From Palestine to Mexico, All the Walls Have Got to Go

From the US/Mexico border wall to Israel’s apartheid wall, and the nearly 70 other walls across the world, walls are ripping through people’s lives and lands, separating families and intensifying state violence, surveillance, repression, and exploitation. These walls are tangible monuments of militarism and domination, unilaterally defining and fortifying borders and state control.

Trump held up Israel’s walls as a model for expanding the US/Mexico border wall and was cheered on by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. And the connections go even deeper: the land split by the US/Mexico border wall is lined with towers patrolled by Israeli weapons manufacturer Elbit Systems, while Israeli companies Elta and Magal and occupation profiteer Caterpillar are vying for contracts to get their hands on the wall. So when people chant “from Palestine to Mexico, all the walls have to go,” it is more than just a slogan. It is a shared reality of colonization and corporate exploitation that translates to a shared struggle for collective liberation.

In a call for the first Global Day of Action for a World Without Walls, migrant rights, feminist, environmental, peasant, labor, and other movements around the world joined with the Palestinian Stop the Wall campaign to issue this statement for a #WorldWithoutWalls, which read in part:

Walls have not only risen to fortify borders of state control but demarcate the boundaries between the rich, the powerful, the socially acceptable and the ‘other’… From India, to Saudi Arabia, to Turkey, Western Sahara and Europe, the number of walls designed to forcibly define and seal borders has almost tripled over the last two decades [while] tens of thousands linger as prisoners of conscience or under illegal and inhumane conditions behind prison walls… Walls have become cornerstones in a world where wars, militarization and exclusion are to substitute justice, freedom and equality.

Israel has been a key actor in promoting a new global era of walls as part of its larger role in repression, surveillance, and militarization worldwide. Here in the US, one cannot reject Trump’s expansion of the US/Mexico border wall while defending Israel’s wall that likewise cuts off native people from their lands, separates families, and destroys lives. And vice versa: those around the world decrying Israel’s apartheid must look at the walls in their own backyards and support those struggling against them.

In February 2017, the staff and Steering Committee of the US Campaign for the Palestinian Rights traveled from San Diego, CA to the U.S./Mexico border to see for ourselves what is happening at the border.

In October 2017, grassroots leaders from Mexico, the U.S., and the Tohono O’odham Nation traveled through Palestine, connecting with activists in their fight for a World Without Walls. Read their Statement of Commitment to Joint Struggle with the Palestinian People.

In November 2017, Palestinian Stop the Wall campaign coordinator Jamal Juma’a and BDS National Committee South American liaison Pedro Charbel traveled to Mexico to join the Mexican Caravana against the Walls of Shame.

In November 2019, seven Indigenous, Black, and Chicanx leaders in the immigration justice, anti-border wall, and anti-militarism movements traveled to Palestine for the second “World Without Walls delegation,” jointly organized by USCPR, Stop the Wall, and Eyewitness Palestine. These organizers shared tactics of resistance and knowledge 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 was also a rare opportunity for Palestinians living under Israeli apartheid and in the shadow of Israel’s wall to hear directly about the U.S./Mexico border, the existing wall, and Trump’s increased criminalization of migrants and refugees. After returning to the U.S., delegates shared their experiences widely 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.