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Palestinian Nakba: The Young Will Never Forget

By Ramzy Baroud | Palestine Chronicle | May 15 2013
The Nakba must not be assigned to the shelves of history.
The Nakba must not be assigned to the shelves of history

Many Palestinians remember and reference al-Nakba, also known as the Catastrophe, on May 15 every year. The event marks the expulsion of nearly a million Palestinians, while their villages were destroyed. The destruction of Palestine in 1947-48 ushered in the birth of Israel. Older generations relay the harsh and oppressive memory of their collective experience to younger Palestinians, many of whom live their own Nakbas today.

In covering al-Nakba, sympathetic Arab and other media play sad music and show black and white footage of displaced, frightened refugees. They rightly emphasize the concept of Sumud, steadfastness, as they show Palestinian of all ages holding unto the rusty keys of their homes and insisting on their right of return. Other, less sympathetic media discuss al-Nakba, if at all, as a side note – a nuisance in the Israeli narrative of a nation’s supposedly miraculous birth and its progression to an idyllic oasis of democracy. What such reductionist representations often fail to show is that while al-Nakba started, it never truly finished.

Those who underwent the pain, harm and loss of al-Nakba are yet to receive the justice that was promised to them by the international community. UN Resolution 194 states that “the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date” (Article 11). Those who wrought this injustice are also yet to achieve their ultimate objectives in Palestine. After all, Israel doesn’t have defined boundaries by accident.

David Ben Gurion, first Prime Minister of Israel, once prophesized that “the old (refugees) will die and the young will forget.” He spoke with the harshness of a conqueror. Ben Gurion carried out his war plans to the furthest extent possible. Every region in Palestine that was meant to be taken was captured, its people were expelled or massacred in their homes and villages. Ben Guiron ‘cleansed’ the land, but he failed to cleanse Israel’s past. Memory persists.

Ben Gurion referenced my own family’s village – Beit Daras – which witnessed three battles and a massacre. In an entry in his diaries on May 12, 1948, he wrote: “Beit Daras was mortared. Fifty Arabs (were killed). The (villages of) Bashit and Sawafir were occupied. There is mass exodus from nearby areas (neighbors in Majdal). We sustained 5 dead and 15 wounded. ” (War Diaries, 1947-1949).

More than fifty people were killed in Beit Daras that day. An old Gaza woman, Um Mohammed – who I discussed in my last book, My Father was a Freedom Fighter – refers to what is likely the same event:

“The town was under bombardment, and it was surrounded from all directions. There was no way out. The armed men (the Beit Daras fighters) said they were going to check on the road to Isdud, to see if it was open. They moved forward and shot few shots to see if someone would return fire. No one did. But they (the Zionist forces) were hiding and waiting to ambush the people. The armed men returned and told the people to evacuate the women and children. The people went out (including) those who were gathered at my huge house, the family house. There were mostly children and kids in the house. The Jewish (soldiers) let the people get out, and then they whipped them with bombs and machine guns. More people fell than those who were able to run. My sister and I…started running through the fields; we’d fall and get up. My sister and I escaped together holding each other’s hands. The people who took the main road were either killed or injured. The firing was falling on the people like sand. The bombs from one side and the machine guns from the other.”

Ben Gurion would not necessarily doubt Um Mohammed’s account. He candidly stated: “Let us not ignore the truth among ourselves…politically we are the aggressors and they defend themselves…The country is theirs, because they inhabit it, whereas we want to come here and settle down, and in their view we want to take away from them their country” (as quoted in Chomsky’s Fateful Triangle, pp. 91-2).

It is precisely for this reason that neither the old nor the young have forgotten. Every day is another manifestation of the same protracted al-Nakba that has lasted 65 years now. Young people’s hardships today are inextricably linked to the violent and horrific uprooting decades ago.

Al-Nakba has also remained an ongoing project through generations of Israeli Zionists. When Ben Gurion died in 1973, current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in his mid-twenties. He was then serving his last year in the Israeli army, and today he rules Israel with a coalition that includes almost three quarters of the Israeli parliament. Like most Israeli leaders, he continues to contribute to the very discourse by which Palestine was conquered. He speaks of peace, while his soldiers and armed settlers take over Palestinian homes and farms. He makes repeated offers to Palestinians for ‘unconditional’ talks, as he repeats his violent rejection of every Palestinian aspiration. His lobby in Washington is much stronger than ever before. He reigns supreme, as he continues to fulfill the ‘vision’ of early Zionists.

Old keys and deeds of stolen lands attest to the intergenerational experience that is Al-Nakba. Today Palestinians continue to be herded behind military checkpoints. They are denied the right to proper medical care, and their ancient olive trees are ruthlessly bulldozed. What Israel has not been able to control, however, is the resolve of Palestinians. The prison, the checkpoint and the gun reside in our collective memory in a way that cannot be held captive, controlled, or shot.

In fact, al-Nakba is not a specific date or an estimation of time, but the entirety of those 65 years and counting. The event must not be assigned to the shelves of history, not as long as refugees are still refugees and settlers continue to rob Palestinian land. As long as Netanyahu speaks the language of Ben Gurion, other ‘catastrophic’ episodes will follow. And as long as Palestinians hold on to their keys and deeds, the old may die but the young will never forget.

– RamzyBaroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is an internationally-syndicated columnist and the editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London).

May 16, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Activists: Facebook blocks Nakba group page

Ma’an – 14/05/2013

BETHLEHEM – A Facebook page promoting Nakba commemoration events in Jaffa was temporarily blocked overnight, Palestinian activists said Monday.

Fatima Huleiwi, an activist with Jaffa Youth, told Ma’an that it was not the first time that Facebook had blocked the group’s user page.

“When we published material urging people to support hunger striking prisoners, our pages were blocked. Last night the invitation to an event commemorating the Nakba anniversary in Jaffa was also blocked on several accounts for hours,” she said.

Sometimes right-wing Israelis report violations on the group’s Facebook pages, Huleiwi says, and as a result Facebook temporarily blocks the site for several hours.

Jaffa Youth has to send a complaint to Facebook before they eventually unblock the page, she added.

Members of Jaffa Youth will commemorate the 65th Nakba anniversary in Jaffa’s Clock Square from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The event will include artistic activities and public discussions about the Nakba, with Dr. Thabet Abu Ras from Adalah, and Eitan Bronstein from Zochrot, or ‘remembering,’ among the participants.

“We will continue to prepare for this event and will try to make it the most prestigious commemoration of the Nakba in the Palestinian territories occupied in 1948,” Mahmoud Abu Arisha, an activist from Jaffa Youth, told Ma’an.

More than 760,000 Palestinians — estimated today to number 4.8 million with their descendants — were pushed into exile or driven out of their homes in the conflict surrounding Israel’s creation in 1948.

Around 160,000 Palestinians, who remained in Israel after 1948, now number around 1.36 million people, or 20 percent of the country’s population.

May 14, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Long Live The Resistance

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By Adam Akkad | Beyond Compromise | November 19, 2012

It is rather unfortunate that we Palestinians do not get to set the dynamics of our own resistance. Under the iron boot of occupation, siege and apartheid the means available to us are beyond limited and are, in fact, nonexistent. What is even more unfortunate is the constant humiliation, fear and never ending suffering my people have to endure under the oppressive and discriminatory hand of Zionism. This dynamic places us Palestinians in a tough position, between a rock and a hard place, if you will. How is it exactly that we resist this oppression? How can we compel our oppressor to grant us our freedom and bring about justice?

Behind this keyboard I am typing with and from the comfort of my apartment, it is easy for me to condemn violent resistance, as many so-called solidarity activists choose to do. When bullets and bombs are not whisking past your head threatening not only your life, but the lives of your loved ones, it is all too tempting to take this politically correct stance and avoid any possible friction with so-called comrades. This understanding is not only insufficient and unbecoming of true solidarity, it is intellectually disingenuous.

The dynamic of our resistance is set by our Zionist oppressor, which as it stands, comes from the position of power. Our resistance is defensive and reactionary. The effect, not the cause. In a situation where we find ourselves entirely helpless and defenseless, violent resistance becomes the only means of raising our voices and procuring any and all leverage we can to demand our rights and bring about justice. When the arrogance of the oppressor is shattered and replaced with insecurity, that is a success of the resistance. The point is to make our oppression risky for the oppressor. Without any risk, the oppressor has no reason to cease it’s oppression and actually begins to benefit from it. And as we’ve seen in Palestine, oppression then becomes the status quo.

It is important to consider the causes and effects of the rocket attacks of the Palestinian resistance. Do these attacks put civilians in danger? Yes. But pushing our thoughts a bit further we land upon the key question: Why are these rockets fired in the first place? The answer lies in the decades long horror story that is aptly referred to as the Nakba, or the Catastrophe. The Nakba is the story of the destruction of the Palestine and the Palestinian people; the ethnic cleansing, massacre, aggression and oppression of an entire people. The Nakba didn’t end in 1948 and Israel’s latest aggression on Gaza is a continuation of its diabolical desire to rid historic Palestine of its indigenous population. When we understand that the rockets are a response to Israeli oppression that didn’t start last Wednesday, but over 6 decades ago, it becomes abundantly clear that Israel is responsible for any danger its citizens face. If these civilians truly want to put an end to the danger they may potentially face, then I extend to them an invitation to join us in our struggle to end oppression for all. Help us bring justice to Palestine and let all human beings live with their dignity intact. Any danger these citizens face is a knee jerk reaction to the oppression and suffering their country not only perpetuates, but thrives off of.

It is entirely unnatural to expect anything but resistance, violent or otherwise, from the oppressed.

December 2, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Celebrating Palestinian Resistance and Resilience

By Ali Mallah* and Eva Bartlett** |  Global Research | June 4, 2012

I may lose my daily bread, if you wish
I may hawk my clothes and bed
I may become a stone-cutter, or a porter
Or a street-sweeper
I may search in animal dung for food
I may collapse, naked and starved
Enemy of light
I will not compromise
And to the end
I shall fight.

You may rob me of the last span of my land
You may ditch my youth in prison holes
Steal what my grandfather left me behind:
Some furniture or clothes and jars,
You may burn my poems and books
You may feed your dog on my flesh
You may impose a nightmare of your terror
On my village
Enemy of light
I shall not compromise
And to the end
I shall fight.

Samih_al-Qasim

With the passing of the 64th anniversary of the Nakba, (the establishment of the illegal Zionist state on the land and homes of Palestinians), should we mourn or celebrate? Professor Nurit Peled–Elhanan wrote of her mourning:

“I will mourn on Nakba Day. I will mourn for vanished Palestine most of which I never knew. I will mourn for the holy land that is losing its humanity, its landscape, its beauty and its children on the altar of racism and evil. I will mourn for the Jewish youngsters who invade and desecrate the homes of families in Sheikh Jarrah, throw the inhabitants into the street, and then sing and dance in memory of Baruch Goldstein, the infamous murderer of Palestinian children, while the owners of the desecrated houses with their children and old people are sleeping in the rain, on the street, opposite their own homes. … All these things I will mourn on Nakba Day. I will join the millions of dispossessed, downtrodden and humiliated who have not given up on the future and who still believe there is a chance, who stand as witnesses and as firebrands of the true human spirit.…”

For the last 64 years, Palestinian women, men, elderly, and youth have steadfastly and spiritedly resisted the occupation and the Zionist state. It is a resistance that continues flourishing among Palestinians from all walks of life both inside and outside Palestine, be they farmers, workers, students, poets, or intellectuals.

The criminal Zionist campaign to erase Palestinian history and to whitewash Zionist massacres and the expulsion, imprisonment, and abuse of Palestinians continues 64 years after the Zionist state was founded on the ethnically-cleansed land of Palestine. In spite of the decades that have passed since May 15, 1948, Palestinians have not forgotten the Nakba, nor the 531 Palestinian villages razed and destroyed by Zionists before and after 1948, nor the over 750,000 Palestinians violently expelled from their homes in Palestine. The refugees are future returnees, and as they await justice—the right to return to the homes and land from which they were forcibly expelled—they don’t do so complaisantly.

The shelves of the United Nations Security Council and UN General Assembly are full of resolutions affirming the illegality of the Zionist state’s actions and colonies. Among these resolutions, the right to return is spelled out clearly in the first resolution listed below, along with other integral resolutions:

Palestinian Refugees have the right to return to their homes

(General Assembly Resolution 194, Dec. 11, 1948 ):

“Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return…”

Palestinians have the right to Self-Determination

(General Assembly Resolution 3236, November 22, 1974 ):

“Reaffirms the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people in Palestine…to self-determination without external interference” and “to national independence and sovereignty.”

Israel’s occupation of Palestine is Illegal

(Security Council Resolution 242, Nov. 22, 1967):

Calls for the “withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict”and “acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.”

Israel’s settlements in Palestine are Illegal

(Security Council Resolution 446, March 22, 1979):

“Determines that the policy and practices of Israel in establishing settlements in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967 have no legal validity and constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.”

Palestinians have a long, rich history of struggling for their fundamental and inalienable rights—those rights affirmed by numerous more UN resolutions and human rights enshrined in international law and enjoyed by people around the world. It is a struggle which goes back to the early days of Zionist colonization of Palestine and which thrives in various forms today throughout occupied Palestine and in exile. Palestinian scholar and rights activist Mazin Qumsiyeh recently wrote: “We have an amazing history of 130 years of struggle against the most well-financed, most-organized, most-supported colonial project in human history.” As Qumsiyeh alludes, Zionist terrorism extends back decades before the Jewish state was formed on the ruins of Palestinian towns. Palestinian popular resistance against the racist and destructive Zionist project, extends back to the late 1800s when the first Zionist colonists began arriving in Palestine.

The Nakba is imprinted in the minds of 11 million Palestinian women, men and children, passed on from generation to generation along with the keys to their homes in occupied Palestine. Every day in occupied Palestine there are new Nakbas as still more Palestinians are violently displaced from their homes, land, and families or are murdered at the hands of the IOF and Jewish colonists. Badil reports that:

“Internal displacement continues unabated in the OPT today. Thousands have been forcibly displaced in the Jordan Valley as a result of closure, home demolition and eviction orders, and the threat of displacement hangs over those who remain. Similar patterns of forced displacement are found in Israel, where urban development plans for the exclusive benefit of Jewish communities are displacing indigenous Palestinian communities in the Naqab (Negev) and Galilee.”

The ethnic cleansing of Palestine at the hands of Zionist terrorists organizations like the Irgun, the Stern Gang, and the Hagana, began years before 1948 and continues until this day, under the more palatable (to unethical politicians and apologists around the world) pretext of a state “defending” itself.

According to Al Awda (the Return) website:

“Jewish terrorist groups such as Haganah, Irgun and Stern terrorized the Palestinian street, destroyed villages and slaughtered entire Palestinian families. Approximately 50% of all Palestinian villages were destroyed in 1948 and many cities were cleared from their Palestinian population… Israeli forces killed an estimated 13,000 Palestinians and forcibly evicted 737,166 Palestinians from their homes and land.”

Throughout occupied Palestine, the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) “defend” the Zionist state by demolishing Palestinian homes, expelling Palestinian residents from homes their families have lived in for generations, escorting armed Jewish colonists as they attack and shoot Palestinians, imposing lock-downs on Palestinian towns, arresting Palestinian men, women, teens and children under false pretexts of “security threats”, violently quelling non-violent demonstrations, firing on Palestinian farmers and fishers in the Gaza Strip, and abusing and torturing Palestinian political prisoners—including hunger-strikers demanding their most basic rights.

The Zionist state “defends” itself by annexing more Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem with its Separation Wall, expanding already-massive illegal Jewish colonies in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, periodically waging brutal and criminal bombing campaigns on the imprisoned population of the Gaza Strip, enforcing 35 discriminatory laws against Palestinians holding Israeli citizenship (non-Jews), and refusing to enact UN Resolution 194 which has been reiterated over 130 times.

In one of its more recent criminal acts, the Zionist state “defended” itself when slaughtering over 1450 Palestinians in the 2008-2009 Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip, as it “defended” itself when perpetrating similar massacres in Lebanon and Gaza in 2006 and later. It “defended” itself on May 15, 2011 by opening live fire on crowds of Palestinian women, men and youths commemorating Nakba Day, killing 14 civilians and injuring hundreds more.

It again “defended” itself in March 2012 when violently quelling Palestinians’ popular demonstrations on Land Day—killing a youth from Gaza and injuring over 300 throughout occupied Palestine—and two months later in Nakba commemorations. The United Nations reports that “at least 370 Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces in demonstrations” on Nakba Day 2012. In weekly non-violent demonstrations throughout the occupied West Bank against the Zionist Separation Wall, the IOF have killed at least 21 Palestinians (10 of them minors) and have injured hundreds more.

Right of Return:

My homeland is not a suitcase, and I am no traveller” – Mahmoud Darwish

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, among other things, that “Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.” Yet the Zionist regime does not allow Palestinians violently expelled from their homes and land to return, although this was conditional for Israel’s entry into the United Nations. An inalienable and non-negotiable right, the right for Palestinian refugees to return cannot be sold by anyone, be they Zionist or compromised Palestinian representatives.

The Zionist state passed a Jewish-specific law on coming to occupied Palestine. Badil notes: “In 1950, Israel enacted the Law of Return, granting any Jew anywhere the right to citizenship as a Jewish national in Israel and (since 1967) also in the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT) while the 1952 Citizenship Law denationalised the Palestinian refugees.”

Al Awda, the Return:

Little known nowadays, Palestinians in the 1980s attempted to use creative non-violent resistance against the Zionists’ banning of Palestinians’ right to return. And while Cyprus and freedom boats would come into the spotlight in 2008 and later years, the initial concept of sailing from Cyprus dates back to early 1988. PLO officials and activists Marwan Kayyali, Mohammed Tamimi, and Mohammed Buheis organized the first of what would two decades later be a stream of boats sailing to Palestine. Purchasing a Greek ferry, the Sol Phryne, the team re-named it al-Awda and readied it to carry over 130 Palestinians, along with an anticipated several hundred journalists and observers, to Haifa port.

The boat never left Cyprus. In February, 1988 a bomb was planted on the boat, and shortly afterwards, on February 15, Kayyali, Tamimi and Buheis were assassinated when a remote-controlled bomb was detonated in their car. All fingers pointed to “Israel”—which had publicly stated that the boat would never be allowed near Haifa—and its Mossad (Secret Services). Yet, as with uncountable assassinations by “Israeli” agents, “Israel” got away with murder.

The Intifada:

In 1976, the Zionist state announced plans to expropriate still more Palestinian land—thousands of acres—for “security and settlement purposes.” On March 30, Palestinian citizens of 1948 Palestine (pre-”Israel”) responded by holding a general strike, and organized marches throughout occupied Palestine. Not surprisingly, the IOF was heavy-handed in their quashing of the demonstrations and killed six Palestinians in the process, injuring hundreds more. Land Day, as it came to be known, is commemorated yearly, with ever more reasons annually to protest continuing Zionist land-grabs.

The First Intifada (uprising) broke out throughout occupied Palestine in December 1987, lasting until 1993, with popular demonstrations, strikes, civil disobedience and other manifestations of unified non-violent resistance to the Zionist occupation. The IOF killed over 1,000 Palestinians during the years of the Intifada and employed a criminal bone-breaking campaign on Palestinian protesters and other civilians.

On September 28, 2000, when war criminal Ariel Sharon—accompanied by 1,000 troops and paramilitary police, and scores of Jewish colonists—entered the al-Haram al-Sharif complex, one of Islam’s holiest sites and in which Al Aqsa Mosque is housed, hundreds of Palestinians revolted, starting off the Second Intifada. Like the First Intifada, the collective uprising against the Zionist occupation spread throughout occupied Palestine. It lasted until 2005, with Palestinians subjected to more Zionist crimes and brutality, including massive IOF invasions into Palestinian towns and cities and the bulldozing of thousands of homes throughout occupied Palestine. Well over 5,500 Palestinians were killed in the Second Intifada. Yet, Palestinians’ uprising has not stopped as the Zionist occupation continues.

In August 2008, after planning and mobilizing for two years, the Free Gaza movement completed what Marwan Kayyali and others had been trying to do before they were assassinated: Free Gaza sailed two rickety fishing boats filled with international solidarity activists, journalists, and Palestinians from Cyprus to Gaza, Palestine. Four more successful missions carried Free Gaza activists, including Palestinians, to and from the Gaza Strip. On the next three attempts, Israeli gunboats rammed a Free Gaza boat three times, nearly sinking it, and forcibly boarded the other two Free Gaza boats, abducting and deporting all on board.

New initiatives sprang forth from Free Gaza’s example, including boats from Malaysia, Libya, Canada, Ireland, Turkey, and a boat of Jewish activists. All of these were prevented by the IOF from reaching Gaza, Palestine. In another brazen display of ruthlessness, Israeli commandos assassinated nine Turkish civilians participating in the Freedom Flotilla in May 2010. Air-dropped onto the Turkish Mavi Marmara, the Israeli commandos descended firing machine guns and proceeded to hunt down passengers, shooting many “point-blank assassination style,” as Kevin Neish, a Canadian participant, described.

The return movement inspired by Kayyali has not been limited to sea travel. Since early 2009, land convoys from Africa, Europe, and around the world have proceeded to Gaza via the Egyptian Rafah crossing, bringing supplies of humanitarian aid vitally needed in Gaza, but more importantly challenging the illegal Israeli-enforced complete closure of Gaza’s borders to people, goods and exports.

Palestinians, later supported by international activists, expanded the growing BDS (Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions) campaign of 2005, the Gaza Freedom March, the Global March to Jerusalem, and organized the Welcome to Palestine campaign which saw people from around the world fly to Tel Aviv with the intent of visiting Palestine. Zionist security prevented the vast majority from entering Palestine, going as far as to send “no-fly” lists to airports around the world.

Final Comments:

For the last 64 years, Zionists in Palestine have been killing Palestinians, destroying homes, uprooting ancient olive trees, burning, poisoning, and destroying farm land, stealing water, imprisoning Palestinian men and women, girls and boys, and breaking their bones. They have been strangling the 1.7 million Palestinians in Gaza, denying them rights to employment, agriculture, fishing, clean water, electricity, travel, education, and adequate medical care.

The massacres, from Deir Yassin to Gaza, are permanent witness to the Zionists’ crimes. However, the Palestinian spirits will never be broken and, with every new Palestinian infant born inside occupied Palestine or in the diaspora, the spirit of resistance is passed along to each new generation. Palestinian youths memorize the poetry of Mahmoud Darwish, Samih Al Qassem and many others as they memorize the names of every Palestinian town, hill and valley. They will return.

Enemy of light
The signs of joy and the tidings
Shouts of happiness and anthems
Are there at the port
And at the horizon
A sail is defying the wind and the deep seas
Overcoming all the challenges
It is the return of Ulysses
From the lost sees
It is the return of the sun
And the return of the ousted
And for their sake
I swear
I shall not compromise
And to the end
I shall fight!

Samih_al-Qasim

*Ali Mallah is a member of the National Steering Committee of Canadian Peace Alliance, is on the coordinating committee of the Toronto Coalition Against the War and the Board of Directors of Alternatives Canada and the Centre for Social Justice. Ali serves on the International Central Committee of Global March to Jerusalem, and was deeply involved in the previous Gaza Freedom March Initiative, was a founding member of Canadian Boat to Gaza, the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid, and the Muslim Unity Group. He is a former Vice-President of the Canadian Arab Federation and is a CUPE activist.

**Eva Bartlett is a Canadian activist and freelance journalist who has spent collectively three years in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip volunteering with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). In November 2008, Eva sailed with Free Gaza the Gaza Strip where until June 2010 she joined the ISM in accompanying fishermen on the sea and farmers in the border regions. During the 2008-2009 Israeli massacre of Gaza, Eva and other ISM members accompanied Palestinian medics in their ambulances, documenting the victims of Israel’s massacre, including Palestinian medics and rescuers. She writes for IPS news, the Dominion, and various independent media, as well as maintaining her blog, In Gaza.

see also:

Jerusalem Day

A strategy of liberation requires emancipation

The Right to Return, a Basic Right Still Denied

A Review of the Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine by Ilan Pappe

More UN Resolutions on Israel, 195-1992:

Res 106: condemns Israel for Gaza raid

Res 111: condemns Israel for raid on Syria that killed fifty-six people.

Res 127: recommends Israel suspend its no-man’s zone’ in Jerusalem.

Res 162: urges Israel to comply with UN decisions.

Res 171: determines flagrant violations by Israel in its attack on Syria.

Res 228: censures Israel for its attack on Samu in the West Bank, then under Jordanian control.

Res 237: urges Israel to allow return of new 1967 Palestinian refugees.

Res 248: condemns Israel for its massive attack on Karameh in Jordan.

Res 250: calls on Israel to refrain from holding military parade in Jerusalem.

Res 251: deeply deplores Israeli military parade in Jerusalem in defiance of Resolution 250.

Res 252: declares invalid Israel’s acts to unify Jerusalem as Jewish capital.

Res 256: condemns Israeli raids on Jordan as flagrant violation.

Res 259: deplores Israel’s refusal to accept UN mission to probe occupation.

Res 262: condemns Israel for attack on Beirut airport.

Res 265: condemns Israel for air attacks for Salt in Jordan.

Res 267: censures Israel for administrative acts to change the status of Jerusalem.

Res 270: condemns Israel for air attacks on villages in southern Lebanon.

Res 271: condemns Israel’s failure to obey UN resolutions on Jerusalem.

Res 279: demands withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanon.

Res 280: condemns Israeli’s attacks against Lebanon.

Res 285: demands immediate Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon.

Res 298: deplores Israel’s changing of the status of Jerusalem.

Res 313: demands that Israel stop attacks against Lebanon.

Res 316: condemns Israel for repeated attacks on Lebanon.

Res 317: deplores Israel’s refusal to release.

Res 332: condemns Israel’s repeated attacks against Lebanon.

Res 337: condemns Israel for violating Lebanon’s sovereignty.

Res 347: condemns Israeli attacks on Lebanon.

Res 425: calls on Israel to withdraw its forces from Lebanon.

Res 427: calls on Israel to complete its withdrawal from Lebanon.

Res 444: deplores Israel’s lack of cooperation with UN peacekeeping forces.

Res 446: determines that Israeli settlements are a serious obstruction to peace and calls on Israel to abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention

Res 450: calls on Israel to stop attacking Lebanon.

Res 452: calls on Israel to cease building settlements in occupied territories.

Res 465: deplores Israel’s settlements and asks all member states not to assist its settlements program.

Res 467: strongly deplores Israel’s military intervention in Lebanon.

Res 468: calls on Israel to rescind illegal expulsions of two Palestinian mayors and a judge and to facilitate their return.

Res 469: strongly deplores Israel’s failure to observe the council’s order not to deport Palestinians.

Res 471: expresses deep concern at Israel’s failure to abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Res 476: reiterates that Israel’s claim to Jerusalem are null and void.

Res 478: censures (Israel) in the strongest terms for its claim to Jerusalem in its Basic Law.

Res 484: declares it imperative that Israel re-admit two deported Palestinian mayors.

Res 487: strongly condemns Israel for its attack on Iraq’s nuclear facility.

Res 497: decides that Israel’s annexation of Syria’s Golan Heights is null and void and demands that Israel rescinds its decision forthwith.

Res 498: calls on Israel to withdraw from Lebanon.

Res 501: calls on Israel to stop attacks against Lebanon and withdraw its troops.

Res 509: demands that Israel withdraw its forces forthwith and unconditionally from Lebanon.

Res 515: demands that Israel lift its siege of Beirut and allow food supplies to be brought in.

Res 517: censures Israel for failing to obey UN resolutions and demands that Israel withdraw its forces from Lebanon.

Res 518: demands that Israel cooperate fully with UN forces in Lebanon.

Res 520: condemns Israel’s attack into West Beirut.

Res 573: condemns Israel vigorously for bombing Tunisia in attack on PLO headquarters.

Res 587: takes note of previous calls on Israel to withdraw its forces from Lebanon and urges all parties to withdraw.

Res 592: strongly deplores the killing of Palestinian students at Bir Zeit University by Israeli troops.

Res 605: strongly deplores Israel’s policies and practices denying the human rights of Palestinians.

Res 607: calls on Israel not to deport Palestinians and strongly requests it to abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Res 608: deeply regrets that Israel has defied the United Nations and deported Palestinian civilians.

Res 636: deeply regrets Israeli deportation of Palestinian civilians.

Res 641: deplores Israel’s continuing deportation of Palestinians.

Res 672: condemns Israel for violence against Palestinians at the Haram Al-Sharif/Temple Mount.

Res 673: deplores Israel’s refusal to cooperate with the United Nations.

Res 681: deplores Israel’s resumption of the deportation of Palestinians.

Res 694: deplores Israel’s deportation of Palestinians and calls on it to ensure their safe and immediate return.

Res 726: strongly condemns Israel’s deportation of Palestinians.

Res 799: strongly condemns Israel’s deportation of 413 Palestinians and calls for their immediate return.

June 4, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Comments Off on Celebrating Palestinian Resistance and Resilience

Top 10 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About the #Nakba

Permission To Narrate

1.       Nakba is the Arabic word for catastrophe. It is used to describe the Palestinian loss of land and property during the depopulation of Palestine from 1947-1949 and does not refer simply to the declaration of a state of Israel.

2.       212 localities depopulated and at least half of the refugees created during the Nakba were created prior to May 15th, which is, prior to the entry of armies of other Arab states. The largest Palestinian cities at the time, Yaffa and Haifa, were emptied of the vast majority of their inhabitants before May 15th, 1948. The idea that refugee creation happened only after, or only as a result of, the mobilization of Arab armies is patently false.

3.      At every stage of the war, the Yishuv/Israeli forces were superior in training, equipment and numbers to the combined Arab armies.

4.       The Zionists prepared extensive data collection efforts to map out intelligence relating to the Palestinian villages for a decade prior to the war. Detailed information about each village was kept including information on the number of inhabitants, the village’s resources, the potential activists that resided within it and what its political affiliations were.

5.     Of the over 500 Palestinian villages depopulated during the Nakba, 303 were depopulated as a result of either direct expulsion  carried out by Yishuv/Israeli forces or as a result of attack by Yishuv/Israel forces.

6.     Of the depopulated villages, 81 have been completely obliterated which means there is no traceable sign of their existence. Rubble was identified at the site of another 140 villages. Some standing walls were apparent at another 60 villages while 74 more had few houses intact. Other villages had houses intact and occupied by Israelis.

7.     Golda Meir struck a secret agreement with the King of Jordan before the war. Even though Jordan’s Arab Legion was the most formidable of the Arab armies, and even though the massacre at Deir Yassin tested this agreement, the Jordanian forces didn’t cross into territory that was designated for the Jewish State under the UN partition plan.

8.      After the depopulation of towns and villages, rampant looting of personal property took place. Israeli civilians and soldiers took part in stealing from vacated Palestinian homes and shops. Israeli historian Tom Segev notes that 1,800 trucks were taken from the town of Lydda alone.

9.      While 700-800,000 Palestinians were made refugees and not permitted to return by the state of Israel, 150,000 did remain inside Israel and many became internally displaced persons who still lost their property and were subjected to martial law until 1966 and various discriminatory laws since then.

10.   Yitzhak Rabin, an officer during the 1948 war, included a description of orders to forcibly expel tens of thousands of Palestinian civilians in his memoirs. The State of Israel prevented this description from being printed when his memoirs were published and, as far as I am aware, continues to prevent it today.*

*UPDATE: The censored passage from Rabin’s memoirs was published in the appendix of a 1996 English version published after Rabin’s death. It is unclear if the passage is permitted for inclusion within the text of the memoirs themselves or in versions published in Hebrew or in Israel.

May 16, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Dire Nakba memories live by the day

By Ramzy Baroud | Palestine Chronicle | May 14, 2012

Many Palestinians remember and reference al-Nakba, also known as the Catastrophe, on May 15 every year. The event marks the expulsion of nearly a million Palestinians, while their villages were destroyed.

The destruction of Palestine in 1947-48 ushered in the birth of Israel. Older generations relay the harsh and oppressive memory of their collective experience to younger Palestinians, many of whom live their own Nakbas today.

In covering al-Nakba, sympathetic Arab and other media play sad music and show black and white footage of displaced, frightened refugees. They rightly emphasize the concept of Sumud, steadfastness, as they show Palestinian of all ages holding unto the rusty keys of their homes and insisting on their right of return. Other, less sympathetic media discuss al-Nakba, if at all, as a side note – a nuisance in the Israeli narrative of a nation’s supposedly miraculous birth and its progression to an idyllic oasis of democracy. What such reductionist representations often fail to show is that while al-Nakba started, it never truly finished.

Those who underwent the pain, harm and loss of al-Nakba are yet to receive the justice that was promised to them by the international community. UN Resolution 194 states that “the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date” (Article 11). Those who wrought this injustice are also yet to achieve their ultimate objectives in Palestine. After all, Israel doesn’t have defined boundaries by accident.

David Ben Gurion, first Prime Minister of Israel, once prophesized that “the old (refugees) will die and the young will forget.” He spoke with the harshness of a conqueror. Ben Gurion carried out his war plans to the furthest extent possible. Every region in Palestine that was meant to be taken was captured, its people were expelled or massacred in their homes and villages. Ben Guiron ‘cleansed’ the land, but he failed to cleanse Israel’s past. Memory persists.

Ben Gurion referenced my own family’s village – Beit Daras – which witnessed three battles and a massacre. In an entry in his diaries on May 12, 1948, he wrote: “Beit Daras was mortared. Fifty Arabs (were killed). The (villages of) Bashit and Sawafir were occupied. There is mass exodus from nearby areas (neighbors in Majdal). We sustained 5 dead and 15 wounded. ” (War Diaries, 1947-1949).

More than fifty people were killed in Beit Daras that day. An old Gaza woman, Um Mohammed – who I discussed in my last book, My Father was a Freedom Fighter – refers to what is likely the same event:

“The town was under bombardment, and it was surrounded from all directions. There was no way out. The armed men (the Beit Daras fighters) said they were going to check on the road to Isdud, to see if it was open. They moved forward and shot few shots to see if someone would return fire. No one did. But they (the Zionist forces) were hiding and waiting to ambush the people. The armed men returned and told the people to evacuate the women and children. The people went out (including) those who were gathered at my huge house, the family house. There were mostly children and kids in the house. The Jewish (soldiers) let the people get out, and then they whipped them with bombs and machine guns. More people fell than those who were able to run. My sister and I…started running through the fields; we’d fall and get up. My sister and I escaped together holding each other’s hands. The people who took the main road were either killed or injured. The firing was falling on the people like sand. The bombs from one side and the machine guns from the other.”

Ben Gurion would not necessarily doubt Um Mohammed’s account. He candidly stated: “Let us not ignore the truth among ourselves…politically we are the aggressors and they defend themselves…The country is theirs, because they inhabit it, whereas we want to come here and settle down, and in their view we want to take away from them their country” (as quoted in Chomsky’s Fateful Triangle, pp. 91-2).

It is precisely for this reason that neither the old nor the young have forgotten. Every day is another manifestation of the same protracted al-Nakba that has lasted 64 years now. Young people’s hardships today are inextricably linked to the violent and horrific uprooting decades ago.

Al-Nakba has also remained an ongoing project through generations of Israeli Zionists. When Ben Gurion died in 1973, current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in his mid-twenties. He was then serving his last year in the Israeli army, and today he rules Israel with a coalition that includes almost three quarters of the Israeli parliament. Like most Israeli leaders, he continues to contribute to the very discourse by which Palestine was conquered. He speaks of peace, while his soldiers and armed settlers take over Palestinian homes and farms. He makes repeated offers to Palestinians for ‘unconditional’ talks, as he repeats his violent rejection of every Palestinian aspiration. His lobby in Washington is much stronger than ever before. He reigns supreme, as he continues to fulfill the ‘vision’ of early Zionists.

Old keys and deeds of stolen lands attest to the intergenerational experience that is Al-Nakba. Today Palestinians continue to be herded behind military checkpoints. They are denied the right to proper medical care, and their ancient olive trees are ruthlessly bulldozed. What Israel has not been able to control, however, is the resolve of Palestinians. The prison, the checkpoint and the gun reside in our collective memory in a way that cannot be held captive, controlled, or shot.

In fact, al-Nakba is not a specific date or an estimation of time, but the entirety of those 64 years and counting. The event must not be assigned to the shelves of history, not as long as refugees are still refugees and settlers continue to rob Palestinian land. As long as Netanyahu speaks the language of Ben Gurion, other ‘catastrophic’ episodes will follow. And as long as Palestinians hold on to their keys and deeds, the old may die but the young will never forget.

May 15, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Comments Off on Dire Nakba memories live by the day

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