CODEPINK strongly opposes Secretary Lloyd J. Austin’s just-announced plan to send troops to the Eastern Mediterranean – including U.S. Navy aircraft carriers and defense munitions. Escalating the violence in Palestine is not the path to peace, it’s the path to destroying any chance the Palestinians have for peace, justice and freedom from Israeli Apartheid.
Our hearts break witnessing both the loss of life and the threats coming from Secretary Austin and Prime Minister Netanyahu. With the assistance of the U.S., Prime Minister Netanyahu has established and enforced an open-air prison for over 2 million Palestinians in Gaza, making it the most densely populated region on Earth. They are being denied basic rights, a situation that the United Nations and virtually all its member nations, with the exception of the United States and the European Union, have unequivocally condemned.
Little has been done for the Palestinian people, with the U.S. supplying over $150 billion in weapons to Israel over the past two decades to perpetuate the occupation. We find ourselves dismayed by today’s announcement from Secretary Lloyd J. Austin, which reveals plans to provide additional munitions and support to Israel.
We cannot pretend to be shocked by the resistance of the Palestinians, which follows 20 years of non-violent activism that has fallen on the deaf ears of those in power. CODEPINK has been a part of that non-violent resistance to educate the world and help them recognize that Israel is engaged in crimes against humanity and that the Palestinians are living in Apartheid. When President Carter mentioned Israeli Apartheid sixteen years ago, he was condemned; it is now a common understanding. Yet the violence against the people of Palestine has been steadily increasing.
Resistance is named as a human right in international humanitarian law and UN declaration 2625, yet an exception is consistently made for Palestinians. President Biden continues to normalize Israeli oppression by saying Israel has a right to defend itself, but the decades-long occupation of Palestine is indefensible. The human reaction to being oppressed is to resist and Palestinians deserve that right just as much as everyone else on the planet. They have held the peace for 20 years and their situation continues to deteriorate and life under occupation is untenable.
Occupation, Colonization, and Apartheid are all violence against a people; the world knows and agrees with this but the US continues to support it, while touting itself as the world leader of democracy. Sending troops and munitions to the defense of Israel will not engender peace but rather perpetuate the oppression that fuels the need for more resistance. It is so important that this momentum is used to propel us towards peace.
We call on the United States to do its part to end this violence immediately. We demand the U.S. withdraw all support for Israel and block any additional aid to the apartheid state. Palestinians are confronting the world with their truth, and it is one that should be supported and respected.