This week marks is the 40th anniversary of the beginning of Israel's Six-Day War, when the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza began.
On Saturday, June 10 , tens of thousands of people are expected to turn out in Washington, DC, as part of a Global Day of Action Against the Israeli Occupation, followed by a day of lobbying on June 11. There'll be a teach-in on Sunday morning, a rally on the west lawn of the capitol from 2:00 to 4:00 and a subsequent march from Capitol Hill to the White House, among other related activities.
These activities are the first national actions in the US ever specifically opposing the illegal Israeli occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem, and Syrian Golan Heights. Pro-Israeli critics have been putting out the word that the event seeks "the dissolution of Israel." This is false. Here are the demands being put forth by the organizing coalition:
* An end to US military, economic, diplomatic, and corporate support for Israel's military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem.
* A change in US policy to one that supports a just peace between Palestinians and Israelis based on equality, human rights and international law, and the full implementation of all relevant UN resolutions.
In this blogger's view, these goals would not only bring about a more just situation for the Palestinians but would increase any chances the Israelis have for a stable and relatively peaceful existence.
Sponsored by the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and United for Peace and Justice, and endorsed by dozens of religious, peace, student and Jewish groups, the events will bring a broad constituency to the nation's capitol to oppose occupation in any form. The weekend is, says one of the organizers, a "coming out" for the Palestine solidarity movement in the United States. It's about time.
For more information on the anti-occupation march, visit EndTheOccupation.org. Click here to sign the rally's petition, get info on bus caravans leaving from various cities, find affordable housing options in DC and check out maps and key logistical info.
Finally, for some crucial background on the 1967 war, its real causes and its enduring legacy, read my colleague Jon Wiener's recent interview with Tom Segev, one of Israel's leading historians, and author of the new book 1967: Israel, the War, and the Year that Transformed the Middle East.
Weigh in on the Israeli "wall of seperation" in the new Nation Online Poll.