PAJU Vigil in Montreal turns five

February 10 marked the fifth anniversary of the weekly vigil organized by Palestinian and Jewish Unity in front of the Israeli Embassy in Montreal. The vigil is held every Friday at noon to protest Israel's illegal and brutal occupation of Palestine. Some 75 activists gathered at the same spot on February 10 to commemorate this tenacious human rights effort.

PAJU's co-presidents, Bruce Katz and Rezeq Faraj said the vigil is more important now than ever.

"The situation in the Occupied Territories has gotten much worse over the last five years," Katz said. "Israel has massively expanded its illegal settlements in the West Bank, seized more land and herded the Palestinians into tiny enclaves around their towns. This is not unlike what South Africa did to its black population under the apartheid regime. In fact, this is modern-day Israeli apartheid. Israel has set up over 700 military checkpoints and built a massive 'security wall' in the West Bank, taking more land, imprisoning people in 'Bantustans' and destroying the economic life of the Palestinians. Hunger and unemployment are rampant. Literally thousands of people from both sides have been wounded or killed. The vast majority of the victims are Palestinian civilians -- including children -- ruthlessly shot down by the Israeli army."

"Our vigil raises public awareness of the political and humanitarian situation stemming from this never-ending occupation," Paraj said. "Protests like this one are taking place all around the world. The blunt truth is that Israel uses its overwhelming firepower to subjugate the Palestinians and to expropriate their land. That is why PAJU and hundreds of other human rights groups are organizing a world-wide boycott of Israeli products, much the way that the boycott of South African goods was organized. At this critical time, PAJU invites ordinary citizens to join us in protesting this new apartheid by boycotting Israeli products and pressuring the Government of Canada to demand that Israel comply with international law and end the occupation."

Join PAJU every Friday at noon on the northwest corner of Rene Levesque and Peel. For more information, call Daniel Saykaly at (514) 961-3928.

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