Statement of Solidarity with Palestine from the ADJC

May 20, 2021

Following the lead of Sins Invalid and the Autistic People of Color Collective, the Abolition and Disability Justice Collective condemns Israel’s most recent massacres of Palestinians and its ongoing occupation and settler colonization of Palestine. Disability justice cannot exist under settler colonialism, military occupation, imprisonment, and apartheid. We write this in support of the Palestinian struggle for freedom, dignity, and self-determination. 

Israeli settler colonization is a disability justice issue that underscores the urgency of abolition and its internationalist dimensions. Israel routinely maims and traumatizes Palestinians, using money, weapons, and policing tactics from the U.S. and Canada, among other settler colonial states. Israel has systematically targeted and killed disabled and non-disabled Palestinians, and Israel’s ongoing violence is uniquely disabling1 for children and Palestinians of all ages. Disability is spatially concentrated in the refugee camps and in Gaza because of the violence of the occupation, and there is a “layering” of disablement, especially in Gaza, as the numbers of disabled people increase with every act of warfare on an already overburdened infrastructure.2   

The settler colonial states of the U.S. and Canada have pledged to continue supporting Israel’s settler colonial project. At the same time, the U.S. and Canada are systematically disinvesting in communities across the U.S. and Canada, specifically impacting disabled, deaf and neurodivergent negatively racialized communities. U.S. and Canadian police also often brutally repress protests in solidarity with Palestinians and other marginalized, occupied, oppressed, and displaced communities. Those who oppose the occupation of Palestine and support their right to resist apartheid are often met with Zionist attacks.  

Israeli weapons, military/police tactics, and technologies cycle between Israel, the U.S. and Canada. The U.S. and Canada routinely send police, immigration enforcement, and other law enforcement to trainings in Israel, facilitated by groups like the Anti-Defamation League. This exchange of racist and colonial law enforcement tactics, weapons, and training is called the “deadly exchange” by those who oppose it. In the U.S. and Canada, police use the same weapons and tactics against Black people, Indigenous people, and other negatively racialized people. Police target deaf, disabled, and neurodivergent negatively racialized people with these technologies, maiming, killing or incarcerating them. 

As in the United States, Israeli police have brutalized and killed countless disabled people with impunity. Police also cause injuries and trauma with these technologies, resulting in the disablement of negatively racialized people. Within the 1948 lines we have seen an intensification of racialized police violence against Palestinian citizens of Israel. This has ranged from attacking demonstrators with stun grenades and tear gas, to preventing civilians injured by police from accessing medical care, to violently breaking into homes to arrest people. Overall, more than 1000 Palestinian citizens of Israel were arrested, over half of whom are minors, while only 150 Israeli Jews were arrested and none were charged. Furthermore, the police escorted and protected fascist Israeli settler militias while they were rampaging through the streets, targeting Palestinian lives and property. Therefore our calls for police abolition are imperative in this context as well. 

Israeli restrictions on the movement of people and goods also keep Palestinians from accessing food, clean water, and healthcare. These constraints also prevent disabled Palestinians from gaining access to aids like wheelchairs, prosthetics, hearing aids, medications, and more. Additionally, Israeli control deprives Palestinians basic economic, educational, and social opportunities. Destruction of roads and buildings makes it impossible for many disabled people to get around, even when they are allowed to move. Due to chronic power outages in occupied Palestine, people often lack light to communicate using sign language, cannot use equipment powered by electricity to move or breathe, and cannot dependably keep life-sustained medications at required temperatures. Israel–much like the U.S. and Canada–has also hoarded COVID-19 vaccines. While being celebrated as a “beacon” for its vaccination efforts, Israel has denied the same access to Palestinians in areas it occupies, which means high rates of infections and premature death for Palestinians, especially those with chronic illnesses. 

Other Israeli tactics also affect disabled Palestinians especially harshly. Palestinians with disabilities are less likely to be able to escape the buildings that Israel bombs in time to save their lives. The intergenerational trauma of displacement, occupation, and targeted violence exacerbates hostilities and leaves lasting grief and pain. Palestinians with disabilities are less likely to be able to stand in long lines to get through checkpoints to access a hospital, school, or loved ones. Just this week, Israel has bombed the only COVID clinic in Gaza, has destroyed infrastructure around the primary hospital in Gaza, and has killed three leading doctors and their families in Gaza, including the leader of Gaza’s COVID-19 response, Gaza’s only neurosurgeon, and a psychologist. In short, Israel is destroying access to basic care in Gaza.

We bear witness to the latest wave of atrocities as they continue to unfold, and we say no more. Disability justice requires solidarity with Palestine.

  • We demand an end to the occupation of Palestine and to Israeli apartheid.
  • We demand the return of stolen land and homes in Sheikh Jarrah and beyond. 
  • We demand an end to the attacks on Masjid al Aqsa and Gaza. 
  • We demand an end to the attacks on hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation facilities, and healthcare providers and the provision of accessible healthcare for all Palestinians. 
  • We demand abolition of the open-air prison in Gaza, in which 2 million Palestinians are confined in unlivable conditions. 
  • Our call for police and prison abolition includes an immediate end to the exchange of weapons, military and police funds, and tactics between the U.S., Canada, and Israel. 
  • We call for decolonization and Palestine liberation, anti-imperialism and anti-militarism to be a central part of disability organizing agendas.
  • We call for further analysis, research, and resources to be devoted to madness/disability in Palestine and in relation to Palestinians (in Palestine, Israel or abroad), especially peer support and non-coercive medical and mental health care.
  • We call for all people to join the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement. 

Abolition and apartheid cannot co-exist. There is no disability justice under military occupation. Palestine must be free.

  1.  While discussing the traumatic and disabling effects of ongoing Israeli occupation, some have adopted formalized, diagnostic, and pathologizing language commonly used in the U.S. and other Western cultures. However, Palestinians have made it clear that this language does not accurately describe their experiences and psychiatric labels are rooted in Western notions of trauma. Therefore, we do not use these labels.
  2.  As noted in the report “Disability Under Siege,” the bombing in Gaza in 2014 led to the deaths of over 2,000 Palestinians, injured 11,000 Palestinians, and permanently disabled 1,100 Palestinians. The “Disability Under Siege” report also found that in the span of just a year and a half (March 2018-September 2019), there were over 6,500 limb injuries, with at least 1,200 becoming amputees who need limb reconstruction.

Archive/Archivo 1

Missed the event, Roundtable Discussion: Abolition and Disability Justice? Check out the recorded video, Spanish translation, and transcript (English) below!
¿Se perdió el evento, Mesa Redonda: Abolición y Justicia por Discapacidad? ¡Vea el video grabado, la traducción al español y la transcripción (inglés) a continuación!


Roundtable Talk: Abolition and Disability Justice

This event will be live streamed on the Facebook event page:

The roundtable discussion convenes various practitioners, scholars, and organizers from different backgrounds who have dedicated to disability and transformative justice movements for many years. The panelists will have critical conversations around abolition and disability justice – the connectedness, practices, and solidarity strategies. Q&A session will be followed after the discussion. The livestream link will be posted on the day of the event.

Captioning and ASL interpretation provided. The conversation will be accessible for later view and converted into other digital media format for broader sharing.

Andrea Ritchie
Andrea J. Ritchie is the author of Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color, and co-author of Say Her Name: Resisting Police Brutality Against Black Women and of Queer (In)Justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States. She is a Black lesbian immigrant who has been documenting, organizing, litigating, advocating and agitating around policing and criminalization of women and LGBTQ people of color for over two decades. Ritchie is currently appointed as a Researcher-in-Residence in Barnard Center for Research on Women’s Social Justice Institute. To learn more about Ritchie’s work, visit her website here:

Elliott Fukui
Elliott Fukui He/Him, has been an organizer, trainer and facilitator for almost 20 years. He has had the privilege of living and organizing across the country and is currently based in Ohlone Territory/The Bay Area. He comes to this work as a Mad Queer and Trans Nikkei Hafu Psych Survivor. He has primarily worked in Queer and Trans Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities, working to support folks in community security strategies, emotional wellness and safety planning, and inclusive campaign and solidarity work. He loves building curricula, radical cartographies, and movement history. To learn more about his work, visit his website here:

Yolo Akili Robinson
Yolo Akili Robinson is a writer, yoga teacher and the Executive Director and founder of BEAM. For over 15 years, Yolo has been on the forefront of progressive wellness work. At the core of Yolo’s work is a commitment to wellness informed by social justice. His interests are the practical embodiment of theory into systems and practices that help heal, transform and support Black communities. He makes his home in Los Angeles, California. Yolo’s full bio is accessible here:

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is a queer disabled nonbinary femme writer, freedom dreamer and disability and transformative justice movement worker of Burgher/Tamil Sri Lankan, Irish and Roma ascent. She is the Lambda Award winning author or co-editor of (with Ejeris Dixon) Beyond Survival: Strategies and Stories from the Transformative Justice Movement, Tonguebreaker, Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice, Bridge of Flowers, Bodymap, Dirty River, The Revolution Starts At Home (coedited with Ching-In Chen and Jai Dulani),and more. A lead artist with Sins Invalid since 2009, they are on the organizing team for the Disability and Intersectionality Summit and the 2020 winner of the Lambda Literary Foundation’s Jean Cordova Prize for Lesbian/Queer Nonfiction.

Abolition Disability Justice Collective
Alternatives to Calling the Police During Mental Health Crises
The Fireweed Collective
NYC Transformative Justice Hub
Project LETS



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