November 20, 2014
For Immediate Release
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The Sacramento Regional Coalition for Palestinian Rights joins many others in calling for an end to the unfolding tragedies in Jerusalem and invites other groups and individuals to join this call. We demand that our government stop its business-as-usual lip service to the need for a just resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict while it continues the same policies that enable Israel’s domination, repression and displacement of the Palestinian people and its violations of international law and human rights.
Israel’s destruction of Palestinian homes in occupied East Jerusalem, its detention, imprisonment and torture of Palestinians, including children, its attacks on Muslim worship at Al-Aqsa mosque, and its emboldening of Jewish extremists have led to the most recent tragic death of a Palestinian bus driver, apparently lynched by Jewish extremists, which may have spawned the fatal attack on Jewish worshipers. The Israeli government immediately retaliated by announcing it would demolish the homes of the Palestinians involved in the synagogue attack. This collective punishment is a violation of international law and it is never inflicted on Israeli Jews who murder Palestinians, only on the extended families and even neighbors of Palestinians who are primarily Muslims and Christians.
The grief that the families and friends of these most recent victims must suffer is all in vain if Israel continues its policies of ethnically cleansing Jerusalem of its indigenous Palestinian population, who now live a precarious existence in which they face daily often vicious discrimination as well as the very real threat to their ability to remain in their homes. As noted in a statement issued on November 18 by Jewish Voice for Peace:
“The Israeli government continues to escalate state violence against Palestinians, as well as enabling increasingly aggressive actions of settlers. … Last week a mosque and holy Qur’ans were torched in the West Bank village of Al-Mughayir by Jewish individuals. The Israeli government continues to declare its intention to build more settlements; the Third Temple Movement, backed by government ministers, continues its provocations at the Temple Mount; laws that mandate 20-year sentences for stone-throwing and to declare Israel a Jewish nation-state, and threats to withdraw the citizenship of Palestinian citizens who protest are being proposed at the highest levels.”
Violent attacks on civilians anywhere are unacceptable, in houses of prayer but also in East Jerusalem neighborhoods, in other West Bank communities and farmer’s fields, and in Gaza refugee camps, where far more Palestinian civilians – both historically and recently – have been killed. Palestinian efforts at non-violent resistance are met with brutal violence from the Israeli military and Jewish extremists and settlers. Palestinians engage in many types of non-violent resistance, including tactics used by those seeking civil rights for African Americans, and they have been subjected to the same types of repression that white supremacists have and still inflict on black Americans. Much of the world sees the mistreatment of Palestinians very clearly, and increasingly, so do people in this country. Yet Congress continues to give Israel financial and political support that allows the violence and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians to continue.
We remain shocked by Israel’s barbaric attacks on Gaza last summer, when it dropped the equivalent of an atomic bomb on the 1.9 million people it has trapped in the Gaza ghetto. Congress and the administration should use the significant leverage that the United States has to pressure Israel to end the crushing blockade of Gaza and end its occupation and remove its illegal settlements from the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
The Sacramento Regional Coalition for Palestinian Rights members include 19 organizations as well as individuals who advocate for human rights, civil rights, equality and dignity of the Palestinian people living in occupied Palestine, Israel, the United States and elsewhere in the diaspora. We call for full implementation of international law regarding Palestine and the Palestinian people, along with respect for their rights and dignity.