Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Help End The Siege In Gaza


We all know the story of the atrocities committed by the Israeli government against the Palestinian people. There is no question that the occupation is illegal, that there have been innumerable human rights violations, that Israel is continuing to build settlements and their apartheid wall is reaching ever farther into Palestinian land. We are going on 60 years now of what most people would consider ethnic cleansing, while the world at large sits idly by unable or unwilling to stand up to the American backed Israeli war machine.


More than 300,000 Israeli settlers are now living on illegal settlements on Palestinian land. It is against international law for an occupying country to transfer it's own civilians into an occupied territory, the same as they also cannot forcibly remove those people inhabiting the occupied territory... but Israel has completely ignored these laws. The Israeli Occupation Authority (IOA) issues demolition orders on Palestinian homes on a daily basis, leaving thousands of refugees. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) then move in with bulldozers and demolish the homes and use the land to build settlements and highways that only settlers are allowed to travel on.

Israel has decided that things such as fruit, shoes and books are "luxuries" that the Palestinian people do not deserve and have effectively blocked these items and many others from entering into the occupied territories. Human rights organizations and even the United Nations are denied access to the Palestinian people, 90% of whom are now suffering from malnutrition. The Palestinian refugees, over half of whom are children, have limited or no access to clean drinking water, health care, education or even food and clothing.


The time is long past that the people of the world need to stand up in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Palestine. Whether or not our individual nations are willing to make a stand against the Israeli government does not dissolve our responsibilities as individuals to do what is right. As is often the case in these matters people are bound to ask themselves what they could possibly do to help others halfway across the world, to justify that their voice and their opinions matter not at all in the great scheme of things, to 'feel bad' for the weak and the oppressed but to do nothing more. "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."


In exactly this spirit of non-complacency Norman Finkelstein and other prominent activists are enlisting various Palestinian solidarity groups in their planning of an international march on Gaza in an effort to end the blockade of the territory. It is their plan to bring thousands of demonstrators from across the globe to march alongside Gazans as they breach the blockade imposed upon the population together as one people. According to a draft statement of purposes and principles "This march draws inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi. Those of us residing in the United States also draw inspiration from the civil rights movement." According to the statement the march will be set for January 1st, 2010. "We will march the Long Mile across Erez checkpoint alongside the people of Gaza in a nonviolent demonstration that breaches the illegal blockade. We conceive this march as the first step in a protracted nonviolent campaign ... If we bring thousands to Gaza and millions more around the world watch the march on the internet, we can end the siege without a drop of blood being shed."


Regarding the march Finkelstein was quoted as saying "If the likes of Jimmy Carter, Noam Chomsky, Bishop Tutu and Nelson Mandela are at the head of the march; if behind them are students holding high signs of the schools from which they hail - Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Oxford, Cambridge; if behind them are the ill and the lame, the young and the innocent of Gaza; if behind them are hundreds of thousands of others, unarmed and unafraid, wanting only to enforce the law; if around the world hundreds of thousands are watching the internet to see what happens - Israel can't shoot."

My friends and I are planning to form our own delegation to visit Israel and the occupied territories in December and to join in the march on Gaza, to help break the siege and bring this horrible violence and occupation to an end. Please do everything you can to show your support for this worldwide movement by spreading the word, donating to help fund the delegations, or by adding your support and presence to our numbers. If you are interested in joining our delegation or to learn more about what can be done to aid the Palestinian people, please feel free to e-mail me at Crystal.HighRoad@Gmail.Com


Dawson said...

During late December and New Years I will be watching my kids while my wife is abroad... but you will have my full support!

I honestly believe that Finkelstein is right, if they can get enough people behind this movement and they raise awareness of the action so that the eyes of the world are upon the protesters, then Israel will have no choice but to stand idly by allowing the Palestinians to march right past them.