Saturday, 25 February 2017

Israeli Apartheid Week


Israeli Apartheid Week, (now in its 13th year) is an annual international series of events held in 200 cities and campuses across across the globe over the next two months.IAW 2017 also marks 100 years of Palestinian resistance against settler-colonialism, since the inception of the Balfour Declaration. It hopes to educate people about the nature of Israel. Demanding full equality for Arab citizens of Israel and an end to what is known as the occupation and the dismantling of the apartheid wall, with the protection of Palestinians, and their right to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in U.N resolution 194. It will be launched in London next Tuesday.There will be exciting discussions, concerts, panels, film screenings and creative actions to raise awareness about Israel’s illegal settler-colonial project, military occupation and apartheid system over the Palestinian people, and to build support for the growing BDS movement for Palestinian rights.Check out the program, or build and register your own, and attend:
Calling the Israeli regime as one of apartheid is not rhetoric, nor is it an exaggeration or a propaganda tool. This is the reality in modern day Palestine, where the Israeli regime is based on discrimination, through laws,practices and most aspects of life and the policies instituted by the Israeli government against the Palestinian people meets the UN definition of Apartheid. This apartheid regime is not only imposed on the people in Palestine, but also on millions of Palestinian refugees denied their right to return to their homes and lands.
In effect, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory constitute one territorial unit under full Israeli control. As of 2015, of the total population of people that live in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, around 6.6 million are Jewish Israelis and about 6.4 million are Palestinians.Under Israeli law, and in practice, Jewish Israelis and Palestinians are treated differently in almost every aspect of life including freedom of movement, family, housing, education, employment and other basic human rights. Dozens of Israeli laws and policies institutionalise this prevailing system of racial discrimination and domination.
The occupation Wall is also another element of the wider system of severe restrictions on the freedom of movement imposed by the Israeli authorities on Palestinian residents of the West Bank. There are over 600 closure obstacles blocking Palestinian movement within the West Bank. In addition, the system of roads is segregated: travel on hundreds of kilometres in the West Bank is restricted or prohibited outright for Palestinians, whereby Israelis are able to travel about freely. About one third of the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, is completely prohibited to Palestinians without a special permit issued by the Israeli military.
These severe restrictions violate not only the right to freedom of movement,they also effectively prevent Palestinian residents from exercising a wide range of fundamental human rights because of their identity, including their right to work, to health, to education and to an adequate standard of living. Farmers are stopped from assessing their fields and thus from exercising their right to sustain their livelihood. Many Palestinians are also prevented from seeking work outside their locality. Children are prevented from accessing schools and students face restrictions in choosing their university of choice. Patients are prevented from assessing hospitals, blocking them from exercising their right to the highest sustainable standard of health.  Israel has in effect created a system of seperation in the West Bank which fits the textbook definition of apartheid. Segregation is also carried out by implementing separate legal regimes for Jewish Israelis and Palestinians living in the same area. For example, Jewish Israeli settlers living in the illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank are governed by Israeli civil law, while Palestinians also living in the occupied West Bank are governed by Israeli military law.All this combined  with murder, torture, unlawful imprisonment and other severe deprivation of physical liberty, especially of Palestinians living in Gaza, and the ongoing persecution of Palestinians because of their opposition to Apartheid.
As awareness across the world of all of this continues to increase  campaigns to boycott, divest and sanction this regime provide a very effective and natural response. The world witnessed a similar response transpire and bare fruit in the case of South Africa, and there are very good reasons to believe that it will do the same in the case of Palestine.

 “One has to keep telling the Palestinian story in as many ways as possible, as insistently as possible, and in as compelling a way as possible, to keep attention to it, because there is always the fear that it might just disappear.” ( Edward Said, 2003).

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