Conference notes from “Occupation: The Enemy of Religions and Humanity”
November 11 and 12, 2016 the village of Nabi Saleh launched of a 2-day conference to discuss the resistance to the Israeli occupation. With the theme “Occupation: the Enemy of Humanity and Religions” speakers from Palestine, Europe, USA and Israel shared their thoughts to a crowd of around 60 people. The members of the audience came from Palestinian and International organisations as well as local citizens.
The first day of the conference started with Father Abdullah, a Christian Palestinian priest, talking about the occupation in relation to religions. He stated: “The occupation of Palestine is the enemy of all religions: Judaism, Islam and Christianity. The occupation is the enemy of humanity: the humanity of the Palestinians……We are one nation. It’s not God or religion that divide people, it is the occupation. What put us together is our culture, not religion.” Another panelist, Naji Tamimi, was concerned how to show to the world that the Israeli occupation is indeed the enemy of religion and against Palestinian humanity.
Former European parliament member, and a leading member of the Italian Peace Movement, Luisa Morgantini also spoke about the fact that there are many religions in the world but Israel use it for occupation. She said: “We should look at how to change the Israeli narrative. Religion is not the enemy but the misuse of it is. We should not allow Israel to misuse it. Israelis pretend to be the victims when they are the criminals.” Another topic discussed was about the control of water by Israel.
Abdullah Rahman stated: “Justice comes with water. The separation wall was built to control the water. If there is no water, there is no cultivation and no food security. Palestine now depends on Israel for food. All the products in the markets come from Israel. Israel aims to control the Palestinian market while getting cheap labour and land to dump toxic water“. He explained that in 1953 a national water pipeline was built which drained 70% of the Jordan river. Consequently, the Dead Sea is now shrinking. Some factories based in Israel were closed due to their toxic waste and were then transferred to Palestine. “Occupation is racism and appropriation, and is against religion”, he said.
The well-known Israeli activist and writer Miko Peled noted that Israel is like a cancer that must be recognised as such, in order to start treating it. He said: “Is there a part of Palestine that is not occupied? The whole of Palestine is subject to injustice. Israel kills innocent people as its policy. Look at Jenin and Gaza among others; this is genocide. Gaza doesn’t have borders, those were made by Israel. They do it intentionally in the hope that the people will be scared enough to run away.” He added, “95% of the water in Gaza is not suitable for human consumption. Children get sick and die. The humanitarian situation is a threat to Israel’s legitimacy. This is why they have to keep saying that Palestinians are terrorists.”
A member of the audience asked him about the long history of good relations between the US and Israel. He said: “Both Israel and the US are built on similar values and the three main pillars are: Colonisation, Racism and Genocide. In addition, the Zionist lobby in the US is very effective. It is everywhere, in the media, in education and in politics. They successfully spread the myths that the city of David existed 3000 years ago in Jerusalem and Jewish people therefore are the descendants with rights to the land, as well as the myth that Muslims are terrorists and savage so they cannot be trusted“.
The conference continued the following day covering the topic the BDS (Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions) movement followed by the testimonies from families who has a family member killed during the occupation. Look out for reports on these topics soon