The Nakba continues
By SAED EREKAT
The catastrophe continues. As the 62nd anniversary of the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes looms, rights continue to be violated and a solution is more urgent than ever.
A solution based on UN General Assembly Resolution 194 for Palestinian refugees is a must. The creation of a Palestinian state on the 1967 border, with East Jerusalem as its capital, is a must. Releasing all Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails is a must. Solving all permanent-status issues is a must.
The international community must draw important lessons from the Nakba and make of this anniversary a date when the world upholds international law. No state is above the law, and the international community must end Israeli belligerence and disregard for international law.
Sixty-two years ago tomorrow, more than 726,000 Palestinians were forcibly displaced from their homes and lands to make way for the State of Israel. They have been prevented from returning ever since. Hundreds of Palestinian villages and neighborhoods were destroyed. Today, over seven million Palestinian refugees live in exile. Of those, more than 1.3 million Palestinians continue to live in 58 UN-administered refugee camps.
In other conflicts, refugee rights have been honored and respected, including the right of return, restitution and compensation. In stark contrast, however, Israel refuses to even recognize the Palestinian right of return, thus continuing to deny the refugees’ basic rights.
The Palestinian Nakba continues to this day, as Israeli practices and policies of evictions, home demolitions, deportations, settlement activities, wall-building as well as closure and siege in both the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip generate new waves of displaced persons.
The international community must assume its responsibility in protecting the tenets and principles of international law by pressuring Israel to immediately end these policies.
The author is the chief negotiator for the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Nakba Will Eventually Become a Memory
By MOHAMAD SHMAYSANI
Maybe it’s a crime to ask why Germany is still paying off its debt to Israel for a massacre the Zionists claim the Nazi Fuhrer committed in 1940s. For more than half a century, the Germans, generation after generation, have been “compensating” Israel for a “Holocaust” half of the world is still questioning.
Perhaps it’s a crime to ask why the United States isn’t making up for the Native Americans or why Israel isn’t paying off its debt to the Palestinians, the Egyptians, the Lebanese, and recently the Emiratis. For more than half a century, the whole world has been watching Israel’s atrocities, massacres, usurpations, wars, assassinations, conspiracies and blackmail live on television networks, and of course Rupert Murdoch’s outlets excluded.
But it’s an undisputable right to ask why Arabs are still idle and indifferent about a shrinking Palestine. How can some Arab leaders sent congratulations letters to Israel for its creation 62 years ago. In less than a year, starting February 1948, Zionist gangs like the Haganah, the Irgun and LEHI started to systematically commit massacre after massacre in a bid, a successful one apparently, to force a mass dispossession of the Palestinians. 750 thousand Palestinians were ruthlessly uprooted from their destroyed homes and confiscated lands. This was later called the Nakba, or the catastrophe, and it was documented.
It took America hundreds of years to declare its “independence” ever since the white man colonized the “new world.” It only took Israel 51 years to declare its creation on the ruins of Palestine ever since Theodore Herzl held the first “International Zionist Organization” conference in Bazle, Switzerland (1897) to “bring” Jews in Diaspora together.
In the early 30's, the Britons issued the so called "White Paper" that determined the quotas for Jewish emigrants with an annual cut to 15 thousand Jews for five years. Ten years later, according to the "Paper", the Palestinians would rule their own unified state after they declare their independence. However Zionists sought to nullify this "Paper" in 1939. Then Zionist leader Ben Gorion said: "We will fight the war (WW2) as if there were no White Paper and we will fight the White Paper as if there were no war."
When Palestine was ruled by the British mandatory government, it faced resistance and managed during the 1936 - 1939 revolution, to cause extensive damage to the Palestinian leadership. One can argue that the royal army wasn’t directly paving the way for Zionist gangs to attack a defenseless people. yet ethnic cleansing and dispossession had started ever since under British eyes but without their interference.
Back then, Arabs were as helpless as they are today although more connected the fresh cause. And just as the case is today, the Palestinians surrendered their fate to the Arab League, in perhaps one of the biggest mistakes in the course of the Arab – Israeli conflict. Apparently, the Zionist were not very much concerned about the Arabs as much as they were about the strong international community that was shaping up after World War II. Blackmail was their most efficient weapon and their tool was of course the “Holocaust.” The United Nations was supposed to declare in the independence of Palestine in 1947, instead the world body issued the notorious partition resolution that stipulates allocating Palestinians less than half their country and the other bigger half to Israeli settlers.
The Zionists were compensated for the Holocaust with more than half of Palestine. It has nothing to do with religion as Zionists allege.
"There is a country, and its name is by chance Palestine. A country without a people and on the other hand, there is the Jewish people without a homeland," said Hayeem Wiseman who played a significant role in issuing the notorious Belford promise and then became the first Israeli president, said during the Nakba.
Seeking atonement, the Europeans did not stop and this was dwarfing the rights of the Palestinians on the one hand and encouraging Zionist gangs to commit massacres without fear of international condemnation; actually this has never stopped being the case.
Now that most of the Jews of Europe had set sail for Palestine, the Holocaust issue became much easier to tackle with a “state” representing the victims, not with the victims themselves. Edward Said’s “chain of victimization” began and the so called “Holocaust victims” now had victims of their own; the Palestinians.
The Europeans maintain a virtual silence toward what the Zionists are doing to the Palestinians under the pretext of showing sympathy for the “victims of the Holocaust.”
German chancellor, Angela Merkel last year made very biased speech in the Israeli Knesset. She did not mention the occupation, and only praised Israel as a “paragon of justice, democracy and civilization. She left the Palestinians with no hope for a different future.
To uproot more Palestinians and expand the Zionist entity with the consent of the International Community, demonizing the Palestinians was a prerequisite; otherwise the Israelis – in the international understanding - would be doing to the Palestinians what they claim the Nazis did to them. With the help of the United States of America, it sort of succeeded; after all, both entities had uprooted two different peoples and replaced them.
The Palestinians were labeled as “Mukharribeen” or ravagers and then terrorists because they’d decided to take matters from the Arab League’s hands into their own.
The American veto at the UN Security Council was a very effective tool to give Israel more power to kill Palestinians and Arabs throughout decades.
On the 15th of May 1948, David Ben Gurion declared the "State of Israel,” and 62 years on, Western states and some spineless Arab leaders continue to celebrate this black day.
But on the other side of picture, Israel is ailing, exposed, vulnerable, and in its weakest states. The International community is no longer showing leniency after the Zionists crossed the line – in the European conception - and did to the Gazans what the Nazis allegedly did to the Jews; the US is trying to pressure defiant Israel over settlement construction; Turkey is turning its back on it; the economic crisis has plagued its economy as exports to Europe have extensively diminished; and most importantly, the resistance movement in the Middle East is growing stronger.
In 2000, Israel pulled out of most of south Lebanon by force, not settlements and concessions. In 2006, and after 33 days of war, Israel tasted the bitter defeat at the hands of a few thousand resistance fighter, after its “invincible army” used to defeat regular Arab armies in a less than a week. Today Israel is threatening Lebanon, Syria, Iran, and the whole region with war; a war that is strongly believed to be Israel’s very last.
Some see it on the verge of collapse, others believe Israel has already slipped into the abyss and Nakba is very close to become just a memory that Palestinians, including the refugees who would have returned to Palestine, will recount to their children.