GAZA, (PIC)– Facebook activists stressed that they adhere to their right of return and will continue to write about their country; despite the website administration’s ban on the commemoration of the 65th anniversary of the Nakba on its pages.
The Palestinian activists posted thousands of photos, maps and information about the Palestinian towns and cities from which the residents have been forcibly displaced.
Professor of Mathematics at the Islamic University Mohammed Rify said “the Nakba represents an inevitable outcome of splintering of the Arab nation and domination of the rulers.”
Cameraman Mohamed Osman says that he has sustained wounds two years ago in marches of commemoration of the Nakba, but he has become more determined to persist.
The writer Ahmed Abu Ratima called on his facebook page for taking affirmative action in order to achieve the right of return.
(Source / 19.05.2013)
RAMALLAH, May 14, 2013 (WAFA) – On the eve of the Nakba (catastrophe) 65th anniversary, the refugees make almost half of the total Palestinian population, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) said Tuesday.
While statistical data show that refugees constitute 44.2% of the total Palestinian population in Palestine, records by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) showed that there were 5.3 million registered Palestinian refugees by mid-2013, constituting 45.7% of the total Palestinian population worldwide, said the PCBS.
It said 59% of the refugees live in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, 17% in the West Bank and 24% in Gaza Strip.
About 29% of registered refugees live in 58 refugee camps, of which 10 are in Jordan, nine in Syria, 12 in Lebanon, 19 in the West Bank, and eight in Gaza Strip.
The PCBS said, however, that these estimates represent the minimum number of Palestinian refugees, given the fact that there are many non-registered refugees.
These estimates also do not include Palestinians who were displaced between 1949 and the 1967 war and do not include the non-refugees who left or were forced to leave as a result of the war in 1967.
The number of Palestinians who remained in their towns and village in 1948 after the Nakba was estimated at 154,000. Their number is now estimated as 1.4 million on the 65rd anniversary of the Nakba.
In 1948, 1.4 million Palestinians lived in 1,300 Palestinian towns and villages in historic Palestine.
The Israelis controlled 774 towns and villages and destroyed 531 Palestinian towns and villages during the Nakba.
More than 800,000 of the population were driven out of their homeland to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, neighboring Arab countries and other countries of the world.
The Palestinian population worldwide is estimated 11.6 million by the end of 2012, said the PCBS. This means that the number of Palestinians worldwide has multiplied eight-fold in the 65 years since the Nakba.
A total of 5.8 million live in historic Palestine and this number is expected to rise to 7.2 million by the end of 2020, based on current growth rates, said the PCBS.
(Source / 15.05.2013)
Sirens were sounded for 65 seconds in the West Bank to mark the start of celebrations, with thousands of people gathering in Ramallah, Nablus, Qalqiliya and other West Bank cities.
“The right to return does not become invalid or ineffective as time passes, because this right is the core of the Palestinian plight,” PLO official Wasil Abu Yousif said while addressing crowds at Yasser Arafat’s tomb.
In Nablus, a minute’s silence was held before demonstrators marched in the city waving black flags and Palestinian flags side by side.
“After all these years of the Nakba, the Palestinian people have not achieved their goals, but they have managed to accumulate major victories, such as establishing the PLO in order to tell the Palestinian narrative,” the governor of Nablus Jibril al-Bakri said.
In Gaza, faction leaders addressed thousands of people who had gathered in the streets, calling for unity in the Palestinian leadership as a number one priority.
“The Palestinian people have made hundreds of sacrifices during 65 years of Nakba in order to establish a Palestinian state and stick to the right of return,” Fatah leader Faysal Abu Shahla said.
Nasser Salih, a Gaza-based leader with the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, said the Palestinian people have stayed firm on their land and insist on the right of return “despite all attempts and efforts to erase Palestinian national identity.”
Senior PFLP leader Kayid al-Ghoul said national unity is vital in order to overcome pressure to accept an “alternative homeland,” while Islamic Jihad said that Israel’s occupation is void and must be resisted by all possible means.
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.
(Source / 15.05.2013)
The article explains that the conference discussed a paper from the English Zionist Federation “proposing the re-establishment of Judea as an independent State, suggesting the purchase of the Maccabean sites in Palestine, and the beginning of the work by the establishment of a Jewish colony and a Jewish Agricultural College there.”
It further clarifies that “The site to be purchased comprises about fifty acres, six miles from a station on the railroad between Jappa and Jerusalem, and within sight of the sea and a large stretch of the Palestinian coast.”
It notes that English Zionists have gathered 2,500 dollars in the currency of the period and request that quantity from the American Zionists.
The article also explains that “On motion of Dr. Wise, the Federation voted $100 as the nucleus of the required fund of $2,500, the remainder to be raised by subscriptions from the 125 societies and individuals, both Jews and Gentiles. A general appeal to the public will be made.”
It also conveys that delegates will be elected at the Zionist meeting in Baltimore.
The straightforward and comfortable manner with which the colonization is pursued is indicative how, before having to be concerned with the image of Zionism and public relations, Zionist leaders depicted their movement as a colonial mission during a time in which European nations were colonial powers.
The International Palestinian Right of Return Coalition issued a press release marking the 65th anniversary of the Nakba of 1948, and called on all Palestinian factions to achieve unity and to remain steadfast without abandoning the legitimate Palestinian rights, topped by the Right of Return of the refugees to their homeland, and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.
The coalition, that includes twenty institutions and rights groups, said “as the Palestinians mark the Nakba day, when Israeli armed forces displaced hundreds of villages and towns displacing an attire population before Israeli was established in the historic land of Palestine in 1948, the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank must denounce any attempt to void the Right of Return.”
It added that the leadership must denounce the Arab League for suggesting land swap with Israel, and for sending a delegation to Washington to discuss the issue, and stated that the internationally guaranteed Palestinian rights of Return and independence are nonnegotiable.
The coalition stated that the Arab League and its Arab Peace Initiative must quit granting Israel free concessions, must withdraw their initiative, and focus their efforts on supporting the resistance and the steadfastness of the Palestinian people facing the ongoing Israeli occupation and aggression.
It further called on all Palestinian factions to reject all attempts that aim at forcing the Palestinians to abandon their rights, especially their rights in the historic land of Palestine, and their rights to return to their homeland, to their cities, villages and towns that were destroyed and depopulated by the Israeli forces.
“Arab leaders must understand that without the Right of Return, without justice, there will never be peace in the region”, the Coalition said, “The refugees cause is an essential cause that cannot be compromised or abandoned”.
The coalition further called for the protection of the Palestinian refugees wherever they are, especially in Syria amidst the ongoing clashes in the country, and to refrain from using the refugees in Syria as a tool in the ongoing war in the country.
—- —- —- —-
“Palestinian refugees are the indigenous inhabitants of Palestine, the majority of whom were dispossessed, were forced to run away or were expelled when the state of Israel was created in 1948.
This dispossession and expulsion has continued since with the second largest such event in Palestine taking place during the 1967 war, which Israel launched on its Arab neighbors and which resulted in the occupation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.”
“Palestinian refugees generally fall into three main groups: Palestinian refugees displaced in 1948, internally displaced Palestinians who remained within the areas that became the state of Israel, and Palestinian refugees displaced in 1967 from the West Bank and Gaza Strip. For the past 58 years, Israel has continued to deny Palestinian refugees their right to return to their ancestral towns, villages and homes.”
(Source / 15.05.2013)
By Stuart Littlewood | 5 November 2011 | Redress
Stuart Littlewood charts the British lies and duplicity, manifested most blatantly in the Balfour Declaration whereby Britain promised to give something it did not own (Palestine) to someone who had no right to have (the Zionist settlers), and the resulting bloodshed, pain and injustice.
Arthur Balfour‘s infamous “Declaration” was written 94 years ago this week. Palestinians, of course, don’t need reminding.
And to mark the anniversary Israel ordered its warships to carry out yet another act of piracyon peaceful, innocent shipping carrying humanitarian relief to the imprisoned people of Gaza.
Let’s cast out minds back – Stephen Ostrander’s simple verse cuts through all the rhetoric to the root cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
For centuries long
our land enslaved
by Turkish kings
with sharpened blade.
We prayed to end
the Sultan’s curse,
the British came
and spoke a verse.
“It’s World War One,
if you agree
to fight with us
we’ll set you free.”
The war we fought
at Britain’s side,
our blood was shed
for Arab pride.
At war’s end
Turks were smitten,
our only gain,
the lies of Britain.
The country called Palestine was “liberated” from Turkish Ottoman rule after the Allied powers, in correspondence between Sir Henry McMahon and Sharif Hussein ibn Ali of Mecca in 1915, promised Arab leaders independence in return for their help in defeating Germany’s ally.
However a Jewish political movement, Zionism, was finding favour among the ruling élite in London, and the British government was persuaded by the Zionists’ chief spokesman, Chaim Weizmann, to surrender Palestine for their new Jewish homeland. Hardly a thought, it seems, was given to the earlier pledge to the Arabs, who had occupied and owned the land for 1,500 years – longer than the ancient Jews ever did.
The Zionists, inflated by the notion that an ancient Biblical prophecy gave them the title deeds, planned to push the Arabs out by bringing in millions of Eastern European Jews. They had already set up farm communities and founded a new city, Tel Aviv, but by 1914 Jews numbered only 85,000 to the Arabs’ 615,000.
The Balfour Declaration of 1917 – actually a letter from the British foreign secretary, Arthur Balfour, to the most senior Jew in England, Lord Rothschild – pledged assistance for the Zionist cause, ignoring the consequences to the native majority.
Calling itself a “declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations”, it said:
His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing and non-Jewish communities…
Balfour, an ardent Zionist, wrote:
In Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country. The four powers are committed to Zionism and Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long tradition, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now occupy that land.
He later wrote the introduction to a book published in 1919, History of Zionism 1600-1919 by Nahum Sokolow, in which he said: “Conversations I held with Mr Weizmann in January 1906 convinced me that history could not thus be ignored, and that if a home was to be found for the Jewish people, homeless now for nearly nineteen hundred years, it was vain to seek it anywhere but in Palestine.”
Some opposed the idea. Lord Sydenham warned:
The harm done by dumping down an alien population upon an Arab country may never be remedied. What we have done, by concessions not to the Jewish people but to a Zionist extreme section, is to start a running sore in the East, and no-one can tell how far that sore will extend.
The American King-Crane Commission of 1919 thought it a gross violation of principle. “No British officers consulted by the commissioners believed that the Zionist programme could be carried out except by force of arms. That, of itself, is evidence of a strong sense of the injustice of the Zionist programme.”
And the scheme was heading for serious trouble for another reason. A secret deal, called the Sykes-Picot Agreement, had been concluded in 1916 between France and Britain, in consultation with Russia, to re-draw the map of the Middle Eastern territories won from Turkey. Britain was to take Jordan, Iraq and Haifa. The area now referred to as Palestine was declared an international zone.
The Sykes-Picot Agreement, the Balfour Declaration and the promises made earlier in the McMahon-Hussein letters all cut across each other. Was it really a case of the left hand not knowing what the right was doing in the confusion of war?
After the Russian Revolution of 1917 Lenin released a copy of the confidential Sykes-Picot Agreement into the public domain, sowing seeds of distrust among the Arabs. The unfolding story, from the start, had all the makings of a major tragedy. Subsequent crimes – on both sides – flow from this triple-cross.
Apartheid and occupation: “in practice there is little difference”
At Cambridge Arthur Balfour read moral sciences, but much good it did the poor Palestinian Arabs he helped dispossess.
Described as born lazy, aloof and having an attitude problem, he was convinced of his personal superiority and wished to keep the vulgar world at arm’s length. Balfour famously said: “Nothing matters very much, and few things matter at all.”
He was said to be a man who would make almost any sacrifice to remain in office. In this case, he sacrificed the Arab homeland. In 1922 the League of Nations put Palestine under British mandate, which incorporated the principles of the Balfour’s Declaration.
How have things turned out?
John Dugard, a professor of international law and former Special Rapporteur to the UN Human Rights Council on the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, explains@@ on Aljazeera the differences and similarities between apartheid South Africa and apartheid Israel.
Of course, the regimes of apartheid and occupation are different. Apartheid South Africa was a state that practised discrimination against its own people. It sought to fragment the country into white South Africa and black bantustans. Its security laws were used to brutally suppress opposition to apartheid. Israel, on the other hand, is an occupying power that controls a foreign territory and its people under a regime recognized by international law – belligerent occupation.
However, in practice, there is little difference. Both regimes were/are characterized by discrimination, repression and territorial fragmentation (that is, land seizures).
Israel discriminates against Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in favour of half a million Israeli settlers. Its restrictions on freedom of movement, manifested in countless humiliating checkpoints, resemble the “pass laws” of apartheid. Its destruction of Palestinian homes resembles the destruction of homes belonging to blacks under apartheid’s Group Areas Act. The confiscation of Palestinian farms under the pretext of building a security wall brings back similar memories. And so on. Indeed, Israel has gone beyond apartheid South Africa in constructing separate (and unequal) roads for Palestinians and settlers.
Apartheid’s security police practised torture on a large scale. So do the Israeli security forces. There were many political prisoners on Robben Island but there are more Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails.
Apartheid South Africa seized the land of blacks for whites. Israel has seized the land of Palestinians for half a million settlers and for the purposes of constructing a security wall within Palestinian territory – both of which are contrary to international law.
The “running sore” Sydenham warned of has been festering for 94 years, crippling the Middle East and turning the Holy Land into an abomination. Balfour and his clueless pals in the corridors of British power clearly had no idea of the true purpose and base methods of Zionism
(Source / 15.05.2013)
The Nakba has a dual meaning today. On one hand, it is about the hundreds of villages that were razed in 1948 and the hundreds of thousands of refugees who lost their homes. On the other hand, Palestinians continue to suffer the Nakba daily – the separation of families, continuous confiscations of land and settlements choking every Palestinian village and town.
Palestinians today mark 64 years since the Nakba (catastrophe). They are not commemorating a historical event that has long passed, or a sad moment in their past. Many of the Palestinian people are living the reality of the Nakba today. The pain of the open wound has not healed.
Sixty-four years after the Nakba, Palestinians still have no state and no equality. Refugee camps still exist all over the world and a majority of Palestinians live in the diaspora. Against their will, the Nakba divided the Palestinian people between Palestine and diaspora, between Gaza and the West Bank, between those who hold a refugee identification card and who don’t.
The Nakba has a dual meaning today. On one hand, it is about the hundreds of villages that were razed in 1948 and the hundreds of thousands of refugees who lost their homes. I remember taking a group to Qubeibeh, a Palestinian village on the outskirts of Hebron. Qubeibeh was destroyed in 1948. On the trip, I asked two Palestinians who lived there before the war to join us. They walked around the destroyed village telling the stories of each house, each family, the gossip of the town, funny and sad anecdotes. The tears streaming down their faces were tears of longing and passion, about loss and love.
However, this is only one aspect of the Nakba. Palestinians today feel that the Nakba didn’t end in ’48. They suffer the Nakba daily – the separation of families, continuous confiscations of land and the settlements choking every Palestinian village and town.
The Nakba is the present as much as it is the past. To my parents who built their house in Bethany, which is five kilometers outside Jerusalem, the Nakba is as real today as it was 64 years ago. But my parents aren’t allowed to live in their house if they want to keep their Jerusalem ID. They must rent an apartment in Jerusalem. Yet the Ma’aleh Adumim settlement is walking distance from my parent’s home in Bethany. It is perfectly “legal” for Israeli Jews to live there, but not for my parents. Every time my father travels through checkpoints to water the garden he planted and to take care of the empty house – while not being allowed to spend a night there – he relives the Nakba again. When my aunt, who was born in Jerusalem but lives in Hebron, cannot come and visit us in Jerusalem because she is a “West Banker,” we live the Nakba again.
This year, Nakba commemoration is no different than in previous years. Despite many Israeli historians whose research shows that the Nakba is not a figment of the Palestinian imagination, but a real tragedy, many Israelis prefer to ignore it or not believe it. They prefer to cover their eyes and close their ears when it comes to the Palestinian story, the Palestinian pain and the Palestinian narrative.
I understand that it is hard to learn about the narrative of ”your enemy” and the suffering of that enemy, especially if it is due to your country’s practices. I remember having to walk this uncomfortable path and learn about the Israeli and Jewish narrative. At first everything in me rejected the idea and refused to sympathize. However, if peace is ever to be realized between the Palestinians and the Israelis, this must happen. Dr. Sami Adwan, Dr. Dan Bar-on and Dr. Eyal Naveh have undertaken the breakthrough work of presenting the two narratives in a joint book published recently, titled “Side by side.” The importance of recognizing the story of the other is crucial to any real peace. This is true for both Israelis and Palestinians.
However, the reality paints a different picture. The Israeli government not only ignores Palestinian history, but is also trying to force Palestinians to forget their own narrative, by forbidding commemoration of the Nakba. Are they so ignorant that they believe a law can strip a person of his identity, memories and passions? Jews who came to Palestine boasted about their longing for the “holy land” for thousands of years. How can such people ignore the longing and love of the land of many Palestinians who lived on that land just 64 years ago, many of whom cannot even visit anymore?
The justification I hear about why Israel ignores the Nakba is an interesting one. They claim that Nakba commemoration is about hating Jews. I have heard it over and over again. So, I quote the Palestinian poet Mahmound Darwish, who wrote about the Nakba extensively. When accused of hating Jews he said:
The accusation is that I hate Jews.
It’s not comfortable that they show me as a devil
and an enemy of Israel.
I am not a lover of Israel, of course.
I have no reason to be.But I don’t hate Jews
I will continue to humanize even the enemy
The first teacher who taught me Hebrew was a Jew.
The first love affair in my life was with a Jewish girl.
The first judge who sent me to prison was a Jewish woman.
So from the beginning, I didn’t see Jews as devils or angels,
but as human beings.
While Nakba day is about mourning the destruction of historical Palestine and facing a continued unjust reality, it is also about the future. The Palestinians on this day look ahead and try to figure out a way for Nakba Day to become about the past and not the present. We cannot change the past, but we can make tomorrow different. Nakba Day is also about finding a way to bring peace to a people that lived in catastrophe and long for peace, freedom and security.
(Source / 14.05.2013)