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MN shows solidarity with Palestine during COVID-19 pandemic

By Meredith Aby

Misty Rowan, of the Anti-War Committee.

Minneapolis, MN – The MN Anti-War Committee (AWC) wanted to be a part of Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network’s global week of action for Palestinian Land Day but they couldn’t do it as a protest the way they had originally planned. Instead on March 24 the MN AWC reorganized their protest as a call-in day, and then did a five-person social distancing bannering protest.

In 1976, Land Day marked a turning point as the first mass mobilization by Palestinians within Israel against colonialism and land theft. Israeli police shot and killed six Palestinian citizens of Israel for protesting the Israeli government's expropriation of Palestinian land. Land Day’s significance in the Palestinian political calendar was compounded in 2018, when hundreds were killed and thousands injured by Israeli sniper fire as Palestinians demanded their Right of Return to their stolen land with mass protests in Gaza, called the Great March of Return.

The MN AWC asked all their supporters to call Minnesota U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar at 202-224-3244 or 612-727-5220 to demand she change her position on U.S. aid to Israel.

In addition to the call-in day, the MN Anti-War Committee still sent five of their healthy committee members to hold signs, Palestinian flags and a banner on the bridge which runs from Loring Park to the Walker Sculpture Garden over Interstate 94.

Misty Rowan, an activist with the MN Anti-War Committee was on the bridge and explained, “This action was planned to coincided with Land Day, an important Palestinian date on the calendar. Our action was part of an international call for actions on the anniversary of the Great March of Return, something Palestinians have been struggling for since the beginning of the occupation. We decided not to ask the public to come, because social distancing is important to keep everyone in our community safe. But it's also important to keep Palestine on people's minds. Especially when you consider the fact that the blockade and occupation of Palestine is going to spell disaster for efforts there to defeat this virus.”

Rowan continued, “We need to be thinking about Palestine because the occupation has already devastated their healthcare system. And the U.S. plays a huge role in Israel's treatment of Palestinians in their own land. People are starting to point out the ways the virus is shedding light on the inequalities of our society. We want people who are staying home and dealing with the stress of that to remember what our country is doing to everyday people in Palestine and other parts of the world. There's also the economic piece of it, which is that the U.S. sends over $3 million every single day to Israel to help them maintain the illegal occupation. That is money we don't have; being spent on something we don't want. People should know that instead of ventilators and protective gear, this is what our tax dollars are being spent on. I don't know about you, but I want U.S. tax dollars spent here at home. And I want Palestinians to be able to help themselves to get the care they will need as this virus continues to gain traction in the region.”

The MN AWC encourages all their supporters to call their senators this week to speak out in support of Palestine and against U.S. aid to Israel and against the Israeli blockade of Palestine.

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