Seventeen Years of BDS – Palestinians and their supporters united

A speech given to the Israeli Apartheid Week protest at Sydney University, March 17, 2021, by Khaled Ghannam, a Palestinian writer and activist living in Sydney.

It is sixteen years since the official foundation of the BDS movement in Palestine. The movement against Israeli apartheid has a long history and deep roots, but it was on 9 July 2005 that it was established formally.

Endorsed by Palestinian unions, political parties, professional associations, women’s groups, human rights organisations and religious and cultural associations, the BDS movement stands against Israeli’s violations of Palestinian rights. It is modelled on the successful movement to boycott apartheid in South Africa.

The Palestinian liberation struggle is most notable for its clarity and principles, for making a set of three clear demands [a lifting of the occupation of the West Bank and siege of Gaza; an end to discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel, and recognition of the right of return] and for its unifying effect on the Palestinian body politic.

The Israeli government must stop ignoring its international obligations as an occupying power and immediately act to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are equally and fairly provided to Palestinians living under its occupation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, as demanded by Amnesty International.

The Israeli occupying authorities have implemented their vaccine policy in a discriminatory, unlawful, and racist manner by completely disregarding their obligations to Palestinian healthcare. Throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), apart from East Jerusalem, Israeli occupying authorities have reserved access to the vaccine to the population of Israelis unlawfully transferred in to the illegal settlements as settlers.

Furthermore, Israel’s occupation steals Palestinian Natural Resources like underground water and Natural Gas, and keeps digging on occupied land. Recently, the Israel Antiquities Authority discovered new Dead Sea Scroll pieces in a site named ‘The Cave of Horror’, which is located in southern Occupied Jerusalem. Israel has circumvented Palestinian self-rule, and may have circumvented a United Nations resolution that prohibited unearthing and removal of significant artifacts from occupied areas under foreign control.

We asked you and all academic bodies around the world to boycott Israeli academic bodies working on occupied Palestine.

The BDS movement has raised the awareness of the world that Palestinians are one people. They have a right to independence.

Free Palestine.

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