The United States Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) condemns the brutal premeditated massacre by the state of Israel of 17 unarmed Palestinians, and the injuring of more than 1,400 on March 30, 2018.
Israeli Occupation Forces opened fire on thousands of non-violent residents of Gaza who had established peaceful encampments and tent cites, exercising their inalienable right to return to 1948 Palestine, from which they were ethnically cleansed by Zionist forces during and since the 1948 Nakba. Victims were as young as 19.
Demonstrators had chosen the day, March 30th, Land Day, for their “Great Return March” to protest the Occupation and illegal seizure of Palestinian land and territories dating to the 1948 Nakba, and the displacement and dispossession of Palestinian people, as well as the 12-year genocidal siege on the Gaza Strip. The protest highlighted Palestinian refugees’ right to return, denied them for nearly 70 years. Over two-thirds of the population of Gaza are Palestinian refugees.
The brutal atrocities echoed the killing of six Palestinians by Israel on March 30, 1976, the first Land Day in Palestine, which has since been commemorated each year. On that date, Palestinians amassed to protest the illegal Israeli seizure of thousands of dunams of land in occupied Palestine ’48 for settlement purposes. The protests were followed by a general strike throughout occupied Palestine that faced severe repression at the hands of the Israeli occupation.
The massacre on Land Day was no exception to the normal policies and practices of the Israeli state; rather, it exemplifies them. The Palestinians shot down at the colonial “borders” during the Great Return March are the same Palestinian refugees and their descendants over generations forced from their homes and lands in 1948 by Zionist forces. The establishment of the exclusivist Jewish state in Palestine was proclaimed only through the violent dispossession of the indigenous Palestinian people, a dispossession that continues just as violently to the present day.
Global outrage against the murder of Palestinian innocents has been swift, except in the quarters of the U.S. state, which provides more than 38 billion dollars in military aid to support Israel’s Occupation, the corporate media and other international supporters of apartheid and colonialism. On Saturday, the United States vetoed a U.N. Security Council Resolution condemning Israel’s massacre.
More than anything, the mass shootings indicate the immediate need for an end to the Israeli Occupation and official apartheid policies and for an end to the siege of Gaza. They also demonstrate that Palestinian refugees’ right of return remains at the heart of the Palestinian cause, even as U.S. President Donald Trump works hand in hand with Netanyahu in an attempt to liquidate Palestinian rights. The scheduled move of the U.S. embassy to Israel to Jerusalem on May 15 – the 70th anniversary of the Nakba – underscores the intentions of official U.S. policy on Palestine.
The killings underscore the urgency of public support for the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Movement against Israel. Launched in 2005 by 170 organizations of Palestinian Civil Society, BDS has now grown to become one of the most important human rights and civil rights campaigns in the world.
In the U.S., more than 1,000 academics and hundreds of cultural workers, including the writers Alice Walker and Junot Diaz, and musicians Chuck D. and Boots Riley, have pledged to boycott Israel.
Since 2013, dozens of academic associations, University student governments, graduate student unions, teacher’s unions, churches, faith bodies and trade unions have voted to boycott or divest from Israel until Palestinians living under apartheid in Israel are granted equal rights, until Israel returns stolen Palestinian lands and dismantles its Apartheid wall, and until Palestinian refugees can exercise their right of return to their homeland as guaranteed by U.N. Resolution 194.
USACBI calls on all global citizens to join us in condemnation of the Land Day massacre. You may endorse the call for academic and cultural boycott at this link: http://www.usacbi.org
We also invite you to join our campaign to boycott Study Abroad in Israel, centered around Palestinian refugees’ right of return: We Will not Study in Israel Until Palestinians Can Return. Sign on to the pledge here: http://www.usacbi.org/boycott-study-abroad-in-israel
For more information contact USACBI.