The International Association of Democratic Lawyers stands in solidarity with the people of Palestine in their struggle against the settler colonial state of Israel and calls on our members and allies around the globe to stand and act in support of that struggle.
May 15th will mark 73 years of the Nakba. 73 years ago, the Zionist settler colonial movement with the support of imperialist powers established the state of Israel through the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, waged through massacres and the destruction of over 500 Palestinian villages. This colonial project continues today as we are witnessing the forced expulsion of Palestinians in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem by armed settlers, indiscriminate violence against Palestinian protestors, attacks on Palestinian holy sites, the ongoing devastating economic embargo, closure and indiscriminate bombing of Gaza.
As we commemorate the Nakba, we note that despite 73 years of colonization and forced dispossession, the Palestinian people remain united to confront occupation and Zionism. The struggles in Jerusalem and Gaza have been accompanied by uprisings throughout the occupied West Bank and ‘48, by Palestinian citizens of Israel, defending themselves and their fellow Palestinians. This united rising in confrontation with colonialism holds truly transformative potential.
Israel has continued to violate international law even as calls for accountability have become increasingly louder on a global scale. For example, the International Criminal Court, after years of delay, finally announced that it will open an investigation into Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity in Palestine. All existing forms of international intervention have until now failed to convince or force Israel to comply with humanitarian law, to respect fundamental human rights and to end its occupation and oppression of the people of Palestine.
We underline that the United States has been in many ways directly responsible for Israel’s ongoing impunity, including through repeated use of the veto at the United Nations to block international action to challenge Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people. As Israel’s attacks on Palestinians in Jerusalem, Gaza and throughout occupied Palestine have intensified, only two days ago, the U.S. pressured the Security Council to even hold off on issuing a statement on Israel’s unlawful actions in Sheikh Jarrah, Al-Aqsa Mosque and occupied Jerusalem generally. The U.S. also provides $3.8 billion in direct aid to Israel each year, and this aid is specifically earmarked for military purposes. Thus, the ongoing Israeli warfare being waged on the Palestinian civilian population is in fact also ongoing U.S. warfare.
We also recognize that many other Western powers, including European states and the United Kingdom, also continue their extensive diplomatic and political support of Israel, while weapons manufacturers throughout Europe continue to sell their deadly products to the Israeli regime. Israeli weapons manufacturers like Elbit manufacture their drones — tested on Palestinians in Gaza — in the United Kingdom, and the European arms industry continues to profit from Israeli settler colonial violence.
Palestinians have repeatedly called for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. Indeed, Arab states have imposed a boycott of Israel for decades for its ongoing occupation of Arab land, including Palestinian and Syrian land. The United States has expended a tremendous amount of military and financial pressure in order to undermine and break the Arab boycott of Israel, from the Camp David accords with Egypt in 1978 to the more recent attempts at a “deal of the century” and the “Abraham Accords.” These normalization campaigns, sponsored and funded by the United States, aim to expand the complicity of Arab states with Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity while denying the Palestinian people international support. Normalization with Israel is a U.S. project designed to advance Israeli impunity.
As a community of legal workers and advocates who prioritize human rights and support for justice and liberation of oppressed people, we must stand firm in our solidarity by:
- Clearly and unequivocally condemning Israeli state and colonial violence against the Palestinian people from Gaza to Jerusalem, West Bank and throughout historical Palestine.
- Escalating our pursuit for legal accountability for Israeli colonial violence, ethnic cleansing, ongoing war crimes and crimes against humanity, including the crime of apartheid, in our global and local legal institutions.
- Affirm the legal right for all Palestinian Refugees to return to Palestine. International Law upholds the Palestinian Right to Return. Resolution 3236 reaffirms the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination, national independence and sovereignty, and the right of Palestinians to return to their homes and property.
- Affirm and protect the legal right of Palestinians to resist the colonizing power that seeks to annihilate them. International law also upholds the right of self-defense for peoples under colonial and foreign domination and subjugation, “reaffirm[ing] the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means, including armed struggle.”
- Demanding the release of all Palestinian prisoners and an end the use of torture and administrative detention. Israel detains about 4,500 Palestinians in its jails, among them 41 women and 140 children below 18 years. Since the beginning of 2021, Israeli authorities have arrested more than 1,400 Palestinians merely for challenging the occupation.
- Supporting the call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of all institutions whose conduct is complicit in Israeli crimes, complicit in Israeli apartheid, complicit in the occupation of Palestine, or complicit in any denial of Palestinian human rights.
- Defending the Palestinian movement and community organizing throughout the world including students, activists, and scholars who are targeted by Zionist lawfare institutions for their support of Palestinian human rights, and the criminalization, surveillance, and harassment of Palestinians by local government and police forces. Just this week, Palestinian youth demonstrating in Germany were arrested and subjected to media smear campaigns, protesters in Denmark, France and Germany were attacked with tear gas, and political officials banned demonstrations in France and Germany. The attack on Palestinian communities is directly connected to ongoing repression targeting communities of colour and attacks on refugees and migrants by the states most responsible for their dispossession.
- Demanding that the United States and European Union end their financial, military and political support of Israel and holding political leaders accountable for their defense of Israeli crimes.
- Demanding that the United States and other Western powers stop their political and economic intimidation including sanctions to pressure states to normalize relations with Israel.