Heavy Clashes at Qalandiya on Nakba: hundreds wounded

May 15th, 2011. Nakba (RamallahOnline)
May 15th, 2011. Nakba (RamallahOnline)

May 15th, 2011. Nakba (RamallahOnline)

Palestine Monitor, 15 May 2011

 

Demonstrators started peacefully marching to the Qalandiya checkpoint at 11:00 am this morning on the 63rd commemoration of the Nakba—when Palestinians were forcibly expelled from their homes during the creation of the state of Israel. Already stationed at the military checkpoint were estimates of 1,500 Israeli forces. As the crowd approached the checkpoint, Israeli forces immediately fired tear gas.

At 7:35 pm, the Israeli forces had advanced considerably into the Qalandiya area. Confirmed reports say three Palestinians were arrested.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society reported at 6:00 pm that over 250 protesters had been hospitalized from tear-gas canisters, three to four of which were said to be serious.

Israeli forces are also reported to have used live ammunition and rubber bullets at protesters.

Protesters from Egypt, Lebanon and Syria have come to the borders of Israel, demanding the end of the occupation and the right of return.

Sunday events to attend around the world

Mazin Qumsiyeh

Sunday will be a significant day around the world as we not only commemorate
but this time ACT to end the Nakba that started 63 years ago.  You can
choose to wait it out or you can go out in the streets and be the change you
want to see in this world.  I personally will be in Al-Walaja in the
Bethlehem district where we gather at 10 AM AT Ain Jweiza mosque and march
at 11 AM from the part of Al-Walaja occupied in 1967 to the part occupied
and ethnically cleansed in 1948. Others will be in Qalandia Checkpoint (11
AM) and then Ofer Checkpoint (at 2 PM) near Ramallah.  Thousands will march
on the Lebanese-Palestinian border from both sides.  Same for Egypt and
Jordan.  Thousands will be in cities around the world marching on Israeli
embassies and consulates (usually around noon to 2 PM).  63 years of ethnic
cleansing meant that most of our people are refugees or displaced people
(over 7 million) and that we comprise the largest remaining refugee
population on earth.  30% of the world refugees are Palestinians.  Enough is
enough.  Thousands have already demonstrated in Egyptian cities and in
cities around the world on Friday and Saturday. But it is also not enough to
have rallies and speeches.  Civil disobedience/civil resistance and other
methods (e.g. boycotts, divestments, and sanctions) must be expanded. In
Jerusalem, young Milad Said Ayash (17 years old)  was murdered by the
apartheid regime as the first martyr of the Return uprising. Silence remains
as complicity.

Here is what awaits in Palestine: The Beauty of Palestine

Al-Walaja story
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

 

 
Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh teaches and does research at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities in occupied Palestine. He serves as chairman of the board of the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People and coordinator of the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Beit Sahour He is author of “Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human rights and the Israeli/Palestinian Struggle” and the forthcoming book Popular Resistance in Palestine: A history of Hope and Empowerment.

A Bedouin in Cyberspace, a villager at home
http://www.qumsiyeh.org
http://www.pcr.ps

Articles by Dr. Qumsiyeh on RamallahOnline.com.

Fayyad’s last attempt to stay relevant

Palestinian Prime minister Salam Fayyad (WIkimedia Commons)
Hamza El-Águila Obeid, The last free Palestinian, 14 May 2011
Palestinian Prime minister Salam Fayyad (WIkimedia Commons)

Palestinian Prime minister Salam Fayyad (WIkimedia Commons)

Salam Fayyad has been saying we’re ready to unilaterally declare independence, and that we are ready to be self-dependent economically.

Then, on March 15th, the people reminded him that Gaza was under a different government and that we needed to unite efforts if we are going to go against the will of Israel and the U.S. veto. Almost two months later, popular and new regional pressures helped push a reconciliation deal signed between Fateh and Hamas.

Israel obviously rejected this, and decided to freeze the transfer of Palestinian tax revenues to the Authority. Salam Fayyad was quick to stop the wages of civil servants, saying that the 300 million NIS being held by Israel were supposed to cover them.

What if Israel froze the transfer of taxes in September when we declare Independence? They almost defiantly will. Was there really no contingency plan for the wages?

This leaves us with two possible conclusions; we were never ready to declare Independence and Salam Fayyad’s plan failed, or Salam Fayyad is using civil servant wages as a political card to insure he is still part of the new government. Here he will tie economic stability with his position as prime minister in the public eye, gathering the public support he never had. In a time when public opinion means everything in the Arab world, this is a very strong card to play.

One must take into account that neither Fateh or Hamas are too fond of Fayyad, one side seeing him as an American puppet, the other seeing him as a threat to their own political weight. The public have always seemed indifferent to Fayyad, seeing him as an extension of the president’s will.

Withholding public servant wages worked to shift public opinion before in 2006. The question is, in the Arab Spring, will it work again.

May 15th and the Third Palestinian Intifada

Nakba 63 years

Arabiat, Blogging from Birzeit Univeristy Campus, Palestine, 14 May 2011

Every year for the past 62 years, there has always been a Nakba commemoration day. May 15th marks the Israeli “War of Independence Day” at the expense of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians that were displaced, expelled, and ethnically cleansed from their cities, villages, and homes in the most brutal manner. Some fled for fear of experiencing the same fate that Deir Yassin underwent, where over one hundred men, women, and children were murdered on the spot. Others were threatened, forcibly evicted, and were either placed on trucks that took them to the Jordanian/Lebanese borders or were told to walk there under the unbearable heat with inadequate food and supplies and no shelter. Many died on the way. Others made their “temporary” homes in the nineteen refugee camps in the West Bank, and the eight in the Gaza Strip.

Every Palestinian is familiar with the Nakba, as it still lives on in the collective memory, passed on from generation to generation, where land deeds and rusty keys are the most prized possessions. 700,000 refugees, over half of the original Palestinian population, have escalated 63 years later into a 6 million problem. Israel continues to systematically deny these facts and figures, disseminating lies through their hasbara machine that these Arabs left on their own accord and free will, but for how long? Especially in such glaring evidence? Writing on newly obtained statistics that show how Israel revoked residency rights of Palestinians (up to 140,000) up until the time of the Oslo Accords, Gideon Levy writes how the spirit of ethnic cleansing is still very much alive and kicking in the democratic state of Israel, all for the purpose of transforming the land into a purely Jewish only state.

“This is an absolute refusal to allow the return of the refugees – something that would “destroy the State of Israel.” It’s also an absolute refusal to allow the return of the people recently expelled. By next Independence Day we’ll probably invent more expulsion regulations, and on the next holiday we’ll talk about “the only democracy.

This year, the 63 third commemorative year of the Nakba, is surrounded by so much hype and fanfare. Bolstered by the geopolitical changes in the Arab world, and drawing upon loud support from the resuscitated Egyptians as a result of their spectacular revolution, this Sunday promises to be something memorable. Egyptian youth have called for a million man march to the Rafah border to show their support and solidarity with the Palestinians, and Jordanians and refugees in Lebanon have pledged to do the same on their side. But guess who has the audacity to rain on the Egyptians’ parade… Hamas leader Khalid Meshaal. He called for the Egyptian youth to refrain from marching to the border, citing fears of “unwanted military confrontation” and not wanting to place Egypt in direct conflict with Zionism when they have their own problems to sort out. Given that Hamas shot any diaphanous shred of credibility by announcing its favor in the two state solution, Meshaal’s comments are seen as nothing less than traitorous. Imagine Mahmoud Abbas or any of his henchmen saying that. Speaking of which, the PA has banned anyone from demonstrating on Sunday next to checkpoints and settlements.

63 years, and Palestinians are not in any way closer to giving up their right of return.

 

And again, Ben Gurion’s “The old will die and the young will forget” couldn’t be further away from the truth. IMEU has come up with this great initiative where second or third generation refugees in a one minute video talk about their parents/grandparents’ Nakba memories.

This year, Israel passed a law forbidding anyone inside of Israel to commemorate the nakba since apparently it’s a criminal offense. This from the Palestine Monitor:

Palestinian schools inside the Green Line have already experienced signs that portend increased censorship. According to an Alternative Information Center report, officials from Israeli Ministry of Education visited Palestinians schools on Land Day, 30 March, requesting that school officials send the Ministry a list of teachers and students that were absent that day.


This act of intimidation was received as a reminder to schools that the Ministry of Education is in fact watching their political activities.


The Follow-Up Committee on Arab Education, an Israeli organization founded in 1984 to advocate for and protect Arab education in Israel, have vocalized their opposition to the law and dedication to Palestinians’ right to observe national days that form cultural and collective memory.


In the past, Palestinian schools have worked with their mayors and local councils to develop lesson plans, activities and video screenings to memorialize the Nakba. Since the passing of the “Nakba Law,” FUCAE is working with legal organizations, Association for Civil Rights in Israel and Adalah, to understand how Palestinian schools will be able to recognize their historical narrative without incurring heavy fines.

On Friday, protests were held in Cairo and Amman and Gaza and the West Bank. Israeli security was tight, and one youth from Silwan died early this morning from a gunshot wound to his stomach. In the areas around East Jerusalem particularly, clashes took place between Palestinians and the Israeli forces, resulting in the arrest of 34 people.

And now onto the Third Palestinian Intifada. It all started on Facebook after getting inspired by the Arab revolutions. Fans numbered almost 300,000 when Facebook decided to pull the page after a couple of whiners were concerned about the anti-Semitic message the page was giving out. In its place, dozens of the Third Palestinian Intifada pages appeared. We don’t know how exactly this proposed intifada will pan out, but Mahmoud Abbas is determined that no intifada will happen under his festering reign, stating that anyone who wants to carry out “armed resistance” should do so away from the Palestinian people. Some people just don’t know when to stop sinking so low. We checked out the Facebook page for the intifada, and it included a long-winded mission statement in Arabic that outlined the cause and effects of the first two intifadas and and what the aspirations for the youth or anyone partaking should be and how that in turn should develop and shape their personalities with regards to social, economic, political, cultural, organizational, and gender related issues. From a quick skim, we saw no information about how this imminent third intifada will be implemented.

Matthew Cassel clarifies what will happen on May 15th, which looks like the normal procedure for previous May 15ths. The third intifada is a day where:

…Palestinian activists, political factions and non-governmental organizations, are participating in various coordinated actions to protest Israeli occupation and call for the right of return for some six million Palestinian refugees. The significance of this date is that it is Nakba day — the day Palestinians annually commemorate their ethnic cleansing from Palestine as British forces departed in 1948 and Zionist forces took over much of the country to establish Israel.

We really do not want to belittle the events/actions that are going to take place tomorrow. While it was heartening to hear Jordanians from the village of Karameh shouting “The people want the liberation of Palestine”/”A-sha3b yureed ta7reer falasteen” and even more so that the Egyptians are putting together convoys to effectively break the siege of Gaza once and for all, here in the West Bank we can’t but help feel that all this hullabaloo will result in crushing disappointment, much like the one experienced on March 15th. In fact, we have already bet that around three thousand people will show up around the Manara square and other landmarks in the West Bank cities, instead of the hundreds of thousands who are participating rigorously in debates on Facebook pages, posting links and pictures and YouTube videos in a frenzied manner.

Here’s what we think will go down tomorrow:

  • Congregation of disappointing amount of people
  • First half hour characterized by emphatic chanting, waving of flags, fist-pumping, etc
  • Adrenaline flows as there seems to be genuine feelings of nationalistic pride
  • Attempted sabotage by the united political factions
  • Blaring loudspeakers play nationalistic songs over and over again as people begin to lose interest and walk away
  • Unleashing of Ramallah perverts, who make sardonic and immensely witty jokes about liberation of Palestine
  • We cry
  • Go home, turn on the news, watch youth who demonstrated at Qalandia checkpoint get tear-gassed and maybe a procession of a martyr or two
Keep in mind, we made this list not because it’s the prototype of what usually goes on in (PA approved) rallies/demonstrations or to be called useless slags who keep on moaning about the incompetence of any type of Palestinian leadership that lacks that stimulating factor, but rather so we can be proved horribly, magnificently wrong. A couple of months ago, there was on article on the al-Jazeera website that asserted that no revolution is likely to take place in Syria anytime soon because of these so and so factors.
We’ll be there around the Manara square tomorrow, but this time with no high hopes or expectations. May 15th will be yet another commemorative year, but this won’t explode or even ignite the fuse for the Third Intifada. The youth seem to know what they want (an end to division, an end to occupation, liberation of Palestine, calls for democratic elections, etc) but their problem lies in their means to achieve these goals. Again, with March 15th on our minds, copying the tactics of Egypt and Tunisia was not enough. March 15th didn’t bring about the reconciliation of Hamas and Fateh. The geopolitical circumstances in surrounding Arab countries did. May 15th will be another year, another day of remembrance, a devastating and amplified reminder that 63 years have gone by, where over 500 villages and 11 urban neighborhoods were completely destroyed and now have thriving Israeli infrastructures built upon the ruins.

ArabiatLife on Birzeit Campus

Arabiat, a Regular Ode to the Hardships and Joy of Living as expatriates of our Countries of Citizenship in the Holy Land…as Falastiniyyas!

This article was contributed to RamallahOnline by Arabiat, Follow them at http://lifeonbirzeitcampus.blogspot.com

Remembering Nakba – finding Peace

Nakba 1948 Palestine (Wikimedia Commons, hanini.org)

 

Nakba 1948 Palestine (Wikimedia Commons, hanini.org)

Nakba 1948 Palestine (Wikimedia Commons, hanini.org)

Susan Wahhab, 15 May 2011

Dear friends,

For the past few days I have been wondering what to write about 15th May 1948 Nakba day (Nakba in Arabic means catastrophe). I have to admit it’s not an easy conversation to have while still maintaining the quest for peace. Memories of Nakba bring up feelings of anger, dispossession and injustice. Feelings we could choose to let them either foment or suppress in our hearts. Both feelings can lead to frustration, anger, hatred and consequently war and more war (with each other and with the other).

When I remember Nakba I remember my grandparents. My maternal grandparents, Issa and Labibeh Habash were lucky! They found a truck to load the children in with some clothes and left Jaffa to Amman thinking it will be couple of weeks and they will be back. My paternal grandparents, Saliba and Wedad Wahhab weren’t so lucky! They were marched out of Ramleh on foot walking for 3 days through the rocky hills to Ramallah with five children under 10.
My grandparents’ stories are 2 personal stories out of more than 700,000 that make up the Nakba stories; when our grandparents lost their homes, businesses and groves and with it the dream of a country. These are stories that most Israelis and many people in Western countries don’t know about. The aim of my bulletin today is not to make you angry. My aim is to educate you if you don’t know about Nakba but also to bridge the gap that is missing when we talk about peace and justice between Israelis and Palestinians.

With this bulletin I aim to make peace. Not knowing each other’s narrative is what keeps the war and occupation going and with it more Nakba stories of people losing their homes and farms to the wall and settlements. Israelis don’t know much about our history and narrative and we don’t know much about their history and narrative. I would like to introduce to you Roni Segoly an ex Israeli soldier and secret service agent who is now a member of combatants for peace, a joint Israeli-Palestinian NGO.

Roni: “I was born in Baqa neighborhood in Jerusalem (this is the Arab name of the neighborhood that is used until today). I grew up in an Arab house, which to me meant a house with high ceilings, nice tiled floors and thick walls. The fact that in the past Arabs lived there didn’t occur to me at all. In 1967 right after the 6 day war, when I was 10, a few Arabs knocked on our door, and they told us in broken English that they used to live in the house once, and they asked to see it. That was an embarrassing and strange situation, what do we do? And what do they want? I mean this house is obviously ours. Anyways we let them in, they looked around and left, and we haven’t heard from them since. I presume we weren’t very kind to them. This moment has been engraved in my memory ever since.
In 2006 I went with my mother to Romania to see where my roots were. In other words, where she ran away from after the Second World War. We went to the tiny remote village where she was born. It was a deserted village in northern part of the country and we looked for the house she used to live in. Today, obviously Romanians inhabit it since they are almost no Jews left in the area. We didn’t find the house, so we knocked on the door of a neighboring house. Someone opened and asked what we wanted? We explained and they were very unfriendly. Then I suddenly realized, this is an identical story to the one that happened in my childhood, with the original residents of the house I grew up in.”

I believe that Roni’s story is the bridge we must all walk on to make peace with each other and stop the madness. It’s hard to hear someone else’s story when you are suffering. “I want to talk about my story as my story is more painful than yours”. The Palestinians and Israelis are similar! Both have stories of hardships and oppression. Both are fighting for “who’s story is more painful”. I believe that both have suffered. Now its compassion time: let’s sit down and listen to each other’s stories for the sake of the next generation.

Roni: “It took me a while until I was able to tell this story. It took me time until I was able to explain to myself what was happening here. I am sure in the justice of our way, I know that I belong to minority [combatants for Peace] here in Israel, but we are determined. You cannot rule another nation for a long period of time and there is no way to lead a humanitarian occupation. There is no way to be evil to others with out letting this evil penetrate into our lives.
I feel that we are the true bearers of the spirit of Judaism, which means that one needs to acknowledge the right of another even if they aren’t Jewish…Assessments of different struggles in the world always show that it ends in negotiation and some compromise.
Dezmand Tutu said “ A man is a man when he approves of others as human beings” and old Hillel said “What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow: this is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn”. ”

If you want to hear more of Roni’s story and many others like him. http://cfpeace.org/?cat=6&story_id=176.

Send this to everyone you know and ask them to pass it on. The more we know about each other the quicker we can get to peace. Peace is only possible when we make peace with ourselves and then reach out for the other.

I can’t stress more the importance of signing the petition to send to the UN. It takes less than 2 minutes to sign up. http://www.gopetition.com/petition/41477.html

Salam Shalom Peace be with you

 

 

Declare a Palestinian State – Vote Yes..

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Selected Nakba events in Palestine

Mazin Qumsiyeh

Mazin Qumsiyeh, 12 May 2011

Selected Nakba events in Palestine – Join us and be the change you want to see in this world

(there are hundreds of other events around the world).

 

Thursday 12 May: at Noon demonstration in Izzet Al-Tabib (near Qalqilia).

Friday 13 May: Events and demonstrations after Friday prayers from most mosques (in Bethlehem Omar’s mosque)

Saturday 14 May: Starting at 10 AM volunteer work day in land of Al-Walaja that has been declared off-limits to its owners.

Sunday 15 May: at 11 AM Nakba day demonstration at Qalandia (Checkpoint and refugee camp), buses and pooled cars from Bethlehem

 

A film made in 1950 about the Palestinian Refugees in Gaza following the Nakba and called “Sands of Sorrow”

http://www.palestineremembered.com/Articles/General/Story2129.html

 

Also there are more documentary videos on this page:

http://www.palestineremembered.com/GeoPoints/Nakba__Refugees__and_R_O_R__5366/index.html

 

French group to send aid delegation to Palestine

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/178617.html

 

The Unholy Alliance between The United States and Israel. This ia lengthy article because it is comprehensive.  I was interviewed for it.  Here is part of what I said:

Dr. Qumsiyeh said if he was able to speak with Pres. Obama directly, he would encourage him to be courageous and take on the powerful lobbying forces that shape America’s foreign policy. “I would tell him that it takes courage to make change in the system. That each of us is more powerful than we think. That is why it was possible to challenge the power of the system in Egypt and Tunisia by common people. He knows this having worked as a community organizer. Now that he is president he seems to have lost that courage and is now going along with the system. He has not closed Guantanamo, he has not ended the imperial war on Iraq, he has expanded the imperial war on Afghanistan, he has actually expanded wars in Somalia, Libya et cetera. Where is the ‘change we can believe in?’” Dr. Qumsiyeh asked. http://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/National_News_2/article_7769.shtml

 

Violations of human rights in Bahrain (a government fully supported by the US)

http://musicweaver.users.btopenworld.com/Bahrain-unrest_bmj_2011.htm

 

Zionist groups try to gather data on BDS on campuses

http://forward.com/articles/137518/

 

SILENCE IS COMPLICITY

 

SILENCE IS COMPLICITY

Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh teaches and does research at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities in occupied Palestine. He serves as chairman of the board of the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People and coordinator of the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Beit Sahour He is author of “Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human rights and the Israeli/Palestinian Struggle” and the forthcoming book Popular Resistance in Palestine: A history of Hope and Empowerment.

A Bedouin in Cyberspace, a villager at home
http://www.qumsiyeh.org
http://www.pcr.ps

Articles by Dr. Qumsiyeh on RamallahOnline.com.

Email change, Nakba events, Bin Laden..

Mazin Qumsiyeh

Mazin Qumsiyeh, 3 May 2011

 

Note: If you email me at qumsi001@hotmail.com in the past few weeks, please
resend your message here as I have lost access to that account. Also please
be careful with any emails that may come from that email account.  You can
always email me at mazin@qumsiyeh.org

There is a western media frenzy about the reported “taking-out” of Osama Bin
Laden (the previous ally turned enemy). Israeli papers reported a high level
US security official as saying he instruction was not to capture Bin Laden
alive but to liquidate him.  But everyone already knew this since there
would be messy business if the US soldiers captured such a person alive (he
may even spill the beans on his US and Pakistani intelligence links).  Most
people went about their daily lives of apathy.  Even the stock market did
not go up as pundits predicted.  Soon the dollar will resume its downward
spiral.

The US military may feel vindicated and Pakistanis will feel their country’s
sovereignty challenged. Some may chose to retaliate with violence giving the
neocons and neoliberals their excuse to pursue their policies.  After the
collapse of the Soviet Union, the military-industrial complex needed a new
enemy to sustain its massive structure and conveniently the “Islamic
terrorism” materialized. Of course there are fanatical Muslims (and Jews and
Christians and Hindus) who are willing to kill. Yet, the US did not have to
invade Iraq and Afghanistan and create more such fanatics.  But a more sober
analysis shows that things will change.

Bin Laden was killed a while ago not physically but as an idea! The idea
suffered significant blows by the Arab Spring revolutions which showed that
it does not take violence to change our societies and remove US/Israeli
backed dictators.  Bin Laden’s assassination and the continued state
terrorism practiced by the US government and its allies especially Israel
attempt to entrench the idea of violence as an answer. The brutal assault on
Syrian, Yemeni, Saudi and Bahraini demonstrators and the US continued
military attacks in countries around the world are part of this human
foolishness.  They represent that wing of our global society that believes
violence is the answer: the win-lose scenario. The hopeful ideas of popular
resistance, freedom, democracy and end to exploitation successfully
challenged the notions of “clash of civilization” and “might makes right”.
We thus remain hopeful despite all the false news planted around us and all
the false-flag operations, and despite the 1 million Iraqis and 50,000
Afghans killed by these wars.

Here in Palestine, most people went about their lives focusing on how to
find the next loaf of bread under Israeli colonial occupation.  Hardly a
mention was made of Bin Laden.  If we take just one village called Izbet
Al-Tabib, a tiny village of 247 residents (60% of them children), we see one
example of what was on people’s minds.  The Israeli decision to take their
land was met with building a protest tent on the threatened land and trying
to make their story known.  The Israeli military came and attacked the
villagers and the international volunteers severely injuring an elderly
American woman and arresting three other internationals (see
http://palsolidarity.org/2011/05/18071/ ). At night more than 200 soldiers
invaded the village terrorizing its population to try and stem the growing
popular resistance. Please join the villagers Thursday for solidarity
starting at 1 PM. And last night, the Israeli army arrested several
Palestinians in major cities including Bethlehem (this happens regularly in
defiance of the Oslo accords and with knowledge of “Palestinian security”
forces).

In a few days, there will be events and commemorations surrounding the Nakba
day.  The Nakba is the Palestinian catastrophe etched into every living
Palestinian mind.  It is the fact that from January 1948 to the end of 1949,
more than 2/3rd of our people who lived in the land that became the (Jewish)
state of Israel were ethnically cleansed.  63 years later, nearly 7 million
Palestinians are refugees or internally displaced people. This is the
largest and most tragic and persistent post world war II atrocity. For
information, visit http://PalestineRemembered.com

It is important that we all join in activities to challenge colonialism on
this anniversary of the Nakba. Below are some events but do look for events
in your area or organize your own events.  In the US, you can also get some
printed material (a Nakba Pak) from here
http://ifamericansknew.org/about_us/packs.html

>From Lebanon and Jordan, see details here
http://returntopalestine.blogspot.com/

Hellerup, Kobenhavn, Denmark
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=221525124531256
Israëlische ambassade, Sterrewachtlaan 40 1180 Ukkel – Avenue de
l’Observatoire 40 1180 Brussel (UCCLE)
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=200013603371184
Madrid. C/ Velázquez 150, 7º
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=180589978657757
Ambassade d’Israel – Paris
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=179953362056178
Bern (Bern, Switzerland)
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=168998889823873
Houston, TX
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=123540217721453
Consulate General of Israel, 6380 Wilshire blvd. Suite 1700, Los Angeles CA,
90048 & Consulate General of Israel, 456 Montgomery Street, San Francisco,
94104
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=140344946036616

Israeli Embassy
122 Pembroke Road, Ballsbridge
Dublin, Ireland
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=205349512829240
Ambasciata d’Israele, via Michele Mercati 12, Roma
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=178215672227437
Israelische Botschaft Auguste-Viktoria-Str. 74-76 14193 Berlin
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=118993821513426
Boston Israeli Consulate
20 Park Plaza
Boston, MA
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=210024405683124
Israeli Embassy, 2 Palace Green, London W8 4QB
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=197040297000383

Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh teaches and does research at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities in occupied Palestine. He serves as chairman of the board of the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People and coordinator of the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Beit Sahour He is author of “Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human rights and the Israeli/Palestinian Struggle” and the forthcoming book Popular Resistance in Palestine: A history of Hope and Empowerment.

A Bedouin in Cyberspace, a villager at home
http://www.qumsiyeh.org
http://www.pcr.ps

Articles by Dr. Qumsiyeh on RamallahOnline.com.

Bracing for Nakba Day in Israel and Palestine

RamallahOnline-Nakbeh.40
Palestine Monitor, 2 May 2011
As the Israeli military has announced it will increase troop deployment in the Occupied West Bank for the approaching Nakba Day, Palestinian schools and communities prepare for their first ‘illegalized’ commemoration of the day that marks the evacuation of tens of thousands of Palestinians from their homes to make way for the creation of Israel.
RamallahOnline-Nakbeh.40

On 22 March, the Israeli Knesset approved the “Nakba Law,” which criminalizes stated-funded organizations, bodies and schools from observing 15 May as the Palestinian catastrophe, instead of Israeli Independence day.

Palestinian schools inside the Green Line have already experienced signs that portend increased censorship. According to an Alternative Information Center report, officials from Israeli Ministry of Education visited Palestinians schools on Land Day, 30 March, requesting that school officials send the Ministry a list of teachers and students that were absent that day.

This act of intimidation was received as a reminder to schools that the Ministry of Education is in fact watching their political activities.

The Follow-Up Committee on Arab Education, an Israeli organization founded in 1984 to advocate for and protect Arab education in Israel, have vocalized their opposition to the law and dedication to Palestinians’ right to observe national days that form cultural and collective memory.

In the past, Palestinian schools have worked with their mayors and local councils to develop lesson plans, activities and video screenings to memorialize the Nakba. Since the passing of the “Nakba Law,” FUCAE is working with legal organizations, Association for Civil Rights in Israel and Adalah, to understand how Palestinian schools will be able to recognize their historical narrative without incurring heavy fines.

Nakba: Words And Pictures A series of images and testimonies to coincide with last year’s anniversary of the “Nakba”
See also Nakba Pictures on RamallahOnline
 

The Nakba Law deepens apartheid in Israel

Palestine Monitor
Palestine Monitor, 26 March 2011
The ‘Nakba law’ is yet another piece of racist and discriminatory legislation which will directly target the Palestinian minority in Israel. In essence, the law stifles freedom of expression and will punish this sector of society for commemorating the most traumatic event in their recent collective history, the Nakba.

On March 22nd, the Knesset voted 37-25 in favour of the so-called ‘Nakba-Law’, or Amendment 39, a bill which has been in the works since 2009. Initiated by MK Alex Miller of the far-right political party, Yisrael Beiteinu, the law calls for—amongst other things—the reduction of state funding to groups that participate in activities that contradict the character of the state as ‘Jewish and democratic’ or that grieve Israel’s Independence day.

According to experts, the law is undeniably vague in its wording, thus leaving it open to abuse. Sawsan Zaher of Adalah, the legal centre for Arab minority rights in Israel, believes the bill threatens a broad swath of government-funded institutions. Organizations at risk include research institutions that are found to be challenging the definition of the Israeli state as Jewish and democratic; educational institutions, such as bilingual schools, which hold events acknowledging the shared history of Jews and Arabs; and state-funded community organizations, such as theatres showing plays about the Nakba.

One cannot escape the fact that the law clearly targets freedom of expression, a basic human right and an essential requirement for a meaningful democracy. ‘You are sanctioned because of your political thoughts,’ Zaher says. ‘You can have your money so long as your political attitude aligns with the ideology of the right-wing government.’

With this in consideration, one is led to understand the intention of the bill to curb dissident voices within Israeli society.

The decision to sanction those who are involved in acknowledging the Nakba because it undermines Israel’s Independence Day is a clear indicator of the extent to which Palestinians living within Israel are afforded second class citizenship. For Zaher, this unequal treatment of Israel’s citizens can be seen in plain sight, ‘It would be seen as completely unacceptable to deny Jews the right to acknowledge the trauma of the holocaust, now they are trying to deny the trauma of the Palestinian people.’

The law states that it is the Minister for Finance who will be authorized to decrease the budget for those who are found to be involved in activities that are seen as a violation of its terms. For many like Zaher, this bill further affirms Israel’s undemocratic character. Zaher highlights the fact that ‘it is a legal matter and so should be the responsibility of the judicial authorities. This is a breach of constitutional rights and an infringement on the separation of powers.’

In Zaher’s view, this law is but one element of an ongoing policy of discrimination aimed at the Palestinian minority being carried out by the Israeli government. ‘It is an undemocratic law which is part of a chain of racist legislation that serves to target the Palestinian minority and decrease their rights she asserts. ‘The Palestinian citizens of Israel are viewed by the state as the enemy, no democratic state views its own citizens this way,’ she continues. This is given weight if one looks at the stream of racist and discriminatory legislation which has been set forth by Netanyahu’s government since its coming to power.

For the right-wing coalition currently in power, the Palestinian minority and its contesting narrative serves as a substantial thorn in the side of their political agenda, the aim of which is to bolster the Jewish character of the Israeli state. The ‘Nakba law’ is therefore another crude attempt to further this objective. Zaher contends that this stifling of freedom of expression for only one sector of society is not the action of a democratic government. ‘Discriminatory policies are one thing but when you have discriminatory laws, this is apartheid.’

Banning the Commemoration of Nakba

Palestinians who remained in Israel after the wars found themselves subject to discrimination and military law. The demonstrator's banner reads, " No to Racism, Yes to Equality" ~Dave Clark
Palestinians who remained in Israel after the wars found themselves subject to discrimination and military law. The demonstrator's banner reads, " No to Racism, Yes to Equality" ~Dave Clark

Palestinians who remained in Israel after the wars found themselves subject to discrimination and military law. The demonstrator's banner reads, " No to Racism, Yes to Equality" ~Dave Clark


Palestine Monitor
, 24 March 2011
On Tuesday night, the Knesset approved two bills that extend the institutionalization of racial discrimination and reduction in civil rights in Israel.

One bill, known as the Nakba Law effectively illegalizes any public institution—including local municipalities and publically supported organizations—from commemorating Nakba Day—or in the bill’s own words any “commemoration of Independence Day as a day of mourning.”

This law strikes at the very core of freedom of expression: now, the State will be able to fine any local institution that presents or expresses any rendering of Israeli Independence Day as anything that deviates from a story of victory and triumph.

 

ACRI has denounced the bill, arguing that not only does it chip away at Israel’s most basic rights of freedom of artistic and political expression, but it will undoubtedly target Israel’s Palestinian citizens. Palestinians living in Israel will be unable to represent their own history and narrative of the creation of Israel.

The bill imparted enforcement duties to the Ministry of Finance, who will be able to withhold funds to public organizations. Hagai El-Ad, the executive director of Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), has written about the shocking direction this bill takes Israel. In an article originally published in Hebrew on NRG, El-Ad writes, “This is perhaps the first time in democracy for freedom of expression to receive such a price tag.”

El-Ad has interpreted the bill as a privatization of free speech, writing that now, “Certain forms of speech will have a particularly high price.”

Citing the use and payment of police officers to protect a demonstration, El-Ad observes that before the Nakba Law, society paid for the protection of their rights to free speech.

With the passing of the Nakba Bill, also known as Amendment 39, the state has transfers these costs to those public organizations that exercise their freedom of expression and speech.

El-Ad warns that future bills, namely the “Prohibition on participation in a boycott” bill will further privatize rights by burdening individuals with the cost of their political expressions.