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64 Years Since The Nakba

Ella David for PNN

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May 14, 2012


Tomorrow, Tuesday 15th May, is the 64th anniversary of the Nakba. Nakba means "Catastrophe" in Arabic. It refers to the destruction of Palestinian society in 1948 when more than 700,000 Palestinians fled or were forced into exile by Israeli troops. Because the Palestinians were not Jewish, their presence and predominant ownership of the land were obstacles to the creation of a Jewish state.

The day will be commemorated in Palestine, by the Palestinian Diaspora and by solidarity activists all over the world tomorrow.

In Bethlehem there will be a demonstration at 11am in Manger Square. In Ramallah, there will be a demonstration at 11am in the city centre and at 1pm there will be one also for the hunger strikers, meeting in Ramallah city centre and walking to Ofer prison.

There will be many other events going on in Palestine and around the world.

We Are All Hana Shalabi have also organized the event 'Global Fast for the Palestinian Hunger Strikers on Nakba Day' that everyone can participate in.

The Nakba in 1948 resulted in over 700,000 Palestinians - two-thirds of the Palestinian population ľ being forcibly expelled from their homes. Over 50 percent fled under direct military assault. Others fled in panic as news of massacres - more than 100 civilians in the village of Deir Yassin and 200 in Tantura - spread.

Zionist forces depopulated more than 450 Palestinian towns and villages, most of which were demolished to prevent the return of the refugees. The newly established Israeli government confiscated refugees' land and properties and turned them over to Jewish immigrants. Although Jews owned only about seven percent of the land in Palestine and constituted about thirty three percent of the population, Israel was established on 78 percent of Palestine.

The Nakba is the source of the still-unresolved Palestinian refugee problem. Today, there are more than 4 million registered Palestinian refugees worldwide. The majority of these still live within 60 miles of the borders 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 and to pay them compensation, as the UN Resolution 194 of Right of Return for the Palestinians is not binding and like many other UN resolutions it has been used as a suggestion rather than as an order.

Palestinians however see the Right of Return as central to any future negotiations with Israel and the key is a powerful symbol of this continued hope that people have to return to their homes, which many believed they would shortly go back to following the Nakba.

Sixty-four years after this Catastrophe, Palestinians continue to be denied their freedom and independence. The 22 percent of historical Palestine that remains for Palestinians continues to be confiscated for the expansion of Israeli settlements and construction of the Apartheid wall.

The Israeli occupation oppresses Palestinians on a daily basis and denies them basic human rights yet as the mass hunger strike, the long-term hunger strikers and the world-wide solidarity for these hunger strikers have demonstrated this year; the occupiers cannot crush the spirit and steadfastness of the Palestinian people.

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:: Article nr. 88046 sent on 14-may-2012 23:30 ECT

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