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Minnesotans reject Trump’s plan for Palestine

By Meredith Aby

Minnesota protest against Trump plans for Palestine.

Columbia Heights, MN – About 40 Palestinian-Americans, Palestine solidarity activists and immigrant rights activists rallied in Columbia Heights on May 16, to draw attention to the U.S. negative role in Palestine. Central Avenue in Columbia Heights is a main street for the Arab and Muslim community in the suburbs north of Minneapolis. The protest got a significant response from people returning home after work and shopping for food for their upcoming iftars.

The protest was the week of the 71st anniversary of Al Nakba, which is marked in Palestine and throughout the Palestinian diaspora every year.

Reem Salem, from American Muslims for Palestine – Minnesota, explained the significance of Al Nakba to the crowd, “The foundation of Israel on May 14, 1948 meant hundreds of thousands of them fled or were expelled from their homes. More than 750,000 Palestinians were pushed from their homes and into refugee camps in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Gaza strip, and neighboring countries, creating a refugee crisis that is still not resolved and its legacy remains one of the most intractable issues in ongoing peace negotiations. Palestinians’ Nakba didn’t end well in 1948, and it continues to affect more than 12 million Palestinians around the world that remain without a state, rights, or voice to defend themselves. A core Palestinian demand in peace negotiations is some kind of justice for these refugees, most commonly in the form of the ‘right to return’ to the homes of their families fled in 1948. So we demand our right to return.”

Wyatt Miller, a member of the MN Anti-War Committee, tied in the demand of the right of return to Trump’s recent claim to propose a peace plan, “The details are still unclear of Trump’s plan, but we already know what it will mean. Weakened sovereignty for Palestine. More stolen land. The same pattern where previous ‘peace plans’ like the Oslo Accords are never implemented, and ultimately replaced by even worse ‘peace plans.’ Nothing for the millions of Palestinians in the diaspora who live in exile. And it will all be backed by a threat of U.S. sanctions and military force. Does that even make it a ‘peace plan’? No. This plan is just the terms of surrender that Trump will try to force onto the Palestinian people. So let’s call it what it really is: a pretext, for further occupation, more land theft, more refugees with no right of return, and no end in sight.”

All the speakers and protesters had a fiery spirit in hopes that Israeli apartheid will fall. Sara Olson, a board member of Women Against Military Madness, ended her speech, “But, like apartheid in South Africa, I believe Israeli apartheid too will fall. There are growing signs that the people of the United States are slowly coming out of their long stupor of support for an apartheid regime in Israel, just as they did for the one in South Africa. Despite attempts by both major American political parties to suppress opposition, American campaigners are refusing to bow to the truth of Israel’s increasingly far right government to further permanently steal and occupy Palestinian land, to kill Palestinians at will, and to foment regional wars in the Middle East. Israel’s leaders will continue to experience some success with their machinations in the near future, but they will one day fall and not only the Palestinians, but the rest of the world, will be better off for it.”

The protest was co-sponsored by the Anti-War Committee, American Muslims for Palestine – MN, Students for Justice in Palestine – U of MN, and Women Against Military Madness. The next action for the Minnesota Palestine solidarity movement will be at the state legislature in room G23 at 10 a.m. on May 30, to advocate for the state of Minnesota to divest from Israeli bonds.

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