FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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.
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.
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.
Nafdeek ya Falasteen!