As Palestinians mark Land Day, to protest Israel’s continuing theft of Palestinian land and the systematic discrimination against its Arab citizens and attacks on the Palestinian people, the chair of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Palestine, Manu Pineda (Izquierda Unida, Spain), has issued the following message of solidarity:
“When Palestinians protested mass confiscations of their land in Galilee in 1976, which resulted in Israel killing six young people, they were calling for equality and recognition. Forty-four years later, they have received neither. There are currently more than 65 Israeli laws that discriminate against Palestinian Arab citizens in Israel, and Palestinian residents of the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The recent approval of Israel’s Nation State Law came to cement this apartheid and the second-class status of Palestinians.
“Under an illegal blockade, Palestinians in Gaza chose Land Day to launch the Great March of Return in 2018. During the last two years, they have faced a brutal response from Israel including the killing of 200 unarmed protesters and the injury of thousands more, many with lifelong injuries and disabilities. All the while Israel, with the backing of President Trump, has continued to take steps to annex Palestinian land in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and to demolish Palestinian homes.
“Thirteen years of blockade and over half a century of occupation have crippled the Palestinian health system, especially in Gaza, which is now under great danger of collapse due to the coronavirus outbreak. This is one of many examples of how Israel, on a daily basis, has denied the humanity of Palestinians, including the denial of their freedom and self-determination, with full impunity.
“On this important day in the Palestinian struggle for liberation, we express our solidarity with the Palestinian people and reiterate our call for the EU to take concrete steps to hold Israel accountable for violations of international law. In particular, I call on the EU and member states to recognise a Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and ban the importation of goods from illegal settlements, as well as warn European companies operating there to immediately cease their operations,” Pineda concluded.