Nakba Day – 15 May

14 May

“We’ve been saying this for years. We just wish the world would wake up and not just listen but actually do something. We have a situation where every European state is currently violating its own laws by trading with Israeli settlements.” – legal advisor to Palestinian government speaking on condition of anonymity.

Nakba means “disaster” or “cataclysm” according to the Palestinians. May 15 is remembered as Nakba Day by the Palestinians, after Israel declared independence on May 14, 1948.

By 1951, the United Nations estimated that at least 711,000 Arabs had fled or been expelled from areas controlled by Israel due to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

While the world is constantly reminded and warned of the evils of Nazism and sufferings of the Jews during the Holocaust, the injustice inflicted upon the Palestinians is hardly muttered.

In an article for San Francisco Chronicle dated 13 May, George Bisharat, a law professor at Hastings College in San Francisco, who is knowledgeable on Middle East, says that in

“dialogues with Israelis, and some Americans, Palestinians are repeatedly admonished to “forget the past,” that looking back is “not constructive” and “doesn’t get us closer to a solution.” Ironically, Palestinians live the consequences of the past every day — whether as exiles from their homeland, or as members of an oppressed minority within Israel, or as subjects of a brutal and violent military occupation.”

To date, the Israeli government has continued to deny Palestinians their basic human rights while building illegal settlements, preventing a viable two state solution.

A recent joint statement by B’Tselem and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel claimed that 1,014 or 41.9% of Palestinian homes in west bank city of Hebron were empty due to Israeli’s “separation based on national-ethnic” policy. Palestinians are forced to evict due to the Israeli military banning them from using the main streets of the city, along with imposed curfews. The IDF has also failed to prevent attacks on Palestinians and their property by Israeli settlers.

It has even announced plans to build 20,000 new settler units on the outskirts of occupied East Jerusalem which will increase the number of illegal settlers living on Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank to 570,000. This is despite the Israeli’s government’s promise to US that it would not build or expand settlements in that region.

A legal advisor to the Palestinian government, who wanted to remain anonymous, said a current World Bank report on the illegal settlements in Palestine break no new grounds.

The report from Al Jazeera quoted him,

“We’ve been saying this for years. We just wish the world would wake up and not just listen but actually do something. We have a situation where every European state is currently violating its own laws by trading with Israeli settlements.”

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