Karapatan: Stop Israeli apartheid against Palestinians! Free all political prisoners now!

Karapatan together with human rights defenders in the Philippines stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine in condemning the Israeli government’s continued attacks, repression, and other human rights violations and war crimes against Palestinians, their families, and their communities in occupied territories in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and in Gaza.

The Israeli government’s recent attacks have resulted in brazen violence and repression, including the deaths of hundreds of civilians including children as well as the arrests of activists, protesters, and journalists, and the destruction of schools, homes, press offices, and even hospitals and medical facilities in Israeli air strikes — all amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

From the threat of forced eviction of Palestinian families and communities in Shiek Jarrah to the police raid in the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem during the holy month of Ramadan and the massive bombing of the population in Gaza, these attacks only display a despicable system of structural violence and repression that has and continues to target Palestinians.

Since 1948, the Israeli government has imprisoned Palestinians in their own homeland, stripped them of their rights, and murdered them with impunity. For decades, the people of Palestine have suffered under the violent project of Israeli settler colonization and their dehumanization in what human rights groups across the world have denounced as crimes of apartheid.

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN OHCHR) has verified that Israel’s 11-day assault on Gaza from May 10 to 21 has killed at least 242 Palestinians, including 66 children and 38 women, four of whom were pregnant; in occupied territories in the West Bank, 27 Palestinians have been killed and 6,794 injured by Israeli forces in protests, clashes and attacks.

While Israel and Palestinian armed groups have entered a ceasefire, which took effect on May 21, Israel’s campaign of repression against Palestinians is business as usual in the West Bank. Israel police have continued to violently disperse Palestinians protests and injure hundreds. The UN OHCHR noted a significant increase in search-and-arrest operations and night raids against Palestinians by Israeli forces.

On May 27, the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) passed a resolution establishing a permanent commission of inquiry into Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights in all the territory under its control during a special session in response to escalated Israeli repression, human rights abuses, and war crimes against Palestinians.

Palestinian political prisoners estimated to be around 5,000 including 180 children, are being held in various Israeli occupation prisons — and their number is only growing amid Israel’s intensified campaign of repression and violence against Palestinians. Israeli’s attacks are crimes not only against the Palestinian people but most importantly, a crime against humanity. Hence, these attacks must stop now.

Karapatan expresses its support for the UN HRC resolution and the urgent call for an international and independent investigation to hold Israel to account for its human rights violations and war crimes against Palestinians. The United States’ complicity in these crimes by providing support to the apartheid Israeli state in the form of continued military aid and arms deals must also be condemned and stopped.

We call on the Israel government to end its plans to forcibly evict Palestinian families, its raids and mass arrest against Palestinians, and to release all Palestinian political prisoners now. We join numerous groups across the world to press for accountability for Israel forces in the killings and other human rights violations against the people of Palestine.

Above all, we affirm our belief that the people of Palestine have the right to resist the forced occupation of their homeland and to defend their rights and dignity against Israel’s brutal campaign of repression. We stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine in their struggle for self-determination, people’s rights, and the attainment of just and lasting peace.

Free Palestine! Free all political prisoners! Long live international solidarity!