Seventy three years ago, on May 15th, Zionists enacted a mass expulsion of indigenous Palestinians from their land. In 1948, 700,000 people were violently removed from their homes in cities like Haifa and Safad. 20,000 Palestinians were brutally murdered as they fought to keep their ancestral land. Today, Palestinians around the world mark this day as al-Nakba — the catastrophe.
On May 2, Israel’s Supreme Court ordered 40 residents of Sheikh Jarrah, a Palestinian neighborhood in Jerusalem, be removed from their homes, which would subsequently be given to Israeli settlers. During this siege, 300 people were hospitalized, culminating in Israeli settlers shouting celebratory chants that encourage the ethnic cleansing and death of Palestinians. Israeli airstrikes continue into its 7th consecutive day resulting in a death total in Gaza of 181 Palestinians, including 52 children and 31 women.
This is the horrific reality of Zionist settler colonialism, ethnic cleansing, and apartheid. Since 1948, the Israeli government has effectively imprisoned Palestinians in their own homeland, stripped them of their rights and murdered them with impunity.
Palestine may be physically far from us, but the support system to the facist Israeli state is at our front door. In the United States, there are countless institutions that bolster apartheid — from the Jewish National Fund that helps settlers colonize Palestine, to Hewlett-Packard that provides computers and technology to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The United States continues to provide the Israeli government with over $3 billion a year in military aid. That’s money taken from our pockets to commit flagrant human rights abuses.
Since 1948 and before, from the earliest days of the Palestinian national liberation movement, Palestinian women have been expelled from their homes and targeted for repression on multiple levels, their very capacity to reproduce and raise their children labeled as an unacceptable threat to the racist settler-colonial project of Zionism. Since 1967 alone, around 10,000 Palestinian women have been jailed by the Israeli occupation for their political activity and involvement in the Palestinian resistance, including Palestinian women in Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and Palestinian women holding Israeli citizenship in occupied Palestine. Palestinian women in exile and diaspora have been denied their right to return to Palestine for over 72 years yet continue to struggle, facing political repression, criminalization, deportation and imprisonment.
We rise against wars of aggression wherever they occur. Cases abound of how wars of aggression or intervention always trample upon women’s rights and women’s bodies, where rape becomes a heinous instrument to subjugate the population and render the populace, particularly women, into slavery and servitude. We demand an end to these wars, particularly those led or funded by the US imperialist war machine who has wreaked havoc in Afghanistan, Myanmar, the Philippines, and all over the African continent.
Today there is the most acute economic crisis ever, complicated by the pandemic, and tensions among states run high. The situation is very unstable. Terror reigns in many instances, as reaction and fascism rise again. Budgets are being drained for military purposes. The extremely lucrative arms trade also drives conflicts. Amid the general violence, poverty, bigotry, morbidity, displacement and death are increasing. The people must organize, unite and build a global struggle against imperialism towards just peace.
The International Women’s Alliance stands in militant solidarity with the Palestinian people against the ongoing Israeli occupation of their land, illegal Israeli settlements, Israeli colonialism, and other crimes against the Palestinian people. We condemn U.S. Imperialism for its support and endorsement of the unlawful, inhumane, murderous Israeli programme aimed directly at the Palestinian people. We stand in full support of Palestinian intifada, as it is their right to defend their sovereignty through armed revolution. We commend the role of Palestian wommlmen who continue to be the backbone of resistance against decades of brutal military occupation by the Israeli apartheid regime.
On this commemoration of the 73rd Nakba, we remember the lives lost to apartheid, and we uphold the martyrs who gave their lives for liberation. We recommit to supporting Palestinian organizations and individuals who center day in and day out the liberation of their homeland. Today and every day, we chant “Long Live Palestine!”