Dear Members and Friends:
Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (HIC-HLRN Member) and local partners have issued the following open letter to the G8 Summit currently meeting at Heilgendamm, Germany.
“Only one day after the fifth of June which marks the fortieth anniversary of the longest enduring Israeli military occupation in the world, and during the week of events organized along with the international solidarity groups and advocates for the realization of justice and peace for Palestine, you will be holding your 2007 summit in the Baltic in Germany.
For us, it is an extremely important emblem to have your summit in Germany, which has witnessed one of the two most important events in the life of humanity, occurred in the past decade of the twentieth century; (1) the collapse of the Berlin wall in 1989, and (2) the defeat of the Apartheid regime in South Africa in 1994. In parallel, our people in the twenty first century is still suffering from forty long years of occupation and its associated Apartheid regime based on the policy of separation and racial discrimination.
Israel, the occupying power, has consistently followed the policy of controlling and annexing as much land as possible, and of confining the Palestinian people in a large prison. It continues to extort our agricultural land and water resources by constructing the Apartheid wall on the Palestinian owned land in flagrant violation and challenge of the ICJ Advisory Opinion of 2004 placing the Palestinian agriculture sector in grave jeopardy.
According to the international records and statistics, Israel controls and besieges more than 50% of the West Bank. It controls 89% of the water resources (both ground and surface) available for the use of Israel and Palestine. Israel has accommodated more than 450,000 Jewish settlers in the heart of the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem among more than 2, 5 million Palestinians. It persists on the construction of network of bypass roads and tunnels for settlers’ use only. The World Bank’s report of May 2007 stated that Israel’s barrier and system of roads and zoning restrictions were aimed at “protecting and enhancing the free movement of settlers and the physical and economic expansion of the settlements at the expense of the Palestinian population.”
The Palestinian people are at a critical juncture; Israel continues its ethnic cleansing policies, which were started in 1948 when it has expelled 726,000 Palestinians and destroyed and depopulated 531 villages then. And now it is seriously threatening the whole Palestinian national existence in the OPT. If the international community fails to stop Israel, the whole “peace” process launched by the international community in 1991 on the basis of two- state solution will be in grave jeopardy. Because there won’t be any land left for the Palestinians to establish an independent sovereign sate alongside Israel. Thus, the Israeli Palestinian conflict will persist and the Palestinian wound will remain open. Therefore, global solidarity and support with our people is decisive now to enable our struggle for freedom, justice and durable peace to prevail.
We are very pleased to know that a special attention will be given to the devastated situations of Africa, thanks to the initiative of the G8 presidency, in your pursuit to fight poverty and fatal diseases in this continent. Though, we believe that the first serious step in rescuing the crumbling economies and people’s lives there is to liberate Africa’s natural resources and allow African countries to have full control over them.
We plea to you on behalf of the Palestinian people particularly peasants, farmers and rural women to give similar attention to our just cause and struggle for ending the Israeli occupation with all of its disastrous impacts on our existence and welfare.
We appeal to you to pronounce a firm position against the continuing atrocities of confinement, community demolitions, dispossession, forced expulsion, and deprivation of means of survival committed by the Israeli occupation authority against our people. Your silence in some cases and involvement in others is encouraging Israel to continue its crimes of wars in blatant defiance of the International Humanitarian Law and the Fourth Geneva Convention of which you are high contractors.
We hold you responsible for enabling our people to exercise our basic rights most importantly our right to access to and control over our land and resources which we are entitled to in accordance with the relevant international legitimate resolutions and the International Humanitarian Law. So as our people can advance the wheel of sustainable development ensured by the United Nations Millennium Declaration (MDGs) adopted in September 2000 in which you committed nations worldwide to a new global partnership to reduce extreme poverty and setting out a series of time-bound targets, with a deadline of 2015.”
– Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC)
– Palestinian Farmers Union (PFU)
– Rural Women’s Development Society (RWDS)
– Youth Development Association (YDA)