Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association

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The Palestinian right to self-determination and the call for Palestinian human rights has undeniable parallels with the Civil Rights Movement and Martin Luther King’s call for equality for all, and for non-discrimination based on color or race, or creed. The words of Martin Luther King resonate well for Palestinians. His famous dream of inherent and equal rights for all members of the human race is the dream of Palestinians, who yearn for freedom and basic liberties. His calls for equality, for treatment as equals regardless of skin color or race, are calls that Palestinians continue to voice. Today, Palestinians continue to call for their group rights, the right of return, of national rights, and of self-determination.

The brutal occupation of Palestinian land and people and continues to oppress, to repress, to torture, to kill. In the land of Palestine, the movement for equal rights continues. Martin Luther King has called for freedom and for the “security of justice”, and through the Civil Rights Movement, he underlined what Palestinians continue to verse: that all people are born equal, regardless of color, race or creed.

Like Palestinians today, African Americans in America were disenfranchised, segregated, oppressed. The Jim Crow laws banned them from train cars, from classrooms and legislatures. These laws, which enforced racial segregation have piercing links with the current laws in occupied Palestine, where roads continue to be for Israelis only, where Palestinians are forced to go through degrading checkpoints, where the right to movement is ever absent, and where the value of Palestinian human life and human dignity is devalued.

The lynching of Emmett Till, a 14 year old child in Mississippi in 1955, draws disturbing parallels with the burning alive of 16 year old Palestinian Mohammad Abu Khdeir from Jerusalem in 2014. The impunity and lack of accountability is in marked and distressing similarity.

Palestinian rights continue to be divergent from and less than those of Israelis. In Hebron, Israeli only roads continue to exist, in a system based primarily on religious stratification. Throughout the West Bank, military laws continue to rule all aspects of Palestinian life, choking Palestinian society. Conditions in separatist America gave African Americans inferior and underfunded service, and this continues to exist in Palestinian neighborhoods and school systems Palestinian neighborhoods of the Israeli state. The separation and apartheid of Palestinians serves to put them in social disadvantage, economic disadvantage, political marginalization.

Addameer highlights the uncomfortable truth that Palestinians, since 1967, continue to be systemically placed in Israeli military courts of occupation with lack of fair trial guarantees, and continue to be held without charge or trial in a systemic manner. They continue to be treated dissimilarly from Israelis in law and in practice, an uncomfortable parallel with the historic repression of Blacks in America.

Addameer calls upon the world to speak out against human rights violations of the Palestinians, and not to turn a blind eye to oppression, where ever it may be.