"The current situation is a result of actions by a series of extreme right wing Israeli governments who have had their ‘foot on the neck’ of Palestinians through their 16-year blockade of Gaza and the 56-year occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem."
October 12, 2023
Re: “Pro-Palestinian rally held in downtown Fort McMurray” https://www.fairviewpost.com/news/pro-palestinian-rally-held-in-downtown-fort-mcmurray
“If you keep a cat in a cage, long enough eventually they turn into a tiger. That is what I fear is happening to us”. An elderly man whose mosque had been vandalized and set on fire by a group of settlers living in an illegal settlement in the occupied Palestinian Territory spoke these words to me with sadness and resignation. This was in 2014. I was serving as a human rights observer in East Jerusalem. As part of my work, my team attended and reported on home demolitions and acts of violence and vandalism that Palestinians experienced. His words have stayed with me.
It feels like the prophecy of that elder has come true this week. The tension in Gaza, East Jerusalem and the West Bank has been escalating over the years. The current situation is a result of actions by a series of extreme right wing Israeli governments who have had their ‘foot on the neck’ of Palestinians through their 16-year blockade of Gaza and the 56-year occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
For Palestinians living in the West Bank, the current realities are equally as challenging. According to an update from the Middle East Council of Churches: “All villages and cities in the West Bank have been placed in lockdown by Israel. This will be the case for the next 14 days and could be extended several times indefinitely.” This means that men, women and children are trapped within their community with no travel or passage of goods permitted.
Violence and oppression is not going to bring the resolution. Canadians such as those participating in the rally are asking our government to call for a ceasefire and to work to end the occupation and the blockade. Peace with justice is needed for both the oppressor and the oppressed. In the words of civil rights activist, Bernard Lafayette, “when they have their foot on your neck, they can’t go anywhere either.”
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