Dr. Hatem Bazian
Palestine’s modern colonization begins with the British troops landing on the shores of the Mediterranean and moving northward form Egypt to conquer the remaining parts of Ottoman territories. “Great” Britain’s planning, machinations and intrigues started much earlier but the end of WWI, precisely November 29th, 1917 is the accurate dating for the loss of Palestine. From this date forward, Palestine and the Palestinians were set on the course for dispossession and major powers manipulation to bring about a state for the Jews. While the 1948 Nakba lead to the expulsion of some 750,000 Palestinians; it was the British occupation followed by the Mandate that sealed Palestine’s fate as the last colonial project to be commissioned.
The British, French, and the rest of the industrial world was involved in Palestinians’ dispossession, and all put their stamp of approval on it at the end WWI. The details are important, the steps taken, the double crossing and the sophisticated ‘thievery’ is legendary when carefully and critically examined. Palestine’s colonization and dispossession of the people is not accidental and many spent countless hours and wealth to see it through. What happened and why did Palestine’s colonization succeed while the direct colonial era was coming to an end? How do we account for all the forces that were involved in this colonial project and why were the Palestinians unable to prevent such a calamity from taking place? Lastly, how do we critically assess the British Mandate period and the setting of the conditions leading up to the Nakba?
The American Muslims for Palestine needs you to take action today to stop anti-BDS legislation in both the US Senate as well as in the Illinois House. Both measures, if successful, could have a hugely negative impact on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
If you are an Illinois resident, please take action by sending a Witness Slip to the Illinois House Executive Committee voicing your opposition, and then go to the instructions for the Senate. If you do not live in Illinois, then please follow the Senate action alert.
We must act now to stop this bill being pushed forward to punish companies that protest Israel’s human rights and international law violations. This bill is an attack on the growing strength of the movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.
Apologists for Israel's abuses are so desperate, they're even willing to politicize our pension system to stop the boycott. If the bill gets out of committee and passes, Illinois retirement systems will have to spend valuable resources to blacklist and withdraw investments from companies that choose not to do business with Israeli companies - including those based in the Occupied Palestinian territories - because of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.
As early as tomorrow, the US Senate may debate and vote on fast-track trade legislation, which includes an anti-BDS provision. This legislation would make it a “principal trade negotiating objective of the United States” to “discourage politically motivated actions” that “limit commercial relations” with Israel and Israeli businesses, including those operating in illegal Israeli colonies in Occupied Palestinian Territory. One target of this anti-BDS legislation is the European Union, which traditionally has taken strong measures against Israeli settlements. This new provision would pressure the EU into stepping back from its anti-settlement policies.
Please take action by calling your senators to oppose the anti-BDS measures.
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Even as we mark 67 years since the Nakba, Palestinians today still are facing dispossession and expulsion from their homeland. Just last week the Israeli Supreme Court gave the government the authority to demolish the West Bank village of Khirbet Susiya near Al Khalil and the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran, which lies just over the Green Line. In all, nearly 1,200 people will be displaced, according to media reports.
Though the Nakba, or Catastrophe, is said to have begun on May 15, 1948, Zionist Jewish forces have been ethnically cleansing Palestinians from their homeland since the United Nations partitioned Palestine in 1947. From that day until Jan. 1, 1949, paramilitary forces expelled or killed two-thirds of the Palestinian population – 750,000 people - confiscated their property and destroyed their villages to make way for the state of Israel. Contrary to international law, Israel will not let the refugees, now numbering more than 7 million people, to return home.
Home demolitions and bulldozing villages is not new. Since 1967, Israeli forces have destroyed 35,000 homes, including the 18,000 destroyed or damaged in last summer’s attack on Gaza, according to human rights groups. Since the Oslo Peace Accords were signed in 1993, Israeli occupation forces have issued 14,600 demolition orders for homes in the West Bank and another 20,000 for homes in East Jerusalem. Often, Israeli authorities say Palestinian homes are built without permits. But Israeli authorities refuse to grant permits to individuals or planning rights to villages, Palestinians and rights groups like the Israeli B’Tselem say.
It’s time for change. It is time for the Nakba to end and for Palestinians to enjoy their inherent human rights and to live with freedom and dignity.
The Sacramento chapter of American Muslims for Palestine is holding an art and essay contest in conjuntion with its annual Nakba and Palestine Day observance this year as a way to help youth connect with their heritage in Palestine.
The contest is open to entries about Palestine. Some suggested ideas are a drawing or painting of masjid Al-Aqsa, a picture of a memory you have in Palestine, or drawing and coloring the map of Palestine. The AMP Art Contest is open to children and young adults ages 12 to 20. There will be a winner from the 12-15 age bracket and a winner from 16-20 age bracket. Digital entries are welcome. Any 2D medium is allowed, i.e, pencil, crayon, marker, paint. Entrants can use glitter, cotton, or other materials to enhance their artwork.
AMP will judge the entries and announce the winners at the AMP-MCF Jerusalem Day event on May 17, 2015. Drawings will be judged on overall impact, content, concept/originality, and quality.
There will be one winner and two runners up in each age bracket. Each will be awarded a prize. All drawings will be shown at the AMP-MCF event. Winning entrants’ names and ages will be announced.
The theme for this contest is Honoring the Blessed Land of Palestine. The AMP Essay Contest is open to essay entries that depict some aspect of a Palestinian village or city. Suggested ideas include writing an essay about the village or city you are from; an historic event in a particular town, such as the Deir Yassin massacre; depopulated villages; or a specific place in Palestine that is dear to you, i.e., Jerusalem.
The AMP Essay Contest is open to young adults ages 15 to 20. We are seeking essays 2-5 pages long, double-spaced. AMP will judge the entries and announce the winners at AMP-MCF Jerusalem Day on May 17, 2015. Essays will be judged on overall impact, content, concept/originality, and grammar. There will be one winner and two runners up. Each will be awarded a prize. The winning essays will be read at the AMP-MCF Jerusalem Day. Entrants’ names and ages will be announced.