Boycott is best response to illegal Israeli killings

A sign at a pro-Palestinian protest in Paris on May 12, 2018. (photo: Etienne Laurent / The Irish Times

The EU is complicit in the enabling of Israel’s violation of Palestinians’ rights.

By Omar Barghouti | The Irish Times | May 15, 2018

Despite Israel’s descent into unmasked, right-wing extremism and its decades-old military occupation and oppression of Palestinians, the EU continues to treat it as if it were above international law.

Today, Palestinians everywhere will commemorate the 1947–1949 Nakba (Arabic for catastrophe) — the ethnic cleansing of the majority of indigenous Palestinians from our homeland and the systematic destruction of hundreds of our villages and towns to establish Israel as an exclusionary state.

In 1948, when Zionist paramilitaries forced the family of my late grandmother, Rasmiyyah, out of their spacious home in the picturesque city of Safad at gunpoint, the seminal process of settler-colonialism that was enabled by the Balfour Declaration became personal to my family. The Nakba has shaped my identity and the identity of millions of other Palestinian descendants of refugees.

To suppress the massive peaceful demonstrations in Gaza, where the majority are Nakba refugees and their descendants, demanding an end to the 12-year-old siege and refugees’ rights, Israel has enacted a shoot-to-kill-or-maim policy, killing dozens and injuring thousands, many with live ammunition. The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has condemned these crimes, while Amnesty International has called on world governments “to impose a comprehensive arms embargo on Israel” as an effective measure of accountability.

In the meanwhile, Israel has intensified its illegal settlement construction and its brutal policies of forcible displacement of Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem and the Negev, home demolitions, violent interrogation and detention of hundreds of children, and its denial of freedom of movement.

This ongoing Nakba and Israel’s utter impunity were the trigger for the birth in 2005 of the nonviolent, Nobel Peace Prize-nominated Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights, which is led by the broadest coalition in Palestinian civil society.

BDS calls for an end to Israel’s 1967 occupation, full equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the UN-stipulated right of Palestinian refugees to return to the lands from which they were uprooted and dispossessed since the Nakba.

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