Jewish Voice for Peace Horrified By Israeli Response to the #GreatReturnMarch
Jewish Voice for Peace is horrified by the Israeli response to the #GreatReturnMarch, in which tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees in Gaza are marching peacefully inside of Gaza. At the time of this writing, at least eight Palestinians [16 according to BBC on 31 March – Ed] have been killed and over 500 injured.
Tonight, as Jews across the world gather at the Passover seder to remember our own story as a people questing for a homeland, we honor and recognize the yearning for homeland propelling today’s Land Day protests.
The Israeli military has yet again unleashed disproportionate violence against demonstrating Palestinians, the latest in a long series of deadly responses to popular protests by Palestinians.
The Great March of Return was explicitly planned as a peaceful march along the border of Gaza and Israel, where tent cities are erected, from Land Day on March 30 to Nakba Day on May 15. Land Day commemorates Israel’s crushing of a general strike and mass protest by Palestinian citizens of Israel.
Land Day protests, like the upcoming 70th anniversary of the Nakba protests, are held annually, part of long history of palestinian mass popular resistance to Israeli aggression. Organizers of the Great March of Return have clearly called this a nonviolent march affiliated with no political parties.
Much of the media coverage thus far refers to “clashes” at the Gazan border, an inaccurate and biased description of the Israeli military’s violent response to nonviolent protest. We call upon the media to accurately portray the lopsided reality of thousands of unarmed protesters on their own land facing a military force armed to the teeth and explicitly permitted to use lethal force.
In the U.S., many of us are participating in mass protests against repressive government policies. More than ever we all should understand the power of gathering publicly to say “enough!” Yearning to be freed from imprisonment and for basic rights simply cannot be stopped by violent force – our own age-old stories, which we will recount again tonight, tell us so.
Executive Director Rebecca Vilkomerson is available to speak with the media.
Jewish Voice for Peace is a national, grassroots organization inspired by Jewish tradition to work for a just and lasting peace according to principles of human rights, equality, and international law for all the people of Israel and Palestine. JVP has over 200,000 online supporters, over 70 chapters, a youth wing, a Rabbinic Council, an Artist Council, an Academic Advisory Council, and an Advisory Board made up of leading U.S. intellectuals and artists.