WASHINGTON – As the ceremony to open the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem is taking place, Israeli military forces are killing Palestinian protesters in Gaza. In moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, U.S. President Trump is cementing the U.S. – Israeli partnership to annex Jerusalem and further repress Palestinian rights.
“This is the ongoing Nakba,” said Rebecca Vilkomerson, Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace. “The celebration of annexation, even as Palestinians – the vast majority of whom are refugees – are being gunned down simply for protesting for their basic rights to live in dignity and freedom, could not illustrate more clearly the continuing catastrophe that Israel is imposing on Palestinians. Still worse, it’s doing so with the full collusion of the U.S.”
The scenes of celebration at the new embassy, even as Israeli military forces use deadly violence against protesting Palestinians in Gaza, are appalling. At least 43 demonstrators have already been killed today and 1,700 wounded, as of 11.30am.
The blessing by Pastor Robert Jeffress at the opening of the U.S. Embassy exemplifies the disgraceful approach of the Trump administration to Israel/Palestine. Pastor Jeffries is a Christian Zionist who is outspoken in his proclamations that members of every religion except Christianity – including Jews, Muslims, Mormons, Hindus and Buddhists – are going to hell, among other reprehensible beliefs.
Since the demonstrations in Gaza began, Jewish Voice for Peace chapters have organized or participated in over 45 demonstrations, vigils and protests across the country in solidarity with Palestinians’ right to protest and to demand a better life.
Rabbi Joseph Berman, Manager of Government Affairs and Grassroots Advocacy for JVP, said: “Jerusalem is a symbol of wholeness, liberation, and hope. Trump’s immoral and irresponsible move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem desecrates the city, goes against international consensus, and contributes to the ongoing occupation and displacement of Palestinians.”
Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, a member of the JVP Rabbinical Council, added: “I am shaken to the core and dumbfounded that, on the even of the 70th commemoration of the catastrophe that befell the Palestinians when the state of Israel was established, Israeli military forces are continuing to shoot unarmed men, women and children engaged in nonviolent protest. We cannot be silent. The killing and maiming of Palestinians seeking their human rights must stop immediately.” The JVP Rabbinical Council issued a statement condemning the killing of protesters in Gaza: “This is not what human beings do to one another. And we will not stand idly by as our neighbor’s blood is shed.”
Prior to today’s protest, at least 43 Palestinians had been killed in the past six weeks by the Israeli military for protesting along the militarized fence between Gaza and Israel, and over 7,000 were wounded. Amnesty International called the Israeli assault by military snipers of the Great March of Return in Gaza “murderous” and charged Israel with “deliberately inflicting life-changing injuries,” with soaring numbers of lower-limb amputations.
Tuesday marks the 70th anniversary of the Nakba (catastrophe) and the founding of the state of Israel, when close to a million Palestinians were forced from their homes. Most Palestinians in Gaza are refugees, forced to flee into Gaza during the Nakba. Demonstrations are expected to continue to Gaza and in Jerusalem. Since Israel unilaterally annexed the eastern half of Jerusalem in 1967, the international community has considered it to be occupied territory.
Top Photo | Bostonians march for end of violence in Israel and Palestine. Marchers picketed three companies Macy’s, Veolia, and TIAA-CREF as part of the “We Divest National Week of Actions” to mark the progress of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement to hold Israel accountable for violations of Palestinian human rights. (Photo: Marilyn Humphries/JVP)
Jewish Voice for Peace members are inspired by Jewish tradition to work together for peace, social justice, equality, human rights, respect for international law, and a U.S. foreign policy based on these ideals.
JVP opposes anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim, and anti-Arab bigotry and oppression. JVP seeks an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem; security and self-determination for Israelis and Palestinians; a just solution for Palestinian refugees based on principles established in international law; an end to violence against civilians; and peace and justice for all peoples of the Middle East.
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