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Israel may force Palestinians to raise Israeli flag on Nakba Day

MEMO | May 10, 2016

Culture and sports centres in Israel, including Arabic institutions, should be made to raise the Israeli flag on Nakba Day, a senior minister has said yesterday.

Israeli Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev instructed the ministry’s Director General Yossi Sharabi to put together an initiative that would see institutions raising the Israeli flag, YnetNews reported.

The news site reported informed sources saying: “Personal judgment should not factor in here.”

If Regev’s proposal is approved by the Knesset, it would force Al-Midan Theatre in Haifa and the Doha Stadium in Sakhnin, whose population is predominantly Arab, to raise the Israeli flag.

Since she took office, Regev promised to promote the Israeli flag’s prominence.

May 10, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | Leave a comment

UK pro-Palestine activists to hold Nakba Day demo

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Press TV – May 11, 2013

Pro-Palestine campaigners from across Britain are to stage a protest in London later this week on Nakba Day, marking the 65th anniversary of evicting Palestinians from their homes by Israelis.

The demonstration is planned to be held at 1 p.m. across Downing Street on Wednesday May 15 in coordination with international rallies around the world.

The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) will be also hosting a series of Nakba Week events between 11 and 17 May, including a speaking tour by Palestinian rights activist Mousa Abu Maria in Belfast, Cork, Limerick and Dublin.

Another protest rally dubbed “End the ongoing Nakba-Palestine’s catastrophe” and organized by Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), will be held outside the British Parliament on May 18.

Palestinians refer to the May 15, 1948, occupation of Palestine as the “Nakba Day,” which means the Day of Catastrophe in Arabic, to mark the expulsion of more than 700,000 Palestinians from their homeland almost 65 years ago.

Israeli forces have wiped nearly 500 Palestinian villages and towns off the map, leaving an estimated total of 4.7 million Palestinian refugees hoping for an eventual return to their homeland more than six decades later.

On May 13 last year, Palestinians commemorated Nakba Day outside Downing Street in London, carrying placards reading, “free Palestine,” “end ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem,” and “end the siege on Gaza.”

May 11, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | 1 Comment

Nakba Day 2012: Revolution On Hold

By Linah Alsaafin | Al Akhbar | May 16, 2012

The week leading up to the 64th commemoration of Nakba Day, the city of Ramallah witnessed a blitz of protests which were echoed in other Palestinian cities such as Gaza, Nablus, and Jerusalem. The deal to end the hunger strike on the eve of Nakba led to a more subdued commemoration then was expected.

The mass hunger strike that began on April 17, with an estimated 2,500 Palestinian prisoners participating, was the largest of its kind and had entered its fourth week. Eight of the hunger strikers had entered their third consecutive month without food.

Small protests at the Israeli prison of Ofer in west Ramallah took place daily, with the Israeli army typically responding with tear gas and rubber bullets.

Every day, the city center witnessed multiple marches, with marchers calling on shopkeepers to close their stores and join them as they headed back to the point they started from: the prisoners’ solidarity tent at Clock Square.

On some occasions, huge traffic jams were caused by the protesters who blocked the main streets as they sat on the ground, chanting and holding up posters and pictures of prisoners.

Other creative ways of demonstrating to raise awareness about the prisoners’ struggle included offering water and salt to people, as a reminder that these two elements were all that the prisoners were surviving on during their hunger strike.

Frustration was vented at the Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership as well. Protesters almost managed to enter the PA compound of al-Muqata, calling out against the leadership’s compliant silence.

During a Europe Day celebration, a small of group of protesters and mothers of prisoners expressed their wishes to have their sons back home and their disappointment in the PA’s lack of action to Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who responded in the well-rehearsed manner of any politician paying lip service to a cause.

During PA president Mahmoud Abbas’ brief visit to the prisoners’ solidarity tent in al-Bireh last Thursday, protesters who had unfurled posters exposing Abbas’ silence on the hunger strikes were attacked by undercover policemen both physically and verbally. Despite an array of media cameras in the tent, only one outlet covered the incident.Last Wednesday, the UN building in Ramallah was effectively shut down by protesters for the whole day. Protesters, who were barred from entering the building, called on secretary general Ban Ki Moon to take a more assertive stance regarding the Palestinian prisoners, in accordance with the third and fourth Geneva Conventions that Israel regularly violates.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) buildings in Gaza and Ramallah were both shut down, and a protest took place in front of the office of the Quartet on the Middle East in Jerusalem.

For the first time in a long time, Palestinians were united on the street, regardless of their political factions, and perhaps disregarding them. The prisoners proved they had the potential to unite the people and overstep the PA regime’s political normalization with Israel. Chants of “Why the security coordination while your people are getting shot at by the Israeli army” and “Oslo is long gone! We have returned to the struggle!” referring to the signing of the disastrous Oslo Accords in 1993, reverberated through the streets.

Nakba Eve

On the eve of Nakba Day, the mood was electric in anticipation of the commemoration events. It seemed like it wasn’t clear who most feared the potential explosive zenith the hunger strikers had managed to bring out – the PA (with Abbas begging Israel to allow the PA to have more weapons to maintain ‘security’) or Israel, who had taken extreme measures in preparation for suppressing the Nakba protests.

In the early morning hours of May 15, confirmation of a deal between the hunger strikers and the Israeli Prison Authorities (IPA) was heard. The mass hunger strikers, who had gone 28 days without food, succeeded in achieving almost all of their demands, which included three main calls: an end to administrative detention, an end to solitary confinement (19 prisoners have spent years living in a tiny cell by themselves), and the right to family visits.

All administrative detainees, held without charge or trial, are to be released once their detention expires without having their detention renewed. Family visits will be reinstated within a month, a great relief for families from Gaza, who haven’t seen their sons, brothers, and fathers since 2007.

The longest hunger strikers in the history of Palestine, Bilal Thiab and Thaer Halahleh (77 days), as well as Hasan Safadi (71 days) and Omar Abu Shalal (69 days) all agreed to end their strike on the basis of the same agreement the administrative detainees agreed to.

Diffusing Hunger

The hunger strikers had triumphed. Yet the role of the PA and its frantic collusion with Israel to reach a deal ahead of Nakba Day is certainly questionable. The charged atmosphere was effectively diffused.

As a result, Nakba Day in the West Bank lost its unique potential to spark an uprising and instead panned out like any other commemoration. In Nablus, a branch of the International Solidarity Movement for Palestinians (ISM) went to the Huwarra checkpoint to demonstrate, catching the Israeli soldiers there off-guard. The demonstration wasn’t announced because when they did that last year, the PA was quick to suppress them.One protester, identified only as Beesan, told Al-Akhbar that “the group of around 30 protesters was forced to retreat by the army. Huwarra checkpoint was sealed shut, meaning no one could go in or out of Nablus. As the protesters made their way back to Nablus, PA security forces followed them in their cars, and kept calling the director of the ISM branch Wael al-Faqih to disband the protest.”

One of the villages in the Ramallah governate, Ni’lin, tasted a small victory before being suppressed by the Israeli army. Protesters went to the village early in the morning and managed to cross through the checkpoint to the other side where the town of Ramleh, ethnically cleansed in 1948, lies. Ramleh, which used to be home to thousands of Palestinians, now has a Jewish majority and is part of Israel. Israeli occupation forces dispersed the protesters with tear gas and arrested Naji Tamimi from Nabi Saleh, who has only just been released after a year in Israeli jail on March 1st.

In Ramallah, thousands of people marched from Yasser Arafat’s grave in Muqata to Clock Square, where singers sang nationalistic songs and politicians congratulated the hunger strikers on their victory.

Another Day of Protests

Hundreds made their way to Ofer prison, in the largest demonstration there yet. The Israeli army surrounded the protesters from three sides and fired large amounts of tear gas canisters, which forced the majority of protesters to remain at a distance from the jail.

Persistent protesters managed to get close to the soldiers and were chanting against the occupation, but had to scatter on more than one occasion when the soldiers brought out the skunk truck and began firing plastic covered steel bullets.

At Qalandiya checkpoint, a smaller protest was quickly quelled by the Israeli army, and one man was taken immediately to hospital after being shot at with live ammunition.

In essence, it was just another protest at Ofer or Qalandiya, disconnected from the heavy inference that May 15 holds for Palestinians. The right of return assertions and chants were eclipsed by the general chants against the occupation, and occasionally for the prisoners whose cause is still not over yet.

The prospective spark for an uprising on Nakba Day did not happen, but the struggle remains. 4,600 prisoners still languish in Israeli jails, the right of return has not yet been achieved, and that the stage is still set for an uprising against the occupation.

May 16, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | 1 Comment

Nakba Law in action: Students must pay expenses for ceremony

By Noam Sheizaf | +972 | May 13 2012

A little over a year ago, the Israeli Knesset passed the Nakba Law, stating that institutions who receive state funding are not to permit any commemoration of the Palestinian catastrophe in 1948. During Israel’s War of Independence, 80 percent of the Arab population in what later became the State of Israel was displaced. Some of the Palestinians fled battle grounds, others were forcefully removed. None were allowed back, and their property was confiscated by the State of Israel. Palestinians mark their national catastrophe on May 15, the day following Israel’s declaration of independence.

A couple of years ago, the Knesset passed a bill aimed at limiting the discussion and commemoration of the Nakba entirely. The original bill ordered any person organizing a ceremony in memory of the Nakba to face criminal charges and a prison term of up to three years. The Knesset ended up passing a softer version of the bill, stating that any institution – even a Palestinian one – could lose state funding if it was to sponsor a Nakba-related event.

Tel Aviv University has permitted a Nakba memorial ceremony planned by Jewish and Palestinian students, but ordered it to take place just outside the university gates, in the main plaza. The university also forced the students to pay for the security expenses of the ceremony, contrary to the practice in all other events organized by students within the campus. The university cited the Nakba Law as the reason for this decision.

Haaretz reported today that Israel’s Minister of Education, Gidon Saar, urged Tel Aviv University to cancel the event altogether.

Needless to say, these developments cast a shadow on Israel’s self-perception as a democracy even within the Green Line. When mentioning an historical event at an academic institution is outlawed, one wonders what is truly left of freedom of speech.

May 14, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Comments Off on Nakba Law in action: Students must pay expenses for ceremony

Tel Aviv University imposes restrictions on Nakba Day events

MEMO | May 11, 2012

Tel Aviv University has imposed policies and procedures intended to restrict those Arab students who wish to organise Nakba commemorative events on campus. Palestinians remember the Nakba (Catastrophe) on 15th May every year, the date on which the state of Israel was created on their land.

According to a report in Haaretz newspaper, the presidency of the university has told the organisers of Nakba Day activities to provide the necessary funding for hiring at least six security guards from the university’s own security company to maintain control and order. The university wants to prevent any disturbances or riots during the ceremony scheduled for next week.

The event organisers must provide the required sum of money two days ahead of the proposed date of the programme, failing which it will be cancelled. The university has also banned the use of flags, banners and loud PA systems even though the Nakba Day commemoration has been approved by the students’ council, considered widely to be the first time such permission has been granted.

The organisers of the ceremony told Haaretz that the purpose behind the event is to introduce to non-Arab students the facts about the disaster that befell the Palestinians in 1948. In doing so, they also hope to influence Israeli public opinion and remind all citizens of the loss and human tragedy experienced by the Palestinians as a result of the Israeli occupation of their land.

May 13, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | Comments Off on Tel Aviv University imposes restrictions on Nakba Day events