On Friday March 30th hundreds of thousands of people from all backgrounds; religious, social and political, had marched towards Zionist occupied Palestine, or to the nearest point of it, to protest Israeli crimes against indigenous Palestinian population, Israeli violations of international laws and human rights, Israeli ethnic cleansing and distortion of the social, cultural and religious characteristics of Palestine in a systemic process of judiazing the whole country.
The march was called “Global March to Jerusalem (Al-Quds in Arabic)” (GMJ) to protest the Zionist occupation of Palestine and the mutilations of the city of peace that has the highest regards by all three Abrahamic religions. The marchers focused on Al-Quds (Jerusalem) because the holy city had suffered the brunt of the Israeli apartheid colonization policies and represents the Israeli illegal racist and inhumane policies of terror, destruction and property theft perpetrated against the rest of Palestinian cities.
In order to change the demographic, physical, cultural and spiritual original characteristics of the holy city from Palestinian to Jewish majority Israel had adopted many apartheid judiazation policies that include among others the unrestricted building and expansion of illegal Israeli colonies (settlements) on usurped Palestinian land, the continued dispossession and demolition of Palestinian homes, the illegal forceful evictions of Palestinian families from their homes so that violent armed religious extremist Jewish Israelis can occupy them, the illegal heavy taxations of Palestinian properties and businesses, the revocation of ID cards of Palestinian Jerusalemites, and the construction of the separation wall surrounding the city to deny Palestinians, Christians as well as Muslims, access to their holy places.
These Zionist racist policies constitute flagrant crimes not only against Palestinians but against all humanity as well. Richard Falk, the UN Special Rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territories reported in his report of 2011 that “the continued pattern of settlement expansion in East Jerusalem combined with forcible eviction of long residing Palestinians are creating an intolerable situation that can only be described, in its cumulative impact, as a form of ethnic cleansing”
The Global March to Jerusalem came on the 36 annual commemoration of the Land Day protest that started in March 1976, which was the first act of Palestinian popular mass resistance, since 1948 Israeli occupation, against Zionist policies of colonization and systemic process of theft of Palestinian land that took place in the Galilee area north of Palestine. Six Palestinian rights activists were killed and over a hundred were injured while hundreds others were arrested when the Israeli army responded violently with tanks re-occupying Palestinian cities. Since then, Palestinians commemorate the Land Day with strikes and marches every year.
The GMJ is a new groundbreaking non-violent civil movement comprised of diverse coalition of Palestinians, Arabs, and international activists; Christians, Muslims and Jews, who are united to support Palestinian struggle to liberate Palestine from the colonial Zionist occupation. It does not represent any one nationality, ethnicity, political party or one religious group but is an amalgamation of all of them. Among its Advisory Board members we find politicians, human rights activists, and religious figures. Politicians are represented by former British MP George Galloway, Indian former MP Swami Agnivesh, former Jordanian Prime Minister Ahmad Obeidat, and former Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohammad. Human rights activists are represented by philosopher and writer Dr. Cornel West, Indonesian MP feminist and writer Marwah Ibrahim, and cofounder of International Solidarity Movement Neta Golan.
Christians are represented by Palestinian H.E. Atallah Hanna Archbishop of Sebastia, Patriarchate of Jerusalem, South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Dr. Jeremiah Wright Pastor Emeritus at the Trinity United Church of Christ. Muslims are represented by Sheikh Raed Salah founder of Islamic Movement for 48 Palestinians, Dr Hammam Said, Head of the Jordanian Consultative Council of Muslim Brothers, and Sheikh Yousuf Jumaa, Former Palestinian Minister of Awqaf and Religious Affairs and former preacher of Al-Aqsa Mosque. Jews are represented by Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, author and activist in the Jewish Renewal Movement, and Evelyn Hecht-Galinski, Jewish German author, activist and publicist. Jewish participation in the GMJ was prominent by Jewish organizations such as Neturei Karta; Orthodox Jews United Against Zionism (www.nkusa.org), Australian Jews against the Occupation (http://jao.org.au), Canadian Independent Jewish Voices (http://ijvcanada.org), American Not in Our Name (NION www.notinourname.net), and Spain international Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (http://judiosantisionistasenespanya.blogspot.com).
Participants from 80 countries, estimated to reach 2 millions, traveled to one of Palestine’s neighboring countries; Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt, in solidarity with the Palestinians to protest Israeli occupation. The largest group, about 10 thousands included participants from India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Iraq, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia, left India on 9th of March in a caravan towards Lebanon picking up more participants from Iran and Turkey on their way. Palestinian demonstrators marched into the streets of 1948 occupied Palestinian cities, of West Bank cities, in Gaza Strip, and in Al-Quds (Jerusalem) itself. About 30 thousand Egyptians demonstrated in Tahrir Square. Many other mass peaceful demonstrators marched through the streets of capitals of many countries in every continent, and especially in front of Israeli Embassies.
The GMJ movement had brought back the just Palestinian cause to the front. It emphasized the importance of the Palestinian issue locally, regionally, and internationally. It had sent important messages to Israel, to its American sponsor, to the international political bodies, and to the rest of the world. The Palestinian cause is not just a mere Israeli/Palestinian conflict as Zionists like to present it to the world; rather it is a just cause that is important to the whole world as well as to the Islamic and Arab worlds.
The Palestinian resistance against Zionist Israeli occupation has gained international acceptance, and their demonstrations have become global spreading from Palestinian cities to many major capitals of the international community and had become a popular movement. It has become clear that judiaizing Al-Quds (Jerusalem) and stripping it from its spiritual characteristics is not just a Palestinian issue rather an issue for all international religious community.
The participation of many western NGOs; human rights and religious organizations, and the increasing popularity of the BDS (boycott, divest and sanction Israel) campaign are clear indications that nations of the west, especially Americans, are getting fed up with Israeli violations of international laws, and are against their governments’ financial and political unconditional support to Israeli terror while ignoring the pressing affairs of their own people.
The participation of the different Islamic groups and different members of political parties in the MGJ movement is a proof to Israel and to the whole world that the Palestinian cause is a uniting factor of all different Arab, religious and political factions. Palestine, and particularly Al-Quds, counteracts all Israeli attempts to divide and conquer.
The increasing Palestinian resistance of the Israeli occupation throughout the generations had proved wrong, to Zionist leaders and to Israeli Jewish occupiers, the silly Zionist belief that the old Palestinian generations would perish and the new generations, uprooted and barred re-entry to their home towns would forget all about Palestine. The new Palestinian generations, including those born in refugee camps outside occupied Palestine, are more adamant than their fathers to return to their own roots.
Those Zionist Israeli Jewish new generations better understand that their Zionist greedy leaders are misguiding them, and that they will never enjoy security and peace while occupying Palestine, rather they will know only perpetual wars, death, sorrow and eventual defeat.
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|Timothy V. Gatto|
|William A. Cook|