Statement in Solidarity with Palestine
Jan 25, 2024
Written by the Free Palestine Action Team
The Social Justice Co-op of Newfoundland and Labrador (SJCNL) Free Palestine Action Team recognizes that Canada and Israel are both settler colonial states built on stolen land. The struggle for social justice is not bounded by national borders; as we fight to dismantle colonialism in so-called Canada, we must also stand against colonialism abroad. In alignment with our principles of revolutionary care, we are committed to uplifting the voices of those most marginalized and we recognize that there is no justice or liberation without collective liberation. We organize in solidarity with the Palestinian people, whose struggle under a settler colonial system of domination has been ignored for too long.
The Palestinian Territories—the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip—have been occupied by Israel since 1967. Israel imposes different legal, economic and security regimes on the people under its control based on their ethnicity, religion and place of residence. This system can only be described as Apartheid. Palestinians are denied many basic rights and freedoms, including freedom of expression, freedom of movement and the right to vote. The ‘Israeli-Palestinian Conflict’ is not a conflict between two equal nation-states. Only one side has an army, an air force, and a nuclear arsenal. Only one side has self-determination, sovereignty, and international recognition. Only one side has the unconditional support of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. To remain neutral in light of this asymmetry would be to uphold an unjust and unequal status quo.
The Gaza Strip is a walled off piece of land smaller than the City of St. John’s but with more than 20 times the population. The majority of the 2.3 million Palestinians living in Gaza are UN-registered refugees, the descendants of people who fled or were expelled from what is now Israel when that country was founded in 1948. Since 2005, Gaza has been under an Israeli blockade, destroying the territory’s economy. People and goods cannot enter or leave Gaza without specific permission from Israel. The unemployment rate is over 40%, and the majority of residents rely on humanitarian aid. As our members have called out in the past, Gaza is essentially an open-air prison. Israeli attacks on Gaza killed more than 5,000 Palestinians between 2005 and 2022; over the same period, Palestinian militants from Gaza killed some 180 Israelis.
On October 7th 2023, Palestinian militants attacked Israeli communities and military bases near the Gaza Strip, killing some 1,200 people and kidnapping over 200. In response, Israel’s bombing campaign has since killed over 25,000 Palestinians, including over 10,000 children. The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) have indiscriminately struck homes, apartment buildings, mosques, churches, hospitals, schools, and bakeries. Israel has also imposed a severe blockade, preventing most food, water, and medicine from entering Gaza. The humanitarian situation inside the Gaza Strip is growing more desperate by the day as people run out of the basic necessities of life.
One atrocity cannot be made right by committing another; Israel’s "war" on Gaza will only perpetuate a cycle of violence whose root causes remain unaddressed. True peace can only be achieved when there is justice, equality, dignity, and freedom for all people living in Israel and the Palestinian Territories, regardless of ethnicity or religion. The longer the bombing, siege and occupation of Gaza continue, the farther away this prospect becomes.
The current Israeli government is the most extreme in the country’s history. Israeli political leaders and military commanders have made repeated statements advocating for the ethnic cleansing and genocide of Palestinians in Gaza. These statements along with the indiscriminate violence unleashed on Gaza form the basis of the South African case against Israel, under the Genocide Convention, that is currently before the International Court of Justice. We welcome Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s belated call for a “sustainable ceasefire”, but that is not sufficient. In spite of everything that has happened over the past 110 days, Canada remains a staunch ally of Israel, making all of us complicit in Israeli actions. The Government of Canada must end this complicity once and for all.
We call on the Members of Parliament for Newfoundland and Labrador to demand an immediate and permanent ceasefire, a lifting of the blockade on Gaza, a two-way arms embargo on Israel, and an end to the occupation and colonization of Palestinian land: Ken McDonald (Avalon), Churence Rogers (Bonavista-Burin-Trinity), Clifford Small (Coast of Bays-Central-Notre Dame), Yvonne Jones (Labrador), Gudie Hutchings (Long Range Mountains), Joanne Thompson (St. John’s East), and Seamus O’Regan (St. John’s South-Mount Pearl).
The world is watching, and failure to act now will not be forgotten.
Free Palestine Action Team
Social Justice Co-op of Newfoundland and Labrador
In the spirit of truth and reconciliation, we wish to acknowledge that our website is hosted by Wix.com Ltd., a company we have since learned is headquartered in Israel. In solidarity with the Palestinian people and the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, we are currently pursuing alternative webhosting options.