DAY OF ACTION FOR THE FISHERS AND FARMERS OF GAZA, PALESTINE!
Sunday, September 30
Vancouver Art Gallery (Robson side)
Robson St. and Hornby St., Vancouver
Join us on September 30 to stand in solidarity with both the farmers and fishers of Palestine as they work to defend their land and sea from occupation and continue their harvest and their livelihoods. Many people in Gaza have always relied on the land and the sea for their livelihood. Generations of Palestinian fishers have worked the sea, and farmers harvested the land, to support their communities and their lives. Today, the fishers and farmers of Gaza are under attack. The Union of Agricultural Work Committees in Palestine has called for international action and solidarity to support fishers and farmers under siege.
Gaza, Palestine lies along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Gaza has been under Israeli occupation since 1967, and under a tight and brutal siege since 2006, denying people and goods access and movement from the small coastal strip, one of the most densely populated areas in the world. Over 70% of the people of Gaza are refugees who have lived in Gaza since the 1948 Nakba – the occupation and ethnic cleansing of most of Palestine.
Gaza’s Fishers: Today, over 70,000 Palestinians in Gaza rely on the sea and the fishing industry for their income and their lives. However, the sea in Gaza and the fishers of Gaza are bearing the brunt of one of the most severe aspects of Israel’s siege on Gaza. Israeli warships constantly patrol Gaza’s shores and have unilaterally declared fishing prohibited outside 3 nautical miles. Tens of millions of dollars of income have been lost and fishers families forced into unemployment and poverty. Fishers who venture to the 3 nautical mile “border” are regularly shot at, their boats seized or damaged, and subject to arrest, detention and imprisonment. In 2012, there have already been hundreds of attacks on fishing boats by Israeli warships. (See video of Gaza fishers under attack)
Gaza’s Farmers: Gaza’s farmers are also subject to an ongoing war against their lives, livelihood and land. Israel has unilaterally declared the northern and eastern edges of the Gaza Strip to be “buffer zones” or “no go zones”, often in some of the most agriculturally proficient areas of the often-dry region, on land farmed by Palestinian families for generations. Anyone who ventures into these areas regularly faces threats to their lives from soldiers, snipers, tanks, helicopters and drones that routinely patrol the area. The “buffer zone” includes 17% of Gaza’s total land mass – but 35% of its agricultural land and 113,000 people. 305 water wells, 197 chicken farms, 377 sheep farms, and over 1000 homes have been destroyed by Israeli occupation military inside the “buffer zone.” (See video of Gaza farmers and fishers resisting occupation)
While Palestinian fishers and farmers are braving gunfire to work their land and sea, the Canadian government of Stephen Harper has nothing but praise for the Israeli state that enforces this siege on Gaza. On March 29, 2006, Canada became the first country in the world to impose a siege on the Palestinian people living in Gaza and the West Bank, declaring cancellation of aid to Palestine. Foreign Minister John Baird recently described Canada as “Israel’s best friend.”
Of course, Israel is not alone in denying indigenous people the right to fish and farm their land – like Israel, Canada was founded upon the theft of indigenous people’s land, a settler colonial reality of genocide and oppression that continues to the present day. Indigenous nations are engaged in constant struggles to defend their fishing rights against attempts to deny their right to fish their own waters commercially, as well as to defend their traditional territories from pipelines and resource extraction.
Join us on September 30 to demand an end to the siege on Gaza’s fishers and farmers, and to demand that the Canadian government end its extensive political, diplomatic and legal support for Israeli apartheid and occupation – and to show the farmers and fishers of Gaza that their struggle echoes around the world.
Initial endorsers include: Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign, Independent Jewish Voices, Gaza’s Ark, Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights – UBC, Union of Agricultural Work Committees (Palestine), Canada Palestine Association, Voice of Palestine, Alliance for People’s Health
To endorse the protest, or get involved in organizing, please email [email protected]
More information or flyers? See online