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Powerful Reflections on Palestine

The post below was written by P4P Communications Director Alicia Koutsoulieris, drawing on on her trip to Israel and the Occupied West Bank in 2016. In Jerusalem, I stood at the Western Wall where Jews have prayed for thousands of years. I walked the Via Dolorosa, the path where Jesus walked on the way to his crucifixion and I prayed in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. I stood outside the Dome of the Rock where Mohammed ascended to the Seven Heavens and heard the Athan, the call to prayer. I also saw the doors of the Old City penetrated with bullet holes and the streets littered with soldiers in full combat gear with their fingers on the triggers of their automatic weapons. Traveling throughout the Occupied West Bank, I went through checkpoint after checkpoint in the shadow of the militarized Apartheid wall. I drove down streets where my passport or license plate dictated where I could go. I saw water stations that bypassed dilapidated Palestinian villages but provided endless amounts of safe, clean water to the illegal settlements to nurture their manicured lawns. The world has watched in horror over the past several weeks as death tolls continue to rise, not of soldiers or enemy combatants, but of civilians…women and children, over 6000 children, the sick, the injured, and the medical staffs who have given their lives to save them. We are not watching a war taking place on a battlefield. We are watching places that should be sanctuaries, places of love and protection, being decimated in the blink of an eye, one after the other. Churches and mosques. Schools and hospitals. Playgrounds and homes. While all life ended by the violence of October 7th has been a tragic loss, that day was not the beginning of something but a reaction to something. A reaction to the catastrophic ethnic cleansing that began 75 years ago. A reaction to a crippling military occupation that is 56 years old. A reaction to a blockade that began 16 years ago and has amounted to the collective punishment of more than 2 million Palestinians in Gaza. There, the Israeli government uses “mathematical formulas” to meticulously calculate how much food is allowed in according to what they deem “essential for the survival of the civilian population”. Now we are watching as starvation is being used as a weapon of war. There is no military solution. There is no military objective for the atrocities that have been committed by the Israeli government. It is all simply to inflict maximum pain and suffering on the men, women and most tragically, innocent children of Gaza. While a ceasefire is welcomed, it is not enough. The occupation must end, and the blockade must be lifted so all Palestinians can live in peace and with dignity. Citizens in the US and western nations need to continue to pressure their governments to be on the right side of history, or the Israeli government will continue to be a destructive force, acting with impunity. We must put politics and religion aside and address the humanitarian disaster that is taking place. The West has the power to make a swift and meaningful change in this tragic time in our history. We need to remind our government....the world is watching. On this Giving Tuesday, Partners for Palestine needs your help us move toward a future of hope as we continue to educate and provide advocacy for our community. Will you help us achieve that goal? Please consider giving today.

In peace and solidarity, Alicia Koutsoulieris Communications Director

Copyright (C) 2023 Partners for Palestine. All rights reserved

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