The Week Against the Apartheid Wall has once again sent up a rallying cry for Palestinian resistance and world solidarity. Running from the ninth to sixteenth of November 2007, the week of action featured film screenings, conferences, lobbying, demonstrations and pickets in countries around the world. Now in its fifth year, the week saw the call to action taken up by activists in the global south.
Within Palestine, the four day conference on Palestinian rights, organized by the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign and a host of Palestinian NGOs together with the American University in Jenin was the highlight of the week of action. It brought together high level representatives of Palestinian civil society and Palestinian political parties to advocate for the fundamental principles and rights of the Palestinian people. Held in Jenin, it was an important opportunity to involve Palestinian people from areas usually neglected in political decision making. It was an important step in the process of unifying Palestinian strategies of struggle and a milestone in the national opposition to the dynamics of Annapolis.
Internationally, notable developments included strong support from civil society in the global south, with solidarity expanding to regions in Africa, South Asia and South America. Highlights included Mauritius, where the Lalit movement organised a film screening and sent a letter to the government calling for a tough stance against apartheid Israel, as was taken against apartheid South Africa, including sanctions. Thailand initiated their new Palestine solidarity campaign and in Venezuela the Foro Itinerante de ParticipaciÃ³n Popular and Hindu Anderi, together with other supporters ran an entire week of actions in Caracas and other cities of the country.
In the US and Mexico, activists at the No Borders camp sent messages of solidarity and support to the Palestinian people. The activists there are fighting the wall which is being built by the United States, which carves across the land and bars people from crossing for work and family connections. A live video link was attempted between activists there and youth activists in Palestine, which was made impossible by the actions of the US border police. The students gathered in Palestine sent a letter of solidarity to the people struggling on the ground. To read the full letter, please click here.
Students Mobilizing against Apartheid
Students from around the globe played a major role the weekâs actions, mobilizing and organizing support for Palestine and against the Wall. The University of Manchester Students Union (UK) and Toronto Students Against Israeli Apartheid (Canada) organized lectures and film screenings throughout the week. In South Africa, the Wits Palestine Solidarity Committee built a mock wall featuring facts and images about apartheid in Palestine. In Las Palmas (Canary Island), students organised workshops on Palestinian refugees, the conditions in the refugee camps and their right of return. In Spain and Catalunya, two Palestinian students volunteering with the Anti Apartheid Wall Campaign are still touring universities in Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia and Murcia talking about life for the youth under occupation and the struggle of the Palestinian people. The youth coordinator of the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign who was to participate together with the two girls in the trip was prevented from leaving the country by the Occupation, and is still fighting for his right to leave.
Stop Funding the Occupation!
During the week, the Jordan Valley coordinator of the Campaign undertook a two week speaking tour of Japan organized by the Japan Peace Forum in order to raise awareness about the Wall and the Zionist policies of annexation and ethnic cleansing in the Jordan Valley. The tour includes rallies, workshops and several meetings with government officials. The Japanese international development agency (JICA) is currently promoting economic projects in the Jordan Valley geared around suppressing Palestinian resistance through normalization with the Occupation. The projects aim to provide economic and logistical support for the settlements, and to lay the economic basis for long-term Israeli annexation of the Valley as part of âPeace Corridorâ project, which is supported by the Occupation. For a detailed critique on JICA, please click here.
Boycott Israeli Apartheid !
In other countries, the week was occasion to strengthen and re-launch a range of boycott campaigns. In Edinburgh, the Scottish PSC protested against the sale of a famous hotel in the city to Israeli investors, calling for a stop of Israeli estate acquisitions in Scotland until Israel stops demolishing Palestinian homes. In Canada, the Campaign Against Israeli Apartheid continued its campaign to pressure Chapters&Indigo bookshop owners over its program of using its profits to support mercenaries to serve in the Israeli army. In Belgium, activists have pushed ahead with their campaign to picket dozens of supermarkets, and are calling for a consumer boycott of Israeli products.
The Wall â a symbol of Israeli Occupation
Many other countries joined in the Week against the Apartheid Wall with awareness raising events. In Switzerland, Collectif Urgence Palestine combined film screenings, a large photo exhibit and street action while in Denmark the Riv Muren campaign built a huge mock wall and distributed flyers calling for freedom for Palestine and sanctions against Israel. A similar street action was organized in Melbourne by a large range of Australian solidarity groups. In Austria, solidarity activists used the week against the Apartheid Wall to advance a twinning project they developed with the Campaign during a solidarity visit this summer. They organized lectures on the âArchitecture of Occupationâ at the technical university of Graz. In Quebec Tadamon! organized a solidarity concert to raise awareness, involve artists in the struggle and reach out to new audiences. In Norway activists presented a petition of thousands of signatures to the minister of foreign affairs, which were placed on small pieces of âWallâ that formed an enormous chain of symbolic cement blocks.
The Week Against the Apartheid Wall has once again drawn attention to the Wall and Israeli apartheid, acting as an opportunity for people all over the world to get active and call for concrete action through boycotts and sanctions to end support for Israeli apartheid.
The movement is still growing, and action must continue day after day to ensure Palestinian resistance backed by global solidarity will break down the Wall and achieve justice, liberation and return for the refugees!