After 50 years of occupation, it is time to say, “ENOUGH!” Some of what you find below comes from Canadians, Arabs and Jews for a Just Peace. Some comes from our United Church of Canada Moderator’s Letter; Moderator Cantwell went to Palestine recently and shared her experience. There are other links in Moderator Cantwell’s blog: 1) to the call from the National Coalition of Christian Organizations in Palestine in an open letter; 2) other links that lead to more information and ecumenical action.
Why is this year important?
2017 marks 10 years of Israel's blockade of Gaza; 50 years of Israel's military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza; 70 years since the Nakba and displacement of Palestinian people; and 100 years since the Balfour Declaration.
The graphic below shows the loss of land that Palestinians have experienced. It is a shocking graphic.
100 YEARS since the Balfour Declaration
2017 is the 100 year “anniversary” of the Balfour Declaration, which set the stage for the Zionist movement to colonize Palestine and later to establish a Jewish state. As author Arthur Koestler described it, "one nation promising another nation the land of a third nation." This document shows the international community’s deep complicity in creating and maintaining the situation of injustice and oppression of the Palestinian people.
70 YEARS of the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe)
The Palestinian Nakba remembers the period between 1947-1949 when over 400 Palestinian villages were destroyed and 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly displaced. Today, 6.6 million Palestinian refugees and their descendants are denied their Right of Return to their homeland, the “Right of Return” being a fundamental principle of international human rights.
50 YEARS of Israel's military occupation of the Palestinians
In June 1967, at the end of the Six-Day-War, Israel seized control of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. One million Palestinians were placed under Israel's direct military control. Israel began to build illegal Jewish-only settlements on Palestinian land. Now 600,000 Israeli Jews live in settlements (colonies) in the West Bank /Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Tens of thousands of Palestinian homes have been demolished. In 2017 alone, 566 Palestinian houses have been demolished by Israel. The Israeli water authority allocates only 3% of the water to Palestinians even though they make up more than 50% of the overall population. Palestinians in the West Bank live under Israeli commanders who impose inhumane laws and prevent people from enjoying the most basic human rights. 7,000 political prisoners now sit in Israeli jails in violation of international law.
10 YEARS of Israel's blockade of Gaza
When Hamas won the political election and control of Gaza in 2007, Israel declared them terrorists and closed Gaza's air, land and sea borders. Israel maintains control of residents' electricity, fuel, water, and all food and supplies allowed into Gaza as well as the movement of residents into and out of Gaza. Today, approximately two million people in Gaza have no access to clean water, proper nutrition or medicine. There have been massive assaults by Israel on Gaza in 2008-09; 2012; and 2014, causing thousands of deaths, mostly non-combatants, including children.
After 50 years of occupation, Say "Enough!"Send our federal Minister of Foreign Affairs (The Honourable Chrystia Freeland at Chrystia.Freeland@parl.gc.ca) a letter asking Canada:
-to live out its stated policy on Israel and Palestine; and
-to call on the Israeli government to adhere to international law without exception; to grant Palestinians basic human rights including the Right of Return; and to be part of a solution that recognizes Palestine’s rights.