Commemorating the Nakba: 69 years of ongoing ethnic cleansing
(WASHINGTON DC 05/13/2017) – On Monday, Palestinians around the world and their supporters will commemorate yet one more year of occupation and the continued dispossession of indigenous peoples from the land of Palestine.
Today, more than 1,200 Palestinian political prisoners are in the midst of a hunger strike to protest the illegal conditions under which they languish; Palestinians in Gaza struggle to find clean water to drink and exist on fewer than four hours of electricity per day; Palestinian citizens of Israel live as second-class citizens due to more than 50 discriminatory laws and Palestinians in diaspora, including refugees, are blocked from returning to their homeland.
Now, 69 years after Zionist militias and terrorist groups killed 13,000 Palestinians, destroyed about 500 villages and forced 750,000 – two thirds of the Palestinian population – from their homes and into exile, Israeli policies, fueled by Zionism, ensure the continued displacement of Palestinians. The Nabka is not a one-time event, but rather, a continuous effort to ethnically cleanse Palestinians from Palestine.
These are not mere emotional sentiments; historical statements lend credence to the fact that removing
Palestinians lies at the heart of Zionist ideology:
“The concept of ‘transferring’ European Jews to Palestine and ‘transferring’ the Palestinian people out is central to Zionism,” Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, said in 1944.
The late Ariel Sharon, a former Israeli prime minister, told Agence France Press in 1998 that, “… there is no Zionism, colonization, or Jewish State without the eviction of the Arabs and the expropriation of their lands.” He furthered clarified to the London Times that Israel won’t put Palestinians on “trucks and drive them away,” but rather Israel will “induce people to leave” by making their lives difficult.
Difficult is an understatement. The Israeli military occupation controls every aspect of Palestinian life.
Since 1967, Israeli Occupation Forces have demolished more than 27,000 Palestinian homes, while more than 600,000 Jews currently are colonizing the West Bank and Jerusalem, illegally appropriating increasingly more Palestinian land. Also since 1967, the Israeli military has detained more than 700,000 Palestinians – 20 percent of the population - according to the First International Conference on the Rights of Palestinian Prisoners and Detainees, which was held in Geneva in March 2011. At least 6,300 Palestinian political prisoners currently are being detained in prisons within Israel, a direct violation of international law. In addition, the siege on Gaza will render the area uninhabitable within the next few years, according to the United Nations. And the Apartheid Wall in the West Bank and Jerusalem have denied Palestinians’ freedom of movement. More than 7 million Palestinian refugees are prohibited from returning to their homeland, in contravention of international law.
We cannot sit idly by while the Nakba continues. The American Muslims for Palestine takes heart in the growing shift in American public opinion, including among lawmakers, toward acknowledging that Palestinians deserve their human rights. A recent Pew Research Center poll shows a growing generation gap in terms of attitudes toward Palestine and Israel, with the Millennial generation more likely than previous generations to support Palestinian rights. Israel is also becoming a partisan issue on Capitol Hill.
AMP is working diligently to educate the public and to train members of our community to participate in civic engagement, bringing their Palestinian narrative to those who create our foreign policy. Recently, AMP held its third annual Palestine Advocacy Day and Training, tripling the number of attendees and advocates to nearly 70. AMP continues to work with the national media, appearing both in print and broadcast nationally and internationally. AMP recently updated its U.S. policy booklet to include the impact of the Trump administration on U.S. policy in Palestine and Israel.
Together, we are confident we can continue to build momentum both at the grassroots and policymaker level. Please take a moment today to help the effort to shift foreign policy so that Palestinians may find justice by taking action:
Download our Nakba booklet, our Nakba power point, and Nakba and refugee fact sheet and distribute them to your coworkers, neighbors and friends.
The American Muslims for Palestine continues its efforts to raise awareness and educate the public about how their tax dollars support this illegal and unjust regime.