by Mazin Qumsiyeh
16 April 2012 | Welcome to Palestine Campaign 2012
We did not have to show our 1500 visitors Israeli racism, arrogance, and human rights violations; the Israeli government showed them and also showed the whole world. Calling itself a democracy, this outlaw state denied the right of people from around the world to come visit us and see for themselves the reality of life under occupation.
We the Palestinian people are 11 million normal human beings, 7 million are refugees or displaced people simply because they are natives to a land that was wanted for a Jewish state. Five million of us are living in increasingly shrinking ghettos on a tiny fraction of our land. We remain here despite an illegal and brutal occupation that includes land confiscation, movement restrictions, home demolitions, illegal imprisonment of thousands (many now on hunger strike), and countless other inhuman conditions. We did not expect from this occupation that daily violates human rights to also allow us as prisoners under its boot to openly and honestly receive visitors. These visitors who wanted to come and see what reality is like here certainly were shocked at the Israeli behavior. And those who wanted to welcome our visitors and were brutally assaulted will remember how the same Israeli police let right wing fanatics sing and disrupt at the airport. The whole world is now seeing Israel for what it is: a police state that fulfills all the requirements of being an apartheid pariah state per the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (1973).
Countries that once supported Apartheid in South Africa had people who mobilized against it. Now people of conscience mobilize to challenge this apartheid that is now so explicitly expressed. Those airlines and governments that acted as subcontractors for the Israeli apartheid regime are being challenged by their own people. In denying boarding to a passenger by Air France, the airline documented that she cannot board because she is neither Jewish or Israeli! (See in French and in English).
In claiming in writing that we called for disruptions and for challenging “security” of Israel, the Israeli government was exposed as lying. In forcing a Swedish passenger (unrelated to our campaign) to sign that he was not going to meet with any “pro-Palestinian” individuals or groups, the Israeli government was shown to be racist. Imagine if a similar requirement was posted to visitors to any other country about visiting or meeting with “pro-black” individuals or organizations. In sending a letter to that claims activists should worry about Iran and Syria before worrying about this system of apartheid, the Israeli government showed the bankruptcy of its arguments. In denying us the right to visit, the Israeli government showed the world that it has a lot to hide.
For examples of participant profiles of those denied their right to visit us in Palestine, visit this link.
At the end of our press conference in Bethlehem, we passed out Easter colored eggs. We Palestinian Christian and Muslims are grateful to all who act on their conscience, Internationals, Israelis, and Palestinian volunteers. Thousands of us say loud and clear: we will not be silenced, we will continue to organize campaigns until we have freedom and until Israel complies with all relevant International and Humanitarian laws.
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