Demanding an End to Settler Colonialism, Occupation, and Military Siege
A man in Gaza surveys a destroyed building, 2010.
Grassroots International joins our Palestinian partners in demanding an end to settler colonialism, occupation, and military siege
Our hearts break with every life that has been taken in Palestine and Israel/’48. The situation unfolding in and around Gaza is part of a long and uninterrupted history of violence, the root of which is Israel’s brutal occupation, settler colonialism, and military siege.
Palestinians have endured 75 years of ethnic cleansing across their Indigenous territories, including more than 50 years of military occupation and 16 years of blockade and siege of Gaza. Israel’s oppressive rule consists of a complex apartheid system. In the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Israel/’48, Israeli military forces and settler violence have escalated to alarming levels of home invasions and demolitions, desecration of holy sites, land confiscation, water grabs, settlement expansion, uprooting and destruction of groves of olive trees, and violent attacks on entire villages and communities. This year in the West Bank alone, the Israeli military has killed hundreds of Palestinians, 47 of whom were children. Countless others have been imprisoned.
Palestinians living in Gaza suffer from even more extreme manifestation of Israel’s occupation, despite the military’s withdrawal of Israeli settlers in 2005. Since 2006, people living in the coastal enclave have been subjected to a suffocating siege at the hands of a brutal occupying force – illegal under international law – that encloses their territory by naval blockade and by a network of walls, razor wire fences, and surveillance systems. This occurs under the constant watch of one of the world’s most advanced militaries, resourced by direct support from US military aid, as well as by many European and some Arab governments. It is for these reasons that Gaza is often referred to as the world’s largest open-air prison, its young population of more than two million with already scarce access to food, water, electricity, sanitation, and fuel.
This morning, the Israeli Defense Minister Yaov Gallant announced, “We are imposing a complete siege on Gaza – there will be no electricity, no food, no water, no fuel. Everything will be closed. We are fighting against human animals and we are acting accordingly.” What will it mean for an entire population who has suffered so much, to be trapped in such a small area with no food, water, electricity, with bombs continuing to rain down and now the threat of ground troops entering? Reflecting the grassroots feminist values that we share with our movement partners, we too center life and yearn for peace with justice. From our home within the US, we stand up against militarism and recognize the particular responsibility we hold to oppose our own government’s military support to Israel, which has fueled Israel’s settler colonialism for decades.
Grassroots International has been in constant contact with our Palestinian partners since the latest wave of violence began over the weekend. They are providing us with firsthand accounts of unthinkable destruction and loss of life across the Gaza Strip. A group of Grassroots International staff and allies also recently returned from a visit to Gaza, where they bore witness to the brutality of the siege and closure and saw up close what Palestinian movements are doing for justice and human rights.
In the midst of unthinkable circumstances, our partners and allies continue to center life in their work, as they always have. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) has deployed its network of fieldworkers into the most vulnerable neighborhoods in Gaza – where entire residential buildings have been flattened by Israeli bombs – to both document grave abuses as well as respond to the immediate needs of survivors. PCHR’s reports describe instantaneous killings of extended families and urge international accountability and adherence to international law, through channels such as the International Criminal Court.
The Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS) is also on the frontlines, ensuring life-giving access to health services for thousands of injured Gazans. Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP) is actively supporting the people of Gaza through its holistic mental health interventions, with a special focus on families and children. Others of our partners are making heroic attempts to support local farmers and fisherpeople and to manage and distribute dwindling local food supplies, among other life-sustaining efforts.
We stand together with our partners and allies around the world, to urgently call for the following actions in this time of need:
- Demand an immediate end to U.S. military aid to Israel, including halting any naval interference, provision of additional military ammunitions, or other forms of military escalation;
- Stop the assault on Gaza, and establish humanitarian corridors for essential transit and supplies such as food, water, and medical supplies;
- Mobilize funding to meet immediate basic human needs as well as long-term efforts of Palestinians under siege and attack in Gaza and all of Palestine, including food, water, shelter, fuel, electricity, and critical health supports (including medical and mental health services);
- Support the Palestinian-led call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions in the face of apartheid;
- Call for a full investigation of Israeli war crimes at the International Criminal Court; the immediate re-activation of the UN Special Committee against Apartheid; and ending the complacency of UN in the collective punishment of the Palestinian people; and
- Reframe mainstream narratives through sharing historical facts and current realities to highlight the root causes of ongoing violence.
Palestinian social movements and grassroots organizations know that cycles of violence will not end without resolving the root causes: settler colonialism and ethnic cleansing, apartheid, and the siege on Gaza. Grassroots International joins our partners in amplifying the call for justice for the people of Palestine – today on Indigenous Peoples’ Day, and every day until all are free.
P.S. Please read and share these powerful statements:
- FACT SHEET: 5 Things You Need to Know About the Latest Violence in Palestine/Israel
- Stop the Wall: Israel said it declared war yesterday
- Open Letter to UN Security Council: Member States Must Address Root Causes of Palestinian Struggle and Protect the Palestinian People from Retaliatory Israeli Attacks
- Palestinian Organizations Call for immediate Action from the International Community to Stop Israel’s Reprisals against Palestinian Civilians
- The Root Cause of Violence is Oppression – statement by Jewish Voice for Peace
- Tell Congress: Stop Funding Israel’s Massacres – e-action by the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights
- “Safe and Secure Access for Humanitarian Aid and Peacebuilding Processes Must Be Maintained” by Charity and Security Network