The United States Palestinian Community Network joins millions across the world in condemning Israel’s current onslaught against the Palestinian people. The criminal, apartheid state is using the alleged abduction and death of three Israeli settlers as a pretext for its ongoing offensive into the West Bank, repression of 1948 Palestinians, and bombardment of the Gaza Strip.
From the moment the alleged abduction occurred, Israel immediately blamed Hamas without providing a shred of evidence that its political or military command and control was responsible for the kidnapping. And despite having knowledge that they were probably already dead, Israel initiated Operation Brother’s Keeper, whose stated purpose was to find the settlers. Historically, Israel almost immediately releases evidence, regardless of its validity, in order to justify its attacks on Palestinians. This time, the government issued a gag order on the Israeli press, prohibiting them from revealing “details that might identify the suspect.”
In the months prior to the alleged abduction, and consistent with regular patterns of Israeli cold blooded murders in the occupied territories, its West Bank occupying forces had killed Alaa Odeh of the village of Huwara, near Nablus, as well as teenagers Nadim Siam Nuwara and Muhammad Mahmoud Odeh Abu al-Thahir in the city of Beitunia. But since June 12th, Israel has been on a rampage, raiding multiple cities in the West Bank, committing hundreds more Palestinians to administrative detention (imprisonment for up to six months without charge), killing several Palestinian teenage boys, and confiscating thousands of documents, flags, and other political paraphernalia, including from the prominent Birzeit University. In addition,ultra-right-wing settlers formed lynch mobs, chanting “Death to the Arabs!” and terrorizing Palestinian villages, leading to the horrible murder of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir, who was kidnapped by Israeli settlers, repeatedly beaten, and burned alive.
In the wake of his killing, our people throughout all of historic Palestine, and across the world, took to the streets to exercise their right to resist Israel’s vicious racism. A few days later, Mohammad’s cousin, 15-year old Tarek Abu Khdeir, was beaten unconscious by three Israeli police officers, arrested, and refused medical attention. Upon release, he was placed under house arrest, and USPCN initiated a call-in campaign to help free him. (He finally returned home to Tampa, Florida, yesterday.) As protests escalated, Israel, as it always does with impunity, responded with brutal force, especially in Gaza.
Over 210 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed and more than a thousand injured, includingfour children murdered just yesterday. The U.S. is echoing the same old tired refrain, that Israel is defending itself, even though rockets from Gaza were never fired until after the Zionist missiles had been dropping on Palestinian neighborhoods for days. And almost at the same moment that the four Palestinian children were killed, the U.S. imperialists shamelessly approved more money for Israel’s “defense.”
The bombardment of Gaza prompted more protests around the world, and USPCN participated in a leading or supporting role in many of the largest ones here in the U.S., including Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington DC. In Chicago, also just yesterday, solidarity activists stormed into Boeing’s international headquarters, exposing the company’s complicity in Israel’s crimes.
With this continuation of its siege on Gaza, Israel is clearly trying to eliminate any hope for a meaningful political unity amongst Palestinian factions. In addition, Israel’s recent provocation of the Palestinians in East Jerusalem served as a justification for its Cabinet to approve Prime Minister Netanyahu’s “Socio-Economic Development Plan for East Jerusalem,” which operates to further annex and entrench the occupation in East Jerusalem. And while Palestinians inside the 1948 territories (present day “Israel”) also rise up in support of their brethren in the West Bank, Jerusalem, and Gaza, Israeli repression and the racist response expected from a state built on Zionism—an exclusionary ideology founded by European Jewish colonizers who drove 750,000 Palestinians off their land and out of their homes—continue unabated.
Israel’s essence is expansionism and national oppression, and it does not need kidnapped settlers to uphold its history, or its responsibility to the U.S. empire. The national liberation aspirations of Palestinians and all Arab people threaten U.S. political and economic domination of the Arab World. Israel’s role is to be the enforcer of U.S. imperialism in the Middle East, and that is why it receives unequivocal U.S. support to do so. Of course, our people recognize clearly this relationship, and know that the U.S. is not an “honest peace broker.”
As reports of an Israeli ground invasion into Gaza are reaching us now, USPCN demands:
- an immediate end to the U.S.-brokered negotiations and security coordination between the Palestinian Authority and Israel;
- an end to the siege on, bombing of, and ground invasion into Gaza; an end to Israeli attacks on our people in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the 1948 territories; and an end to Israeli occupation and colonization of all Palestinian and Arab lands;
- real national unity, that which unifies our resistance to Israeli occupation and colonization, and makes progress toward the goal of a re-formed Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) that includes all political trends and social sectors—because we recognize that real national unity is not just about sharing governmental power under the auspices of the Oslo Accords, which have accomplished exactly what Israel and the U.S. sought: a Palestinian “government” that administers the occupation for Israel, and even plays a role in repressing its own people;
- an end to all U.S. aid to Israel;
- the release of all Palestinian and Arab political prisoners from Israeli and Palestinian Authority jails;
- that the international community expends all legal avenues available to censure Israel and stop its crimes against the Palestinian people; and
- the inalienable rights of Return, self-determination, and independence.
In addition, we call:
- on all the people of the world to continue to organize in support of our legitimate right to resist occupation and colonization, by pressuring our respective governments to hold Israel accountable for its crimes;
- for the expansion of the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement worldwide; and
- for principled solidarity with our people in all of historic Palestine, as they directly confront Israel on all fronts.
Finally, we ask all people of conscience to join actions this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, July 18-20, to stop the Israeli and U.S. war on the Palestinian people. Already, there are protests, marches, and vigils confirmed in Chicago, Columbus, OH, Detroit (July 26),Gainesville and Tampa, FL, Grand Rapids, MI (tabling Saturday, July 19, from 10 AM until 5 PM at Nelson Mandela Day, 1110 Wealthy St. SE), Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New York, San Francisco, St. Louis, and Washington DC. Send your event announcement or link firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are all Gaza!
Until Liberation and Return!
USPCN National Coordinating Committee