Israel’s 60th Birthday


Jews Stand in Solidarity with Palestinians to Honor the Anniversaries of Occupation and Expulsion by Dave

 From the International Jewish Solidarity Network

June 2007 marks the 40th anniversary of the Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank including East Jerusalem and the Golan. May 2008 will be the 60th anniversary of the Nakba, the catastrophe of 1948 in which Zionist militant forces destroyed more than 500 Palestinian villages through massacre and intimidation, and at least 750,000 Palestinian people became refugees. These are terrible anniversaries: they call our attention and demand our response.

The Bethlehem-based BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights has issued an international call for activists to creatively mark both the 40- and 60-year anniversaries in 2007 and 2008. The timing of this campaign is crucial; as the call says, “this may well be the last decade anniversary when Palestinian eye-witnesses from the 1948 Nakba are still living. Now more than ever, Palestinians are counting on local and global society to build pressure for the enforcement of international law — the foundation for a just peace.” The 40/60 anniversaries offer the chance for a range of creative action across borders: a chance to renew and rethink international solidarity.

Alongside so many people around the world, we stand in support of the struggle for Palestinian liberation and self-determination. As Jews in this position, we can and must disrupt the claim that anti-Zionism is anti-Jewish. We reject the assertions that Israel speaks for all Jews. Instead, we stand in solidarity with Palestinians in mourning the Nakba of 1948 and resisting the Israeli occupation of historic Palestine that was expanded again in 1967 and which continues to facilitate the expansion of the Zionist colonial project to this day.

On the anniversary of the 40th anniversary of the continued occupation of Gaza, the West Bank including East Jerusalem, and the Golan, we commit to participating in a year of activities towards international protest for the 60th anniversary of the Nakba on May 15, 2008. We call upon Jewish activists to add to the 40/60 year of activism, including but not limited to the following activism:

  • actions in support of boycott, divestment, and sanctions against the State of Israel
  • actions that hold our own governments accountable for their political and economic support for and complicity with the state of Israel.
  • actions against the Zionist monopoly on Jewish identity and voices

The following signatories are Jewish activists from across the globe committed to the liberation of Palestine from Israeli colonization and the collaborating U.S./European economic and political agenda.

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Yesterday Israel celebrated its 60th birthday according to the western calendar, GW Bush took the opportunity to again warn Iran that no matter what agreements are reached to curb their supporters in Iraq, if Bush and Olmert, two lame duck leaders of nations in severe crisis, get their way they are coming to get them. Claiming Israel to be the land of “The Chosen People” Bush made no mention of the so called peace inititive he said would see a Palestinian state before he slithers off the Presidential stage.

The scenes at the Israeli Knesset highlighted a nation that still 60 years on is riddled with conflict both inside and out. Without the aid of the USA it is beyond doubt that Zionism’s dream, that has turned into a nightmare for world Jewry, would not have survived. Israel was touted as the land where Jews could be safe and free for all time, but a nation based on the theft of another’s homes, and the subjugation by brutal racist force could only bring shame to a people whose contribution to the worlds fight against inequality and repression was second to none.

That shame is underlined by the forced conditions of the people of Gaza, the most densely populated area in the world. The World Bank’s report published last month stated, “the percentage of Gazans living in “deep poverty” rose from 21.6 percent in 1998 to nearly 35 percent in 2006. Official unemployment was 29 percent before the closures that have led to the suspension of 95 percent of Gaza’s industrial operations, so both unemployment and the deep poverty rate—defined as an inability to meet basic human consumption needs—are “certainly higher”. The World Bank estimates that without remittances from abroad and UN food aid, the deep poverty rate in Gaza would rise to almost 67 percent”

The West Bank fairs only slightly better: Mahmoud Abbas presides over a truncated entity, some 40 percent of which has been confiscated for current or future settlements that now house 450,000 Israelis, outposts, roads, closed military areas, municipal boundaries and settlement regional jurisdiction. These measures have sliced the West Bank into a series of isolated cantons, cut off from East Jerusalem, the West Bank’s heartland and reputed capital of a Palestinian state, while its aquifers are used to sprinkle the settlers’ lawns and fill their swimming pools, thereby depriving the Palestinians of their already limited water supply

In all, GDP in the occupied territories has declined by 14 percent since its peak in 1999. But with its population increasing by four percent a year, per capita GDP has fallen precipitously to 40 percent below its peak. Four million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza have only survived because of loans, remittances from relatives working abroad and aid.

These conditions, the continuing state of the Palestinians for 60 years was not mentioned by Bush, or anyone at the celebrations. But would any of the well heeled and rich in the audience care. Jimmy Carter has been one of the few to condemn what is happening in Gaza and to call it by its proper name Apartheid. He insisted that “the world must not stand idle while innocent people are treated cruelly. It is time for strong voices in Europe, the US, Israel and elsewhere to speak out and condemn the human rights tragedy that has befallen the Palestinian people.”

His plea naturally fell on deaf ears.

During the next months while American capital is squeezed and squeezed some more, and the workers within the 50 states pay the price for the contradictions within a system that has long seen its sell by date, Israel will call for more aid, both financial and military. It is possible that Bush could swing the Democrat controlled Congress to rubberstamp this aid, but that is far from certain with an election looming. A headache in the USA becomes a heart attack in Israel.

Bush’s speech at the Knesset was interrupted by Arab – Israeli members unfurling banners and pictures showing dead Palestinian and Iraqi children, as the protesters showed their banners they sang “We shall overcome” a song synonymous with the struggle of Blacks in America. None of this has been shown of mainstream TV in Europe.

Olmert was embarrassed when he made mention of a two state solution to their problems with the Palestinians, the remarks were met with stony silence and nervous laughter.

So you who clap your hands for Israel or hold a hanky to catch crocodile tears for the Palestinians reflect on what has taken place within the 60 years of torture for the Palestinians and shame for Jews across the world., but remember what is today will not be tomorrow, the world is in constant movement and change, the economic hurricane about to hit the capitalist coastline will bring in its wake enormous possibilities for the working class of the world. Israel may have just had her last birthday party as an oppressing nation.

Comment by DannyD




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