Saturday, 15 May 2021

Marking the 73rd anniversary of the Nabka

Today marks the 73rd anniversary of the occupation of Palestine, so on this day as Palestinian people enter the 73rd  year of dispossession and exile, Palestinians, friends of Palestine and supporters of justice and liberation , commemorate the Nakba ( day of catastrophe in Arabic ) this forced displacement was the basis for the foundation of the Israeli state..
Between 1947 and 1949,  saw 531 villages being cleared , with massacres that led to 16,000 Palestinians being killed at the hands of Zionist para-military groups like Haganah, that later formed the core of the Israeli Defense Force, Ergun and the Stern Gang.Today, over 7 million Palestinians live as refugees or exiles, denied the right to return to the land from which they, or their family, were forcibly expelled. A right which is enshrined in international law. Palestinians who remained in the State of Israel, and those in the occupied territory, many of whom are refugees, face a system of discriminatory racist rule that amounts to the crime of apartheid under international law.
Despite the coronavirus, more Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem  had their homes demolished in the first 19 months of 2020 alone than in any full year  since 2016. Alongside this Israel is attempting to ethnically cleanse Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, occupied Jerusalem. Four of the Palestinian families face the prospect of being evicted this week. As Palestinians protest in Jerusalem against these evictions, and Israel’s ongoing programme of ethnic cleansing, Israeli forces have responded with brutality, including an assault on worshippers at Al Aqsa Mosque that has wounded hundreds.
With the complicity of the international community, the Nakba continues, with the militarisation of the Israeli State that has seen the Palestinians people confined  to a series of open air prisons, in which the Israeli state routinely rehearses its cruel technologies of war, poisoning the soil, contaminating the water and terrorising  the people. 
On May 8, 80,000 Palestinians came to Al Aqsa Mosque. Israeli police had violated their holy place and they came to reclaim it. They overwhelmed the roadblocks and the paramilitary police and faced them down with their bodies and their prayers.Palestinians protested in Ramallah and Jaffa, in Gaza and in Haifa, with  Palestinians and their allies are protesting around the world.
At the sight of fire in the Al Aqsa Mosque. Gazan fighters fired rockets in defiance to protest the forced expulsion of Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah.
IsraeI responded with airstrikes in Gaza on Monday evening, following rocket fire from Gaza that caused damage to one Israeli vehicle, and ‘lightly injured’ one Israeli civilian, according to an Israeli army statement.” 
Israeli bombs killed 21 Gazans overnight . They killed nine children, and injured scores of people. Let that attest to the relative value placed on one Israeli vehicle and 21 Gazan lives.
International governments condemned the rockets and eluded the rest.Let us be clear, there can be no equivalence between oppressor ad oppressed, between colonizer and colonised. The Palestinians blockaded  on all sides by walls and turrets, have few means to defend their rights in the face of of Israel's machinery of war.Israel currently  bombing schools, hospitals, media centres and power plants in what amounts to war crimes.At least 126 people have now been killed in Gaza , including 31 children and 20 women. with thousands of Palestinians  forced to flee their homes after a week of sustained conflict. 
Gaza is 3km wide ad 42km long  and has more than 2 million inhabitants.The population density is extremely  high. This is why there are multiple civilian casualties as soon as conflict and fighting occurs. People simply cannot scape the bombing.
To make the situation worse Gaza has been under blockade for a long time and vital supplies are extremely limited. The latest clashes could damage vital infrastructure, leading to a rapid deterioration in the situation. 
It has seen huge numbers of people turning  out to march in solidarity with the Palestinian people against the escalating aggression from the Israeli state. An estimated 100,000 people have marched in London as the Palestine Solidarity Campaign pointed out.
As we mark 73 years of Nakba, we also celebrate 73 years of resistance and struggle for liberation, therefore I will continue to side with the Palestinian who dares to dream of the day of return, when they can open up the locked doors of their stolen homes, are welcomed home, recognised  and encouraged by a world that acknowledges the injustice that has been inflicted upon them.
Today we will see the Palestinian people renew  their demands for return, to their cities, villages and lands that they were forced to leave in 1948. Many Palestinians still carry keys to the homes they or their ancestors were displaced from,all those years ago, a  continuing haunting memory of their existence.
For the past 73 years  Palestinians have resisted the Israeli Government's continued efforts to erase the memories of trauma and resistance that began with the Nakba and will remain rooted to their land. Beyond their suffering and Israels blockade of the West Bank and the open air prison we know as Gaza it does not stop their dream for their right to return and for having Jerusalem as their capital. 
Today we remember and recount the unique personal stories of those who lived through the Nakba  and acknowledge that today over 4 million registered Palestinians worldwide, the majority of them still living within 60 miles of the border of Israel and the West Bank and Gaza strip where their original homes are located. Israel refuses to allow Palestinian refugees to return to their homes or to pay them compensation as required by UN resolution 194  of 1948. Over 1.7 million Palestinians now live under occupation in the West Bank  imprisoned by an Israeli wall, and the over  2 million currently living under military siege in Gaza, denied a series of fundamental rights, that include the freedom to move, access to clean water, food, medicine and electricity.
Their catastrophe ongoing. But their will remains  unbroken, we stand with them today in solidarity,until they are allowed to move freely again in Palestine, until they are given back the dignity and respect and basic rights  that they deserve as human beings, hoping that this cycle of injustice can be ended,  it is not just about remembering , a day of mourning , it is acknowledging the Palestinians right to return,  maybe one day, one day the continued catastrophe will end.
On the 73rd anniversary of the Nakba it is the duty of people of conscience  everywhere to stand the right side of history, in solidarity taking action to end  international complicity of states, institutions and corporations in maintaining Israeli apartheid. Boycott products services of and mobilise international pressure to divest from Israeli and international  companies and banks that are complicit in Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity. This includes  all Israeli banks (Leumi, Hapoalim etc) and mjor corporations such as Elbit Systems  HP, G4S/ Allied Universal, AXA, CAF, Puma, Caterpillar, General Mills/Pillsbury, Hyundai Heavy Insustries, JCB, Volvo, Barclays Bank, Alstom, Motorola Solutions and CEMEX. From the rivers to the sea Palestine will be free. 

 Here is a link to an emergency update from Medical Aid for Palestinians CEO Dr Aimee Shalan :-

And here is a link to a petition  calling for sanctions  against Israel, including blocking all  trade, and in particular all arms.

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