The right of all refugees to return to their homes is recognized in international law. This right is recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (“Everyone has the right to . . . return to his country”), in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and in UN Resolution 194 (Palestinian Right of Return). We call for the right of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to return to their homes throughout historic Palestine, from which nearly a million people were driven and fled in 1947-48, when Israel became a state. Palestinians call that time the Nakba, or Catastrophe. These refugees and their descendants are now dispersed throughout the region in refugee camps and foreign countries. Deprived of their homes, their lands, and their livelihoods, many are living without hope for a future.
We support the rights of all people to peacefully assemble and to make their grievances known to the world. We call for an end to Israeli shootings and assassinations in Gaza and elsewhere in Palestine. On March 30, and on subsequent Fridays, tens of thousands of Palestinians living in Gaza participated in the “Great Return March” to the fence that imprisons them, and assembled for a six-week tent city and peaceful protest of the violations of their human rights—set to culminate on Nakba Day on May 15. During five weeks of demonstrations by unarmed civilians in Gaza, Israeli snipers have killed at least 47 people, including children and journalists, and wounded thousands more, many critically.
The Nakba continues to this day. Palestinians continue to be forced off their land, their homes demolished, to be replaced by waves of Jewish settlers protected by the Israeli army. Jerusalem, the center of the Muslim, Christian, and Jewish faiths and originally intended by the UN to be administered as an international city, has been annexed by Israel, which denies Muslim Palestinians access to holy sites. (Trump has legitimized this theft by agreeing to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.)
Today, over 2 million Palestinians including 1.3 million descendants of original 1948 refugees, live in the tiny strip of fenced-in land known as Gaza, under an Israeli blockade that has lasted for 10 years. Lack of potable water, medical supplies, food, electricity, and waste treatment have led the UN to declare Gaza “basically unlivable.” Israel bombs Gaza periodically, killing thousands of civilians, including children, and destroying infrastructure, including schools, hospitals, and water treatment plants.
Is it any wonder that Gazans are seeking a return to their ancestral homes and an escape from a permanent nightmare of poverty, blockade, and Israeli-inflicted violence?
On the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, we demand:
*An end to US military aid to Israel ($4.8 billion/year), which violates the Arms Export Control Act of 1976, specifically forbidding arms deals with governments that abuse human rights.
*An end to Israeli attacks on unarmed protestors!
*An end to the illegal siege of Gaza which has caused untold human suffering and degradation of life.
*An end to the racism that favors one ethnicity or religion over the other in Israel and the Occupied Territories.
May 12, 2018
Brooklyn For Peace
388 Atlantic Avenue, 2nd Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11217