Last Friday, over 30,000 Palestinians peacefully approached the border area of the Gaza strip, as part of the Great March Return, to bring attention to their unfilled right of return to their families homes and to highlight the ongoing plight of living under Israeli occupation. Israeli military forces responded with lethal force, deploying troops, drones, tanks, and snipers who fired on the crowds using bullets (live fire), rubber-coated steel pellets, and tear gas. By the end of the day, fifteen Palestinians had been killed and over 1,000 wounded.

Today, just one week later, the Israeli military killed another five Palestinians and wounded over 250. The toll is shocking, but premeditated. Israel had announced in advance that the protest would be met with military force.

March 30th marked the start of a of a six-week mobilization leading up to the 70th anniversary of the day (Nakba) in 1948 when the expulsion of 700,000 Palestinians began following the declaration of the State of Israel. It is now the most deadly day in Gaza since heavy Israeli airstrikes ended in 2014.

Refugees comprise nearly 90 percent of Gaza’s 1.9 million population. They live under a crippling decades-long economic blockade enforced by Israel and Egypt that has created conditions of permanent crisis. Poverty stands at 65 percent. Unemployment hovers around 45 percent.

Public health conditions in Gaza have deteriorated. An estimated 96 percent of the ground-water supply is undrinkable. Making matters worse, the Trump administration cut more than half of funding to the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees — funds that have long provided life saving nutritional and medical support.

Palestinians have the right to protest these conditions peacefully yet, on Friday, were shot down as they did so. The murderously disproportionate violence meted out against demonstrating Palestinians is the latest in a long series of deadly responses to popular protests.

We condemn the unjustified use of force by the Israeli military. Lethal force must never be used against peaceful protesters! We echo calls from the European Union and the majority of the members of the United Nation Security Council for an independent and transparent investigation into the use of live ammunition.

Israeli defense minister, Avigdor Lieberman, has refused to allow an investigation. He has the support of the Trump Administration who blocked the U.N. resolution.


Ask the eleven Democratic members of Congress who just returned from Israel to:

1.)  Publicly condemn the attacks by Israeli Defense Forces against unarmed protesters in Gaza, and 2.) Join international calls for a full investigation of the tragic events.

Follow our Facebook page for updates on solidarity actions planned in the lead up to the May 15th the 70th anniversary of the Nakba.

main-1What is Palestinian Land Day? On March 30, 1976, thousands of Palestinians living inside Israel gathered to protest plans by the Israeli government to expropriate 60,000 dunams (about 24 square miles) of Arab-owned Palestinian land for the purposes of security and settlements. These protests were met with such heavy resistance by the Israeli police that it left six Palestinians dead, hundreds injured and hundreds more in jail.

According to Arjan El Fassed of Electronic Intifada, an independent online news publication focused on Palestine, “Land Day 1976 was the first act of mass resistance by the Palestinians inside Israel against the Zionist policy of internal colonialisation–Land Day reaffirmed the Palestinian minority in Israel as an inseparable part of the Palestinian and Arab nation.”

As activists commemorate Palestinian Land Day around the globe, Global Exchange is recognizing this 37th Palestinian Land Day with a Reality Tour that is currently on the ground in the West Bank.

Reality Tours to Palestine also focus on Fair Trade olive oil production in the West Bank.

Reality Tours to Palestine also focus on Fair Trade olive oil production in the West Bank.

The group will examine the impacts of occupation on the people and the environment while hearing from diverse organizations and individuals on the issue of land loss and the displacement of peoples. The Reality Tour will also  stand in solidarity with Palestinians during Land Day activities.

More information on upcoming Reality Tours to Palestine can be found on our website.

Interested in traveling to Palestine? Join us in November for the ‘Fair Olive Harvest’ and learn how Fair Trade cooperatives are restoring hope and providing economic alternatives to a population living under occupation. Sign up today.

The following is a guest post by Tighe Barry, a member of the peace group Code Pink

On March 30, 2012, hundreds of demonstrations took place across the globe in commemoration of Palestinian Land Day. This important day in the history of the Palestinian people is a sorrowful reminder of the six Palestinians who were killed by Israeli forces in 1976 while protesting the continued confiscation of their land.
Generation after generation, Palestinians continue to call for an end to the brutal Israeli military occupation and the right to return to their lands. The continued ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Jerusalem has resulted in a massive outcry and demonstrations worldwide.

Today people from around the world came together in a massive orchestrated effort known as the Global March to Jerusalem (GM2J), timed to coincide with Land Day. Marches took place in Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Italy, Korea, all over the United States, and in many more locations. A peaceful movement, the Global March to Jerusalem is a people-powered action designed to assert the importance of Jerusalem politically, culturally, and religiously to the Palestinian people and humanity as a whole.
I had the privilege of participating in one of those protests in Amman, Jordan.This issue is of particular concern in Jordan because it has the world’s largest concentration of Palestinian refugees. Nearly 65 percent of the country’s population are of Palestinian origin.

Throughout the day, throngs of Jordanian Palestinians were joined by tens of thousands of Jordanian supporters, as well as those from around the world. Many came from as far away as Malaysia, Indonesia, Canada, Europe and the United States. We all came together, tens of thousands, on a dusty plain on the furthest end of the Jordan Valley overlooking occupied Palestine. We were a sea of peaceful protesters calling for a free Jerusalem for all and for a return of stolen Palestinian land.
Although we could all see the occupied territories, the Israelis would not let us cross the border. Hundreds of Jordanian police and military personnel, along with dozens of tanks and police cars, made sure the crowd stayed about a mile away. So close yet so far.

Groups of youth, not satisfied with being kept away from the border, tried to test the limits. They moved back and forth along the police lines, trying to find a way through. But the authorities would have none of it, and after many rounds of police pushing back and protesters running, the civil disobedience ended in peaceful chanting, singing and dancing.

The explosion of color in an otherwise amber hued surrounding was amazing. Waves of undulating flags, keffiyehs, balloons and kites filled the area. Many handmade signs claiming the injustices of 60 years of occupation abounded. Face painting was the mode of the day for the young children and teens. All this provided an almost celebratory background to an otherwise mournful event commemorating the ongoing suffering in the Palestinian people.

Palestinian dignitaries gave powerful speeches, and the organizers called on representatives from around the world to share their thoughts. The representatives from South Africa conjured up memories of the racist Apartheid system that Israel is mirroring today. Those from India spoke of the Ghandian peaceful protests to overthrow British rule, calling on the world to recognize this same form of civil disobedience, including the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement being used by the Palestinian civil society today.

But the speech that would spoke directly to me was the American, Michael Rabb. He reminded us about the similarities between the Palestinian struggle and the civil rights movement of the 60’s in our own country. He spoke of Martin Luther King, Mississippi and the long struggle to free a people who had long been promised justice only to be denied equal rights for over a hundred years.

As a representative from the United States, I gave interviews to the press and denounced the $3 billion dollars that the U.S. government sends to Israel every year to prop up its repressive military, while here at home our sick lack healthcare and our youth can’t afford a college education.

This is a day I will never forget. I was touched by the extraordinary power of a people in resistance for so many decades. One day, they will cross this border and enter a Free Jerusalem and a Free Palestine. I hope I can walk with them.

This following post by Dalit Baum was originally sent to the Economic Activism for Palestine e-mail list. Be the first to receive urgent action items by signing up for our e-mail lists.

By Dalit Baum
Director, Economic Activism for Palestine

This Wednesday, March 30th, is Palestinian Land Day. Land Day commemorates the 1976 general strike of Palestinians within Israel against mass expropriation of their land by the state. Six unarmed protesters were killed on that day, but hundreds more have been killed since in demonstrations and protests against the on-going confiscations of Palestinian land.

We choose to bring to your attention today an Israeli product, SodaStream, now being aggressively introduced into the U.S. market. The SodaStream company is an Occupation profiteer located in an illegal settlement and directly benefitting from one of the largest land expropriations of Palestinian land in the West Bank.

SodaStream produces home beverage carbonating devices, labeled as “Made in Israel,” whereas in fact, these devices are made in an illegal industrial zone called Mishor Edomim, on a vast area between Jerusalem and Jericho in the West Bank expropriated from its original Palestinian owners in the 70’s to prevent a future contiguous Palestinian state. Last year, the European Court of Justice ruled that SodaStream devices are not “Made in Israel,” as asserted, since they are produced in an illegal settlement, and therefore they cannot benefit from the EU trade agreements with the State of Israel.

SodaStream is marketed as an environmentally responsible product, but the destruction of life, land and peace brought about by this settlement industrial zone is anything but environmentally responsible. Outside official state borders, Israeli companies operating in the West Bank enjoy cheap land and water, both confiscated from the indigenous Palestinian owners; a captive Palestinian labor force, under severe restrictions of movement and organization; large tax incentives; and lax regulation of environmental and labor protection laws.

A recent report by the Israeli research project Who Profits from the Occupation describes SodaStream’s illegal settlement activities, exposes its fraudulent labeling practices and investigates its exploitative labor practices. The photo on the left shows SodaStream’s Factory in Mishor Edomim Settlement. (photo credit: Esti Tsal, WhoProfits)

SodaStream is currently facing a growing boycott campaign in Europe and, as can be seen from its own SEC reports, the company is weighing the relative costs of international consumer boycotts and negative publicity against the economic benefits of manufacturing in a settlement industrial zone. It is time to raise the cost of occupation and exploitation.

This Land Day, we are asking one chain store, Bed Bath and Beyond, to stop selling SodaStream, as well as Ahava and all other settlement products.

Take 30 seconds now to sign our petition to Bed Bath & Beyond.

Global Exchange along with our partners in CODEPINK will deliver your signature to stores around the country and fax the letter and signatures to their corporate headquarters on Wednesday, The Palestinian Land Day.

Thank you for standing in solidarity and taking action to bring justice in Palestine through corporate accountability.