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Vancouver, September 28 – Local Vancouver activists displayed a banner Friday, September 28 at 7:30 am, at Dunsmuir and Beatty as cars exited the westbound Georgia Viaduct, drawing attention to the struggles of Palestinian fishers and farmers in Gaza facing attacks by the Israeli military.
The action is a prelude to a rally Sunday, September 30 at 1 pm at the Vancouver Art Gallery, where speakers will address the threat to fishery and farming in Gaza, where Israeli gunships patrol the sea and the Israeli military has labelled 30% of farmland a “no-go zone.”
“Palestinian fishers who try to get to their deep water fishing grounds are fired upon by the Israelis and face being injured or killed or being imprisoned and having their fishing boats confiscated . 70,000 people, some from families who have fished these waters for centuries, are denied access to their basic livelihood by the Israeli siege on Gaza,” said Aiyanas Ormond, a Vancouver activist and a member of the Vancouver Delegation to Gaza, which visited the besieged Palestinian region in June of this year.
“Stephen Harper’s government fully backs the Israeli siege on Gaza, that is killing Palestinian farmers and fishers, literally and economically. Harper does not speak for us,” said Ormond.
A rally of fishers and farmers will be taking place in Gaza City as well on September 30, part of Sunday’s Day of Action that will also see events in Toronto, Nanaimo, and Edmonton. The fishers and farmers in Gaza will march to the United Nations office in protest of the Israeli siege on the small region, which has been maintained for over five years. Fishers in Gaza have lost 85% of their income since the Israeli military’s imposition of a three-nautical-mile limit upon Palestinian fishers, too close to shore for most successful commercial fishery. 30% of Gaza’s agricultural land, and some of its richest, has been bulldozed, attacked, and repeatedly fired-upon, deemed a “buffer zone” where anyone who enters may face gunfire from snipers, watchtowers, and tanks.
The Sunday rally will include speakers: Brian Campbell, member of the Vancouver delegation to Gaza; Terry Engler of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 400; Khaled Barakat, local Palestinian community activist and coordinator of the delegation; Kat Norris, of the Indigenous Action Movement, Salish Territories; Raul Gatica of the Agricultural Workers Alliance; Hamoudi Ghareeb, a Palestinian from Gaza; and Gene Logan, a local fisher, among others.
“We are also aware that like Israel, Canada was founded upon the theft of indigenous people’s land and support Indigenous struggles to defend their fishing rights, as well as to defend their traditional territories from pipelines and resource extraction,” said Kathy Copps, a delegation member and an organizer of Sunday’s rally. “We need to stand together against injustice and oppression.”
Sunday’s rally is endorsed by the Alliance for People’s Health, Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign, Building Bridges Vancouver, Canadian Union of Postal Workers - Pacific Region, Canada Palestine Association, Indigenous Action Movement - Salish Territories, Independent Jewish Voices, Gaza’s Ark, Simon Fraser Public Interest Research Group (SFPIRG), Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights – UBC, South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD), Vancouver and District Labour Council, Vancouver Catholic Worker, Voice of Palestine, and Union of Agricultural Work Committees (Palestine).