By Dr. Jamal Zahalka, MK – 27 Sept 2009
A Call for solidarity with general strike of Palestinians in Israel, October 1
I am sending this letter hoping to bring your attention and to ask you to take an act of solidarity with the general strike of Arab Palestinian Minority in Israel. This strike is a decision taken by the High Follow-up Committee for the Arab Citizens of Israel, which represents Palestinian Arab population inside Israel, and includes all Arab political parties, local Arab municipalities and organizations of civil society, the committee declared a general strike on Thursday, October 1, 2009 to commemorate the 9th anniversary of the October 2000 uprising. Since we the Palestinians in Israel have joined the rest of the Palestinians and protested under the Israeli umbrella of democracy the events of the 2000 uprising, our usage of our simple right to speak out and express our disagreement resulted in murdering 13 demonstrators whom are Palestinians citizens of Israel by Israeli police, moreover their case is still waiting for justice. Our repeated attempts to bring the responsible officers to justice resulted in nothing.
Nowadays we are facing new threats of racial policies in Israel, especially after the election of extreme right government and assigning the racist and fascist politician Avigdor Lieberman as foreign minister. While that Israeli racism is trying to get international legitimacy after getting full internal legitimacy and becoming main stream in Israeli politics. Lieberman calls for the denial of the rights of Arab citizens of Israel; he constantly revokes our citizenship, asking to transfer us and even to kill Arab members of Knesset (the Israeli parliament). The world (especially EU) which punished the government of Austria because of Jorg Haider, should not be indifferent towards the Israeli government, taking into account that Lieberman is much more extreme and dangerous than Haider was.
I’m asking your kindness to support our strike and take an interest in it. Racism is not a domestic issue; our local struggle against Israeli racism is an integral part of international effort against it. Your solidarity will strengthen us and emphasize that we are not alone in the campaign against racism. In our strike we want to emphasize that racism should be defeated, not compromised, and surely not legitimized. I’m sure that this is your position also.
In our strike we affirm our commitment to continue the struggle for just peace, which should be based on the end of occupation and right of return for the Palestinian refugees and rejection of the demand to recognize Israel as Jewish state. We demand to put an immediate end to siege on Gaza, demolish the racist separation wall, and punish the Israeli political and military officials who are responsible for war crimes.
Today we the Palestinian citizens of Israel are sum of 1.3 million citizens (20% of population in Israel), and we are an essential part of Palestinian nation. The strike is a part of their struggle for equal civic and national rights, and it is against the racist policies of discrimination, marginalization, confiscation of land, demolition of houses, increase racial incitement, racist laws, political persecution and other policies aims to deny our rights as citizens and as endogenous people on our land.
In our general strike we demand:
- Truth and justice: No impunity to the killers of our people in October 2000!
- Stop land confiscation and house demolition!
- Stop Israeli racism! Full civic and national right for Arab Palestinian citizens!
- Justice for Palestinian people: No justice No peace!
Dr. Jamal Zahalka, MK
Chairman of Tajamoa block in the Knesset