Palestinians, Arab Muslims and human rights activists from all over the world have decided to celebrate Palestinian Land Day through massive peaceful protests calling it the Global March to al-Quds (Jerusalem).
The organizers and participants have said that their ultimate aim is to end what they see as the Israeli policies of apartheid and ethnic cleansing.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Sara Marousek, political analyst, to share his opinion on this issue.
The following is a transcript of the interview:
What can you tell us about the aims of this march specially since it has been held on Palestinian Land Day?
Well the aims of this march really are to direct the attention on what is happening to Jerusalem-- the ethnic cleansing, the destruction of homes , the basic limitations on any Christians and Muslims on accessing their holy site.
And the attention has been focused on Jerusalem because much of the international solidarity efforts and as well as the diplomatic negotiations if you could call them that, have not been focused on what is actually happening on the ground in Jerusalem or in Palestine, anywhere. It really has been much more focused on theoretical ideas of a Palestinian state could be like.
So we are actually trying to draw people’s attention to what is happening on the ground and also to point out that Jerusalem really is a holy city for all of us, for the three main Abrahamic faiths and really this is also a city that is holy for people all around the world no matter what faith they are, no matter if they are believers or even non-believers, they all believe that this is a place that should be the capital of Palestine and that should be accessible for all human beings and should never be restricted to just those who oppose Zionism.
So we are trying to, in many ways also change maybe the dynamic of the international solidarity community because this movement--you know, I am from America and we certainly do support the Global March to Jerusalem-- but it was initiated and it is being largely led by people in the region, the Palestinians and the Arabs in the region as well as many activists in the Global South.
And so this is really a way to change the terms of the debate that has been happening that’s far which have been; you know our solidarity activities have not been as successful as they should have been if we are still in the state today.
And so this is a way to reclaim the issue of Palestine for the world and to fight until actually Palestine is liberated.
Will we see protest in North America and how active that would be?
Yes actually we are very excited; the momentum is building in North America. Occupy Washington D.C is going to be holding a march and they are going to lead a protest against the Israeli embassy.
So we are very honored to have occupy’s support and also Occupy Oakland in California is also going to be during a march with about five or six solidarity organizations in California.
There is also going to be a big march in Boston Massachusetts as well as in Upstate New York and a symbolic march in Cape Cod Massachusetts in the direction of Jerusalem.
And we are also talking to other BDS campaign managers and event planners to tie in various lands they protest with the Global March to Jerusalem.
Do you think that the fears that the protesters have raised, the fact that the al-Aqsa mosque and other sites are in danger are they really unfounded as Mrs. Gould [the other guest of the program] said?
I have never had the privilege to visit Jerusalem myself but surely reading reports and having my Palestinian friends and even students who went to study in Jerusalem it is almost impossible for them as visitors or as residents to even rent an apartment if they are Palestinian.
And every month we hear of more plans for removal of people from their houses and the building of more settlements. The population of Jerusalem has dramatically changed. The Zionist [cabinet] is trying to remove all traces of Arab and Muslim identity whether is Arab-Muslim or Arab-Christian.
And so really if you look at the facts on the ground, of course these fears are founded. People no longer can live in the lands that they have known for generations that it is theirs. They have been forced out whether it is by these very direct means of being literally kicked out of a house and house demolitions or whether it is more legally new ways where it is just like I said really hard for people to sign a contract because the apartment building or the neighborhood has certain conditions that exclude Arab residents from living there.
And so I think there is various and quite nefarious ways that the Zionist regime and people are exercising to limit Jerusalem and try to maintain or create--it is a false creation of the Jewish identity of the city and that includes the population.
Will we see protest inside Jerusalem for marchers or of course part of the Global March?
Yes definitely. There is going to be various protests throughout Palestine and I believe there are at least three separate demonstrations that are all linked together that they are going to be happening in Jerusalem.
And we have some internationals participating, for example, we have sent a rabbi to Palestine to participate and we have at least about five activists from North America as well, participating in various protests throughout Palestine.
Let me ask you about the fact that the US was perhaps the only country at UN Human Rights Council saying that we are against the investigation?
Why do you think that is although the Obama administration has said that Israel must stop the illegal settlement building? Why they are standing against this investigation?
Well initially President Obama did come out against the settlement building but then if everyone remembers he stopped talking about it and he stopped putting pressure on the Zionist [cabinet] and many people think that this was the result of internal politics, pressures from the Congress and deals that he had to make with various people in order to get through potentially unpopular to them.
Legislation that was widely popular among the American public, social legislation, for example healthcare reform, economic reform and so the only way for Obama to achieve some of these goals was to make a deal with those right-wing Congress people who are against any pressure on the settlement issue.
And so I think this is really sadly a political problem inside America and it really has nothing to do with horrible human rights violations that are going on the ground.
I do not think that any American person who is aware of what is going on in Jerusalem but all across Palestine would in any way object to looking at these violations and it is clear that they are against international law and no one is disputing that.
And so this really is quite pathetic in my opinion, a political move by President Obama and I wish I had as much faith as our guest in London that President Obama will change the way he approaches the Palestine issue.
Even if he is re-elected you do not think that we might see a different Obama on the issue of the Palestinian question or the agreements between Palestinians and Israelis for example?
I pray to God that I am wrong and I really hope that President Obama proves me wrong. I do think he will get re-elected and if something does change I think that it can only be a small shift because the problem with American politics is that nobody, no political leader is willing to take a stand on this issue and they are more interested in their self interests, in preserving their economic like I said healthcare policies and they are not willing to face the critics and unfortunately the critics are very powerful.
They are the Zionist lobby, they run a lot of the news organizations, they have a lot of power and money invested in Washington and they unfortunately have a lot of friendships and relationships.
And so it will take somebody with a lot of courage and potentially I once had faith that President Obama could be that person and hopefully he will be if I very much doubt it.
You do not think that if special in the Human Rights Council since the rest of the world even European countries have stood with the investigation into illegal settlement building, you do not think that the US might shift its position I mean since the rest of the world has a certain stance?
I think this is the hope for the future. Personally as an American I am so proud of the Global March to Jerusalem for example because it is people speaking out against American policy and I think that if America has a hope to change, we have to be shamed into this action.
The world has to show us that we are wrong, that our government is supporting an immoral, an abusive and a very, very oppressive regime in Israel and so the world has to show us that they are against these policies, that the people are against what is happening in Jerusalem, what is happening in Palestine and I think that there will be a time when people will start looking around in America.
They will look at how the rest of the world perceives us and they will be inspired to change their politicians.