Greens alarmed by proposed "Jewish State" bill to intensify Israeli apartheid
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Green Party leaders today expressed solidarity for Palestinian hunger strikers in their demand for improved prison conditions and treatment during their incarceration, including visitation rights.
In New Jersey, Greens participated in the "Salt Water Challenge" announced by Aarab Barghouti, son of Palestinian political prisoner Marwan Barghouti, in solidarity with the Dignity Strike prisoners.
Palestinians incarcerated in Israel are allowed visits, but their families and friends are denied entry into Israel from the occupied territories. Israeli authorities have attempted to punish the hunger strikers through solitary confinement, confiscation of possessions, and other severe measures.
6,500 Palestinians, including 300 minors, are confined in Israeli prisons. Reports of abuse during interrogation include beatings, rape, and medical negligence. Israeli police and defense forces continue to engage in arbitrary arrests and collective punishment.
The Green Party has endorsed BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) and cutoff of U.S. military aid until Israel complies with U.N. directives including the right of return for refugees, ending the occupation of Palestinian territories, and guaranteeing full human rights and equality for Palestinians within the occupied territories and for all Palestinian-Israeli citizens who comprise more than 20% of the Israeli population.
"BDS and hunger strikes are nonviolent ways to exert pressure on countries like Israel that routinely violate human rights. Economic boycott by other countries led to the end of apartheid in South Africa and we're confident that BDS, if applied by the U.S., can peacefully end apartheid in Israel," said Ahmed Eltouny, former second vice chair of the Green Party of New Jersey and organizer of the "Salt Water Challenge." Mr. Eltouny is also a U.S. Green delegate to the Global Greens and Federación de Partidos Verdes de las Américas.
According to Amnesty International, "Israel’s decades-long policy of detaining Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and Gaza in prisons inside Israel and depriving them of regular family visits is not only cruel but also a blatant violation of international law."
Greens expressed concern that Israel may move to intensify apartheid policies under "Jewish State" legislation proposed by Avi Dichter of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party and approved for debate by an Israeli cabinet committee.
"Extremist Israeli politicians have been emboldened by unconditional bipartisan support for Israel and the influence of AIPAC in Congress. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton expressed such support during the 2016 presidential race. In contrast, the Green Party and Green candidates have consistently demanded that countries receiving U.S. aid, including Israel, observe human rights," said Bahram Zandi, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States.
May 15 is recognized as Nakba Day, the "Day of Destruction" that coincides with the day the state of Israel celebrates independence after the 1948 displacement of an estimated 700,000 Palestinians and the destruction of hundreds of Palestinian villages. 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories (West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza Strip) following the Six-Day War and the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration.
The Green Party of the United States, for which nonviolence is a founding principle, opposes all violence directed at unarmed civilians, regardless of which side commits such violence in any conflict, and endorses the cutoff of U.S. aid for countries that violate human rights. The party condemns all acts motivated by antisemitism and Islamophobia.
U.S. Greens strongly criticized the Bush and Obama administrations for maintaining support for Israel during the blockade of Gaza (still in effect) and the two Israeli offensives in Gaza in 2008-2009 and 2014, which resulted in massive Palestinian casualties. According to the U.N. these included the deaths of 926 unarmed civilians in the former and 1462 civilians in the latter. Two thirds of Gazans are themselves refugees from the 1948 expulsion and the Six-Day War. Greens have also condemned the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories.
The Green Party supports the efforts of Palestinian, Israeli, and other organizations that are working to resolve the conflict, end the occupation, and ensure safety and equality under the law for Palestinians and Israelis through negotiation, observance of human rights, and application of international law.
Why We Are on Hunger Strike in Israel’s Prisons
By Marwan Barghouti, April 16, 2017, The New York Times
Palestinian prisoners on the front lines: 69 years of resistance to ongoing Nakba, struggle for return and freedom
Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, May 15, 2017
Strategic Palestinian Prisoners Struggle and Nakba Day
Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, May 15, 2017
Greens, Calling for Palestinian Rights, Urge Divestment from Israel
Press release: Green Party of the United States, November 28, 2005