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Nakba (Catastrophe) Day 2013: Palestinians Mark 65th Anniversary Of 1948 Displacement

May 16, 2013

END THE NAKBA

“They took  us out one after the other; shot an old man and when one of his daughters cried,  she was shot too. Then they called my brother Muhammad, and shot him in front of  us, and when my mother yelled, bending over him – carrying my little sister  Hudra in her hands, still breastfeeding her – they shot her too.” (12  year old witness at Deir Yassin, 9 April, 1948)

The UN Partition  Plan of 1947 had awarded 55% of the disputed land to the Jews (when they owned  less than 6%) and 45% for the Palestinian state. Through a militaristic policy  of ethnic cleansing the Zionist leadership seized more land by force and drove  out or killed the indigenous Palestinians. The violent and inhuman atrocities of  the Zionist army was the backdrop to the declaration of “Independent Israel” on  14 May 1948. The Zionist Project had by “Independence” acquired 78% of  Palestine, expelled 750,000 Palestinians and destroyed 400 Palestinian villages.  A catastrophe of monumental proportions for the indigenous Palestinians!

The Nakba  continues with further confiscation of Palestinian land for Jewish settlements  and its occupation of Jerusalem. Four million Palestinians mostly in refugee  camps in neighbouring countries have been refused right of return despite UN  Resolution 194 reaffirming; “…refugees wishing to return to their homes  and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the  earliest practical date, and that compensation should be paid for the property  of those choosing not to return and for the loss of or damage to  property…”

The Goldstone Report on the  invasion of Gaza in Dec 2008 noted that; “the destruction of food supply  installations, water sanitation systems, concrete factories and residential  houses was the result of a deliberate and systematic policy which has made the  daily process of living, and dignified living, more difficult for the civilian  population.” thus turning Gaza into the largest open prison in the  world.

The racist,  immoral and illegitimate actions of Israel has turned it into a rogue nation,  increasing its political isolation in the global community. Where super powers  have failed the Palestinians, civil society has responded with vigour and  outrage to say “Enough is Enough”. There is a worldwide campaign  of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) to put pressure on  Israel to abide by international law.

Since her inception in Jan 2009, VPM has been unrelenting in her  pursuit towards advocating justice and self-determination for Palestine. In more  tangible forms, VPM has transferred RM 5 Million worth of funds to finance  various medical, educational, housing, micro-financing and women’s projects in  Palestine.

Our  upcoming 2nd Kuala Lumpur Palestine Film Festival from 17-19 May 2013  is an altruistic film fest to reach out to an audience largely not exposed to the realities of the  humanitarian crisis in Palestine. The  movies juxtapose the complexity with the simplicity of the life of a  Palestinian. The films reflect the legendary spirit of an entire people that  stays unbroken in spite of over sixty years of brutal occupation. It is about  ordinary people living extraordinary lives.

The ultimate objective of all these global humanitarian effort is  to end the longest military occupation in modern history, transform the tragic  history of Palestine and END THE NAKBA.

Get up ! Get involved ! Viva Palestina ! Long Live Palestine !

Dr Musa Mohd Nordin

Chairman, Viva Palestina  Malaysia

MOHAMMED DARAGHMEH  05/15/13 12:28 PM ET EDT

Nakba Day 2013A Palestinian demonstrator covers his face after inhaling tear gas fired by Israeli troops, not seen, during clashes outside the Ofer military prison, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, Tuesday, May 15, 2012 during the 64th anniversary of “Nakba”, Arabic for catastrophe, the term used to mark the events leading to Israel’s founding in 1948. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were forced from their villages during the war over Israel’s 1948 creation, an event they commemorate every y

 

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Tens of thousands of Palestinians marked the 65th anniversary of their mass displacement during the war over Israel’s 1948 creation, marching in the streets and in some parts of the West Bank clashing with Israeli security forces.

Every May 15, Palestinians hold rallies to commemorate the “nakba,” or “catastrophe” – the term they use to describe the displacement, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were driven from their homes during the fighting. The dispute over the fate of those Palestinians and their descendants, now numbering several million people, remains at the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The United Nations General Assembly approved a partition of British-ruled Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states in 1947. In May 1948 Israel declared independence.

Israel views the Palestinians’ return as demographic suicide and expects the displaced and their descendants to be taken in by a future Palestinian state. But intermittent Israeli-Palestinian attempts to agree on the terms of such a state have so far failed.

Across the West Bank on Wednesday, sirens wailed at noon for 65 seconds to commemorate the 65 years since the “nakba.” Thousands marched in Ramallah from the grave of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to the city center. Many wore black in a sign of mourning, holding Palestinian flags and large keys symbolizing the homes they left behind.

“The right of return will not die,” chanted the protesters. Schools closed at midday and parents brought their children to the demonstration.

In Ramallah, 38-year-old Manwal Awad brought her 11-year-old twins to the protest. “Every year I bring them with me to inherit the story of our nakba, and to keep the dream of return,” she said.

Rallies were elsewhere in the West Bank as well, and in several places demonstrators throwing rocks clashed with Israeli security forces, who responded with tear gas, Israel’s military said. Near the volatile city of Hebron, a fire bomb hit at an Israeli military vehicle, causing it to overturn and injuring four soldiers, the military said.

In east Jerusalem, Israeli police used water cannon and officers on horseback to disperse an “illegal march,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. Nineteen protesters were arrested for throwing rocks and bottles at police that injured three police officers, he said.

Seven other Palestinians suspected of attacking several Jews as they walked to the Western Wall in the Old City were also arrested, he said.

In Gaza, around a thousand people marched to the U.N. headquarters in Gaza City, where the demonstrators chanted: “We shall return. We will never give up or compromise over our land.”

Militants in Gaza, which has been under the control of the militant Hamas group since 2007, fired a rocket into southern Israel that exploded in an open field causing no injuries, Israel’s military said.

In a televised speech on Tuesday night, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the Palestinian cause earned international acceptance last year with the United Nations’ de facto recognition of a Palestinian state in east Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

“We won the support of the world,” Abbas said, adding that Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians are “condemned internationally.”

Last year, Abbas created a stir when he told Israeli media that he himself has no wish to live in Safed, the city of his birth, in northern Israel.

Although widely condemned by Palestinians, Abbas’ remarks were seen as a reflection of a decades-old understanding among Palestinian officials that likely only a limited number of refugees would ever be able to return to their original homes in Israel as part of a compromise that would result in a future peace agreement.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has been trying to renew Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, which collapsed four years ago over the issue of Jewish settlements. Palestinians insist they will not resume talks unless the construction of settlements in territories they want for their future state ends first. Israel says negotiations should resume without preconditions and that settlements will be resolved through talks along with the other issues.

In efforts to jump-start the talks, Kerry has managed to persuade Arab leaders to reissue their 2002 peace proposal with new incentives, including a suggestion that final borders between Israel and a future Palestine could be modified from the 1967 lines through agreed land swaps.

The 2002 initiative, which at the time was endorsed by the Arab League and the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation, offered Israel normalized relations in exchange for a full withdrawal from territories captured in 1967. However, it was overshadowed by Israeli-Palestinian fighting and was greeted with skepticism by Israel.

Israel has been mostly quiet on the proposal so far.

On Wednesday, the Palestinian statistics bureau in the West Bank issued a statement saying the number of Palestinians today has reached 11.5 million. Of those, 4.4 million live in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza; 1.4 million in Israel while the remainder live in the diaspora.

___

Associated Press writer Ibrahim Barzak contributed to this report from the Gaza Strip.

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