Great Return March statement: Joint statement by WOL with Jacksonville Palestine Solidarity Network

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

3/30/2018

March 30th, 2018 marks 42 years since the martyrdom of 6 Palestinians by israeli forces during a general strike to protest against the approval of continued land theft by zionist settlers. These martyrs were among thousands of Palestinian protesters and strikers across all of historic Palestine, from the 1948 lands under israeli occupation to the West Bank and Gaza, who bravely rose up against Israel’s expropriation of 2,000 hectares of privately owned Palestinian land. This wasn’t an isolated occurrence, but rather gives insight into the historical relationship between Israeli society and Palestinian society, of colonizer and indigenous, of oppressor and oppressed. This massacre gave birth to Land Day, and its annual commemoration since is a crucial and defining aspect of Palestinian resistance, resilience, and collective memory.

Today Palestinians in Gaza embark upon the Great Return March, a 46-day tent-city protest held at the israeli-Gaza border, with the goal of bringing attention to the internationally-recognized right of return; that is that all Palestinians, whether internally displaced or in external diaspora have a political right to return to their homes and that they have the right to seek to achieve this. This peaceful act of resistance will continue throughout the entirety of April, following into May and ending on the 70th annual commemoration of al-Nakba on May 15th. The apartheid state of israel, as it has done since its inception, is responding with immense and inhumane force, dispatching snipers, drones, and other military tools at the border to put down a civilian-led protest. Entire families and their young and old are taking part. It is with regret, sorrow, and deep anger we issue this statement, as at least 12 Palestinians have been martyred by zionist forces today, at a commemoration for past martyrs.

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As we observe 70 years of dispossession, colonization, and ethnic cleansing on one hand, and anti-colonial resistance, courage, and love for homeland on the other, we recognize the conditions in Gaza remain dire, with some projections claiming it will be uninhabitable by the end of 2018. We recognize the inalienable right of return for all Palestinians, the illegitimacy of the settler-colonial zionist state, the resilience of the Palestinian people and their determined goal for return.

We, the Jacksonville Palestine Solidarity Network alongside Within Our Lifetime - United for Palestine, honor and uplift the just struggle waged by the Palestinian people against their oppressors, the zionist colonizers backed by external imperialist powers. We honor and uplift Palestinians in Gaza, our greatest heroes, who are showing the world what resistance and love for homeland look like. Through their example of resilience and strength, we are reminded that the liberation of Palestine will come within our lifetime, and we recognize the Great March of Return as yet another blow to the zionist state.

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As Palestinians continue to put their bodies directly on the line to resist zionist violence, we emphasize our role in uplifting their actions and building for Palestine in any capacity we can wherever we are in the world. The Great March of return must be supplemented by engaging the diaspora in their right to return, as well as demanding the international community continues to condemn and isolate israel while extending support to Palestine. Without any doubt, what is happening today is yet another massacre and it is our responsibility to raise awareness, protest, and organize for Palestine at this crucial time. The next 45 days mark a period of extreme urgency and we will act accordingly. We encourage everyone to do the same. Support local Palestine organizations in your area, follow our social media platforms for information on rallies and updates, and email us to inquire about how you can help and get involved. It is crucial to direct attention to Gaza as israel commits yet another massacre with impunity. We are watching. We are fighting.

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Bil rouh!

 

Bil dam!

 

Nafdeek ya Falasteen!

Announcing the formation of Within Our Lifetime


Within our Lifetime | United for Palestine, is a Palestinian and Arab-led organization made up of dedicated youth, students, and community members building the movement for Palestine throughout NYC. After over two years of building internationally, nationally and locally as NYC Students for Justice in Palestine, we have decided that now is the time to formally expand our organization into a broad-based Palestine organization in New York City, Within Our Lifetime.

Within Our Lifetime is not only a name, but a promise, a motivational cry, a rally, and a call to action. It is the steadfast belief that no matter what obstacles we will face, victory of the oppressed is inevitable. The liberation of Palestine runs through our lives, connected to our humanity, and the struggle for freedom. It is a reminder of what we have heard since childhood, and one we tell ourselves to push forward in painful times. It solidifies the belief that Palestine can truly be freed if we work and fight towards liberation in our lifetime. We know Palestine will be freed, refugees will return, and all of historic Palestine will be decolonized. What we must begin to include in our narrative, however, is the urgency of when Palestine will be freed. The mantra, Within Our Lifetime, empowers and ignites our fire to be a part of resisting zionism and building the path towards liberation.

In 2014, a loose network of various SJP chapters in the New York City area formed a body that would later be called SJP-NYC. Our goal was to ensure that SJP chapters across New York were collaborating, sharing ideas and resources, and building their campus organizations with similar strategies and common goals. A few months after returning from the 2014 National SJP Conference, the bulk of SJP’s in NYC decided to move from a loose coalition of SJP chapters, to a consolidated, unified organization, which would become New York City Students for Justice in Palestine. Our intentions were to strengthen the SJP chapters on campuses while creating an organization that would be a space for students, community members, workers, and youth in general -- not limiting our organizing power to the halls of academia. We aimed to encourage students to go back to the communities where they came from, to find out what they think is important, and organize on that basis in the neighborhood while uplifting and centering the Palestinian liberation struggle as the lifeblood of our work. Since then our development as an organization is integrally linked to the lessons given to us most importantly by youth and elders in our communities who have shown us our failures and guided us to our successes, as well as our allies both inside and outside the Palestine solidarity movement.

We make this change in 2018, a year which marks the 70th anniversary of the Nakba -- the systematic ethnic cleansing of indigenous Palestine for the establishment of the israeli state in 1948. It has been 70 years since 500+ Palestinian villages were destroyed, 24+ massacres were carried out, and 750,000+ Palestinians were expelled, resulting in seven million Palestinian refugees today. The Nakba continues every day, more settlements are built on occupied land as the occupation persists, refugees remain exiled, child prisoners remain locked up, abused, and assaulted. Gaza remains the world's biggest open air prison as israel’s blockade of it suffocates one of the world’s most densely populated regions. And while US Presidents have always generously funded israel’s colonial project, the US boldly reaffirmed their position against Palestinian self-determination in December 2017, declaring their recognition of al-Quds as the capital of israel. We are living through an era defined by formally destroying potential manifestations of a Palestinian state, and the Zionist project’s attempt at full colonization of occupied Palestine.

As we declare the launch of Within Our Lifetime, we recognize the importance of meeting the growing needs of the local and national Palestinian diaspora - aiming to empower our communities to organize for liberation. We also recognize the nature of imperialism means Palestinians, like other oppressed nationalities in the United States, are under threat domestically. As immigrants, Arabs, and people involved in an anti-settler colonial, national liberation struggle, Palestinians face threats of surveillance, entrapment, hate crimes, and deportation, among other risks. WOL is a Palestinian led organization that will work to sustain organizing in the community towards our goal, the liberation of Palestine. As we make this transition, we remain connected to campus SJP chapters, emphasizing the importance of building a larger collective front that uplifts and centers Palestine across sectors of society. The necessity of building strong local and national networks of like-minded organizations within the Palestinian institutions and community in our neighborhoods. We welcome any organization in the struggle to combat zionism, and extend our support to any organization who has the best interests of the oppressed and exploited at heart.

As zionism and US imperialism spiral deeper into crisis, we believe it is of the utmost urgency to unite as oppressed peoples within this country, building the Palestinian liberation struggle against empire. We believe that what we collectively do here in the United States has an effect on the zionist project and the US war machine. We believe that all of our efforts weaken the United States’ ability to oppress our communities here, and fund the existence of israel - and subsequent genocide of Palestinians and their land. With this, we will see Palestine free, Within Our Lifetime.