Palestine needs our support

We can help locally to aid the resistance effort

The author, a retired nurse practitioner in Butte County, lived in Israel as a child in the 1950s. Last year she participated in the Gaza Freedom March in Egypt.

While our eyes are on the Middle East these days, let’s not forget Israel and Palestine. March 30 is Land Day in Palestine/ Israel, commemorating annually the six young Palestinians who gave their lives as they protested Israeli government seizure of Palestinian land on March 30, 1976.

Israel was confiscating thousands of acres in Galilee for the “settlement and security” of the Jewish population. Expropriation of Arab land had been fundamental to Israeli policy and practice for decades. This was the first organized Arab protest since the state of Israel was formed in 1948. It received national attention. From that point on, Arab civil society continued to organize not just for fair land practices, but also for political rights and socioeconomic justice.

Palestinians have historically depended on the land for a living, and the land gave back abundantly, providing food as well as beauty, identity and meaning.

Although some land was legitimately purchased from Palestinian Arabs, in 1948 many Arabs abandoned their lands as the state of Israel took possession. The Arab population was either forced out violently or fled in terror, most to remain refugees for decades and to this day be forbidden the right to return.

Meanwhile, Israel passed laws facilitating Jewish immigration onto Arab land. Resistance to land expropriation and settlement expansion has taken many forms in Palestine/Israel—from letter writing to hunger strikes—but the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands grinds on.

March 30 has since become a symbol of Palestinian resistance to Israeli land theft, colonization and apartheid.

What can we do locally?

• Tell Congress to stop the $3 billion in annual U.S. aid to Israel until Israel (a) ends its occupation of Palestinian lands and dismantles the Separation Wall; (b) changes its laws and practices to recognize and protect full equal rights for Arab citizens of Israel; and (c) respects, protects and promotes the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

• Join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign by logging onto; click on “contact,” then “Butte County.”

• Join Global BDS Day in Sacramento March 30, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at the State Capitol.

• Attend “Nonviolent Resistance in Palestine,” a stimulating discussion with world-renowned Palestinian professor Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh Monday, April 4, 7 p.m. at Chico Friends Meetinghouse, 1601 Hemlock St.