On July 1, 2020, the State of Israel is threatening to unilaterally declare that 60 percent of the Occupied Territories of Palestine (i.e., West Bank and East Jerusalem) would become part of Israel. If this happens, thousands of Palestinians will be living under a military occupation, and a military court system that denies the Palestinians human rights. This action continues to trivialize the notion of a two-state agreement.

The long history of occupation, taking of Palestinians’ land, and ongoing home demolitions is possible because the United States government is sending billions of tax dollars to the State of Israel with no obligation to abide by international law regarding human rights. Israeli courts allow the building of settler neighborhoods, while Palestinian neighborhoods, homes and orchards are systematically destroyed with no recourse to a fair judicial system.

As we seize the opportunity in the United States to reckon with racial disparities and human suffering in our own country, it is essential we expect our allies to do the same. Palestinians deserve to speak in their own voice about their desire for “small things,” such as water, a home that will not be demolished at night, being able to walk down the street without being stopped by soldiers, and going to school; just what we hope for ourselves. Let us raise our voices.

Jennifer Corbett, OSF, Rochester Franciscan Social Justice Promoter

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