This past week has been a week of horror in Palestine and Israel.
Marking 70 years since the Nakba of Palestinians, the week has seen the continuation of the Great Return March by Palestinians in Gaza, and the indiscriminate killing of some 60 people by Israeli snipers and tear gas and wounding over 1000 others. The Great Return March has been occurring weekly for the past six weeks, with Palestinians in Gaza – most of whom are refugees, unable to return to their ancestral homes – demanding their right to determine where they shall live and how they shall live. The protests this week, organised by a broad coalition of Gazan society, have been deliberately nonviolent, enacting the right of a population under siege to protest and make political claims. These are simple human rights, claims for freedom and for justice.
Members of AJDS are angered and horrified by this indiscriminate killing, and the violence which continues: just this morning (Melbourne time), Israeli warplanes have bombed northern Gaza. The violence is so dire, that it has been noted that the number of Gazans killed by the Israeli army over the last six weeks of protests is larger than the number of people killed by East Germany attempting to cross the Berlin Wall from 1961-1989.
On May 13, Israeli Jews celebrated, what they call ‘the reunification of Jerusalem’. This year, as in years past, it consisted of right-wing and fascist Jews marching through the Old City, terrorising Palestinians, and attempting to lay claim to Jewish presence on al-Haram al-Sharif/the Temple Mount.
The next day, May 14, saw the opening of the new United States Embassy in Jerusalem, a move calculated to fan the flames of anger and violence. This was a clear statement by the US that they are not capable of brokering a just peace, nor are they interested in doing so. It was a deliberately provocative move.
It was on this day, which was also the day before Nakba Day (May 15), that the killing of Palestinians in Gaza occurred. Members of AJDS find ourselves disgusted at witnessing the brazen display of inhumanity by Israeli authorities towards the Palestinians in Gaza, who have lived under a blockade for over 10 years. There is a clear, unconscionable, inability to accept the right of Palestinians to non-violent mass protest.
This all pours salt onto historic wounds that date back to the Palestinian Nakba of 1948.
AJDS calls on the Australian government to call in the Israeli Ambassador and make clear that this violence and dispossession cannot continue. We call on the Government, and the Military, to cease all military ties with Israel.
We call on members of the Australian Jewish community – so many of whom have been reluctant to try to understand Palestinian perspectives, histories, and motivations – to open their hearts and their ears to learning histories which might trouble them. We ask all Jewish people around the country to stand with us in firm opposition to Israel’s brutal conduct, knowing well that there has been no provocation, no move by this subject Palestinian population, which justifies – either legally or morally – Israel’s violence.
We stand in solidarity with Israeli organisations rallying on Friday near the Gaza border, with those who have protested throughout Israel and Palestine throughout the week, as well as those who have protested around the world, and demand:
- Stop the shooting of unarmed protesters,
- End the siege of the Gaza Strip,
- Commence ‘good faith’ discussions with the Palestinians to end the occupation and colonisation of the Palestinian Territories and promote a life of hope, dignity and security for both peoples.
For more reading and context, we encourage people to access these sources:
The twitter feeds of:
The Institute for Middle East Understanding: https://twitter.com/theIMEU
We Are Not Numbers #Gaza: https://twitter.com/WeAreNotNumbers
Asaf Ronel: https://twitter.com/AsafRonel
Yousef Munayyer: https://twitter.com/YousefMunayyer
Samah Sabawi: https://twitter.com/gazaheart
If Not Now: https://twitter.com/IfNotNowOrg
Budour Hassan: https://twitter.com/Budour48
Mariam Barghouti, ‘I am still proud to be Palestinian, and this is what Israel fears,’: https://www.trtworld.com/opinion/i-am-still-proud-to-be-palestinian-and-that-is-what-israel-fears-17485
Samer Badawi, ‘Lessons from my Palestinian mother about Jerusalem – and resistance,’: https://972mag.com/lessons-from-my-palestinian-mother-about-jerusalem-and-resistance/135434/
Mairav Zonszein, ‘We are all accomplices to Israel’s massacre in Gaza,’: https://972mag.com/we-are-all-accomplices-to-israels-massacre-in-gaza/135348/
Jews Around the World Honour #Nakba70: https://www.facebook.com/1847305765521528/videos/2019955944923175/