls; the streets are very narrow passageways. A very large person is not able to pass through them. As the families have grown they have expanded their homes up, adding more stories, as they have nowhere to go horizontally. They must stay within the space of their original tent. Mustafa showed us one the “uninhabitable” houses originally built by the UN, and yes, there is a family living in it.

The great-grandchildren of the original residents are now growing up in the Balata camp. These generations of refugees have experienced all manner of horrors of the Occupation, e.g., killings, incarceration, closed schools, demolished houses, and curfews preventing people from getting to medical care, school, and work. Some of these conditions have improved since the end of the second Intifada, “We are able to breathe,” stated Mustafa. But these Palestinians are still plagued by serious issues of overcrowding, unemployment, lack of educational, medical and social resources.

Creative Play in Palestine

For the last 6 years the village of Bil’in has organized weekly nonviolent demonstrations protesting the Israeli separation wall which denies access to 60% of the village’s land.

MPT viewed these pictures before Friday’s scheduled protest. The play material pictured is spent ammunition that Israeli soldiers used against the demonstrators.


FREE Tix to MPT's Gala Signature Event! Plus, Trainings for 2011

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Special Opportunity: New Technology and Branding Committee @MPT!

Calling All:
- Marketing folks
- Graphic Designers
- Web Designers
- Creative thinkers
- Tech Wizards
- IT professionals
- Social networking guru's, and more!

Join our Tech & Branding Committee. Meets just once a month -or- consider consulting on one project.  Build your resume & get great references!

@gmail.com or 517-484-3178.  
Tell her you saw it in the Teams Insider News!

MPT Blogs


Vol. 16, Edition 10
→ Signature Event Update and Win Tickets!

→ Adv Training Dates for 2011

→ Teams Now Forming
→ Coming Events

→ Resource Bar

News for those interested in joining an MPT International Peace Team, Team Support Volunteers, and Peace Team Veterans.

[Click 'Display Images' or 'See it Online' to display this email properly.]

Dear Team Member or Supporter,
Please scroll down for your regular news and updates--but before you do, please consider this brief note on  one way you can support the work of MPT: join us at our upcoming gala dinner!

Want to purchase a ticket, but still not sure you can afford one?  In order to join us, and support MPT's critical conflict intervention work, this month consider giving up just one of the following:
  • Two weeks of coffee at home, not coffee-shops
  • 3 movies with popcorn
  • two nights out to dinner
  • Bike don't Drive - Do it yourself, and ask two loved ones to skip a trip in the car each week; donate the money saved toward a ticket. 
  • Or: Ask your workplace, organization, place of worship to sponsor a ticket!
We at Michigan Peace Team are counting the days until our Signature event, Living Justice: Celebrating the Life and Work of Edward Said and Rachel Corrie The event will be held at the elegant Greenfield Manor of Dearbon, and will feature speakers Grace Said (sister of political and intellectual figure Edward Said) and Cindy Corrie (mother of Rachel.Corrie,  a young peace activitist killed working in the West Bank).  This is a not-to-be-missed event that will include a spectacular meal, an exquisite silent auction, great talks, and dabke dancing. 
We know that these are very challenging economic times, and yet the work has never been more important.  We are asking you to seriously consider making the sacrifice to support  MPT's work for peace. To order your tickets, send your check made out to Michigan Peace Team to Sr. Mary Ann Ford at 24071 Oneida, Oak Park, MI 48237 or purchase online at mptsigevent.blogspot.com. You can also call  Liz Walters at 517-484-3178 or 517-231-7403 for more information. 

We cannot guarantee seats after Nov. 3.  Tables are filling quickly . . . RESERVE YOUR SEAT TODAY.

In Peace,

Nicole Rohrkemper
International Team Deployment Coordinator
Michigan Peace Team

(586) 419-1070 (direct line)


*Applications are due this Sunday, October 31st, 2010*
Why: You need a ticket; we can always use committed volunteers.

How it works: Submit a half-page 'essay' (300 words or less), explaining why you should get the tickets.  You must include the following THREE THINGS:

1. Briefly state your Economic Need
(i.e. limited or no income, recent unemployment, student, etc.)

2.  Make a signficant and meaningful commitment to volunteering with MPT between now and March 1st, 2011, and tell us HOW you will participate.

Choose one or more projects below (or suggest your own):

  • Create a Wiki Page for MPT Advanced Trainings (must have tech know-how)
  • Become an assistant Trainer for MPT (hands-on, on-site learning required-- mostly weekends)
  • Volunteer for Team Training Roleplays 3x (usually in Lansing, MI on Saturdays)
  • Interview new MPT Team Members (domestic or international team veterans only, 1-2 hours per interview)
  • Serve on an International Teams Policy Committee, early 2011 (great for returned team members or anyone who is familiar with conflict intervention work)
  • Volunteer in the MPT office in Lansing (assist staff, data entry, phone calls, and more)
  • Virtual Volunteer located anywhere, to work with International Teams Coordinator (via email and phone) on team deployment projects, must be tech-savvy and have reliable internet access
  • Volunteer to cook for 2011 Advanced Trainin weekends
  • Detroit Metro Area Volunteer to work with International Teams Coordinator on team deployment projects
  • Stuff Evelopes for upcoming campaigns
  •  Commit to being an Anchor for an International Team for 1-3 months (International Team Veterans only, tell us what quarter of 2011: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall)
  • Or, suggest your own project to benefit MPT!

3.  List WHEN you are available to volunteer (Examples: weeknights? weekends? Fridays? Every other Thursday from 3-5? One Saturday a month?).

For more information about these volunteer opportunities, contact NicoleR.mpt@gmail.com by Friday.

When: Due by Sunday, October 31st at Midnight EST
Send your answers in an email or a .doc attachment to:
NicoleR.mpt@gmail.com.  If you want to apply with a hard copy, or can't use email to apply, contact Nicole at 586-419-1070 by Friday.
Winner will recieve two tickets to the MPT Signature Event, taking place in Dearborn, MI on November 5th, 2010.  Tickets have been donated by the generous Sponsors of the event.
Winner will be notified by Monday, November 1st, 2010.
Thank you and Good Luck!

Consider one of the Volunteer Projects listed to the left.
Regardless of who wins tickets, we need volunteers like YOU to continue the work you're reading about in this newsletter.
Even if you don't want the tickets, or don't win, we need folks to take on these projects.  Can you help?
Contact NicoleR.mpt
@gmail.com for more information or to volunteer for many of the projects listed to the left.
Or, to volunteer at the MPT office in Lansing, contact

Thank you to all of our committed volunteers!

Get ready to pack your bags and deploy as soon as this January!



  Palestine/Israel Winter 2011 (Jan- March)

This team is currently on hold due to lack of an Anchor/veteran team member to lead the team.  Without an anchor, a Winter team will not deploy, and prospectice Winter team membrs will be asked to consider joining the Spring Team in April (below). For general program info, see FAQs.  Training begins late Fall.  Contact  Nicoler.MPT@gmail.com. 
Palestine/Israel Spring 2011 (April - June)
  Apply Now; suggested application deadline is January 1, 2011See FAQs.  You are invited to begin training this fall, including out October Retreat (see info above)Contact  Nicoler.MPT@gmail.com. 

Palestine/Israel Summer and Fall 2011 
Apply early to begin training and preparation in plenty of time.  Join us to start your advanced training as soon as October 2010; contact  Nicoler.MPT@gmail.com for details.   
Juarez, Mexico Winter/Spring 2011
We are currently evaluating our 2011 program for Juarez.  We are taking provisional applications in the meantime; we invite you to apply early, so we can guage the size of a potential team.
Spanish Speakers Only (Intermediate OK). 

Need more Information? Contact Nicoler.MPT@gmail.com


Advanced Nonviolence Training
Weekend Intensives Scheduled for 2011!
Register or More Information on Idealist.org
(scroll down to Events List at bottom of Idealist link).
This training intensive is a great step toward being a key member of International or Domestic Peace Teams with MPT!  It's also wonderful for practicing everyday skills you can use for communication, conflict transformation and more-- at home, work and in your community.

Advanced Training is Now Open to everyone, not just International Team members! Learn advanced nonviolence skills, including intervention, affinity team building, communication tools, roleplay practice, and more. Advanced registration required for this Friday-Sunday intensive workshop (you chose the date that works for you, one of four + options per year).  To register or for more information and upcoming dates: NicoleR.MPT@Gmail.com.

More Info on Basic Trainings: Visit our

Advanced Trainings Curriculum Topics Include:
  • Role Plays
  • Consensus decision making
  • Affinity Teams
  • Power, Privilege and Oppression
  • Media and 'Telling the Story' Who is MPT?
  • Self Care (co-counseling, trauma, compassion fatigue, ritual, first aid etc.)
  • Getting to know oneself (hopes and fears, relationship to money, goals and expectations for trip, how do you deal w/ stress/conflict  etc.)
  • Getting to know the team and team building activities 
  • Listening and Communication tools (active listening, I messages, CLARA)
  • What are Peace Teams? What is nonviolent conflict resolution/third party nonviolent intervention? What is our role?
  • Nonviolence as a big picture, and What is nonviolence?
  • Location Specific Training @ second On-Site Retreat (background of conflict/brief history, cultural sensitivity, etc.) -- for International Team Applicants Only
  • Administrative Stuff, Forms, Tips and "nuts and bolts" info. (packing tips, MPT Forms, what we expect from you/what should you expect from us) -- for International Team Applicants Only.

More information on upcoming trainings, plus

Handy Contact Information 

International Team Info
Nicole Rohrkemper,
International Team Deployment Coordinator

Phone: (586) 419-1070

MPT Events and Basic Training
Michigan Peace Team
(Main Office)
808 W. Barnes
Lansing, MI 48910

Phone: (517) 484-3178
Nov 5th, 2010
MPT Signature Event
Gala Dinner, Auction, Awards and More!
Oct 30, 2010
Nonviolence Training
10am-5pm, Open to All!
540 E. Hackley, Muskegon, MI To register call Larry Shalda at 231-343-5559. Sliding scale $20-$40 to cover materials.
Dec 4, 2010
Basic Training
Metro Detroit Area Nonviolence Skills Training, Open to All! Details and Register @  Idealist.org.
Advanced Trainings 
(Weekend Retreat)
This weekend is the next step after Basic, and the first step to going on a team! Details (follow the link and click on your preferred date) @ Idealist.org.  
Feb 25-27, 2011
April 1-3, 2011
June 3-5, 2011
Aug 19-21 (Tentative)
Oct 14-16, 2011

 This is the Quick Reference Toolbar: Your 'Passport' to Tools and Information! 

Click the links or images below for more information.

For those interested in MPT International Teams.

(Hint: Take a Peek, even if you're not ready to apply!)

(Remember, teams fund-raise to cover their costs.  It's very possible to go on a team without paying out of pocket.)


Support Teams...

Click the photo above to see the form to join.  Select a "montly contribution" to be added to the Circle.
A monthly donation of:

$10 - pays for a basic training manual for someone new to nonviolence.

$30 - covers expenses for a DAY for an International Team Member.

$150 - enables HUNDREDS of low-income members to recieve our quaterly print Newsletter.

$3000 - pays for one international team member in the field for a month or more, including airfare!

Any amount is welcome-- $10, $50, $100 or more (or less!!!).

For more information about Sustainer's Circle or to join over the phone, contact Mary Hanna in our main office in Lansing at 517-484-3178 or maryhanna.mpt@gmail.com.
808 W. Barnes Ave. | Lansing, MI 48910 US

Israeli High Court ruling not enforced by soldiers

MPT encountered this same situation in the village of Kafr Qaddum two days after this video was taken. The farmer MPT was helping chose to leave his field because his identity papers show his history of Israeli prison and travel outside of Palestine forbidden. If the soldiers asked to see his papers he said he would be sent to prison again. His uncle was killed by settlers in 1988.

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At the gates of an Israeli settlement

Palestinian olive trees in Kafr Qaddum are steps away from a back entrance to the illegal Israeli settlement of Qedumim. Today the Israeli army declared this area a closed military zone. MPT, Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR) and International Solidarity Movement (ISM) volunteers are told by the army that non-Palestinians must leave the area. While the orders to leave were being clarified, two 50 kilo bags of olives were harvested by the Palestinian farmers and loaded onto the pictured donkey.

A RHR representative talks with a Palestinian farmer. Each Israeli activist( RHR) and international volunteer was thanked personally by the farmer for the help that was given today.


MPT watches army and goats

A family from the small village of Kafr Qalil was picking very near the settlement of Har Brach. When angry yelling was heard from Israeli settlers, MPT talked on the cell phone with Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR) explaining the situation at the request of the Palestinian farmer. The District Commanding Officer of the Occupying Israeli army was contacted by RHR representative. The Palestinian farmer appeared increasingly anxious; there has been a history of harassment including violation and destruction of property. MPT saw evidence of illegal grazing and burned land. The farmer and RHR requested MPT to take pictures of any settler aggression. An Israeli military jeep with 4 soldiers drove to the settlers’ goat watering pond and talked to the settlers. From the valley below the picking area, the soldiers observed the Palestinian family and the 4 internationals with photo equipment. Although the soldiers remained with the settlers, the farmer decided to pick in a safer area.


A Glimpse in the life of a Palestinian farmer

Omar uses his donkey to transport tarps and bags to the picking site.

For the past three days MPT has accompanied Omar, a Palestinian farmer to his olive trees. A month ago he had 350 trees burned by the settlers. Today he heard that the Israel army would come to protect him from the settlers but the army didn’t come. Omar used his cell phone but was unable to learn why the army didn’t come. He chose to pick olives in a safer valley area further from the Israeli settlement of Har Bach.

During lunch he talked about the Intifada. “It didn’t help me.” Although a nonparticipant in the conflict, he talked of the Occupying Israeli army and the Palestine resisters battling right in front of his house. Due to a serious injury to his leg, during the Intifada, Omar has been unable to maintain his previous livelihood. In his limited English, Omar described the time before the Intafada as a time of "too much money, too much happy." As his family attempts to rebuild their homes, they have been ordered to stop mid-construction, due to denial of a building permit by the Israeli officials.

Education is very important to Palestinians. There are 11 universities, 5 university colleges and 25 community colleges in the West Bank and Gaza. Literacy among 15-24 yr olds is 98 %. Girls are equally represented in the school population. Israel’s occupation of Palestine has killed children and teachers, damaged 300 school buildings, intermittently closed schools and severely restricted travel of these highly educated people thus limiting their employment opportunities in the world economy.

In spite of the many hardships, Omar continues to experience, both he and his son could be heard singing Arabic songs while picking olives.

Omar picks up the newspaper that served as a ground cover
during our picnic lunch and begins to read.