Marking the 70th Anniversary of the Nakba and Remembering Palestine During the Holy Month of Ramadan

May 09, 2018
Nakba Key

This page provides important information and messaging on the following connected topics: the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, the Great March of Return in Gaza, the U.S. embassy move, and the scheduled destruction of the Palestinian village Umm al-Hiran.

On Tuesday, May 15, Palestinians around the world and their supporters will commemorate yet another year of occupation and the continued dispossession of indigenous peoples from the land of Palestine. This solemn anniversary also happens to coincide with the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. 

The Qur‘an was first revealed in Ramadan as a means of establishing truth and justice and to fight oppression. This is the essence of Islam as exemplified in the ayah:

(لَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا رُسُلَنَا بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ وَأَنزَلْنَا مَعَهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْمِيزَانَ لِيَقُومَ النَّاسُ بِالْقِسْطِ" (الحديد: 25)

“We have already sent Our messengers with clear signs and sent down with them the Scripture and the balance (of Right and Wrong) that the people may stand forth in justice…” (57:25)

Palestine is as just a cause as it is blessed. Even after 70 years of dispossession, murder, and erasure, the Palestinian people have resisted, existed, survived, and stood at the gates of Al-Aqsa, the third holiest site in Islam, to defend their political and religious rights.   

Palestinians just want to be free.

  • Palestinians, like everyone else, simply want to live freely and safely in their homes, to be treated equally in their country, and to give their children and families a brighter future.
  • After decades of having their rights denied, Palestinians are tired of waiting for politicians to do the right thing. They are taking to the streets and the courts, using boycotts and joining with other communities around the world to build a future where all live with freedom and full rights.

Israel has spent 70 years pushing Palestinians out of their homes to create and maintain a Jewish majority, privileging Jews over non-Jews. 

  • From day one, Israel has been engaged in the relentless destruction of Palestinian communities, families and way of life - erasing Palestinians and replacing them with Jewish Israelis.
  • Far worse than those who are desperate to keep the US white and Christian, Israel is using its military might to maintain the privilege of Jewish Israelis at the expense of millions of people simply because they are not the right religion. 

In the Trump era, there is a global divide between those who believe in freedom and equality for all, and those who believe in racial and religious supremacy.  

  • Both Trump and Netanyahu believe in building walls and prisons to maintain power and privilege.
  • It is clear to those who believe all people deserve a decent life that Palestinian liberation is an urgent moral imperative and an integral part of the progressive cause. 

- On the 70th Anniversary of the Nakba -

Palestinians were pushed out of their homes during Israel’s establishment and that is the root of the problem.

  • Nearly a million Palestinians were pushed out of their homes when Israel was established in 1948, creating the second largest refugee crisis of our time. Villages were bombed and destroyed, land and livelihood lost, and families separated. Palestinians refer to this traumatic event as the “Nakba” (catastrophe).
  • 70 years later, Palestinians are still denied their basic rights. The majority of Palestinians are refugees and live with an uncertain future. All they want is freedom to go home and lead normal lives. 

The Nakba is ongoing. Since 1948, Israel has never stopped displacing Palestinians and taking their land.

  • Today, Israel continues to systematically steal Palestinian land, destroy their homes, and revoke their residency rights, denying Palestinians the freedom to live with safety and security.
  • The Israeli military occupation further controls every aspect of Palestinian life. Since 1967, Israeli forces have demolished more than 27,000 Palestinian homes, while more than 600,000 Jews continue to colonize 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. Between 600-700 children annually are arrested and held in Israeli military detention, denied due process, and held under inhumane conditions. 

- On the Gaza “Great March of Return” -

Palestinians in Gaza are marching for their lives, their freedom and their homes.

  • The majority of Palestinians living in Gaza are refugees who were forced from their homes when Israel was established. All they want is to be able to live in freedom and to return to the land their families were pushed out of.
  • Palestinians in Gaza are creatively and bravely protesting for their freedom by marching, participating in reading circles, cooking meals together over a campfire, flying kites, and dancing dabke.  

For over a decade, Israel has imposed an illegal blockade of Gaza, sealing off its borders and trapping its two million residents inside a small strip of land. 

  • Palestinians in Gaza are unable to travel freely to pursue their education, visit family, or receive medical treatment as Israel controls virtually all entry and exit. 
  • Conditions in Gaza are dire. Severe shortages of life-saving medicines, food, electricity, and clean water make life unsafe and unbearable. 
  • Many Palestinians in Gaza say they know that, like all people, they will die someday, but the tragedy is that they don’t get to live.

Palestinians in Gaza deserve the same rights that all people do, including the right to protest when their rights are denied.

- On Moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem -

Opening the US Embassy in Jerusalem signals to Palestinians that the US endorses Israel’s ongoing project to erase them from their homeland and replace them with Jewish Israelis.

  • For Trump to open the US embassy in occupied Jerusalem on the day that Palestinians commemorate the second largest refugee crisis of our time pours salt into a decades-old wound that has never been addressed.
  • For many Palestinians, occupied East Jerusalem and its ancient Old City and religious sites are the center of their cultural, spiritual, and political lives. 
  • Jerusalem is the economic, cultural and spiritual center of life for both Muslim and Christian Palestinians. 

Moving the embassy to Jerusalem contradicts nearly 70 years of US policy and international law and emboldens Israel to accelerate its ongoing dispossession of Palestinians. 

  • For the past 70 years, no U.S. president has recognized Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem.
  • Moving the embassy will also encourage right-wing Jewish extremists to accelerate their campaign to assert Israeli control over a sacred, ancient mosque in Jerusalem's Old City. 
  • No matter where Trump or Netanyahu declare the Israeli capital, this unilateral decision will never be legitimate and will fail to make the Muslim umma forget about Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa.

-  Ongoing Nakba: Israel’s forced removal of Palestinians from Umm al-Hiran -

In a clear example of how the Nakba continues today, Israel is about to destroy the Palestinian community of Umm al-Hiran in southern Israel, forcing its residents from their homes so a town for Jewish Israelis can be built in its place.

  • In the coming days, the Bedouin community of Umm al-Hiran in southern Israel is slated to be destroyed to make way for a town to be built exclusively for Jewish Israelis, to be called “Hiran.” 
  • The Israeli government is forcibly relocating the Bedouins of Umm al-Hiran – all citizens of Israel — to a nearby town to concentrate the Bedouin population of the region, not unlike native Americans who were forced off their lands and into reservations in the United States. 
  • Even though the residents of Umm al-Hiran are Israeli citizens, the Israeli government considers them to be second-class citizens with fewer rights and privileges than Jewish Israelis.

- The Role of American Muslims -

We cannot remain passive as the Nakba continues and Gaza becomes totally uninhabitable. AMP is working tireless to educate the public, shift the narrative on Palestine, and train members of our community in civic engagement to change our foreign policy. Recently, AMP held its fourth annual Palestine Advocacy Day and Training, in which hundreds of community members from around the country brought Palestine to the halls of power in Washington, D.C. For the first time in history, there is a bill in Congress, introduced last fall by Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) that supports Palestinian human rights, H.R. 4391, the “Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children” bill.

- What You Can Do - 

1.     Dedicate your Jum‘ah khutbah, or Friday sermon, to the 70th anniversary of Nakba and the significance of the Palestinian cause to Muslims 
2.     Make duaa for the oppressed people of Palestine, Syria, Myanmar, etc. 
3.     Participate in our Ramadan boycott of Israeli-occupation dates 
4.     Contact your elected officials and express your disapproval of the U.S.’s biased policy in the Middle East
5.      Reach out to AMP for help or direction: [email protected]
6.      Check our Nakba website for resources
7.      Open an AMP chapter in your city: [email protected]