Pro-democracy protests and strikes continue to dominate the news in Israel, and the number of people joining the dissidence is growing. Over 100,000 people gathered in Tel Aviv on Saturday night, with satellite protests held in many other major cities across Israel. But is there unity on the streets? Is everyone calling for the same democratic human rights for all people living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea? Clearly, the answer is no.
Holding the Palestinian flag amongst a sea of Israeli flags is a statement, and one that we proudly make. It is not done to provoke, but to remind our fellow protesters that they can’t simply call for democracy for Israelis while our government maintains a military occupation over 2.7million people who lack basic and fundamental rights. Protesters shouldn’t be surprised that a judicial overhaul is planned, further reducing civil liberties and politicising the appointment of law makers. They shouldn’t be outraged if corruption is excused without consequence, and incitement is encouraged. None of this is shocking, when you consider that occupation not only exists but is widely accepted as a way of life. We need to broaden the discourse to reflect reality, because human rights for some but not others, is simply not democratic at all.
Thanks to our activists who never seem to get tired, our presence in the protests is being felt and seen by Palestinian individuals and organisations. Recently, our photos were shared on a Palestinian media outlet that previously ignored us because of our joint work. We don’t fight against normalization in Palestine, instead we make every attempt possible to enable people to talk, to explore our commonalities, and to unite with our movement. This show of acceptance is a step towards acknowledging the other, and the reason why we will keep our flags flying, and represent every single person living here between the river and the sea.
Please support our Palestinian and Israeli activists who are joining as many protests as possible, and working with occupied communities to protect their land, prevent more violence, and demand their rights! It is a tipping point in Israel as the right moves right, and the centre edges tentatively toward the left. We need to grab this opportunity with both hands and raise our collective voices, keep banging our drum, and remind everyone again and again that there is No Democracy With Occupation! Thank you for standing with us.
In Peace & Solidarity from Israel/Palestine,