In October 2017, a delegation of organizers fighting the US-Mexico border wall from both sides traveled to Palestine to build connections, solidarity, and joint resistance with Palestinians resisting Israel’s apartheid wall. They traded stories and strategies of resistance to the ongoing ethnic cleansing of native people from Turtle Island (North America) to Palestine, passed through Israeli checkpoints, and met with Palestinian workers who share similar struggles related to labor exploitation and dehumanization. Upon the return, delegates composed a statement endorsing boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS), and pledging to continue their joint struggle with the Palestinian people for a world without walls and of freedom, justice, and equality for all peoples.
This statement was released on the first day of the Great March of Return, as tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza marched to the heavily fortified eastern boundary that enforces Israel’s brutal siege of the coastal enclave to demand freedom, justice, equality, and their internationally recognized Right of Return. That same day, Israeli snipers shot and killed 16 Palestinian protesters – and Israel’s excessive use of force continues on, as does the Great March of Return.
The statement is endorsed by not only the delegates but many of their organizations, including the Mexican League for the Defense of Human Rights, Observatory of the Human Rights of the People, and the Association of the Families of Prisoners, Disappeared and Victims of Violations of Human Rights in Mexico. The delegates are releasing the statement on March 30 in commemoration of Palestinian Land Day, which highlights Palestinian connection to their homeland on the anniversary of Israel’s 1976 killing of six Palestinian citizens of Israel who were protesting for their land rights. The role of land in struggles against colonization is shared across borders. Today also marks Good Friday and the first day of Passover, and the eve of César Chávez Day, marking a significant spiritual and political moment for people around the world.
The delegation for A World Without Walls that was present in Palestine October 9 to 15, 2017, declares:
The apartheid regime imposed by the state of Israel originates in the dispossession of land and has created an enterprise of segregation in order to seize resources and control Palestinian’s access to human needs and rights. It is a strategy implicit in genocide to maximize economic gains.
These colonial policies prompt Israeli citizens and the international community to carry out discriminatory practices against Palestinians. Such actions polarize the state of Israel and the international community against the Palestinian people.
We were able to see that the wall is separating the Palestinian peoples from their lives and lands, denying them the freedom of basic movement and thus expanding the state of violence and control. This wall has a tremendous impact especially on women, children, and workers. We reject ideologies that profit from placing barriers between any of our respective communities, whether it be in the United States and Mexico or in Palestine.
The injustices endured by the Palestinian people have been insufficiently addressed by the United Nations’ (UN) resolutions, pronouncements and diplomatic efforts. In light of this, we declare:
1. We will continue the international mobilization to denounce the imperialist aggression of the state of Israel and the United States that keeps the Palestinian territory occupied.
2. We fight against all policies of exclusion, discrimination, repression, militarized borders, division of peoples, and rights of the displaced.
3. We do not accept the wall and illegal Israeli settlements, which divide families, steal natural resources, and lead to institutionalized discrimination.
4. We deplore the systematic and widespread practice of torture; we demand due process for all, especially in the case of administrative detentions, and we insist on the release of all political prisoners.
5. We support the call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS), including denouncing Israeli companies that build the wall in Palestine.
6. We demand that the Mexican company CEMEX withdraw its participation in the construction of occupation walls and illegal settlements it carries out in the Palestinian territory.
7. We demand that the United States discontinue funding these illegal settlements and collaborating with Elbit Systems Ltd. and ELTA North America in building walls and creating unprecedented surveillance.
8. We pledge our solidarity with and continuous support for the heroic Palestinian people who fight against the attempt to erase their history, culture, and territory.
9. We will continue working to break down visible and invisible walls in Palestine, Mexico, and the United States, and we will fight to build A World Without Walls.
Signatories for the A World Without Walls delegation in Palestine (affiliations listed for identification purposes only):
- Nellie Jo David, Tohono O’odham Hemajkam Rights Network (TOHRN)
- Amy Juan, Tohono O’odham Hemajkam Rights Network (TOHRN)
- Moises Perez Espino, Academic Vice Rector, Mexican Theological Community
- Teresita Valeriano, East Bay Interfaith Immigration Coalition
- Daniela González López, International Coordinator of the Human Rights Observatory of the Peoples
- Eduardo Cortes Vasquez, National Movement of People’s Power, MNPP-MEXICO
- Mariella Saba, Stop LAPD Spying Coalition
- Allison Tanner, Faith Leader, Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity and Minister, Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church
- Julio Mata Montiel, Vice President of the Mexican Front for Human Rights (FREMEXDEHU) and Executive Secretary of the Association, of Relatives of Missing Persons and Victims, of Human Rights Violations in Mexico (AFADEM-FEDEFAM)
- Adrian Ramirez, President of the Mexican League for the Defense of Human Rights, Mexico City
This statement is endorsed by the following organizations represented on the delegation:
- Mexican League for the Defense of Human Rights (a member of the International Federation for Human Rights, UN ECOSOC status)
- Association of the Families of Prisoners, Disappeared and Victims of Violations of Human Rights in Mexico
- Executive Federal National and International Council of the Mexican Front for Human Rights
- Theological Community of Mexico
- Laboratory of Investigations of Community Development and Sustainability
- Observatory of the Human Rights of the People
- National Movement of People’s Power
- Friends of Sabeel North America
- Stop LAPD Spying Coalition