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Adam Rizvi, N.J. April 21, 2020, TIO: –As part of a coalition for justice, Jewish Voices for Peace, American Muslims for Palestine-NJ, Central Jersey Democratic Socialists of America, and Princeton Committee on Palestine are demanding that the Israeli government cease its bombardment of Gaza, end its evictions of Palestinians from East Jerusalem, return land that was stolen from Palestinians by Israeli settlers in the West Bank, and allow the return of Palestinian refugees that were expelled from their homes during the Nakba between 1947~1949.
For decades, the Palestinian people have been under siege, subjugated by an increasingly far-right Israeli government bent on ethnically cleansing them from their land and eliminating all hopes for a viable Palestinian state. The recent escalation in violence was sparked by Israeli settlers trying to take over Palestinian homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, the latest episode in the On going process of ethnic cleansing, dispossession and erasure to which Palestinians have been subject since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem since 1967 is considered illegal under international law and yet Israeli settlers enjoy full impunity under the law and are protected by Israeli police as they attack, assault and expel Palestinians from homes they have lived in for generations.
Since then, there have been mobs of Israelis ransacking Palestinian businesses and attacking Palestinians living inside Israel. There has been video evidence of Palestinians being dragged out of their cars and beaten by crowds of irate Israeli mobs, which many have likened to the lynching and pogroms which took place under Jim Crow, South African apartheid and Nazi rule. Further, the Israeli government has rained down bombs and missiles—made in the U.S. and paid for by U.S. taxpayers via the $3.8 billion which the U.S. provides in military aid to Israel every year— on Gaza, which has led, so far, to the death of over 227 Palestinians, more than 64 of whom are children, the destruction of over 725 Palestinian homes and displacement of over 72,000 people, as well as the demolition of infrastructure, and medical and educational establishments throughout the strip.
The goal of the Israeli government, like any occupying force, is to cripple Palestinian efforts for self-determination on their indigenous land, which they and their ancestors have been on for generations, and from which they continue to be ethnically cleansed and excluded. Palestinians within Israel are treated as second-class citizens, with inferior rights and status enshrined in law and state policies which establish full citizenship rights for Jewish Israelis only. In the Occupied Territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Palestinians suffer from segregation, dehumanisation and systemic discrimination, under which movement and access to services are restricted, and every day, land and homes continue to be stolen, with Palestinian residents removed and replaced by Jewish Israeli settlers in expanding settlements which are deemed illegal undernational law. In Gaza, 2 million people are confined onto a strip of land roughly the size of Detroit and more densely populated than Manhattan, in which Israel has imposed a land, sea and air blockade since 2007, preventing access to essential resources and utilities and restricting the movement of people and goods. This has led Israeli and international human rights organisations, including B’Tselem and Human Rights Watch, to conclude what Palestinians have been describing for decades: that Israel is committing the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution against Palestinians in the entire area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.
The co-sponsoring organizations, their allies and all those committed to achieving justice for the oppressed will be holding a rally to raise our voices in support of the Palestinians this Friday, May 21, 2021 at 5 pm at Hinds Plaza in Princeton, NJ. The rally will include speakers who will shine a light on some of the issues Palestinians are facing, with the goal of raising awareness, and encouraging members of the Princeton, New Jersey and broader U.S. community to pressure their local representatives and legislators, to demand that they stand up for justice and oppose systemic racism, colonialism and crimes against humanity.
The Palestinian struggle is similar to the struggle that oppressed peoples are facing throughout the world,including Black Americans, Jewish Americans, Latinx Americans, Asian Americans, Muslim Americans and members of the working class here in the U.S. Their struggle for liberation is shared with people suffering under oppressive regimes in Colombia, Myanmar, China, India, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, among countless other places. The Palestinian people deserve to be free. They deserve to not have their neighborhoods leveled. They deserve to be able to live with dignity, and not have their daily lives and aspirations decimated by bombs and the slow suffocation of the Israeli-led blockade of Gaza. If you believe in justice for the oppressed, if you believe in an end to exploitation and ethnic cleansing, if you believe that colonized people deserve to be free, then join us on Friday.
For media enquiries, contact organizers by email: CentralNJ@JewishVoiceForPeace.org
Jewish Voice for Peace is a national, grassroots organization inspired by Jewish tradition to work for a just and lasting peace according to principles of human rights, equality, and international law for all the people of Israel and Palestine. JVP has over 500,000 online supporters, over 70 chapters, a youth wing, a Rabbinic Council, an Artist Council, an Academic Advisory Council, and an Advisory Board made up of leading U.S. intellectuals and artists.
Central Jersey DSA is an autonomous and democratically organized branch of the Democratic Socialists of America. Members of Central Jersey DSA are members of the broader advocacy community organizing to build a better world. Central Jersey DSA is currently working on projects including mutual aid, workplace organizing, tenant organizing, disability solidarity, and defunding the police.
The American Muslims for Palestine NJ is an American organization founded in 2006. Its purpose is to educate the American public and media about issues related to Palestine and its rich cultural and historical heritage. AMP also works to educate on the Zionist occupation of Palestine, the last and longest-lasting occupation in the world.
The Princeton Committee on Palestine (PCP) is a diverse group of Princeton University students who stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people against injustice and in defense of human rights. We call for an end to Israeli colonialism, military occupation of the West Bank and ongoing siege of Gaza. PCP members come from a wide variety of backgrounds, nationalities, and faiths. We are united by a desire to see justice in Palestine and a commitment to advocating for Palestinian human rights.