Saturday, April 26, 2003The history of Palestine and the Palestinians has been marred by centuries of foreign occupation and repression, with their right to self-determination, equality, freedom, and peace denied. In the 20th Century alone, the Ottoman Empire, British Empire, Jordan and Egypt have each taken their turns at ruling the Palestinians.
In 1948, Israel was formed and became the fifth ruler, placing over 50 percent of Palestine under Zionist rule, though the Palestinians were the overwhelming majority. After the Israeli invasion of Egypt, Syria and Jordan in 1967, Israel conquered the remaining areas of Palestine: the Gaza Strip, West Bank and East Jerusalem. Both incidents created large waves of Palestinian refugees, accounting for one of the largest refugee populations in the world, who were, for the most part, terrorized and expelled by the Israeli Defense Forces.
Unlike the former rulers of Palestine, Israel is the only ruler to build permanent settlements, expropriate Palestinian land, request taxes while denying suffrage to the Palestinians, deny Palestinians access to roads, services and resources, create a massive refugee population and continue to occupy and rule the Palestinians who are denied legal status and live in limbo.
The Socialist Party of Michigan recognizes this historical plight of the Palestinians and supports their national right to be free from foreign control and to live in dignity. To this end, we demand:
1. The immediate, unconditional and unilateral withdrawal of the Israeli Defense Forces from all lands occupied in the 1967 invasion;
2. An end to the $3 billion a year aid given to Israel by the United States. The governments and corporations of the World, in particular those of the U.S., must also halt all sales of military and civilian equipment that could be used by Israel against the Palestinian people;
3. An immediate halt to settlement building, the expropriation of Palestinian land, the Jewish populating of Palestinian-majority cities for the purpose of creating Jewish-majorities and the Zionist ambitions to expel all Palestinians, with the ultimate aim of dismantling and evacuating the present settlements and pave the way for a viable Palestinian state, encompassing all of the territory occupied by Israel in 1967;
4. An immediate end to violence against all innocent, non-combatant civilians, in both Israel and the Occupied Territories, committed by either the Israeli Defense Forces or Palestinian guerrillas; the rights of civilian non-combatants must be protected at all times;
5. The immediate release of all conscientious objectors and political prisoners, both Israeli and Palestinian. Israel must respect the right to refrain from military or civil service, and the right to free speech, expression and protest;
6. The abolition of all discriminatory policies within Israel and the Occupied Territories against non-Israelis and non-Ashkenazi (European-origin) Israelis in regard to employment, housing, services, resources, permits and movement; no taxation without equal representation;
7. A solution to the Palestinian refugee problem: either compensation and reparations equivalent to the current value of all property lost at the time each person sought refuge, or immediate return with full restoration of property and citizenship rights, with all costs paid by the State of Israel;
8. The abolition of Zionism as the official ideology of the State of Israel, and the elimination of its theocratic-nationalist character. Zionism is a colonial, racist and xenophobic ideology that contradicts the essence of democracy, equality, freedom and secularism. The so-called “Jewish character” of Israel inhibits it from providing equality to all its citizens;
9. A democratic and secular Israel and Palestine living side-by-side in peace and cooperation, and hopefully working toward a unified federal republic. Israel should give to the newly formed State of Palestine all taxes collected from the Palestinians, since 1967, to be used to rebuild Palestine’s infrastructure and fund universal education and health care, and other social services.
The Socialist Party of Michigan supports the Palestinian struggle against Israeli occupation. We support armed resistance as a legitimate means of self-defense, aimed at ending the occupation. We also support and encourage worldwide demonstrations, strikes, rallies, boycotts and divestment actions, and the use of civil disobedience and other non-violent means and cooperation between all ethnic, national and religious groups to end the occupation and achieve peace and security for everyone in the region.