The state of Israel‘s repression and apartheid in Palestine is steadily mounting. January 2023 was the most deadly month since 2015 for Palestinians, while 2022 was the deadliest year since the second Intifada (or uprising) in the early 2000s.
2023 so far has been nothing less than traumatic.
Looking back at January 2023, the most deadly month since 2015. Behind each number are Palestinian lives killed or brutalized by Israeli apartheid. Until when?#UNInvestigateApartheid #EndEthnicCleansing pic.twitter.com/QNHn4frFoq
— Stop The Wall (@stopthewall) February 8, 2023
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Brutal Israeli attack on Jericho refugee camp
Israeli forces killed five people on Monday 6 February during a raid on Jericho’s Aqbat Jabr refugee camp.
The Israeli military confined camp residents to their houses during the raid, while Israeli snipers occupied the rooftops. Israeli forces blocked off the entrances and exits to the camp. They also positioned guns on the nearby mountains as drones flew overhead.
Israeli forces are refusing to return the bodies of those killed. The Stop the Wall campaign says this is “to inflict further pain on their families and friends”.
The raid followed 10 days of siege in Jericho. The occupying army placed restrictions on movement after a shooting at a restaurant frequented by Israeli settlers on 26 January. Israeli soldiers have been subjecting Palestinians to searches as they come in and out of the city. They’ve also demolished houses and businesses.
Another massacre, just two weeks after the raid on Jenin
The raid on Aqbat Jabr camp comes less than a fortnight after the bloody 26 January attack on the Jenin refugee camp. During that attack, Israeli forces murdered nine people, including an elderly woman. Troops also stormed the Jenin government hospital.
Stop the Wall have accused the new Israeli government – and its prime minister – of fascism:
The current government, lead by apartheid Israel’s longest serving prime minister, marks both, continuity in the settler-colonial project and apartheid policies as well as a new level of brutality, unmasked racism and openly fascist tendencies.
Palestine: ‘this has to be the moment of change’
Palestinian groups have made a united call for international solidarity in response to the mounting violence. According to Stop the Wall:
As grim as the reality looks for Palestinians, this has to be the moment of change.
Groups including the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, the Palestine Liberation Organisation, the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council, and the Palestinian Non-Governmental Organisation Network signed the statement. It expresses the urgency of the current situation and proposes building an “Arab and international front” “to end apartheid and settler colonialism”.
The call reaffirms that Israeli policies of systemic racism amount to apartheid, saying it’s a “crime against humanity… as defined in international law”. It points to Israel’s Nation-State of the Jewish People Basic Law of 2018, which permits Israeli institutions to discriminate against non-Jewish people.
Israeli policies are driven by a racist and genocidal ideology
The call states that Zionism is a racist and colonial ideology:
Zionism, which arose in the context of European imperialist and colonial expansion, is the intellectual and ideological basis of settler-colonialism in Palestine. It is a racist, genocidal ideology that encourages terrorism and fascism, as our people has witnessed for 74 years.
The demands of the call are for:
- A military embargo on Israel.
- The end of all commercial and financial agreements with the state of Israel.
- A ban on the products of companies complicit in Israeli colonisation, apartheid and occupation.
- For “all governments to treat the Israeli occupation’s political, security and military leaders as war criminals”, by bringing them to trial where possible, and imposing travel bans.
- States to put pressure on the International Criminal Court (ICC) for Israeli leaders to be put on trial.
- For “the peoples of the world and their democratic and progressive forces” to participate in the campaign for BDS.
- Calls on friendly states to support the Palestinians at a United Nations (UN) level, and to push the UN to “investigate and dismantle the apartheid regime”.
- Support for Palestinian attempts to refer war crimes by Israeli forces to the ICC.
- The establishment of an international legal coalition to “prosecute Israel’s occupation and its criminals”.
- Anti-Zionist Jewish people to challenge the conflation of “the rejection of Zionism” with antisemitism. The call reminds readers that the PLO has always “built alliances with the anti-Zionist Jewish forces as an ally in the struggle against colonialism, oppression and racism in all its forms, including anti-Semitism“.
- The designation of the political parties that make up the Israeli government as terrorist organisations.
- The imposition of “legal, military-security, commercial, financial, academic, cultural and sports sanctions [on Israel] just as was done against the defunct apartheid regime in South Africa”.
It is time to increase our solidarity with Palestine
The authors of the statement are calling for intersectional solidarity. They want to work together with anti-racist and global movements for environmental and social justice.
Palestine and its people have been making calls like this for international support for many decades, most notably the 2005 call for BDS. But the increasing violence, coupled by the policies of the most right-wing government in the history of the Israeli state, demand renewed action in support of the Palestinian people.
We need to think seriously about how the UK’s social movements can answer this call. We must work together to increase our support for Palestine.
You can read the full “Call towards a global front to dismantle Israel’s regime of settler-colonialism and apartheid” here.
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