SINCE I had my first meetings with Western politicians, I have been told that if only Palestinians would opt for non-violent methods they would support us. Now, especially in the light of the popular Great Return Marches in Gaza, where is this promised support?

The politicians’ argument clearly bypasses the fact that since the beginning of our struggle against colonial occupation, at the time of British rule, we have used non- violent methods.

From the world’s longest general strike lasting six months in 1936, to civil disobedience, boycotts and tax strikes, to the protests during the First Intifada to the anti-Wall demonstrations and now the tens of thousands that have been joining the Great Return March.

The incredible bravery and determination of the people in Gaza – 80 per cent of them refugees – to go in front of Israeli snipers, who are trained and ordered to kill them at sight, should move people of conscience across the world, including politicians, to stand up in solidarity.

2018 is a crucial moment in the history of the Palestinian struggle for justice, freedom and equality.

Seventy years after the start of the Nakba (catastrophe in Arabic), which meant the ethnic cleansing of over half of the Palestinian people from their homes as part of Israel’s establishment, Israel is determined to liquidate the Palestinian cause.

The White House recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the announced shift of the US embassy there, in violation of all international norms and treaties, has been the first step.

At the same time, Israel has intensified the persecution of Palestinians in Jerusalem: more home demolitions, more arrests, increasing militarisation of the Old City and Al Aqsa Mosque and ubiquitous police presence and checkpoints, all accompanied by plans for between 14,000 and 300,000 new illegal settlement housing units in Jerusalem.

The criminal and wilful shooting by Israeli military of unarmed civilians taking part in the Great March of Return in the Gaza Strip, now in its fourth week, has so far cost 33 people their lives. More than 2,430 have been injured and the numbers are rising daily.

This has been preceded by the US administration’s decision to withhold funds from UNWRA, the UN agency providing humanitarian aid to Palestinian refugees.

After a decade of the brutal siege of Gaza – or what Robert Piper, UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities, calls an “extraordinarily inhuman and unjust process of strangling gradually two million civilians in Gaza that really pose a threat to nobody” – the UN expects Gaza to be “unliveable” by 2020.

In the West Bank, settlement construction is equally booming while new roads and tunnels aim to finalise the infrastructure that will close off Palestinians in isolated cantons and the Gaza Strip – reduced to 13 per cent of their ancestral homeland and surrounded by apartheid walls.

To stop our continued protests along the wall and checkpoints against this mass-scale dispossession, arrests are steeply rising, with new raids and arrests of between ten and 20 people almost every night.

It is time for the world to stop standing in implicit or explicit complicity with Israeli apartheid and to join us in nonviolent action by taking up the Palestinian call for boycotts, divestment and sanction until Israel respects international law and human rights.

The only morally right thing for the UK Government to do is to at the very least stop its weapons exports to Israel and impose a military embargo, as happened after South Africa’s apartheid regime massacred protestors at Sharpeville.

INSTEAD, Theresa May’s government is preparing the first ever state visit of a member of the royal family to Israel. This risks the UK going into the annals, for the second time in history, as being among the last and staunchest supporters of apartheid.

The failure of the UK Government, however, does not stop Scottish institutions, local authorities and others from taking inspiration from across the sea. Dublin City Council earlier this month endorsed the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign and decided to stop business with Hewlett Packard until it stops providing services and technology to the Israeli army that maintains Israel’s military occupation and siege of Gaza, and the biometric technology that enables the Israeli Government to control and enforce its system of racial segregation against Palestinians.

Is this the time for Scottish local authorities to divest their pension funds from Israeli apartheid?

We count on the people to help us make history the right way, and truly make apartheid history.

Jamal Juma’ was born in Jerusalem and attended Birzeit University, where he became politically active. Since the first Intifada, he has focused on grassroots activism. Since 2002 he has been the co-ordinator of the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign and since 2012 the coordinator of the Land Defence Coalition, a network of Palestinian grassroots movements. He is a secretariat member of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee.