Today, September 29, marks the third anniversary of the Intifada for Independence from Israeli occupation. As Palestinians throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip enter the fourth year of their Uprising for Independence, they continue to watch the world stand by as Israel forcibly grabs their land for the expansion of settlements and a monstrous Wall deep inside the West Bank.
In the last three years alone, Israel's occupation soldiers and settlers have killed over 2483 Palestinians, over 400 of them children and over 200 women and mothers. But Israel's military might has been unable to crush the will of the Palestinian people to live in their homeland free of the Israeli occupation.
Israel continues to trample with impunity on international law and one UN resolution after another. Israel has bombed Palestinians in the sanctity of their own homes and in their places of worship. It has gunned down children on their way to school, standing on the porch, or protesting for independence in their own towns, cities, and refugee camps. Here are some basic facts about the Intifada. We hope you will use them in letters to your local newspapers.
1) 50 percent unemployment and more than 50 percent of Palestinians live below the poverty line of $2 a day, depending on aid and handouts for mere survival.
2) Over 6000 Palestinian political prisoners continue to languish in Israeli prisons.
3) Over 300 military checkpoints and roadblocks continue to cage in millions of Palestinians throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
4)More than 3,000 Palestinian homes, and hundreds of workshops, factories, and public buildings destroyed by Israel.
5) Settlements, deemed illegal by international law, continue to grow and expand on Palestinian land unabated.
6) "The measures which the Israeli authorities state are taken to protect the security and freedom of movement of some 380,000 Israeli settlers, whose presence in the Occupied Territories violates Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, curtail the freedom of movement of some three and a half million Palestinians." Amnesty International, "Surviving Under Siege," September 7, 2003
7) Over 160 assassination operations against Palestinians in the occupied territories in complete violation of international law.
8) Over 23,633 Palestinians wounded, many of whom now suffer permanent disability.
9) Over 112,000 olive trees, which provide the basic livelihood of Palestinian farmers, uprooted.
10) Over 11,500 dunums (about 2,875 acres) of mostly cultivated Palestinian land destroyed in order to build part of Israel's Apartheid Wall in West Bank.
Source: AMERICAN MUSLIMS FOR JERUSALEM