Friday, 11 May 2018 17:45

Acknowledgment of the Nakba is required Featured

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This year witnesses the seventieth anniversary of 1948 Nakba. In the 1980’s the Israeli New Historians found out what Walid Al Khalidi and others discovered since 1960’s that the Palestinians did not leave due to calls from the Arab Radios calling them to leave their country. In the opposite they found that the majority of Palestinians who left were obliged to do so due to Zionist attacks. First Benny Morris showed through checking Israeli Archives that 282 villages were evacuated due to Zionist groups attacks. Nur Masalha further found that 292 locations were evacuated due to these attacks, other 87 were evacuated due to fear from Jewish attacks or as a result of the evacuation of neighboring villages, and finally 12 locations were evacuated because of terrifying rumours. Later Ilan Pappe wrote an outstanding book about ethnic cleansing recording and analyzing all its process based also on informations that he got through his access to to the Zionist Archives.

However, the  majority of people in Israel still think that what happened in 1948 is legitimate. They deny the fact that other people were evacuated by force from their country. This denial did not led only to the continuation of the plight of the Palestinian refugees till today, but it was also used as a coverage for the repetition of what happened in 1948 once again in 1967 and after. By checking the official Israeli Archives Nur Masalha found out that in addition to those who left during the 1967 war, other 200 thousand were forcefully evacuated after the war, this include most of the residents of the Morrocan Quarter and Al Sharaf neighborhood  in the Old City of Jerusalem, and the former villages of Yalo, Emwas and Beit Nuba in the Latrun area that were destroyed after the war( Canada Park today). After that war also 850 to 2000 houses were destroyed by Dynamite in Qalqilia city according to different estimations, the same goes for destroying the villages of Beit Awwa and Beit Mirsem close to Hebron, and the village of Jiftlik in the Jordan valley and others. Besides that the Refugee camps of Ein Al Sultan, Nweimeh, and Aqbat Jaber were evacuated.

The period from 1948 to 1967 witnessed also several campaigns of evacuating the Bedouins of the Negev to Egypt and Jordan. These campaigns continued till 1959. Also when Gaza was occupied in 1956 for few months several plans for the evacuation of its population mainly the refugees were prepared, also several massacres were conducted leading to the killing of more than 2000 Gazans as Isam Sakhnini wrote. Till 1948 and as the Israeli historian Aryeh Yitzhaki showed 10 big massacres were conducted by the Zionist groups each of more than fifty people killed, and other smaller 100 massacres were also committed.

This brief review showed that the settler colonial project that has no place to the other continued  also after 1967. Some call what is going in the post 1967 territories as a colonial case of occupation. But this description is misleading. What we have here is a settler colonial project that is stretching itself in the ground using the same methods that were used in the pre 1948 period. It is then a matter of time only when the moment of full confrontation between this project and the indegenious population will come if the expansion of this project will continue with the American support, and the European inability to confront it, and the Arab and the Palestinian divisions and internal fights. 

Today we have around 650 thousand colonial settlers in West Bank and East Jerusalem according to the minimal estimations, also the refugees are still in there place, and new numbers of refugees keep emerging, either in the shape of internal displacement (what is going on with the Bedouins in Area C for instance), or by external ones.

The path to confront this is well known, and were written and called for once and again. It is not by waisting the precious time in the diplomacy of seeking for negotiations,  but by creating an international non violent struggle for the freedom of Palestine and the emancipation of its people. Such a struggle should take place in Europe cities, United States, and every were in the world in addition to Ramallah, Gaza, Jerusalem, and the other Palestinian cities. Such a struggle needs to use political, economic, legal, and diplomatic means, and not to be limited to the organisation of marches and demonstrations. The like-minded Israelis are invited to join, but first they need to cross the bridge from dialoguing with the Palestinians to join them in the struggle for freedom. Crossing this bridge can’t be achieved without their one by one recognition first on the individual basis of the plights of 1948 and 1967, and the Israeli responsibility of creating them. By this recognition they create an example for other Israelis to join. Can they have the courage to do so, and come to a position of truth and honesty for oneself and in their relation with the other?.

Article published in Akhbar el Balad: http://www.akhbarelbalad.net/ar/1/6/3920/

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Walid Salem

Walid Salem is a Member in the Palestinian National Council of PLO, teaching democracy and human rights at AlQuds University. He is a writer of thirty books and training manuals, and tens of research papers on Democracy, civil society, citizenship, refugees, and Jerusalem.