Commemorating 53 years since Al Naksa 

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June 05, 2020
Palestinian demonstrates for freedom in Beit Ommar. Photo credit: Palestine Solidarity Project.
Palestinian demonstrates for freedom in Beit Ommar. Photo credit: Palestine Solidarity Project. Creative Commons license.
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On Friday, June 5, Palestinians and their supporters will mark 53 years since the 1967 Naksa began, when Israeli forces occupied the remaining 22 percent of historic Palestine--the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip--not conquered by Israel during the 1948 Nakba.

During this military assault, Israeli forces displaced another 350,000 Palestinians from their homes. Many refugees from 1948 were displaced again. 

In the aftermath of this war, UN Security Council Resolution 242 was unanimously adopted on November 22, 1967. The resolution established the framework for the two-state paradigm, but more importantly, emphasized the “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war.” 

British Ambassador to the United Nations, Lord Caradon, the main drafter of the resolution, asserted that “the overriding principle was the inadmissibility of territory by war and that meant that there could be no justification for annexation of territory.”  

Based on a plain reading of the text, the language of the resolution demands full Israeli withdrawal from all Palestinian and Arab lands occupied as a result of the 1967 war. While Israel withdrew from the Sinai Peninsula, mainly to prevent Egypt from demanding full Israeli withdrawal from all Arab lands, it still occupies the Syrian Golan Heights, which it annexed in 1981. The Trump administration recognized Israel’s illegal annexation in 2019.

Although Israel is obligated under the same resolution to withdraw from the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, and allow for the creation of a Palestinian state on 22 percent of historic Palestine, this has never come to fruition. This is due to Israel’s ongoing illegal colonization of Palestinian land and its refusal to countenance real Palestinian sovereignty over any percentage of Palestine.

Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip clearly violates the principle of self-determination and denies Palestinians their fundamental human rights. Their rights to freedom of movement, freedom of expression, freedom of opinion, and more are systematically denied by a military regime that prevents Palestinians from organizing for justice and liberation. 

The Israeli military engages in the mass incarceration of Palestinian civilians, including children, through its separate-and-unequal military judicial system. Palestinians, including children, are frequently subjected to physical violence, including torture, in Israeli military detention. 

Israel enforces this brutal occupation with systematic violence against Palestinians, including through collective punishment, demolition of homes, destruction of agriculture and infrastructure, and the injuring and killing of thousands of civilians in acts of indiscriminate and disproportionate violence which often amount to war crimes.

Israel is in belligerent occupation of Palestinian territory. The normative framework of international law regulating belligerent occupation is contained in the 1907 Hague Regulations and the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949. Belligerent occupation is recognized as a “transitional period following invasion...and imposes more onerous duties on an Occupying Power.” 

Israel has turned its military occupation, which is supposed to be transitional, into a permanent fait accompli, de facto illegally annexing Palestinian land. Now, Trump has green lighted Israel’s de jure annexation of additional Palestinian lands in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 242, a process which could begin as soon as July 2020. 

The Naksa is part of a broader pattern of Israeli settler-colonialism inflicted on the Palestinian people. For over seven decades Palestinians have been deprived of their inalienable human rights and their individual rights to return to their homeland. The international community has failed them time and time again. Enabled by the United States, Israel has defied with impunity countless resolutions by the UN General Assembly and UN Security Council. 

Israel’s settler-colonial project is sustained and entrenched by $3.8 billion annually of US-taxpayer funds. The military funding provided by the United States makes our country complicit in Israel’s systematic human rights abuses against Palestinians. 

On this solemn day, AMP recommits itself to end US complicity in Israeli settler-colonialism and stand with our Palestinian sisters and brothers to end the military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip as one step towards Palestinian liberation, freedom, justice, equality, and self-determination.