Below is an article from Grassroots International’s ally, the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, outlining actions planned for the commemoration of the 63rd anniversary of the Nakba on May 15, 2011. Al-Nakba, which means “the catastrophe” in Arabic, commemorates the day in 1948 on which Palestinians either fled or were forced to leave their homes, villages and towns as war broke out between the newly declared State of Israel and neighboring Arab countries in the wake of Israel’s declaration of statehood on May 14, 1948.
On Al-Nakba Day Palestinian refugees continue to remind the world community of the internationally recognized right of return to their homes and Palestinians everywhere, protest the ongoing and expanding Israeli occupation in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The article below was written prior to May 15. On that day, according to our partner Stop the Wall, more than 3,000 Palestinians protested at Qalandiya refugee camp to reaffirm the UN sanctioned right of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes. Others protested throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip, on the Syrian border near the Golan Heights (occupied by Israel), and on the Lebanese border. Israeli military fired on the crowds with rubber-coated metal bullets and used other force to disperse the demonstrations. According to Stop the Wall, the results were deadly:
- 10 killed in the occupied Golan Heights
- 10 killed at the border with Lebanon
- 1 killed and 80 wounded with live rounds in the Gaza Strip
- Many more arrested and injured in the various protests throughout the West Bank
Palestinians continue to oppose the Occupation, which robs them of their human right to land and water. One aspect of the loss of resources is best demonstrated by the construction of the Separation Wall, separating Palestinian farmers from their lands and ultimately appropriating more than 90 percent of the available water reserves. Grassroots International, in coordination with our ally Jewish Voice for Peace, is calling on TIAA-CREF to divest from the main builder of the Wall: Elbit Sytems Ltd. Learn more by reading our FAQs the Wall, Elbit and TIAA-CREF: Barriers to Resource Rights, and take action. Global Rallies as Commemoration of Nakba NearsMay 13, 2011
Sunday marks 63 years of Palestinian dispossession since «Al-Nakba» or «the catastrophe.» Right now, in a movement organized with active participation of youth, Palestinians are seizing the occasion to organize homeward marches.
These will draw Palestinians living in refugee camps, in the occupied territories, within Israel, and in exile, as well as thousands of Palestinian solidarity activists worldwide.
In the months before and after May 15, 1948, more than 700,000 Palestinians fled or were forced out by Zionist armed forces and the Israeli military, and became refugees throughout the world. Israel razed more than 400 Palestinian villages and barred the refugees from ever returning to their land — even though this right is enshrined in international law and UN resolutions.
In the coming week, the marches and demonstrations will attest to the Palestinian determination to struggle for freedom from occupation, equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel, and justice through the refugees’ right of return.