Monday, May 14, 2018

Hold Israel accountable for killing Palestinian protesters

Hold Israel accountable for killing Palestinian protesters

Hold Israel accountable for killing Palestinian protesters
Israeli soldiers kill at least 55 Palestinians in Gaza protest as American embassy opens in Jerusalem
Our Congress people need to hear from us
Today, as the U.S. and Israel celebrate the move of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank continue to protest the systematic denial of their rights.
As U.S. officials speak in Jerusalem about how their actions will bring peace, Palestinians are being killed in Gaza, at least 52 today alone, bringing the total to at least 105. More than 10,000 have been injured to date, 166 critically. These numbers will continue to increase, and as protests have extended into the West Bank there is also a risk of injury and loss of life there.
Protests began on March 30 as part of what has become known as the Great Return March, a sustained protest seeking an end to the brutal decade-long blockade of Gaza, the 50-year-old Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, and the 70 years of injustice faced by Palestinians as a result of their displacement and dispossession in 1948, when more than 750,000 Palestinians were forced from their homes and communities. The protests on May 14 and May 15, which include Palestinians in the West Bank, are also calling attention to the U.S. embassy move.
The U.S. administration offers Israel full support for its violent repression of the largely non-violent Gaza protests, placing responsibility for deaths in Gaza on Hamas and claiming that all protests stem from a Hamas attempt to inflict violence on Israel. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Palestinians protest knowing the cost. They know that when they protest they may be injured or killed. They know that when they protest they may not come home. Yet people continue to protest – not because they are compelled by Hamas or other groups, but rather because they recognize that their freedom and rights will not be given to them, but instead must be demanded. They refuse to remain silent in the face of brutal oppression. And neither can we.
We cannot remain silent in the face of this violence and oppression.
In peace,

Michael Merryman-Lotze
AFSC Middle East Program Director