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Monday, 16 May 2011

‘The Only Democracy in the Middle East’ Murders 13 Unarmed Demonstrators


On the day that it was announced that Libya’s Col. Ghadaffi will likely be indicted at the International Criminal Court at the Hague for war crimes, there was a strange omission. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been responsible for the murder of thousands of Palestinians, found his name left off the list of potential war crimes.

The latest killings, 13 at the latest count, occurred when peaceful and unarmed demonstrators at the Lebanese border, the Golan Heights and Gaza’s Erez Junction, among other places, were killed in cold blood and hundreds injured, tear gassed and arrested as they commemorated the Day of the Nakba.

Nakba means ‘Catastrophe’ and that is how it is seen by Palestinians. Between 1947 and 1948, Zionist militias deliberately massacred thousands of Palestinians in order to ‘encourage’ ¾ million Palestinians to leave for neighbouring Arab countries, never to return. The aim was the creation of a ‘Jewish’ State in Israel on May 15th 1948. To establish a state with a decisive Jewish majority in a land where the majority of the population were non-Jewish, it was absolutely vital to expel the vast majority of Palestinians from the area of that State. That was why ‘Transfer’ Committees had been set up under the Jewish Agency to plan the mechanics of the expulsion.

In subsequent years Israel wove the myth about how the Arabs had voluntarily left their homes in order that the armies of the neighbouring Arab states could enter. In time Israeli historians, such as Simha Flapan [The Birth Of Israel Myths And Realities], Benny Morris [The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem,1947–1949] and Ilan Pappe [The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine] demolished this revisionist attempt to rewrite history, although Morris’s views have become the Zionist equivalent of the Nazi attitude to Jews. His only regret now is that the expulsion of the Palestinians wasn’t completed and 100% had been expelled.

Ever since 1948 Israel had been engaged in trying to erase the collective memory of the Nakba. Over 250 villages, the names of which the late Professor Israel Shahak, a holocaust survivor himself, were uncovered as part of the process of rediscovering the memory of 1948. The Jewish National Fund, which today tries to cover itself in ‘green’ credentials planted forests and parks over those villages that the Kibbutzim – the symbol of ‘socialist Zionism’ hadn’t already stolen and built upon.

The articles below are from a number of different angles. The first is from an Israeli protestor, Yossi Schwartz, who describes the arrests and attacks on peaceful demonstrators describes this process of rewriting history. The ‘Nakba Bill’ of the semi-fascist Yisrael Beteinu, effectively outlaws mention of the Nakbah. The Nakba is not to be mentioned in the school curriculum and local authorities that hold events to commemorate it are fined (i.e. Arab local authorities which receive on average one-third per capita grants of similar Jewish local authorities.

But the more the Zionists try to ban and erase the memory of the crimes of 1948, the more it is embedded in the consciousness of Israel’s Palestinians. There is also an account of the various demonstrations and the attacks on them all over Israel and the occupied territories.

Below this is a description of how thousands of Syrians and Palestinians marched to the ‘border’ with Israel – in reality the illegally occupied Golan Heights that Israel captured in 1967. Again Israel used its normal customary force to repel the native population seeking access to their land although they were taken by surprise.

Underneath is a report from the International Solidarity Movement of the demonstration in Al-Walaja, which was also viciously attacked by the Zionist military and noted human rights and peace campaigner Professor Mazen Qumsiyah was arrested.

But whenever things go wrong for Israel’s public relations one can always rely on the BBC to step in to the breach. So John Humphries of the Today programme managed to describe the demonstrations as marking the creation of the State of Israel! Presumably by that feat of logic, Holocaust Memorial Day is really about remembering the creation of the Third Reich! Is it any wonder that people are ignorant of what happens in Israel/Palestine when the BBC deliberately misleads and misinforms. Simon Natas has written an excellent letter of complaint to the BBC about their coverage and I hope you do too.

Tony Greenstein

Nakba Day Report from an Israeli

On Nakba day, March 15, the writer of this article participated in a demonstration in the North of Israel 14 km from the Lebanese border. We were a group of about 400 who tried to reach the border with Lebanon, but we were forced to stop by the police. We were allowed to demonstrate for one hour and were then attacked by the policy with tear gas about 10 of us suffered for hours from this attack and 22 of us were arrested. However compared to other Palestinians and the few Jews who participated in the Golan Heights, Ras Maroun in Lebanon and Gaza, the price we paid for the right to demonstrate for the Palestinian refugees to return was negligible.

Israel is doing everything to erase the memory of the Nakba. It removes the fact from the rewritten official books of history

The "Nakba bill", proposed by Yisrael Beiteinu, requires the state to fine local authorities and other state-funded bodies for holding events marking the Palestinian Nakba Day.

The second bill, which passed by a majority of 35 to 20, formalizes the establishment of admission committees to review potential residents of Negev and Galilee communities that have fewer than 400 families..

After the passing of the bill the Knesset erupted in riots as MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List-Ta'al), refusing to limit himself to the comparison of the bill to South Africa's apartheid, mentioned the Wannsee Conference in which the Nazis decided on the Holocaust's "final solution" – or the gassing of Jews.

However, following yesterday demonstrations and the cold blood murder of number of Palestinians, the name "Nakba" become familiar for many people around the world. The Nakaba (catastrophe ) refers to the 1948 founding of Israel when the Israeli army expelled between 700.000 to 900.000 Palestinians to create a capitalist state with Jewish Majority.

At least one Palestinian was killed and up to 80 others wounded in northern Gaza as Israeli troops opened fire on a march of at least 1,000 people heading towards the Erez crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel.

A group of Palestinians, including children, marching to mark the "Nakba" were shot by the Israeli army after crossing a Hamas checkpoint and entering what Israel calls a "buffer zone" - an empty area between checkpoints where Israeli soldiers generally shoot trespassers, Al Jazeera's Nicole Johnston reported from Gaza City on Sunday

Hamas' leader in the Gaza Strip Ismail Haniyeh in his speech said :.

"Palestinians mark the occasion this year with great hope of bringing to an end the Zionist project in Palestine,"

At the same time acting on the Fatah-Hamas new agreement .Hamas tried to prevent the demonstrators from reaching the Buffer Zone. According to one of the demonstrators interviewed by Al Jazeera "Hamas has asked us to leave; they are trying to move people away from the Israeli border. They say seeing so many people at the border indicates a shift in politics in the area."

AFP has reported that Israeli gunfire killed 12 people and wounded hundreds in MAJDAL SHAMS, Golan Heights occupied in 1967, as Palestinians marched on Israel's borders with Lebanon, Syria and Gaza in a mass show of mourning over the creation of the Jewish state.

Israeli army radio reported that dozens were wounded when Palestinian refugees from the Syrian side of the Golan Heights border were shot for trying to break through the frontier fence. The demonstrators carried key of their houses that Israel has destroyed or gave to Israelis following the mass expulsion of the Palestinians

IDF spokesman Brig.-Gen. Yoav "Poli" Mordechai described the incident in which Palestinians demonstrators crossed from Syria into Israel as an "Iranian provocation"

Israeli government officials have blamed Syria for "intentionally allowing hundreds of Syrian Arabs who called themselves Palestinians to cross into the Golan Sunday.

Syria is home to 470,000 Palestinian refugees.

There have also been reports that Israeli gunfire killed 10 people and injured scores more in the Lebanese town of Ras Maroun, on the southern border with Israel.

In the southern city of Hebron, 12 people were hit by rubber bullets fired by Israeli troops as an estimated 2,000 demonstrators held a protest, medical and security sources said.

One of the biggest Nakba demonstrations was held near Qalandiya refugee camp and checkpoint, the main secured entry point into the West Bank from Israel, where about 100 protesters marched, Al Jazeera's Nisreen El-Shamayleh reported from Ramallah.

In Jeruslaem there were many clashes with the Police, following the murder of Milad Ayyash, 16, on Saturday morning in East Jerusalem' killed by shots fired from the Beit Yonatan apartment complex, inhabited by Jewish settlers, in the predominantly Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan. Palestinian demonostrators attempted take over Palestinian houses given to Jewish setllers in Shiekh Jerah called now by the settlers Moscowitz housing project.

The main chant coming from the Palestinian demonstrators was : The Palestinian people want to return to their land that Israel has stolen. Many held keys to their houses that by now have been destroyed or given to Jewish settlers.

In Jordan, six people were injured as police tried to stop 200 students from marching on the border, while in Turkey, about 100 demonstrators held a protest outside the Israeli consulate in Istanbul, AFP correspondents said.

It is clear that the Palestinian revolution that is pushed forward by the Palestinian youth is part of the Arab revolution that engulfs the Middle East. All the attempts to isolate the Palestinians and prevent a popular uprising could not prevent the courageous demonstrators from raising the need for a revolution ..

The events yesterday have shown any one with eyes to see and ears to hear that a key question of the so called Israeli-Arab conflict is the Palestinian right of return.

The Israeli government has defended the killing of the Palestinians who tried to return to their land stolen by Israel.

In reaction to the killing of unarmed Palestinians that took place on Israel's existing borders on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel was determined to defend itself and its sovereignty.

Netanyahu said that the Nakba Day protests were not about the 1967 borders, but rather about "undermining the very existence of Israel."

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Sunday that Israel Defense Forces soldiers succeeded in defending Israel's sovereignty when Palestinian refugee demonstrators breached the border with Syria and attempted to cross the border with Lebanon.

Netanyahu is right on one point. The demonstrations yesterday were not for a Mini Palestinian state alongside Israel controlling 80 % of Palestine. It was for the right of the refugees to return to their land. Once the refugees will be able to return the majority of the people living in this country would be Palestinians. For this reason Israel will be ready to kill thousands and thousands of Palestinians in an attempt to prevent such an outcome, and as long as Israel will exist the Palestinian refugees will not be able to return.

Thus, history has phrased the question the following: Either the right of the Israeli to rule Palestine and not allowed the right of self determination of the Palestinians or the right of self determination for the Palestinians that negate the right of self determination of the Israelis on Palestinian lands as all Israel is stolen land.

While Israeli Jews can live in security and equality in A Palestinian workers state and the Jewish workers who will join the revolution will be part of the ruling class in a workers state. the continuation of the Israeli state means not only the killing of Palestinians and Arabs but that Israel is a death trap for the Israelis..The clearest case demonstrating this fact is the refusal of Israel to release Shalit by releasing 450 Palestinian political prisoners.

We in the Internationalist Socialist League in Israel( occupied Palestine) in a leaflet we distributed yesterday said::For the right of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and lands, the only solution is a socialist revolution that will create a Palestinian workers state from the river to the sea as part of a Socialist Federation of the Middle East.

Yossi Schwartz

Dramatic video shows Palestinians, Syrians entering Israeli-occupied Golan Heights

Submitted by Ali Abunimah on Sun, 05/15/2011 - 16:10

A dramatic video published by the website shows the moment when hundreds of Palestinian refugees and Syrians break through the border fence from Syria into the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights (part of Syria occupied by Israel in 1967 and illegally annexed in 1981).

The video, which appears to be taken from the Israeli-occupied side shows a group of hundreds or perhaps thousands of marchers carrying Palestinian flags heading toward the boundary fence. Spectators on the Israeli-occupied side – apparently worried about the safety of the marchers – call on them to go back because of the danger of land mines.

However, undeterred, the marchers continue, and break through the border fence as people on both sides call for the liberation of Palestine. As the marchers break through there are scenes of joy, high emotion and embraces with those on the Israeli-occupied side. One man is heard to say, “This is how liberation is.”

Al Nakba In Al Walajeh

Neta Golan

International Solidarity Movement

At 11 AM on al-Nakba remembrance day, 500 residents from the West Bank village of al-Wallajeh and international supporters marched towards the Israeli Apartheid Wall. The Wall was built to separate the villagers from their original land from which they were expelled in
1948. The demonstration was violently attacked by the Israeli military with rubber coated steal bullets, tear gas and protesters were beaten with batons and rifles. One youth was hospitalized after being injured by a rubber coated steal bullet .

Eight Palestinians including twins aged 11 and 6 internationals (American, Dutch, German and Canadian nationals) were arrested. The army proceeded to raid the village and invade each house, searching for people who had participated in the demonstrations. The raids as
well as confrontations between the army and the village youth are ongoing.

The Arrested Palestinans are:
Mazen Qumsiyah
Basel Al Araj
Ahmed Al Araj
Mohammad Al Araj
Allah And Mohammed Abu Tin 11 year old twins
Tarek Abu Tin
Adel Abu Tin

Al-Walaja is an agrarian village of about 2,000 people, located south of Jerusalem and West of Bethlehem. Following the 1967 Occupation of the West Bank and the redrawing of the Jerusalem municipal boundaries, roughly half the village was annexed by Israel and included in the Jerusalem municipal area. The village's residents, however did not receive Israeli residency or citizenship, and are considered illegal in their own homes.

Once completed, the path of the Wall is designed to encircle the village's built-up area entirely, separating the residents from Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and almost all their lands - roughly 5,000
dunams. Previously, Israeli authorities have already confiscated approximately half of the village's lands for the building of the Har Gilo and Gilo settlements, and closed off areas to the south and west of it. The town's inhabitants have also experienced the cutting down of fruit orchards and house demolition due to the absence of building permits in Area C.

According to a military confiscation order handed to the villagers, the path of the Wall will stretch over 4890 meters between Beit Jala and alWallaja, affecting 35 families, whose homes may be slated for demolition.

For more information call

Mahmud Zawahre 0599586004

The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) is a Palestinian-led non-violent resistance movement committed to ending Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian land. We call for full compliance with all relevant UN resolutions and international law.

For specific media inquires such as interview requests, photo usage, etc. please email the ISM Media Office at

Reply to:

Letter to the BBC - Palestinians Don't Celebrate Their Own Expulsion!

Dear Sirs,

This morning, on both Radio 4 and Radio 5 Live news, yesterday's protests by Palestinians to mark Nakbah Day were described as "demonstrations to mark the creation of the State of Israel". On the Today programme, John Humphrys introduced a discussion about the events using the same words (i.e. that the protests were marking the creation of the State of Israel).

In reality, the occasion of the protests was "Nakbah day." The demonstrators were not "marking the creation of the State of Israel" but the forcible expulsion of some 750,000 Palestinians from their homes in what has become known as the "Nakbah" - the Palestinian national disaster. They were also protesting against the continued refusal of the Israeli authorities to allow the refugees their right of return in compliance with UN Resolutions.

To describe the protests as marking the creation of the State of Israel was grossly misleading because any listener who did not already know the reasons for the demonstrations might be given the impression that the protesters were celebrating the creation of the State of Israel rather than highlighting the plight of Palestinian refugees.

This misrepresentation is likely to have caused considerable offence to anyone, Palestinian or not, who understands the meaning and importance of the Nakbah. Anyone who did not already know the purpose demonstrations would have been left misled and confused about yesterday’s events.

That the BBC should report the issues in this way is of deep concern. Those who wrote the news reports would surely have known that the demonstrations were organised to mark Nakbah day and highlight the plight of the refugees. I should therefore be grateful if you would confirm how the BBC came to report the event in the way that it did. Was there an editorial decision to avoid the use of the word "Nakbah" or the phrases "creation of Palestinian refugees" or "expulsion of Palestinian civilians"? If so, why?

Would the BBC also ensure that all further bulletins use wording that accurately describes the purpose of the demonstrations?

Thank you for your assistance.

Yours faithfully,

Simon Natas


1 comment:

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