Silence allows savagery to flourish, and solidarity makes space for hope.
In 2006, we are still living in an age of barbarism. In 2001, America and the UK invaded Afghanistan. Five years have passed and still the people of Afghanistan live in fear. Then, America and the UK invaded Iraq in 2003 to bring freedom and peace, and now the only freedoms left in that country are the freedom for American capital to use Iraqi oil as it pleases and for Iraqis to die without regard to age or gender.
On June 28, 2006, more than 60 years into their military occupation, Israel amplified its brutal attacks on the Palestinians in Operation Summer Rain. Roads and power plants have been destroyed, and Palestinians have been prevented from going outside. From the end of June until October, over 300 Palestinians were killed and over 1,500 were arrested. Thousands were wounded and hundreds have sustained permanent injuries.
We should accurately identify Israel’s slaughter and savagery, without letting the tragedies of the Holocaust blind us to continuing injustice. The lesson is not that one nation, formerly repressed, should be allowed to continue to repress others, but rather that there can be no excuse for one people to inflict cruelty on another people.
Shortly after the commencement of Operation Summer Rain, Israel invaded Lebanon once more on July 12, 2006. Despite the rhetoric, this invasion is simply the latest in a series of Israeli invasions of Lebanon, such as Operation Litani in ’78, Operation Peace for Galilee in ’82, Operation Accountability in ’93, and Operation Grapes of Wrath in ’96. Though this latest is called Operation Just Reward, it has manifested itself through unjust punishments of the Lebanese.
When the strong rule the weak, when the world serves to profit only the rich, this is called the age of barbarism.
When the distinctions between the strong and the weak disappear, when humanity moves according to the basic fundamental principles of cooperation and solidarity, this is called the age of enlightenment.
We are at a crucial moment of decision, in which people must choose between savagery and humanity.
Israel was established in 1948 under the auspices of British imperialism, and now the Israeli government oppresses and evicts the Palestinians from their land without end and with the approval and aid of US imperialism. Millions of Palestinians are now scattered over the world, unable to return to their homeland where their parents are buried and where their memories remain.
The remaining Palestinians have been posed with the choice: leave or submit. But they have chosen neither to leave nor submit, and in response to their legitimate right to resist military occupation under the Geneva conventions, Israel began work on the Separation Wall. Also known as the Apartheid Wall, it encloses Palestinian residential districts in concrete and barbed wire. Israel has plans to permanently annex the areas surrounding the wall. The cumulative effects of these actions are to deprive Palestinians of normal lives, of their family and neighbors, as well as of their remaining arable land and water resources. Israel has essentially created a prison out of their land, aided by the design of Oslo.
Qalqiliya, home to tens of thousands in the northern West Bank, is a typical example. Israel has built the wall around its edges, and there is now only one checkpoint through which people are allowed to pass to enter and exit the city. In addition, Qalqiliya’s economy has been ruined by Israeli sanctions, which prevents farmers from importing or exporting.
Palestine has yielded and compromised on countless occasions in the past 60 years, but received only suppression and death in return. Accordingly, to the Palestinians, fighting against Israel is a matter of living—in life, one can walk the streets freely. Though the sky, sea, and land are blocked, though the democratically elected government faces is being rendered incapacitated though Israeli, American, and EU offensives, the Palestinians continue to resist.
We create history with our own hands and feet.
Just as American history began with the genocide of the Native Americans, Israel’s history began with the slaughter and expulsion of the Palestinians. These two countries occupy Palestine with bullets and tanks, money and media, and they above all others are responsible for what has occurred. We want peace, not war, but we want a peace based on a popular outcry for justice, stemming from the voices of those who would end their repression and suffering, and not a peace based on the silence of the weak.
Today was the Fourth National and International Week against the Apartheid Wall. While Israeli and American money and power continue to write the pages of history, we met today to write the history of hope with our hands and feet. If they are engines of despair, we are humans creating hope.
We who maintain hope in this age of savagery demand the following of Israel and the United States.
– Cease construction on the wall and remove those parts already built.
– Cease Israeli military attacks against the Palestinians, particularly in the Gaza Strip.
– Ensure freedom and peace for all those living on the land of historical Palestine, regardless of race, religion, or nationality.
November 9, 2006
By the participants of the Fourth National and International Week Against The Apartheid Wall