The Israeli government has announced its plans to take over the West Bank, which will push Palestinians further under a state of occupation and military rule
If there was ever a time for Britain to reexamine its colonial legacies and present-day responsibilities, this is it. The theft of Palestine from the Palestinians, like many historical wrongdoings, was spurred on by the Brits, when the then-foreign secretary Arthur James Balfour issued his 1917 declaration in support of “a national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine, essentially demolishing the national rights of Arabs in exchange for a small minority of Jews.
The Balfour declaration was the first move in what would evolve into the Zionist movement’s systematic takeover, and colonisation, of Palestine – a process that was made official in 1948 through the brutal displacement of nearly 800,000 Palestinians and the destruction of more than 530 towns and villages, and is still continuing.
Now, the Israeli government, headed by prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has announced plans to permanently seize Palestinian territory by claiming the West Bank – which, to be clear, is illegal in the eyes of international law. If annexation is to go ahead, it would push Palestinians further under a state of occupation and military rule. Below, we’ve outlined five actionable ways that you can support Palestine and prevent annexation.
To demand justice for Palestine, sign this change.org petition. Call out Google to recognise Palestine on Google Maps here and here. Sign a petition to urge the International Criminal Court to continue its examination of war crimes, including forcible displacement of tens of thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank, here. Demand sanctions on key Israeli industries until Palestinians are granted full and equal civil rights here.
Demand justice for Iyad Al-Halak, a 32-year-old autistic Palestinian man, who was shot dead by Israeli soldiers while on his way to his special needs school, here. Help stop the closure of the only animal shelter in West Bank here.
BOYCOTT BRANDS THAT SUPPORT THE ISRAELI ARMY
Boycotting brands is one of the easiest ways to convince retailers across the world to stop selling products from companies profiting from Israeli occupation. There are both Israeli and international companies complicit in violations of Palestinian rights, including Caterpillar, HP, Puma, and Sabra (as in, the hummus). Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS), a Palestinian-led movement for freedom, justice, and equality, has a full list of what to boycott here. If you’re at university, urge your student union to support BDS too. The movement worked with anti-apartheid South Africa so it knows what it’s doing.
Support platforms and initiatives that support Palestine, including Medical Aid for Palestinians, a UK-based non-profit working to provide medical care to Palestinians living under occupation as refugees. Donate to the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund to provide free medical help for children in Palestine here. Provide clean water, food packages, warm meals, clothing, medical supplies, support to orphans and widows, and educational resources to those suffering poverty and unemployment due to Israeli occupation here. Donate to Islamic Aid to provide aid and resources here. Support Palestinians in Hebron, the most heavily occupied city in the West Bank by donating to Friends of Hebron, a non-profit that provides support for those families living there.
WRITE TO YOUR MP
Write to your local MP to impose sanctions against Israel in response to illegal annexation of Palestinian territory, stop sustaining Israeli settlements by banning UK trade with them, and end the UK-Israel arms trade. The Palestinian Solidarity Campaign has a great email template here. You can also write to the prime minister and foreign secretary, as well as the leader of the opposition, Keir Starmer, to urge him to back such action.
EDUCATE, EDUCATE, EDUCATE
There’s so many resources to educate yourself on the Israel Palestine conflict, but a good place to start is this breakdown by Jewish Voice for Peace. They also have lots of resources that explain why they support non-violent movements like BDS and how to start and campaign and connect with local activists.
Elsewhere, BDS has a detailed summary of the history of the conflict, which is broken down into useful subsections, including the origins of Israel, Nakba, the occupation of Gaza, West Bank, East Jerusalem, and more. You can find a list of books, films, and documentaries on the subject, here.