***image1***Issued by the Palestine Solidarity Committee of South
The Palestine Solidarity Committee PSC extends its support to 1948 Palestinian Parliamentarian (MK) Azmi Bishara for having embarked on a courageous hunger strike yesterday against Israel’s building of the Apartheid Wall in the West Bank.
MK Azmi Bishara wants to highlight the plight of Palestinian communities who will be wrenched apart and lose their livelihood as a result of the Apartheid Wall and who will be separated from their land after living there for millennia. Bishara is a Parliamentary representative of the 1948 Palestinians still living in scattered villages and towns, such as Nazareth and Haifa, inside Israel.
Since he began his hunger strike yesterday, Bishara has been joined by other prominent Palestinians in a tent near the Apartheid Wall in Jerusalem.
Bishara says the Wall will “strangle the one remaining lifeline that remains between Jerusalem, its neighbourhoods and its hinterland of villages, as well as between Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied territories of 1967. The geographic and social features of the land are being transformed in exemplary colonial fashion. Severing the historic Jerusalem-Ramallah road will separate one home from another and separate members of the same family from each other. This amounts to the severance of the social bonds of the Palestinians and is a crime against Palestinian society and the Palestinian family.”
He added that what was happening in Palestine was “the institution of a system of apartheid by the Israeli government on the West Bank while the attention of the Arab countries and the world is focused on Israeli plan of unilateral withdrawal from Gaza.”
The Palestine Solidarity Committee remembers our own history of pushing people into Bantustans as well as the experiences of indigenous North Americans and Maori and Aboriginal people. We thus cannot support the building of the Apartheid Wall. Israel is intensifying apartheid and implementing it in a more gruesome way than in South Africa’s. It includes an assassinations policy, home demolitions, bans on “mixed marriages” and forced removal of entire communities through the building of the Wall.
Jamal Juma, Palestinian Co-ordinator of the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, told the PSC this morning that the Apartheid Wall “is condensing all of the crimes of Israeli Occupation into one project.”
Juma referred to these crimes as: the foundation of Israel in 1948 (which resulted in the destruction of over 400 Palestinian villages). Dozens of massacres of Palestinians by Israeli Forces and the destruction and theft of massive amounts of land. Occupation of what remained of historic Palestine in 1967 and the illegal annexation of the heart of Palestine – Jerusalem. Creation of the largest population of refugees in the world (there are 5 million Palestinian refugees) imprisonment of almost half of the Palestinian male population in Israeli prisons.
“The Apartheid Wall condemns an entire population to open-air prisons, restricting free movement and stifling all forms of productive economy; threatening the existence of over 300,000 Palestinians by separating them from their land, resources, families, schools, medical centers, and imposing conditions in which they are forced to abandon their cities and villages, thus becoming part of the growing number of Palestinian refugees” said Juma.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) held hearings in February into the “Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory”. This after Palestinians exposed that the Wall was being built up to 25 kms inside the Green Line and had been designed as an internationally illegal massive land and water grab, and not for security purposes as Israel had claimed. The ICJ will issue its ruling on Friday 9 July 2004.
For comment, please call:
MK Azmi Bishara: 09972 54 290729
Jamal Juma, Palestinian Co-ordinator of the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign: 09972 52 285610
In South Africa, Palestine Solidarity Committee
Na’eem Jeenah: 084 574 2674
Anna Weekes: 073 635 7860
At The Hague:
Tareq Arar, Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign representative in the Hague: 0933 6 18976627