Injustice in Palestine & Criminalization of Speech that Exposes Injustice
The Israeli forces’ violent suppression of the demonstrations in Occupied East Jerusalem and the Occupied West Bank has so far left four young Palestinian men dead and approximately 400 Palestinians injured.
The tension caused by the new Israeli security measures at Al-Aqsa compound boiled over into a large-scale demonstration across East Jerusalem. The decision to keep the metal detectors outside the Holy Site has led thousands of Palestinian to march down the Old City in denouncement. The metal detectors were installed in the wake of a deadly shooting earlier this week, coupled with the Israeli police’s refusal to allow Palestinian men below the age of 50 to enter the Old City and Al-Aqsa.
This is not the first time Israeli authorities have capitalized on Israeli-Palestinian tensions as a means of tightening control over the Holy Site. The decision to keep the new security measures in place against the recommendation of Israel’s intelligence service and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories is troubling. It goes to show that it is Israel’s longstanding targeting of Al-Aqsa mosque that is the driving force behind every peak of heightened tension in Jerusalem. To maintain and normalize the new security measures is nothing but another desperate attempt by Israel to transform a multi-religious and multi-cultural city into an exclusively Jewish one by eradicating Palestinian identity and presence in Jerusalem.
Palestinians are unwavering in their commitment to the denouncement of this decision, as they refuse to cease protests until the security measures are dismantled. Israel’s plans should be resisted both locally and internationally. One way of doing so is by making the price of Israeli control too high to bear by boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns. Unfortunately, there is legislation in Congress that seeks to criminalize support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS). That is why ADC calls on you to write your representatives and senators and urge them to oppose all anti-BDS legislation. The new security measures Palestinians are facing in Jerusalem cannot be divorced from the attempts to criminalize BDS in the U.S., as both deny Palestinians fundamental rights, most notably religious observance and political advocacy, for Israel’s sake. ADC has actively been working to educate Congress on the impact of anti-BDS legislation, meeting with over two dozen congressional offices in the last two months.
At times like these, we often find ourselves feeling powerless in face of the ongoing injustice inflected upon Palestinians everywhere. But small acts of solidarity can and often do translate into transformative structural change. Our legislative advocacy for Palestine is one way we seek justice for those suffering in Jerusalem. Our work is only as strong as the support of our members. Stand up for Palestinian rights today and call your representatives.