In solidarity with popular resistance on the ground in Palestine, hundreds gathered in Chicago to protest the oppressive policies of the Israeli Occupation and the Apartheid Wall and draw public attention to the consequences of US policy. Demonstrators established a “Checkpoint at the Wall” on Michigan Avenue in Water Tower Park to highlight the injustice which is a daily reality in the lives of Palestinians. As people passed by the âcheckpointâ, they were issued a security pass by demonstrators that read: “You Are Hereby Awarded the Status of Honorary Israeli Settlerâ, while a closer look inside of the pass describes the reality of denial and control that Palestinians living on their own land are faced with under Israeli Occupation and with the Apartheid Wall. To symbolize the massive numbers of Palestinians forced to wait at checkpoints daily in Occupied Palestine, protestors gathered around the âcheckpointâ waving flags and signs covered with compelling facts about the Occupation.
Some of the facts represented on the protestorsâ signs include: “20,000 People to be Separated from their Farms by the Wall”, “9 of 15 Communities West of the Wall Have No Medical Facilities”, “22 per cent of Palestinian Children Under Five are Malnourished” and “103,320 Trees Have Been Uprooted for the Wall”. The text inside of the âsecurity passâ read: “But if you were Palestinian . . . your movement would be severely restricted. And if you lived in Qalqiliya, this would be the view to greet you every morning of your life. Built on your own farmland, this prison wall would be your horizons . . . military checkpoints throughout the West Bank are designed to make normal life for three million Palestinians impossible. While Israeli settlers are able to move freely to and from their colonies, the indigenous population is forced to wait at checkpoints in the hot sun. This is done to humiliate them and make their lives miserable. This makes it hard for them to get to hospitals, to work, to market, or to visit their families.”
After the protest, demonstrators walked to St. James Episcopal Cathedral and attended a lecture by Palestinian Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi (MD, MSc). The lecture addressed the expropriation of Palestinian land caused by the Israeli Apartheid Wall and called for ongoing mobilization to stop the Wall and end Israeli Occupation.
Sponsors of the event include: AFSC, Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Arab American Action Network, Not in My Name, Episcopal Peace Fellowship, Granada Muslims and Jews for Human Rights, ISM-Chicago Chapter, Northern Illinois Chapter/Churches for Middle East Peace, Southwest Youth Collaborative, and SUSTAIN.