WASHINGTON, DC, November 12, 2019—Seven Indigenous, Black, and Chicanx leaders in the immigration justice, anti-border wall, and anti-militarism movements have landed in Palestine/Israel to begin the second “World Without Walls” delegation, organized by the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR), Stop the Wall, and Eyewitness Palestine. Over the next six days, the World Without Walls delegates will share their experiences and tactics for resisting walls and border militarization with native Palestinians resisting Israel’s Separation Wall, which encroaches on Palestinian land, cuts them off from homes, schools, and families, and was declared illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2005.
It is also a rare opportunity for Palestinians living under occupation and in the shadow of Israel’s wall to hear directly about the U.S./Mexico border, the existing wall, and President Trump’s increased criminalization of migrants and refugees. Delegates will share their experiences widely upon return, in order to bring an understanding of the Palestinian struggle to new communities and strengthen joint work to dismantle both the Israeli and the U.S./Mexico walls.
“This delegation serves to highlight resistance to these walls, which are a physical representation of a politics of militarism, segregation, and oppression. We want to build solidarity between those wanting to instead build a world without walls based on a politics of freedom, equal rights, and justice for all. Our hope is that the lessons exchanged while the delegates are in Palestine will strengthen the organizing the delegates are engaged with in their communities back home and underscore the need for more transnational connections between marginalized people as those in power are constantly exchanging tactics of repression,” said Ramah Kudaimi, Deputy Director of USCPR.
“My organizing work over the last ten years has been rooted in the Black freedom struggle, and has included student organizing, environmental justice work, decriminalization work, combating gender based oppression, and building independent political power. I believe all of this directly relates to combatting the imposition of violence on the Palestinian people and supporting the courageous fight of oppressed people in Palestine and in the U.S. South,” said Aaron B., Southern organizer, internationalist, educator, author, and World Without Walls 2019 delegate.
“I am participating in this delegation because I am a fierce advocate for the abolition of borders and walls. I am Indigenous and I believe that we all have a place in Indigenous liberation. My liberation is tied to the liberation of all poor, marginalized, and oppressed peoples across the world. We all have an obligation to each other. Our struggles intersect and so must we. I have organized locally and internationally with migrants seeking liberation from the violent and oppressive material conditions they are fleeing from. Much of that violence is tied to U.S. imperialism, capitalism, and settler colonialism,” said Hope Alvarado, organizer with the Red Nation Albuquerque Freedom Council and founder/chair of Beyond Borders.
The first World Without Walls delegation took place in 2017, in response to an invitation issued by the Palestinian Stop the Wall Campaign and extended to all those resisting President Trump’s Israel-inspired wall projects at the U.S./Mexican border. Those delegates integrated their experiences into their local organizing, issuing a statement of commitment to joint struggle with the Palestinian people on Palestinian Land Day (March 30, 2018).
The connections between border militarization in the U.S. and Israel are well-documented. Infamously, in early 2017, Netanyahu tweeted his approval for Trump’s border wall plan. Elbit Systems of America, a subsidiary of the Israeli Elbit Systems (a major contractor on Israel’s Separation Wall), has a $145 million contract to build and maintain surveillance towers along the Arizona/Sonora border—”smart wall” technologies field-tested on Palestinian civilian populations. The Cemex corporation of Mexico has played a role in supporting the construction of Israel’s wall. Elta North America, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries, was awarded a contract by the Trump administration to build a prototype of sections of the U.S. border wall.
The struggles faced by Chicanx and Indigenous communities, from North America to Palestine, go beyond walls. Common experiences of militarized borders, separation of families, cultural erasure, exploitation, surveillance, police brutality, incarceration, and genocide will also be highlighted as delegates speak with Palestinian hosts. Building solidarity through mutual education is key to effective organizing against state violence and colonialism, from the U.S. to Palestine.