“’How long can this go on? How long?’” This was the cry, reported May 15 in the Washington Post, of Ayman al-Sahbani, head of the emergency department at the al-Shifaa hospital in Gaza City, as medical facilities in Gaza struggled to cope with those wounded in Gaza protests May 14.
The protests were part of the ongoing Great March of Return, a series of demonstrations calling attention to the Palestinians’ right to return to lands from which their families were displaced in 1948 and to the suffocating siege under which Palestinians in Gaza live today.
The protests in Gaza, and others in the West Bank, took place on the day US officials celebrated the move of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a reckless and one-sided decision that places the United States firmly on one side of the conflict and disregards the rights and needs of the Palestinian people.
Marking 70 years since the establishment of the State of Israel and the Palestinian Nakba ("catastrophe"), 14 Christian organizations issued the ecumenical statement, “70 Years On: Seeking a Hopeful Future in a Time of Yearning,” which acknowledges present injustices, confesses, “we have not always done all that we can to amplify the voices of Palestinians and Israelis who seek justice and equal rights, and who support an end to violations of human rights and human dignity,” and promises, “Even so, we commit to persevere in our efforts to promote peace with justice and equal rights for all.” This public statement was sent to members of Congress.
Join in “Seeking a Hopeful Future,” by contacting your members of Congress today to urge an end to Israel’s killing and wounding of Palestinian protesters, accountability for these actions, and respect for human rights for all.
In a May 15 statement demanding accountability for Israel’s use of force, the Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA) reported on the numbers of dead and injured saying, “Since 30 March, more than 100 Palestinians have been killed, and another 12,271 injured, including hundreds of children.”
The May 13 statement acknowledges US complicity,
We know that our own government’s seemingly unqualified and unquestioning support for Israel is a significant enabling factor for Israel’s continuing and repeated violations of international conventions and laws.
And the groups go on to commit to action,
We will continue to raise our voices in the halls of our government to change our government’s policies and to end injustices so that there is freedom, justice, equality, and security for both Palestinians and Israelis. We will remain steadfast in calling for an end to violent acts by individuals, groups, and states. We will reinforce our leadership in support of solutions that consider the peace and well-being of all peoples.
The Psalmist laments and cries out, “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?” Palestinians have long asked “how long?” and looked for signs that they are not forgotten…Seventy years of displacement and dispossession, half a century of occupation, and generations of yearning are enough. We trust in God, that the hope the prophets foretold is not only a promise for all of God’s children, but will be realized, and we pray—and recommit to working—for the realization of God’s justice and peace for all peoples.
Tell your elected officials: 70 years is enough! Ask them to:
- Call for an end to the use of violence by Israeli forces against the protesters,
- Call for an investigation by the State Department to ensure that US military aid to Israel is not used in ways that contravene established US and international laws,
- Insist on an end to the Gaza blockade and humanitarian relief for the people of Gaza, and
- Support policies that promote the human rights of all people, Palestinians and Israelis alike.