What Did They Say About Palestine?

Fidel Castro was among the strongest supporters of Palestine statehood and independence. This image is a still from the Swiss documentary Ricardo, Miriam y Fidel by Christian Frei. Photo courtesy of Christian Frei/The Commons
Fidel Castro was among the strongest supporters of Palestine statehood and independence. This image is a still from the Swiss documentary Ricardo, Miriam y Fidel by Christian Frei. Photo courtesy of Christian Frei/The Commons

Nelson Mandela

I have come to join you today to add our own voice to the universal call for Palestinian self-determination and statehood.

We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.

All of us should be as vocal in condemning violence and the violation of human rights in this part of the world as we do with regard to other areas. 

Yes, all of us need to do more in supporting the struggle of the people of Palestine for self-determination; in supporting the quest for peace, security and friendship in this region.

Mahatma Gandhi

Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and inhumane to impose the Jews on the Arabs. What is going on in Palestine today cannot be justified by any moral code of conduct.

The mandates have no sanction but that of the last war [World War I]. Surely it would be a crime against humanity to reduce the proud Arabs so that Palestine can be restored to the Jews partly or wholly as their national home.

I wish they had chosen the way of nonviolence in resisting what they, rightly, regarded as an unwarrantable encroachment upon their country. But according to the accepted canons of right and wrong nothing can be said against the Arab resistance in the face of overwhelming odds.

Fidel Castro

The basis of just peace in the region commences with the total and unconditional withdrawal of Israel from all occupied Arab territories and it presupposes, for the Palestinian people, the return of all their occupied territories and the recovery of their inalienable national rights, including the right of returning to their homeland, to free determination and the establishing of an independent State in Palestine.

The revolutionary movement has been brought up in the hatred of racial discrimination and pogroms of any kind, and from the depths of our souls, we repudiate with all our strength the ruthless persecution and genocide which, in its time, Nazism unleashed against the Jewish people.

But I can find nothing more similar to that in our contemporary history than the eviction, persecution and genocide that is being carried out today against the Palestinian people by imperialism and Zionism. Stripped of their lands, driven out of their own homeland, dispersed throughout the world, many of them being persecuted and murdered, they are an impressive example of abnegation and heroism, and they are the living symbol of the greatest crime of our times.

El Hajj Malik El Shabazz (Malcolm X)

Did the Zionists have the legal or moral right to invade Arab Palestine, uproot its Arab citizens from their homes and seize all Arab property for themselves just based on the “religious” claim that their forefathers lived there thousands of years ago? Only a thousand years ago the Moors lived in Spain. Would this give the Moors of today the legal and moral right to invade the Iberian Peninsula, drive out its Spanish citizens, and then set up a new Moroccan nation…where Spain used to be, as the European Zionists have done to our Arab brothers and sisters in Palestine?

In short, the Zionist argument to justify Israel’s present occupation of Arab Palestine has no intelligent or legal basis in history…not even in their own religion.

James Baldwin

The state of Israel was not created for the salvation of the Jews; it was created for the salvation of the Western interests…

The Palestinians have been paying for the British colonial policy of “divide and rule” and for Europe’s guilty Christian conscience for more than 30 years.

Alice Walker

The land taken
Has never been returned.
In fact, more stolen land
Has followed the first assaults
And thefts.
Palestinian children, after years
Of throwing stones
At grown up assassins
In helmets and armored tanks
Are killing themselves
These days
To save their murderers
The trouble.
Unlike most Americans
I have witnessed Palestine
Under Israeli rule. It is demonic
To the core. 

Angela Davis

Most of us had been involved for many years in Palestine solidarity work, but we were all thoroughly shocked to discover that the repression associated with Israeli settler colonialism was so evident and so blatant. The Israeli military made no attempt to conceal or even mitigate the character of the violence they inflicted on the Palestinian people.

Gun-carrying military men and women—many extremely young—were everywhere. The wall, the concrete, the razor wire everywhere conveyed the impression that we were in prison. Before Palestinians are even arrested, they are already in prison. One misstep and one can be arrested and hauled off to prison; one can be transferred from an open-air prison to a closed prison.

There are currently some 5,000 Palestinian prisoners and we know that since 1967, 800,000 Palestinians—40% of the male population—have been imprisoned by Israel. The demand to free all Palestinian political prisoners is a key ingredient of the demand to end the occupation.

June Jordan

I was born a Black woman
and now
I am become a Palestinian
against the relentless laughter of evil
there is less and less living room
and where are my loved ones?
It is time to make our way home.
They blew up your homes and demolished the grocery
stores and blocked the Red Cross and took away doctors
to jail and they cluster-bombed girls and boys
whose bodies
swelled purple and black into twice the original size
and tore the buttocks from a four month old baby
and then
they said this was brilliant
military accomplishment and this was done
they said in the name of self-defense they said

Ernest Ché Guevara

Gaza became the symbol of Palestine as this tiny fragment remained the only place raising the flag of Palestine. Guevara visited Gaza in 1959, shortly after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution.

Guevara told Palestinian refugees they must continue the struggle to liberate their land. There was no way but resistance to occupation, he said. “The right must eventually be restored,” he affirmed. He offered to supply arms and training.

Mustafa Abu Middain, Al Bureij camp leader, took Guevara to visit the camp and showed him cases of poverty and hardship.

“We have a worse case of poverty,” Guevara shot back. “You should show me what you have done to liberate your country. Where are the training camps? Where are the factories to manufacture arms? Where are people’s mobilization centers?”

After the visit, Cuba gave scholarships to Palestinian students, granted citizenships for stranded Palestinians and held many conferences in support of Palestine.

During the Israeli war on Gaza in the summer of 2014 Cuba sent tons of humanitarian aid to Gaza and received the injured.

Evo Morales, Eduardo Galeano, Silvio Rodriguez, Rev. Raul Suarez, Fidel Castro Ruz, Atilio Boron and many others

Against Israeli terrorism and U.S. imperialism, in defense of the right of self-determination of Palestine and of all the peoples of the world!


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21 days ago

A really informative essay. African and African Americans intellectuals have always spoke out in support of a Palestinian state.

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