GMJ-IAB press release final

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GMJ-IAB press release final
For Immediate release: Global March to Jerusalem gathers support Distinguished Advisory Board includes Nobel Laureates, issues declaration On March 30th this year, people from around the world will join Palestinians throughout the Middle East and in the Diaspora in a ground-­‐breaking initiative: the Global March to Jerusalem, a day of peaceful, nonviolent demonstrations In Palestine and surrounding countries. Every year on March 30th Palestinians around the world remember Land Day, which commemorates a general strike and marches in 1976 against Israeli land appropriation, a pivotal event in bringing about Palestinian national unity. This year Palestinians will call attention to the dangers facing Jerusalem as a city that embodies the cultural heritage of the three monotheistic religions: Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. In a strategy to Judaise the holy city, the Israeli government has long denied most Palestinians – whether Muslim or Christian – access to Jerusalem, even to visit holy sites. Through methods of ethnic cleansing, Israel has been forcing Jerusalem’s remaining Palestinian inhabitants out, thus endangering the multi-­‐religious, multi-­‐ethnic character of the city that is the intended capital of Palestine. Now a distinguished Advisory Board of political, religious, and cultural leaders as well as leading scholars from around the world is lending its weight in support of the Global March to Jerusalem. In a strongly worded declaration, the Advisory Board members state that Israeli government efforts to change the Arabic and cultural identity of the city are a crime against humanity. They urge that all of humanity actively support this peaceful Palestinian civil resistance movement. The Palestinian coalition organizing the Global March to Jerusalem is perhaps unprecedented in its breadth and brings together virtually all political and religious perspectives among the Palestinian people. Supporters in five continents are joining them in a multi-­‐cultural, multi-­‐religious, multi-­‐lingual effort on March 30th that includes sending delegations to join the March itself and preparing local solidarity actions as well as demonstrations at Israeli Embassies in key cities. Land caravans from India, Indonesia, and Malaysia, are already making their way towards Jerusalem, and delegations from dozens of countries are expected. On March 30th, the Palestinians and their international supporters will attempt to get as close to Jerusalem as they can: whether at the borders of Lebanon and Jordan, at checkpoints in the West Bank, or at the Erez crossing in Gaza. There will also be a demonstration in Jerusalem itself. Many of the Advisors will personally participate in the March: for example, Irish Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire will join the protests in Lebanon. Among the Advisory Board members who signed the declaration are Archbishop Desmond Tutu, South African Nobel Peace Laureate; Swami Agnivesh, former Member of the Indian Parliament; George Galloway, former Member of the British Parliament; Dr. Cornel West, philosopher, writer and civil rights activist; Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative; Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, author and activist in the Jewish Renewal Movement; Ronnie Kasrils, South African national liberation leader and former cabinet minister; Dr. Norman Paech, former Member of the German Parliament; Marwah Daud Ibrahim, Indonesian feminist, writer and Member of Parliament; Dr. Jeremiah Wright, Pastor Emeritus at the Trinity United Church of Christ; Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohammed, former Prime Minister of Malaysia; Sheikh Raed Salah, founder of the Islamic Movement for ’48 Palestinians; Ahmad Obeidat, Former Jordanian Prime Minister; Bouguerra Soltani, Algerian Government Minister; Neta Golan, Co-­‐Founder of the International Solidarity Movement; and H.E. Atallah Hanna, Archbishop of Sebastia, Patriarchate of Jerusalem. During a time of upheaval throughout the Middle East, the nonviolent demonstrations on Palestinian Land Day this year could well mark a turning point in the Palestinian struggle for liberation and self-­‐determination. The declaration in support of the Global March to Jerusalem by this distinguished Advisory Board underscores the key role the international community can and must play in supporting the struggle for more just and democratic societies throughout the Middle East, and in Palestine. Indeed such strong support demonstrates to the world that "the people of the world demand freedom for Jerusalem" and all of Palestine. For media enquiries please contact Zaher Birawi: +44 7850 896 057 / [email protected] Full declaration of support and a selected list of signatories We, the Advisory Board of the Global March to Jerusalem, are alarmed and deeply troubled by the continuing repression of Palestinians in Jerusalem and by the deliberate and systematic attempts to expel and reduce the Christian and Muslim Palestinian population of the city as part of the policy called “Judaisation,” which is being applied to every part of historic Palestine. This policy is inconsistent with all relevant United Nations resolutions on Jerusalem and contrary to the most basic principles of international law. Its purpose is plainly to ethnically cleanse Jerusalem of its non-­‐Jewish population and transform a once proud symbol of international tolerance and religious and cultural diversity into an exclusionary and racist enclave. Jerusalem is our common universal heritage. It is the centre of spirituality and ideological significance for all of the monotheistic religions, and a beacon of emancipation and hope for the downtrodden. This historic city is venerated across the world for enhancing the spiritual heritage of all humanity; it has been a symbol of unity and equality, with a message of love, mercy and compassion. However the entire world is now witnessing a threat to the sovereignty, sanctity and inviolability of Jerusalem. The plan is not only to destroy the Muslim and Christian presence, but also to change and dismantle the social structure of Jerusalem, obliterating its indigenous Arab identity and changing the character of the city. The people of the world have therefore taken it upon themselves to prevent this abomination, by mobilizing themselves in every part of the world and representing all religious, humanitarian, and cultural backgrounds in a global march to Jerusalem (GMJ) aimed at guarding the City of Peace from becoming a wasteland of intolerance. We therefore lend our names to support the convergence of people from all countries and continents of the world to Jerusalem, and to the nearest points to which they are able to approach, both inside Palestine and at the Palestinian borders with Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon, as well as in their own countries, in a peaceful march towards Jerusalem. We therefore support this effort, and encourage all of humanity to support it, by making the pledge set forth below, that all participants in the Global March to Jerusalem have agreed to accept. We assert the importance of Jerusalem politically, culturally and religiously to the Palestinian people and humanity as a whole. We call for the protection of the Holy Places and all archeological sites and consider all the efforts done to change its Arabic and cultural identity as a crime against humanity. We call on all international institutions to do their duties towards the city. The defense of Jerusalem and its liberation are a duty of all free people around the world and we call on all institutions, organizations, and individuals to participate in this duty. We condemn the Zionist campaign of ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem and the rest of Palestine including all ongoing policies intended to change the demographic and geographic situation in the city and aimed at its Judaisation. We also condemn the continuation of the Zionist occupation forces in building the apartheid wall that aims to expropriate more Palestinian lands and convert the occupied areas into shrinking cantons isolated from each other. We support the right of the Palestinian People to self-­‐determination, to liberate their lands and to live on them in freedom and dignity like all other people on earth. We support the non-­‐negotiable & inalienable rights of the Palestinian People, including their families, to return to their homes and lands from which they were uprooted. We reject all racist laws that distinguish between people based on ethnicity or religion and call for their cancellation and criminalization. The Global March to Jerusalem does not represent any one faction or political party, but we call for participation of all social forces, political factions, and ideologies. The Global March to Jerusalem is a global peaceful movement, which does not use violence to achieve its goals. Signed, The Advisory Board of the Global March to Jerusalem (partial listing of names) Shaikh Dr. Abdul Ghani al-­‐Tamimi, Poet and preacher; chairman of the Palestine Scholars Abroad Abdul Ghaffar Aziz Coordinator of Pakistani NGOs in Solidarity with Palestine Abdullatif Arabiyyat Former Speaker of the Jordanian Parliament Swami Agnivesh Founder, Bonded Labour Liberation Front and World Council of Arya Samaj; former Member of the Indian parliament; former Chairperson of the UN Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery Ahmad Obeidat Former Jordanian Prime Minister & Head of the National Front for Reform Dr. Ahmed Mohammed Attia Bahar Vice President, Palestinian Legislative Council Tan Sri Anthony Francis Fernandes Malaysian entrepreneur; founder and CEO, Air Asia Dr. Anton Shuhaiber Gaza Christian Association Arnold Hottinger Swiss journalist and publicist; former Middle East correspondent for the Neue Zürcher Zeitung H.E. Atallah Hanna Archbishop of Sebastia, Patriarchate of Jerusalem Bouguerra Soltani Algerian Government Minister, party leader for the Movement of the Society for Peace Cindy Sheehan Anti-­‐war activist; mother of US soldier killed in Iraq; author Dr. Cornel West Professor of African American studies. Princeton University; philosopher, writer and civil rights activist Datuk Yasmin Yusoff Malaysian actress and television host David Hartsough Director, Peaceworkers, San Francisco Archbishop Desmond Tutu Nobel Peace Laureate HE Dr. Dzukelly Ahmad Member of the Malaysian parliament Evelyn Hecht-­‐Galinski Jewish German author, activist and publicist Dr. Francis Boyle Professor of International Law, University of Illinois Dr. Franco Cavalli Oncologist and former leader of the Swiss Social Democrat Party parliamentary group George Galloway Former Member of British Parliament and Founder of Viva Palestina Dr. Ghada Karmi Writer and Co-­‐Director, Centre for Palestine Studies, University of Exeter Gretta Duisenberg Founder and Chair, “Stop the Occupation” (Netherlands); Free Gaza Movement Board Member Hafizullah Niazi Prominent leader of Pakistan Tehreek Insaf (Imran Khan party) Dr. Hammam Said Head of the Jordanian Consultative Council of the Muslim Brothers Hilarion Capucci Archbishop of Caesarea, Greek Melkite Church Ibrahim Nasrallah Jordanian-­‐Palestinian Poet & Novelist Dr. Jeremiah Wright Pastor Emeritus, Trinity United Church of Christ, Chicago, Illinois, USA Prof. Judith Butler Writer and philosopher, University of California, Berkeley Laith Shubeilat Former Jordanian Parliamentarian Lalita Ramdas Chair, Greenpeace International Lauren Booth Broadcaster, journalist and activist Admiral Laxminarayan Ramdas Magsaysay Peace Award Recipient and anti-­‐nuclear advocate Dr. Leo Gabriel Austrian socio-­‐anthropologist, journalist and documentary filmmaker; member, World Social Forum International Council Fr. Louis Vitale Order of Franciscan Monks; Pace e Bene; nonviolent resistor Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb Jewish Renewal Movement Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohammed Former Prime Minister of Malaysia Mairead McGuire Nobel Peace Laureate Marzuki Alie Speaker, Indonesian House of Representatives Marwah Daud Ibrahim Indonesian feminist, writer and Member of Parliament Medha Patkar Leader, National Alliance of People’s Movements; Recipient, Right Livelihood Award, Goldman Environment Prize & Amnesty International Human Rights Defenders Award Michel Warschawski Anti-­‐Zionist activist and journalist; co-­‐founder, Alternative Information Center Dr. Mustafa Barghouti Secretary General, Palestinian National Initiative; President, Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees Neta Golan Co-­‐Founder, International Solidarity Movement Dr. Norman Paech Former Member of the German Parliament; professor of law, emeritus, University of Hamburg Sheikh Raed Salah President of the Islamic movement within the 1949 Ceasefire Line Raja Zafar ul Haq Pakistani senator; Chairman, Pakistan Muslim Leaque; General Secretary, World Muslim League Justice Rajinder Sachar Former Chief Justice, Delhi High Court; Member, UN Sub-­‐Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities; Senior Advisor & Counsel, People’s Union for Civil Liberties Ronnie Kasrils South African national liberation leader and former cabinet minister Seema Mustafa Syndicated columnist & former political editor, Asian Age Prof. Siddique Hassan Director, Vision 2016; Assistant Amir of the Jamat-­‐e-­‐Islami, Hind Subhi Ghosheh Chairman, Jordanian Beitul-­‐Maqdes Forum Syeda Hameed Columnist, The Indian Express; Member, Indian National Planning Commission Dr. Tanveer Ahmad Zubairi President, International Organization of Doctors Tikva Honig-­‐Parnass Author and anti-­‐Zionist activist HE Tony Pua Kiam Wee Member of the Malaysian parliament Tujan Faysal First elected woman Jordanian Parliamentarian Uri Davis Author and civil rights activist Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat Former Chief of the Naval Staff of India Mrs. Wardina Safiyyah Malaysian actress and television host Dr. Yacoub Zaiadeen Former Jerusalem Representative to the Jordanian parliament Sheikh Yousuf Jumaa Former Palestinian Minister of Awqaf and Religious Affairs; former preacher of Al-­‐Aqsa Mosque Dr. Zakaria Agha M.D. Member, Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee; former chair, Gaza Strip Medical Association Dr. Zeenat Shaukat Ali Author; Vice Chairman and Founder Trustee of SAGE Foundation; Professor of Islamic Studies, St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai 

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