Large Banner Ad
Small Banner Ad

March 26, 2012

March on Jerusalem

The Canadian Charger

More by this author...

Eva Bartlett, who earned her reputation as "Canada's Rachel Corrie" from about three years as an International Solidarity Movement (ISM) volunteer in Gaza, said that because the corporate media throughout the western world almost exclusively propagates the Israeli position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, this same media turns around and asks: "Where are the Palestinian Gandhis?"

Speaking at a recent fundraising dinner in Hamilton, to support her return to Gaza, Ms. Bartlett said in reference to the apparent lack of Palestinian Gandhis: “They've been there for decades, (but the corporate media just ignores them).” And she hopes the March 30, 2012 Global March on Jerusalem (GMJ) will illustrate her point to the outside world, as it has never done before. 

The Global March on Jerusalem is organizing non-violent civil resistance on 30th March 2012, which is Palestinian Land Day. Ms. Bartlett said the Israelis have occupied Jerusalem for years, displacing the original inhabitants to the point that Jerusalem has gone from having a Palestinian majority to an Israeli majority.

“They've conducted ethnic cleansing against Christians and Muslims, who've been evicted from the homes they've lived in for generations; and they can't get building permits.”

She added that, at the same time, Israel has been expanding it's colonies in Jerusalem, in keeping with its policy that Jerusalem should be more Jewish.

Billed as a united effort of  Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims, Christians, Jews, and all citizens of conscience in the world to put an end to Israel’s disregard for international law, through the continuing occupation of Jerusalem and the rest of Palestinian land, the GMJ plans to organize massive peaceful marches towards Jerusalem, or to the nearest point possible according to the circumstances of each country.

Fifteen Asian nations, plus members from other countries will take part in the Asian caravan towards Jerusalem. Members from Indonesia, Malaysian, Bahrain, Philippine, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Japan, Turkey, Australia as well as some members from western countries are in the land caravan which set off towards Jerusalem on March 9 from New Delhi.

The caravan consists of almost 250 participants, including some members of Parliament from Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Iran, who will be present at the borders of Palestine on 30th March 2012.

The marchers hope to send a message to the entire world that these racist policies and practices of the state of Israel against Jerusalem and its people are a crime not only against Palestinians but against all humanity.

While Immigration minister Jason Kenney denounces criticism of Israeli treatment of Palestinians as “an unbalanced attempt to paint Israel and her supporters as racist ... contrary to Canadian values of tolerance, mutual respect and understanding, he seems to be arguing “black is white” when his position is compared to Ms. Bartlett's first-hand accounts of life in Gaza.

During her presentation, she showed video footage of herself and other international monitors accompanying Palestinian farmers attempting to farm their land along the border, while Israeli soldiers shot at them. Despite repeated pleas from international monitors like Ms. Bartlett to please stop shooting because the people are all unarmed civilians trying to farm their land, the shooting continued.

“You can see that there were no warning shots. The shots were going by our heads,” Ms. Bartlett said. “The people have no choice. They must go on the land to provide for their families.”

After the Gaza War, the Israeli government declared a 50 metre buffer zone, but Ms. Bartlett said they've since increased it to 300 metres, and in the North East they're shooting and shelling civilians within two kilometres of the border. And because the Israeli army regularly comes and ploughs the land along the border - ploughing up all the plants and trees in the process - because it claims its looking for Palestinian explosive devices, Ms. Bartlett said Palestinians are left with very little land to farm.

“They've annexed one third of Gaza's agricultural land so it's hard for Palestinians to produce affordable healthy, nutritious food ... Palestinian land has been rendered arid. The nut, olive and fruit trees are gone.”

After showing video images of bullet-ridden Palestinian houses along the Gaza border, she said that many of the houses along the border have been shot up – up to 600 metres inside Gaza along the eastern border.

“One day after the Gaza War, they came and destroyed a home and olive trees that were over 70 years old. The family had no where to go so they live in the ruins of the demolished house.”

And according to Ms. Bartlett's observations, this is but a microcosm of life in Gaza, where, as well as  invading every three or four weeks to plough up the land - as much as 400 metres inside Gaza - the Israeli military destroyed 16,000 buildings during the Gaza War. Ms. Bartlett said only four per cent of the homes that were destroyed have been rebuilt because the people can't import building materials into Gaza.

“Many families have no choice but to live in tents in very cold conditions.”

In the wake of the Gaza war, during which the majority of the factories and a considerable amount of the infrastructure were destroyed, very little has been rebuilt. Ms. Bartlett said 83 per cent of the factories are either idle or operating at less than 50 per cent capacity; 80 per cent of the people live in poverty, depending on U.N. Food aid, and 40 per cent of the people are unemployed.

She said the power plant in Gaza was bombed in 2006, during the Gaza War, and it remains in such a decrepit state that a six to eight hour power outage is a good day in Gaza, while 18 to 20 hour power outages are more the norm. This in turn has hampered the sanitation system such that 50 to 80 million litres of raw or partially treated sewage is poured into the sea every day. And these are the same waters Palestinian fishermen depend on to feed their families in the limited area Israel allows them to fish in.

Meanwhile, the Canadian government is at the forefront in the world in its support of Israeli government policies and anyone pointing out the facts on the ground risks being called an anti-Semite.

  • Think green before you print
  • Respond to the editor
Subscribe to the E-bulletin

On July 7, 2024 in Toronto, Canada, Dimitri Lascaris delivered a speech on the right to resist oppression.

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel