On February 9, 2001, people gathered in Montreal on the corner of RenÃ© LÃ©vesque Blvd. and Peel Street at noon and stood for an hour in the bittercold.They had gathered in front of the Israeli Consulate to denounce Israel'sillegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.
The protesters were members ofPAJU Palestinian and Jewish Unity a human rights group that unitesPalestinians and Jews in the fight for a just peace in the Middle East.Three years have passed since then and every Friday, PAJU's peacefulprotesters have gathered there to denounce 36 years of Israelioccupation. PAJU's protest is now the longest running demonstration inCanadian history. The persistence of the PAJU protesters reflects theresolve of people of conscience throughout the world who oppose Israel'sillegal occupation of Palestine.
In the last three years in Palestine and Israel, thousands of people havedied, and tens of thousands have been injured. Many have been Israeli; theoverwhelming majority have been Palestinian. For all the peoples of theregion, this must end.
Israel cannot not be allowed to swallow the occupied territories and itcannot be allowed to go on imposing an Apartheid system of oppression onthe Palestinians in the occupied territories. Like South Africa, Israelmust be made to give up the racist dream of herding another people intoBantustans.
The Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza has been a catastrophe forthe Palestinian people and a disaster for Israel. The Israeli economy isbankrupt; Israeli tourism is dead; Israel's social services are in tatters.There is no viable end to this catastrophe unless Israel withdrawscompletely from all territory conquered in 1967; permits the establishmentof a viable Palestinian state on all territory conquered in 1967;compensates all Palestinian victims of Israeli ethnic cleansing in 1948 and1967; and negotiates the Palestinian right of return to Israel a rightguaranteed under international law.
This is what PAJU calls for and this iswhat international law and justice demand.
On this third anniversary the organizers hope that many of the people who have participated in the past will be able to attend.
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