Open Letter to Youth and Students
Dear Fellow Youth and Students Fighting for Justice,
June 10th marks the 40th year of the Israeli Occupation of Palestine, the Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and United for Peace and Justice, are organizing a historic event in Washington, DC in conjunction with actions across the globe. This event has the potential to change the trajectory of a long history of injustice and start a new chapter based on equity, human rights, and justice for the Palestinian people.
This can and will only happen with our presence, our help and our power.
During the apartheid regime in South Africa, students and young people organized massive campaigns that played a huge role against the U.S. support for apartheid. Now we have a role to play in ending the apartheid happening today in the Middle East.
We know and understand that the true struggle has been and still is led by the Palestinian people who have to live under the illegal occupation and Israelis who work to change the policies of their government. We also know and understand that our government bears much of the responsibility for the illegal occupation of Palestine directly through billions annually in military aid and political support for the actions of the Israeli government. We cannot and will not sit by and allow the continuation of this support of the Israeli occupation and must demand a policy that respects both international law and human rights.
That is why we are asking for young people across this country to stand with us, with the people of Palestine and Israel, and with the rest of the world to collectively say, “No to Israeli Occupation!”
We believe, after 40 years of this injustice, that this struggle will end if, and only if, our generation emphatically stands up and demands that our government change its policy towards the region. We cannot and will not let another 40 years of suffering go by during our lives, when we have the power to stop it.
Though the occupation of a land and people an ocean away might not seem as if it has much to do with us – it does. As the “Call to Action” states,
Every time Israel kills a Palestinian civilian with an F-16 fighter jet, Apache helicopter gunship, or Boeing JDAM missile…Every time Israel demolishes a Palestinian home with a Caterpillar bulldozer…Every time Israel steals Palestinian land to build another settlement, it is done with our taxpayer dollars in our name.
And who endures the most pain and suffering from these atrocities? Our peers in both Palestine and Israel.
As the United States annually gives over $3 billion in “aid” every year to Israel-money that could go to towards the plight of young people around the world, including here in the United States-for such things as education, job training, and health care. Palestinian youth under the Occupation are faced with massive unemployment and are denied regular access to healthcare, schooling and at times even food and water. They are faced with the daily violence of bombings and Israeli military incursions into the refugee camps and cities where they live. Every Israeli youth faces 2 years of forced conscription into the armed forces to continue the Occupation as well as deep cuts in education and other social services to pay for the occupation. As young people, we stand in solidarity with our peers in Israel and Palestine and demand an end to this occupation that threatens all of our livelihoods.
For 40 years the people of Palestine, Israel, United States, and around the world have been fighting for justice. Now, we are asking you, to join this struggle and march with us on June 10th. This will mark the day that a new generation of individuals, steps up and takes responsibility for ending one of the worst atrocities in human history.
After 40 years, it is now our duty to make sure the United States’ support for this occupation ends. The people of Palestine, the Middle East, and across the world are counting on us to make it happen – and it will only happen if our generation collectively makes it happen.
Start your summer off right, by joining the rest of the world and saying “No to the Israeli Occupation!” We need you to come to Washington, DC on June 10 and say it with us.
With Peace and Love,
David S. Duhalde, Young Democratic Socialists, Age 23
Saif Rahman, Foreign Policy In Focus, Age 26
Adam Tenney, Young Communist League, Age 25
Randy Wilson, Student Peace Action Network, Age 25
Kate Zaidan, The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Age 26