International Solidarity Movement Nonviolence. Justice. Freedom. Fri, 22 Aug 2014 12:24:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Action alert: Open Rafah now Fri, 22 Aug 2014 12:24:13 +0000 18th August 2014 | Open the Rafah crossing permanently and unconditionally | Occupied Palestine

In response to calls from human rights defenders in Gaza who ask that we bring an end to the Egyptian government’s complicity in Israel’s genocide of the people of Gaza an urgent call to action was issued.

The call was endorsed by renown anti-apartheid and freedom and justice activists such as: Former Robben Island inmate, and ANC leader Ahmed Kathrada, Former ANC Minister for Intelligence Services Ronnie Kasrils, Luisa Morgantini Former Vice President of the European Parliament and Italian MEP, Richard Falk Former United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Breyten Breytenbach,  a South African anti-Apartheid writer, painter, novelist and icon and civil society collectives from Egypt, Palestine and around the world.

Please continue to demand that the Egyptian government open the Rafah crossing. Send us your communications with the embassy along with a photo of yourself holding a sign with a slogan such as ‘Open Rafah Now-End Egyptian complicity in Israeli Genocide’ to:

Help us spread the call from and share the following translations via social media:

ArabicFrenchGermanDutchTurkish, and Spanish.

The pictures and communications will be posted on the Facebook page Open Rafah permanently and unconditionally.

In response to calls from our fellow human beings and comrades in Gaza who asked that we bring an end to the Egyptian government’s complicity in Israel’s genocide of the people of Gaza.

We called upon people to take action and contact their local embassy, to protest Egypt’s complicity in an illegal and inhumane siege leaving those most suffering in Gaza alone and isolated.

Despite a call from Egyptian citizens to lift the siege, the Egyptian government has instead supported the Israeli plan for return to the status quo of slow genocide. The Egyptian government claims that The Rafah Border is open but the stark reality is that the crossing remains closed to all but too few exceptions.

For 7 years Gaza has been under a suffocating, deadly siege imposed by Israel and accommodated by the Egyptian government, that severely restricts all movement of people and products.

With the wanton destruction and devastation that Israel has wrecked in Gaza over the past 5 weeks, now more than ever is it essential to demand that the Egyptian government to fully Open Rafah.

Since July 7th more than 2016 Palestinians have been killed and over 19101 have been injured. The Egyptian government’s refusal to open the border makes them complicit in Israel’s genocide of a population held captive.

Thank you for taking action! Raise your voice for the besieged people of Gaza!
Open Rafah Now!

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Resistance and tear gas Thu, 21 Aug 2014 20:58:04 +0000 21st August 2014 | Saeeda Al-Rashid | Occupied Palestine

It’s late May [2013], and the air is stifling. Heat sizzles from the pavement, and Khalili youth, though well-adapted to these conditions, can be seen wiping sweat from their brows as they trek home from school. A few trickle through Checkpoint 56 into the Tel Rumeida neighborhood, formally designated Israeli-controlled territory under the Hebron Agreement. Soldiers search their bags and detain one, but finding no reason to arrest him, release him an hour later, a routine form of harassment youth are all too accustomed to. At some point, a school-bus turns up the road. It’s labeled in Hebrew and English, “Air-Conditioned Video.” The school bus is only for settler children, whereas many Palestinian vehicles are not allowed to drive in Tel Rumeida.

The word “apartheid” is often used to criticize Israeli racism and the Israeli state’s policies of segregation. But on the street level, what does apartheid actually look like? While living in occupied Khalil under Israeli military occupation for a few months, I experienced only the beginning of the answer to those questions. The rest is in the lived experience of businessmen and women, school children, farmers and shepherds who have lived under occupation for forty-plus years.

Apartheid Defined

In his final report as UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the oPt [Occupied Palestinian Territories], Richard Falk called for an investigation into the Israeli practices, broadly referred to as hafrada meaning “separation”, that could constitute apartheid under the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid. Offenses that come in conflict with the Convention include the unlawful taking of life, administrative detention, and torture, and also the segregation of land and parallel legal systems in the West Bank that “prevent participation in the political, social, economic and cultural life of the country and the full development of a racial group” (18).

This invokes a flood of memories from my short time in Palestine, including a young couple in Masafer Yatta living in a former sheep pen because the Israeli Civil Authority won’t grant them a permit to build a house; shops forced to close down during Jewish holidays so that settlers can illegally pass into the Palestinian-controlled part of Khalil; a B’tselem caseworker laughing aloud when we asked whether any action would be taken after Abu Shamsiya documented Israeli settlers’ assault on his family and was himself arrested on false charges of spitting at the nearby soldiers throwing stones and a tomato, whilst at the same time an Israeli boy of similar age threw eggs at internationals and went unpunished.

Saeeda waits outside the IDF compound with the family of a child arrested for 'throwing a tomato' (Photo by Youth Against Settlements).

Saeeda waits outside the IDF compound with the family of a child arrested for ‘throwing a tomato’ (Photo by Youth Against Settlements).

Apartheid, as Falk points out, is not a recurrence of isolated crimes; rather, “the combined effect of the measures designed to ensure security for Israeli citizens, to facilitate and expand settlements, and, it would appear, to annex land, is hafrada, discrimination and systematic oppression of, and domination over, the Palestinian people.” Apartheid is in the rain that flooded the Khalil Souq (market), ruining goods that provide needed income for Khalili families, because Israeli authorities have prevented the construction of appropriate drainage facilities.

Women in Hebron shop flooded (photo by Women in Hebron).

Women in Hebron shop flooded (photo by Women in Hebron).

Apartheid is in the rocky, rat-infested paths Palestinians travel on to climb the prayer road because the main roads are only for settlers. Apartheid is in the children who inhale tear gas nearly every day on the way to school, and every family stuck in the Qalandiya checkpoint during Ramadhan, barred from entering Jerusalem to worship. Apartheid is the reason ISM volunteers on the ground believe strongly in only taking actions led by Palestinians – this is their home, and their lives are impacted every day by apartheid years after we’ve flown home to our respective countries.

Resistance and Tear Gas

Richard Falk’s final report also pointed out that persecution of those who resist apartheid practices falls under article 2(f) of the Convention. Upon investigating the types of tear gas deployed by the IDF against peaceful protestors, from an organic chemistry perspective with the help of a leading chemist who was my professor, I unearthed a plethora of information on this vile substance.

The IDF principally uses CS gas (o-chlorobenzilidenemalononitrile). Exposure to CS gas has been implicated in a number of deaths in the West Bank as well as South Korea because it’s a potent Michael acceptor, making it able to inhibit many important chemicals in our bodies including the amino acid cysteine, which can be found on the TRPA1 protein channel that mediates our continued responsiveness to a wide variety of irritants and has been implicated in the prolonged sense of irritation experienced by some who are exposed to tear gas. (This is potentially the reason biting into an onion, a popular on-the-ground treatment for tear gas exposure, also counteracts the toxicity of CS gas – the inert sulfur-containing compounds in onions serve as alternate Michael donors).

Additionally, CS and CN gas produce methylene chloride, which as a nervous depressant and mild carcinogen reaches dangerous levels at exposure above 250 ppm by the constant barrage of intense tear gas deployment I witnessed at demonstrations. Finally, CS gas has been shown to be a mild mutagen (via intercalation with DNA) and thus it is also a potential carcinogen. Much has been said about the disparity in living conditions that results from the Israeli military occupation; prolonged exposure to dangerous chemicals for not only activists who resist the wall but shop-keepers and schoolchildren intertwines with the many different ways the system of apartheid and physical and legal segregation impact the daily lives of Palestinian people.

I believe this apartheid in and of itself is violence; there is no state of peace from which the more obvious forms of violence such as stone-throwing and shootings arise. There will only be peace when real justice is served – when apartheid is nothing more than a history lesson for our children.

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Palestinians and ISM’ers clean up after demolition of Palestinian home Wed, 20 Aug 2014 19:16:53 +0000 20th August 2014 | International Solidarity Movement, Khalil team | al-Walja, Occupied Palestine

At 10am on the 18th of August in al-Walja, north of Bethlehem, the Israeli army demolished the residence of a Palestinian man. The man was alone on his land when the solders arrived with a bulldozer. The soldiers stated that they had a court decision to demolish the area but refused to show it to the man. 


Approximately 15 Palestinians from Aida refugee camp and a group of ISM volunteers set out on the morning of the 19th of August to clean up the area. Before the demolition, the area consisted of  a patio, a small home where the man slept, a kitchen and a toilet. Most of the structures were completely destroyed and the owners belongings were scattered around the broken bricks and stones.
Palestinians and ISM’ers cleaned up the area and gathered what was left of the man’s belongings. After a few hours of work, most of the debris from the demolition had been cleaned. It was possible to reuse broken bricks to create a new stone patio. The Palestinians also built a tent to create some shelter from the hot sun.


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Three homes destroyed in Hebron Tue, 19 Aug 2014 07:38:16 +0000 19th August 2014 | International Solidarity Movement, Khalil team | Hebron, Occupied Palestine

Yesterday, the Israeli army demolished the homes of three Palestinian families in al-Khalil (Hebron).

At around 11pm on August 17th, a large Israeli military presence began to accumulate in the area of Daersat Alser where the homes of Abu Eisha and Marwan Qawasmeh’s families are located. Parts of both of these homes were demolished last month as part of the collective punishment that took place all over the West Bank after the deaths of three Israeli settler youths.

A group of Palestinians and internationals made several attempts to move closer to the home to document but soldiers began to target the group with the lasers of their guns to prevent them from moving closer. Immediately after the Israeli army had left the path to the home of Abu Eisha, it was possible to view the damage made. A side of the house on the top floor was blown out and damage to most of the walls and interior of the house was extensive.

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Before dawn rounds of tear gas were fired from an Israeli jeep towards the home of Abu Eisha. Internationals also noticed a small white drone circling around the entire area.

Up until the early hours there was still a heavy military presence on the main road of the Daersat Alser area. 17 armoured military jeeps, eight cement trucks and around 80 Israeli soldiers and police were visible at the beginning of the path towards the home of Marwan Qawasmeh.

Preparation had begun to seal the home with cement in order to render it unusable.

Close to 5am, the Israeli army began making preparations to evacuate the area as a group of soldiers began to load several trailers with what appeared to be metal piping, electrical wires and tubing that had been confiscated from the home of Marwan Qawasmeh.

Meanwhile, a soldier that was standing near the Qawasmeh home began to aim the laser of his weapon at the heads of various international volunteers and members of the press, for no apparent reason.


The front yard and door of the Qawasmeh family were completely blocked by large piles of rubble. Piles of wet cement covered the path to the back of the home. The entire bottom floor of the home was filled with cement and there were notices on the sealed door in Arabic and Hebrew which stated:

“This building is being shut under the command of the Military Commander. Due to the shutdown of this building, no new buildings are allowed to be built on this land. Due to the shutdown of part of this building, this place is declared unsafe and no one is permitted to enter.”

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Almost the entire façade of the home had been destroyed and remains unusable with most of the rooms burnt and now completely visible from the outside. In the home, there were no doors or windows and all sinks and toilets had been smashed.


Other international volunteers arrived in the area of Wad Abu Ktela at around 2am where Israeli forces had congregated to detonate the family home of Hussam Qawasmeh. Clashes between Israeli military forces and local Palestinian youths had broken out nearby.

In the meantime, soldiers shot several tear gas canisters inside another Palestinian home in Abu Ktela and eleven people suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation and had to be taken to the Alia Hospital.

Solders hid throughout the neighborhood and around 50 additional solders surrounded the targeted home of the Hussam Qawasmeh family. Solders aimed snipers at internationals walking in the area and prevented locals from walking or driving down surrounding roads.

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From a rooftop of a neighbouring house, Palestinians and internationals saw solders placing explosives inside the home and heard drilling noises for several hours. At the start of the morning prayer, at around 4:30am, the Israeli military forces blew up the home of the Qawasmeh family.

Click here to view the embedded video.

The home was completely destroyed and only dust and ruins remain. When Palestinians, media and internationals rushed down the street in an attempt to get closer to the home the Israeli military fired several stun grenades and rubber-coated bullets in their direction. Around 150 Palestinians gathered at the home around 5am in solidarity with the family. Family members were crying and visibly distraught.


Shortly after 5 am, all the homes had been demolished and the military presence had been lifted. According to Israeli officials, the homes of Hussam Qawasmeh, Marwan Qawasmeh and Amer Abu Eisha were destroyed as punishment for their alleged involvement in the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli settler teens in June. As the forces left, a group of soldiers exchanged congratulatory hugs and took a celebratory picture together.

]]> 0 Consequences of destruction Sun, 17 Aug 2014 18:17:32 +0000 17th August 2014 | Charlie Andreasson | Gaza, Occupied Palestine

The military assaults on the Palestinians have been going on for over a month, and even if the war should end while I’m writing, the exhausting consequences of it will continue for some time. Concern for your own life, for your family members and friends, and that the house where you are in will be attacked and fall down, is easy to understand even when you watch the news hundreds of miles from the violent epicenter. But the consequences are so many more.

Photo by Charlie Andreasson

Photo by Charlie Andreasson

There is the feeling that the sky is pressing you against the ground and the noise of the angry buzzing of all drones overhead. How do you describe that to somebody at a safe distance?

There is almost no access to electricity now that Gaza’s only power plant was bombed. But electricity is so much more than the switch on the wall. It means that the clothes have to be washed by hand, scrubbing, wringing. There is no sorting of white and color or setting the degree; all items go into the same bucket. If warmer water is wanted it is heated on the gas stove.

There is still food available in shops and on street markets, but without power the refrigerators and freezers do not work, and in 30-degree heat the food soon goes bad. It has been a long time since I went to the butcher now. And prices have started to rise, not fast, but little by little. Add to this that the banks are closed, and factories, workshops and other workplaces have been bombed, leaving employees with no income. For all those who had to flee their homes without the ability to bring anything, and those that already literally stood penniless, life is even more difficult.

Before the war, water came, though salty and unfit for drinking, when I turned the tap. That is no longer a given. After I had to rush to the bathroom and realized afterwards that I couldn’t flush, I place an extra bucket of water on the side. But I’m lucky – hundreds of thousands of people are cut off from the water supply. This presents problems even with the washing bucket, and it is difficult for people to keep themselves and their children clean.

Photo by Charlie Andreasson

Photo by Charlie Andreasson

Our great dependence on water is understood only when there is nothing, and outside the small stores where stainless steel water tanks are formed and people sometimes queue to buy filtered groundwater – if there is anything in the tanks. Even the more expensive bottled water runs out sometimes in the stores, though hardly anyone would use it to take a shower in it, let alone flush the toilet with.

That brings us to the sewage system that does not work in many places since the pipes and pumping stations have been destroyed. In some places small streams of untreated sewage are flowing through buildings, across roads, and down towards the sea. And in 30-degree heat, where food cannot be kept chilled and with inadequate access to water, one can just wait for the outbreak of diseases.

Families have done what they could to house relatives, putting hospitality and solidarity to the test over more than a month, shared their clothes, food, and water, and sacrificed their private life. But what happens when these long-term guests cannot return home? Are they still welcome to curtail the living space when the violence of the war ebbs? And what of those who pitched tent-like homes in the park behind the al-Shifa hospital and elsewhere, who have no access to food, water, sewers, electricity? Where should they go? How will their children be able to study under these conditions?

Photo by Charlie Andreasson

Photo by Charlie Andreasson

It is discerned among the ruins in Shujaja and other areas along the buffer zone, that life must somehow go on. Some are lucky and their houses can be repaired, if they can get hold of building materials, and if they can pay. But far too many others have not been that lucky. Where their houses once stood are now collapsed concrete piles or deep craters. Tarpaulins have been spread among them, forming open tents for protection from the sun. Here and there the smell of something dead under all the layers of fallen concrete is perceived. It may be from an animal, or from something else. And amid all the destruction people are trying to find their possessions that are still in one piece, children are playing amongst the rubble, and some are making tea over an open fire.

The consequences of war are not just death and blood, dismemberment and pain. They is so many more. And they do not end when the soldiers return to their barracks.

Photo by Charlie Andreasson

Photo by Charlie Andreasson

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Palestinian arrested after filming settlers throwing stones Sun, 17 Aug 2014 13:19:02 +0000 17th August 2014 | International Solidarity Movement | Occupied Palestine

Yesterday at approximately 5:30 PM in the old city in al-Khalil (Hebron) settlers from the illegal settlement of Beit Hadassah threw rocks and water at Palestinians living on Shalala Street. This is a regular occurance for Palestinian families living close to illegal settlements in al-Khalil. The majority of the time the Israeli military watches from a distance and does not do anything to intervene in the violence and property damage.

One Palestinian, a 35-year old man, documented the stone throwing only to be detained and then arrested by the Israeli military. The man was taken through a yellow gate to an area where Palestinians are restricted from, where the soldiers pushed him around.

The soldiers threw several stun grenades at Palestinians and internationals standing behind the yellow gate, trying to document what was happening through holes of the gate.

Two internationals walked through the checkpoint at the Ibrahimi mosque and down Shuhada street in attempt to find the Palestinian. A group of ten solders and an army jeep stood with two Palestinian men, the man who had been arrested was in handcuffs. A nearby soldier told the internationals that neither of the men was arrested but they were only bringing him the handcuffed man in for questioning, to gather evidence about the settlers who threw stones. After approximately five minutes the solders blindfolded the Palestinian and started walking with him to a nearby army base, Beit Romano. When internationals asked why the man was being blindfolded an Israeli soldier stated, “Because I want to.”

The man was released earlier this morning.

]]> 0 Action alert: Join ISM Sat, 16 Aug 2014 16:45:17 +0000 16th August 2014 | International Solidarity Movement | Occupied Palestine

The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) is placing a call out for volunteers to join us in the West Bank now, and for the olive harvest beginning in October.

We need solidarity activists to support the Palestinian popular struggle by joining protests and demonstrations, to document and report on the crimes committed by both the Israeli military and the colonial settlers living on Palestinian land throughout the West Bank, and to stand alongside Palestinian communities as they face occupation and apartheid.

Photo by ISM

Photo by ISM

ISM is also sending an urgent call for volunteers to join the 2014 olive harvest campaign, beginning in October.

Click here to view the embedded video.

ISM volunteers join Palestinian farming communities each year to harvest olives in areas where Palestinians face settler and military violence while working their land. Palestinian communities state that the presence of international volunteers reduces the risk of extreme violence from Israeli settlers and the Israeli army. Your presence can make a big difference.

The olive tree is a Palestinian national symbol, and the Israeli military systematically prevents agricultural fruition in order to make life for Palestinians more difficult. The Israeli occupation provides a platform for Palestinian rights to be violated in an array of ways; the attack on agriculture is at the forefront.

Already documented this year, and to list a few cases; the trees have suffered settler sewage runoffsabotaging fires, and being cut down. Olive trees comprise of an essential 14% of the Palestinian agricultural economy.

In January 2014 alone approximately 2020 olive trees were reportedly destroyed.

We support Palestinians’ assertion of their right to earn their livelihoods and be present on their lands. International solidarity activists engage in non-violent intervention and documentation and practical support, which enables many families to pick their olives.

The campaign will begin in October and will last around 6-8 weeks. We ask that volunteers start arriving at the end of September, so that we will be prepared when the harvest begins. Usually we require a two week commitment from volunteers, however during the olive harvest a one week commitment is sufficient. All volunteers must attend a two-day training before they join ISM, trainings run on Wednesdays and Thursdays as long as the trainers are available. Please see the join ISM page or contact for further information.

In solidarity,

ISM Palestine

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Israeli police beat a Palestinian and confiscated his tractor Wed, 13 Aug 2014 18:36:37 +0000 13th August 2014 | Operation Dove | at-Tuwani, Occupied Palestine

On August 12th, at approximately 9.45 a.m., near the South Hebron hills area village of at-Tuwani, Israeli Police beat a Palestinian and confiscated his tractor.

The 20-year-old man was driving his tractor, carrying a water tank, from the village of at-Tuwani to Yatta City when the Israeli police stopped him. Palestinian witnesses reported that policemen beat him and sprayed pepper spray into his eyes.

When international volunteers and medical relief arrived on the scene, they witnessed the man lying on the ground and shouting from the pain as two policemen surrounded him.

Click here to view the embedded video.

At 10.00 a.m. the Palestinian was accompanied to the hospital by Palestinian medical relief. After that, the police confiscated the tractor, leaving the water tank in the middle of the road. The police refused to give any explanation about the incident and prohibited the Palestinian man from speaking with his lawyer.

According to B’tselem, “the exercise of illegal force by police officers is a phenomenon characteristic of regimes that are abhorrent, and undemocratic, of the kind that trample on human rights.”

The policy of restriction, checkpoints, closures, arrests and confiscations carried out by the Israeli army and police, combined with the continuous settler’s harassment, denies the Palestinians’ rights of movement, basic sources and rights access and prevents the development of the South Hebron hills area communities.aa

Operation Dove has maintained an international presence in At-Tuwani and South Hebron Hills since 2004.

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Video: Israeli soldiers celebrate shooting an 18-year-old Tue, 12 Aug 2014 20:52:43 +0000 12th August 2014 | International Solidarity Movement | Hebron, Occupied Palestine

On August 9th in Hebron, Israeli soldiers celebrated shooting an 18-year-old Palestinian youth in the leg with live ammunition.

Click here to view the embedded video.

The Canadian volunteer, Vern, who witnessed the soldier firing, stated, “After the soldiers left the roof, I went to confront them about why they had fired. One of them said to me that he was the one who fired and that he was proud of his actions. He then asked me to take his picture.”

Photo by ISM

Photo by ISM

The hospital released a document to the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) stating that the injury of the young man was a gunshot wound to the right calf, and that the injury required surgery under general anaesthetic.

Photo by Youth Against Settlements

Photo by Youth Against Settlements

Photo by ISM

Photo by ISM

“This is not the first time protesters have been seriously injured or killed while not being a threat to the Israeli military. On Friday (8th August) in Hebron, 40-year-old Nader Mohammad Edrees was shot in the heart by an Israeli sniper. He died several hours later. This murder was caught on video, and it is clear that Nader was no threat whatsoever when he was killed, in clear contradiction of Israeli military policy and international law.” Stated Issa Amro, Human Rights Defender with Youth Against Settlements (YAS), based in Hebron.

According to Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, grave breaches against protected people, such as Palestinians, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly, include wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health.

Israeli Human Rights group B’tselem states that, “the army’s open-fire regulations clearly stipulate that live ammunition should not be used against stone-throwers, except in cases of immediate mortal danger.”

Photo by ISM

Photo by ISM

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The world heeds the call of Palestinians in Gaza for pressure on Israel Sun, 10 Aug 2014 02:57:42 +0000 August 9th 2014 | International Solidarity Movement | Occupied Palestine

Update:  Please help us spread the word in Arabic, Italian, French, Hebrew and Spanish via your networks.  


Hundreds of thousands of people worldwide have taken to the streets in response to a call from Palestinian civil society in the occupied and besieged Gaza strip, and the BDS National Committee (BNC), for a day of rage.


Photos from Andrew Kadi in Call to end US Aid to Israel

The mobilisations come as grassroots pressure mounts on western governments to impose a military embargo on Israel.

 On the 31st of July, Spain announced “provisional” suspension of military exports to Israel. On August 7th, Evo Morales, president of Bolivia, became the first head of state to declare his support for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).

 Dr Haidar Eid, a Gaza based steering committee member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel stated, “the masses that demonstrated their support today for Palestinian rights remind us of the demonstrations in the 80’s against Apartheid. This is our South African moment. Just as the South African anti-Apartheid movement and international support brought an end to the Apartheid regime, Palestinians, with the support of people of conscience worldwide, will bring an end to Israel’s multi-tiered system of oppression. Governments across the world must act in accordance with the will of their people and hold Israel accountable, including imposing sanctions and a military embargo on it to end its criminal impunity.”

Palestinian civil society based in Gaza said in their call:
“As we face the full might of Israel’s military arsenal, funded and supplied by the United States and the European Union, we call on civil society and people of conscience throughout the world to pressure governments to sanction Israel and implement a comprehensive arms embargo immediately. Take to the streets on Saturday 9th of August with a united demand for sanctions on Israel.”
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