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Palestinian Appeal to International Civil Society PDF Print E-mail
Mar 24, 2008 at 03:08 PM
Sixty Years of Dispossession and Ethnic Cleansing

Boycott the “Israel at 60” Celebrations!

How can you celebrate?  The establishment of the State of Israel sixty years ago was a settler colonial project that systematically and violently uprooted more than 750 thousand Palestinian Arabs from their lands and homes. Sixty years ago, Zionist militias and gangs ransacked Palestinian properties and destroyed hundreds of Palestinian villages.  How can people of conscience celebrate this catastrophe?

Israel at 60 is a state that continues to deny Palestinian refugees their UN-sanctioned right to return to their homes and receive compensation, simply because they are “non-Jews.”  It still illegally occupies Palestinian and other Arab lands, in violation of numerous UN resolutions.  It persists in its blatant denial of fundamental Palestinian human rights, in contravention of international humanitarian law and human rights conventions.  It still subjects its own Palestinian citizens to a system of institutionalized discrimination, strongly reminiscent of the defunct apartheid regime in South Africa.  And Israel gets away with all this, thanks to the unprecedented immunity granted to it by the unlimited and munificent US and European economic, diplomatic, political, and academic support.

In view of this multi-faceted oppression that is the reality of Israel today, we regard any Arab or international participation, whether individual or institutional, in any activity that contributes, either directly or indirectly, to the “celebrations” of Israel’s establishment, as collusion in the perpetuation of the dispossession and uprooting of refugees, the prolongation of the occupation, and the deepening of Israeli apartheid.  Inviting Israel as a “guest of honour” to the Turin and Paris book fairs, for example, is not only a deliberate betrayal of basic principles of human rights, including those enshrined in the laws of the European Union itself, but is also a deliberate attempt to cover up Israel’s crimes against the Arab people, especially its successive war crimes in Lebanon and Palestine, and its acts of slow genocide against a million and a half Palestinians in the besieged and collectively punished Gaza Strip.  In short, celebrating “Israel at 60” is tantamount to dancing on Palestinian graves.

We urge international civil society in all its components, particularly institutions and individuals working in the arts, academia, sport, trade unions, and communities of faith to boycott the “Israel at 60” celebrations wherever they are held in the world.  These celebrations, by definition, insult our history, violate our rights, and deepen our oppression.  They also render the path to justice, freedom, equality, and sustainable peace based on international law longer than ever before.

Please send institutional endorsements to PACBI at: 
info@BoycottIsrael.ps

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A Statement to the Press from the Free Gaza Movement
Forty-six international human rights workers are now sailing to Gaza through international waters with one overriding goal: to break the Israeli siege that Israel has imposed on the civilian population of Gaza.  Any action designed to harm civilians constitutes collective punishment (in the Palestinians’ case, for voting the “wrong” way) and is both illegal under international law and profoundly immoral.  Our mission is to expose the illegality of Israel’s actions, and to break through the siege in order to express our solidarity with the suffering people of Gaza (and of the occupied Palestinian territory as a whole) and to create a free and regular channel between Gaza and the outside world.
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