Inspired by the ongoing resistance across Palestine, Israeli Apartheid Week was marked in Birzeit University, in the occupied West Bank, in the context of global activities and events taking place in about 150 universities and cities around the world.
Apartheid Week aims to raise awareness about Israel’s ongoing settler-colonial project and apartheid policies over the Palestinian people. Panels, film screenings, and creative actions marked the two- days event organized by Right2Education Campaign.
The event was concluded with the words of the General Manager of Jerusalem Centre for Legal Aid and Human Rights Issam Arouri and a leading member at the BDS campaign Samia Butmeh who urged students, the Palestinian community and the world to take three main actions against Israel: Boycott of Israeli products and companies that profit from the violation of Palestinian rights, increase sanctions and apply embargos on Israel and mobilize the international organizations to exert urgent pressure on Israel to alter its current practices as an apartheid state.
“Area C has been part of Israel’s farsighted political strategy to continuously and deliberately undermine the Palestinian presence there. The E-1 plan is part of this strategy too which plans to build thousands of illegal apartments that would constitute an expansion of the Ma’ale Adumim settlement- these are discriminatory measures aimed at strengthening Israel’s control and undermining the two-state solution”, Rimawi assured.
“ Obtaining a building permit is almost impossible for Palestinians in area C; only 10 permits are issued for 100,000 permits submitted to the Israeli Civil Administration by Palestinians”, Rimawi said. “From the beginning of 2016 until the 20th of February, 449 Palestinians were displaced and 241 houses were demolished. By contrast, 2950 illegal housing units were permitted to be built in area C. If human rights organizations didn’t interfere, the Israeli policies will continue to forcibly displace Palestinians and destroy our last hope for building a prosperous Palestinian State.”
Al Butmeh urged Palestinians and the world to intensify their pressure on governments to impose an economic, academic, cultural and military embargo on Israel until it fulfils its obligations under international law.
“Boycotting Israeli is a must especially for Palestinians. The Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) and BDS campaigns has succeeded in many countries around the world. This can form a strategic threat and pressure upon Israel to stop its crimes against Palestinians.”
The film “Wanted 18,” directed by Birzeit University graduate and Amer Shomali, was displayed in the closing ceremony of the Week of Apartheid. The film combines motion animation, interviews, drawings and archival footage to bring to the audience an example of Palestinians efforts to achieve self-sufficiency during the first Intifada.