On behalf of the Palestinian people, I would like to wish all American people a Happy Independence Day! This 4th of July we not only commemorate the United States’ founding, but we also celebrate the American ideals of freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Unfortunately, Palestinians cannot celebrate these sacrosanct rights and freedoms that Americans too often take for granted. For Palestinians, life under Israeli military occupation has denied them their most fundamental rights — the right to self-determination, the right to freedom of movement, and many, many more rights.
We hope to one day celebrate our own Palestinian independence and commemorate the basic human rights that all people in the Holy Land should enjoy. We believe that two people, Palestinians and Israelis, and three faiths—Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, should share the land. As the American Founding Father John Adams once wrote, “[Independence Day] ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”
For myself, an American of Palestinian heritage, my 4th of July celebration is incomplete until my people get their freedom. In this 4th of July, I invite you to work together to replace despair with hope, fear with human security, and humiliation with dignity.
We hope you’ll pray with us.
Rateb Y. Rabie, KCHS