Palestine: Nakba Digest
REMEMBERING THE NAKBA
BEN-GURION: WE STOLE THEIR COUNTRY
David Ben-Gurion, the first Israeli prime minister, once confessed that he, too, would wage perpetual war with Israel if he were a Palestinian. Morris quoted Ben-Gurion as saying: ”Sure, God promised it to us, but what does that matter to them? There has been anti-Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only see one thing: We have come here and (have) stolen their country.” No one can deny the victimhood of the Jews through the ages. But that does not entitle them to take it out on the Palestinians.
BUSH ASSAILS ‘APPEASEMENT,’ OBAMA LIKED DESERT STORM
President Bush used a speech to the Israeli Parliament on Thursday to liken those who would negotiate with “terrorists and radicals” to appeasers of the Nazis — a remark widely interpreted as a rebuke to Senator Barack Obama, who has advocated greater engagement with countries like Iran and Syria. . . . As for Hamas, Mr. Obama’s aides said his position on engagement was not different from that of the administration; the group would have to renounce terrorism, recognize Israel and agree to abide by all pre-existing Palestinian treaties with Israel. . . . Mr. Obama has likened his foreign policy approach to that of the so-called pragmatists in the administration of the first President George Bush, which carried out the first American invasion of Iraq, in 1991, and he has shared those sentiments recently as he has sought to woo independent voters in swing states. “I have enormous sympathy for the foreign policy of George H. W. Bush,” he said. “I don’t have a lot of complaints about their handling of Desert Storm. I don’t have a lot of complaints with their handling of the fall of the Berlin Wall.”
“WHAT A WAY TO MARK INDEPENDENCE DAY”
Today one in four Palestinian citizens of Israel is either a refugee or descended from one. Not only have they been denied the right ever to return to their homes, like the other refugees, but many live tantalisingly close to their former communities. The destroyed Palestinian villages have either been reinvented as exclusive Jewish communities or buried under the foliage of national forestation programmes overseen by the Jewish National Fund and paid for with charitable donations from American and European Jews.
AL KHADER VILLAGE PROTESTS THE ISRAELI WALL
Over the last sixty years, thousands of homesick Palestinians have attempted to cross Israel’s barriers, just to see their homes one more time; and thousands have died on Israeli fences, their homes still waiting for them. Between 1948 and 1951 alone, the Israeli army killed 3,000 Palestinians as they tried to cross the border. Nowadays, Israeli soldiers are instructed to shoot Palestinians who attempt to cross the separation wall, a wall that is being built, day by day, on private Palestinian land.
FILM REVIEW: “SHADOW OF ABSENCE”
Weaving elements of his own story of dislocation into the Palestinian collective narrative, filmmaker Nasri Hajjaj reverses the usual focus of Nakba documentary by exploring the denial of the Palestinian right to death in the homeland. Why can a Jew from any part of the world decree that their body be brought for burial in Israel while a Palestinian even a few kilometers away in the West Bank or Lebanon cannot choose eternal rest in the homeland?
ISRAEL TAKES FIRM LINE AGAINST REFUGEES’ RIGHT OF RETURN
Israel ruled out all debate on letting Palestinian refugees return in any peace deal, as U.S. President George W. Bush ended a visit on Friday that left Arabs dismayed by his outspoken support for Israel’s “chosen people”. . . . As Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip and in camps abroad held protests on the 60th anniversary of their exile from cities and farmlands that are now in Israel, Bush spoke of European Jews in 1948 “arriving here in the desert”. . . . [Olmert’s spokesman said,] “The so-called right of return is antithetical to a two-state solution … I would question someone’s commitment to peace and reconciliation if they believe that the so-called right of return must be implemented.”
ISRAEL PROTESTS UN CHIEF BAN KI-MOON’S USE OF TERM ‘NAKBA’
Danny Carmon, Israel’s deputy ambassador to the UN, told Israel Radio that the term “‘nakba’ is a tool of Arab propaganda used to undermine the legitimacy of the establishment of the State of Israel, and it must not be part of the lexicon of the UN.” Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Thursday said that the Palestinians will be able to celebrate their independence day on the same day that the word “nakba” or catastrophe is erased from their lexicon. Livni was referring to the Palestinians’ “Nakba Day” which is commemorated on May 15, the day Israel was founded in 1948.
IOF TROOPS SHOOT AT PALESTINIAN PROTESTERS AT BIET HANON
At least nine Palestinian children and a woman were wounded on Thursday after IOF troops stationed at the Beit Hanon (Erez) crossing point north of Gaza Strip opened their fire at thousands of Palestinian citizens demonstrating near the crossing to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Nakba and protest against the Israeli economic siege on the Strip. . . . IOF troops stationed at the border crossing opened fire at the Palestinian demonstrators and Palestinian youth replied with stones. There were a number of casualties and . Palestinian ambulances were dispatched to the clashes scene, and immediately rushed the wounded Palestinians to nearby hospitals.
MASS RESISTANCE WON’T SURRENDER RIGHT TO RETURN
LARGEST DEMONSTRATION SINCE THE START OF THE SECOND INTIFADA ACROSS PALESTINE Over 50,000 people filled the streets of Ramallah today, marking the 60th anniversary of the Nakba with the largest protest since the start of the second Intifada. Other actions were held across Palestine and in Palestinian communities in Jordan and Lebanon.
“THEIR INDEPENDENCE IS OUR NAKBA”
An Nakba (the catastrophe) commemorations continued in Nablus on Thursday 15th May, with approximately 500 people gathering in the main square of the city to demand their right to return home. Organised by the National Committee to Commemorate the Nakba at 60, in conjunction with many Nablus organisations, the official statement of the demonstration was “There can be no alternative to our return to our homes and properties” . . . . Speakers emphasized the refugees’ connection to the land, with statements such as: “I am Palestine; I am Jaffa; I am Haifa; I am Lid,” and reaffirmed their determination to continue to fight for their rights. As the Nablus coordinator for the Nakba Committee reiterated: “Ay adoun, ay adoun, ay adoun” — We will return; we will return; we will return.”
GENERAL STRIKE, PROTEST AND COMMEMORATIONS OF THE NABKA IN JERUSALEM
Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, their political and social leaders conducted a general strike in the occupied city of Jerusalem in commemoration of the sixtieth anniversary of the Nabka, while Israeli soldiers and policemen were intensively deployed in the area. . . . The residents stated that the participation of Bush and other leaders violate the Palestinian right and all international legitimacy resolutions. They confirmed their steadfastness and determination to return to their homeland and land of their fathers and forefathers.
OR SETTLE FOR “TWO-STATE” APARTHEID
ISRAEL’S TWILIGHT YEARS
With Israel continuing the process of annulling whatever prospects still remaining for a viable Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, many Palestinians are quietly turning to the one-state option. In reality, the one-state solution has been the Palestinians’ unconscious and undeclared baseline for years. . . . This week, the Palestine One State Forum formulated a manifesto for the one-state solution, which calls for the creation of a unitary democratic state in all of mandatory Palestine from the Mediterranean to the River Jordan, and where Israelis and Palestinians would live as equal citizens. . . . “An entity created on any part of the territories, even if called a Palestinian state, will simply be a dependent unviable entity whose purpose is to prolong Israel’s life. There is the possibility that unilateral withdrawals by Israel from here or there will leave the Palestinians with no option but to emulate statehood, but that prospect can never be a viable state.”
NAKBA AT 60
Israel’s discriminatory practices, within its borders and in the Palestinian territories, are not accidental, nor are they justified by security. Rather, they flow from the goal of creating a Jewish state in a land that was not, and is not, exclusively Jewish. . . . The Nazi holocaust -unspeakably cruel as it was – did not grant Israelis a permanent license to discriminate against and oppress another people. Rather, Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews must live together under a regime of equal rights for all.
SKEPTICISM GROWS OVER TWO-STATE MIDEAST SOLUTION
It’s not just the checkpoints. Palestinians and U.N. officials complain that continued expansion of Jewish settlements, the wall and barrier Israel is building in and around the West Bank — what Israel calls the security fence — and the checkpoints continue to slice the West Bank and villages around Jerusalem into separate cantons that undermine chances for a viable two-state solution. . . . “There is no basis for the two states now. Gaza is divided from the West Bank. The wall, the settlements and the economic situation here means there is no opportunity for the two states to live together,” he says. . . . As Hazem Kawasmi, an economist and former Palestinian Authority official, puts it: “The one-state solution is the solution, and the two-state solution is a dream.”