Azmi Bishara on Hunger Strike Protesting the Construction of Israel’s Separation Wall

MK Azmi Bishara

“While Sharon tries to draw international public attention to his plans for unilateral separation from Gaza, framing them as though they were some form of political concession or achievement, we seek to draw attention to the real processes underway on the ground in the Occupied Territories: unilateral Israeli imposition of borders, destruction of Palestinian communities, and an Apartheid colonial logic. The world did not tolerate Apartheid in South Africa - It must not tolerate its construction here.”

Member of Knesset Azmi Bishara of the National Democratic Assembly (NDA) has declared an open hunger strike protesting the Israeli government’s construction of the separation wall in the occupied West Bank and in the surrounding areas of Jerusalem. Upon declaring his hunger strike, Bishara was immediately joined by Palestinian national figures Ahmed Ghneim, Hatem Abdel Qader, Abdel Latif Gheith, As’ad Musilmani, Suheir Khader, Terry Bulata, Jamal Jum’a, Musa Abu Gharbiyeh and Judeh al Jamal. The hunger strikers will remain in a protest tent that has been pitched in the town of Ar-Ram, adjacent to one of the sites of on going Israeli wall construction. The wall will cut the town of Ar-Ram (as well as all villages in the periphery of Jerusalem) off from their organic and historic connections to the city. It will furthermore strangle the remaining Palestinian towns and neighborhoods of East Jerusalem by effectively cutting them off from the rest of the occupied West Bank.

Through Israel’s continued construction of the wall, the historical geographic and social features of the land are being dramatically transformed in overt colonial fashion. The deliberate severance of Palestinian communities from one another, (including Palestinian family members from one another), is a crime against the Palestinian people, and is an abomination to the principles of humanity. The underlying colonial logic of separation which underpins the wall’s construction is reminiscent of the darkest days of Apartheid South Africa, and it is unimaginable that such acts can pass in total silence today, or would be tolerated in any other place on earth.

In light of Israel’s persistence in carrying out its unilateral plans in Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied territories of 1967, MK Azmi Bishara declared an open hunger strike as of noon of July 3 rd 2004. He is also issuing a call to step up peaceful popular and civil struggle against the wall, appealing to democratic and progressive forces throughout the world to mobilize towards the urgent demand of putting a stop to the erecting of an Apartheid regime across Palestine.

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