28th November 2016 | International Solidarity Movement, al-Khalil team | occupied Palestine and Standing Rock
Sometime after 9-11 U.S. police departments (State, local, & Sheriff’s Departments) along with many U.S. governmental law enforcement agencies such as Homeland Security, the FBI, and Border & Customs Police began to send their officers to Israel for training with the Israeli Police and the Israeli occupation forces. Training has included counter-terrorism measures, crowd control, and protests. Much of the training takes place not in Israel proper but in the illegal settler colonized West Bank .
There’s many similarities between what is happening in Palestine and what is currently happening in Standing Rock in North Dakota to the Water Protectors. Many of the law enforcement officers at Standing Rock have been trained in Israel. The weapons and tactics are identical. The use of high pressure water cannons, rubber bullets, rubber coated steel bullets, the use of attack dogs, and sound grenades are the same in both places.
The killing (read-murder) of so many unarmed people of color in the U.S. by the police with no accountability to speak of and police officers given paid time off with their superiors and the courts stating they acted properly. Hundreds of Palestinians have been murdered by the Israeli occupation forces stating the individual had a knife or was suspected of having a knife or other weapon, with complete impunity.
A medic at Standing Rock recently noted that the law enforcement personnel are intentionally targeting the legs and heads of the Water Protectors. This is a tactic that is commonly used on Palestinians.
A bridge leading to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) that has been closed for over a week has had large cement barriers and razor wire place on the bridge. Road blocks like this are a common occurrence all over the West Bank, severely limiting freedom of movement, stopping emergency vehicles from getting through and often having to drive miles out of their way to get someone to a hospital. The one road blocked bridge is causing ambulances to drive an extra thirty minutes to get an injured person to the hospital.
There are many internationals working with Palestinians here in the West Bank and Gaza. At the same time there are a number of Palestinians who have traveled to Standing Rock in solidarity with the Water Protectors. One who recently arrived at Standing Rock stated that on his way there he thought a great deal about the similarities and conditions between Palestine and Standing Rock. Upon arrival he “no longer thought about the similarities. I felt them in my bones.”
Our struggles are one. The Palestinians the Water Protectors and other activists in the U.S. are all working for the same freedoms against the same oppressors. A quote on our apartment wall reads: “Solidarity: if you come here to help, you are wasting your time…but if you have come because your freedom is bound up with mine then let us work together.”
For the Palestinian perspective on this comparison see this article by Issra Suliman.