Press Release: Students for Justice in Palestine
Marchers from Wellington Students for Justice in Palestine intend to lay memorials at the Rabin memorial in Harris Street during a protest rally for Gaza on Saturday.
The names of some child victims of the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip will be written in Arabic Script, or English.
Spokesperson for Wellington Students for Justice in Palestine, Dougal McNeill, says the Rabin memorial is the ideal location for such a symbolic action.
“The Rabin memorial itself is made from a rock taken from Palestinian territory in Jerusalem to celebrate the land Israel has taken from the Palestinians. “
The Rabin memorial was gifted by the Israeli government to the Wellington Mayor Mark Blumsky in 2000. During the 2008 – 2009 Israeli invasion of Gaza, Catholic Priest Gerry Burns daubed the memorial with paint and his own blood in protest.
The Rabin memorial also endorses the Jewish National Fund which is an Israeli organisation whose function is to allocate Palestinian land in Israel to Israeli Jews.
McNeill says the Rabin memorial is to commemorate Yitzhak Rabin who began his military career in 1948 by commanding Israeli forces which ethnically cleansed thousands of Palestinians from the Israeli towns of Ramle and Lydda.
“Wellington City Council facilities in the centre of Wellington should not be given over to the celebrating an Israeli war criminal, nor the body which runs the apartheid land allocation system which is the foundation of Israel,” McNeill says.
“We believe that the Wellington City Council should stand with the people of Gaza and join the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel. The Council Mayor should truck the Rabin memorial round to the Israeli embassy and leave it there as a symbolic protest against the ethnic cleansing which created Israel in the first place. It’s not just history. Eighty per cent of the current Palestinian population in Gaza are, or are descended from, the very people who Rabin and his fellow Israel commanders forced from their homes throughout Palestine in the first place.”
The SJP march will begin at noon on Saturday at the Bucket Fountain, Cuba Mall, Wellington.