Saturday, May 17, 2008

Palestinian refugees faces for 60th anniversary of Nakba

Look at situations as contingent, not as inevitable, look at them as the result of a series of historical choices made by men and women, as facts of society made by human beings, and not as natural or god-given, therefore unchangeable, permanent, irreversible.
--Edward Said, Palestinian refugee and prominent intellectual.

On 15 May, yesterday, it was a day of commemoration of the Nakba for the Palestinians.
In 1948, three quarters of the Palestinian population was expelled. around 700,000 Palestinians became refugees.
Today they are more than 7 million scattered all around the planet.
The Palestinians constitute the largest group of refugees in the world.
60 years after, they are still waiting - even worse new refugees and displaced Palestinians continue to add themselves to the shocking figures.

No solution can be found without them.

Here are some of their faces:

Le 15 Mai, hier, c'était le jour de la commémoration de la Nakba pour les Palestiniens, leur "catastrophe".
En 1948, les trois quarts de la population palestinienne a été expulsée. autour de 700.000 Palestiniens sont devenus des réfugiés.
Aujourd'hui, ils sont plus de 7 millions éparpillés tout autour de la planète.
Les Palestiniens constituent le plus grand groupe de réfugiés dans le monde.
60 ans après, ils attendent toujours et pire- nous voyons des nouveaux réfugiés et déplacés accroître les chiffres.

Aucune solution ne peut être trouver sans eux.

Voici quelques-uns de leurs visages:

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Even the orphenages are targetted! Même les orphelinats sont pris pour cible!

Carter speaks out on GAZA

A Human Rights Crime in Gaza

May 09, 2008 By Jimmy Carter

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The world is witnessing a terrible human rights crime in Gaza, where a million and a half human beings are being imprisoned with almost no access to the outside world by sea, air, or land. An entire population is being brutally punished.

This gross mistreatment of the Palestinians in Gaza was escalated dramatically by Israel, with United States backing, after political candidates representing Hamas won a majority of seats in the Palestinian Authority parliament in 2006. The election was unanimously judged to be honest and fair by all international observers.

Israel and the US refused to accept the right of Palestinians to form a unity government with Hamas and Fatah and now, after internal strife, Hamas alone controls Gaza. Forty-one of the 43 victorious Hamas candidates who lived in the West Bank are now imprisoned by Israel, plus an additional ten who assumed positions in the short-lived coalition cabinet.

Regardless of one's choice in the partisan struggle between Fatah and Hamas within occupied Palestine, we must remember that economic sanctions and restrictions in delivering water, food, electricity, and fuel are causing extreme hardship among the innocent people in Gaza, about one million of whom are refugees.

Israeli bombs and missiles periodically strike the encapsulated area, causing high casualties among both militants and innocent women and children. Prior to the highly publicized killing of a woman and her four little children last week, this pattern was illustrated by a previous report from B'Tselem, the leading Israeli human rights organization: 106 Palestinians were killed between February 27 and March 3. Fifty-four of them were civilians who didn't take part in the fighting, and 25 were under 18 years of age.

On a recent trip through the Middle East, I attempted to gain a better understanding of the crisis. One of my visits was to Sderot, a community of about 20,000 in southern Israel that is frequently struck by rudimentary rockets fired from nearby Gaza. I condemned these attacks as abominable and an act of terrorism, since most of the thirteen victims during the past seven years have been non-combatants.

Subsequently, I met with leaders of Hamas, both a delegation from Gaza and the top officials in Damascus, Syria. I made the same condemnation to them, and urged that they declare a unilateral ceasefire or orchestrate with Israel a mutual agreement to terminate all military action in and around Gaza for an extended period.

They responded that such previous action by them had not been reciprocated, and they reminded me that Hamas had previously insisted on a ceasefire throughout Palestine including both Gaza and the West Bank, which Israel had refused. Hamas then made a public proposal of a mutual ceasefire restricted to Gaza, which the Israelis considered and also rejected. There are fervent arguments heard on both sides concerning blame for a lack of peace in the Holy Land. Israel has occupied and colonized the Palestinian West Bank, which is approximately one-fourth (28.5%) the size of the nation of Israel as recognized by the international community. Some Israeli religious factions claim a right to the land on both sides of the Jordan River, and others aver that their 205 settlements with some 500,000 people are necessary for "security."

All Arab nations have agreed to full recognition of Israel if it will comply with key United Nations resolutions. Hamas has agreed to accept any negotiated peace settlement between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, provided it is approved in a referendum among the Palestinian people.

This holds promise of progress, but despite the brief fanfare and positive statements at the peace conference last November in Annapolis, Maryland, a retrogression has occurred in the process. Nine thousand new Israeli settlement housing units have been announced in Palestine, the number of roadblocks within the West bank has increased, and the stranglehold on Gaza has been tightened.

It is one thing for other leaders to defer to the US on the crucial peace negotiations, but the world must not stand idle while innocent people are treated cruelly. It is time for strong voices in Europe, the US, Israel, and elsewhere to speak out and condemn this human rights tragedy among the Palestinian people.

Jimmy Carter, a former President of the United States, is founder of The Carter Center, promoting peace, health, and human rights worldwide. This commentary is published by DAILY NEWS EGYPT in collaboration with Project Syndicate (

forget the two states solution

Forget the two-state solution
Saree Makdisi, The Los Angeles Times, 12 May 2008

There is no longer a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Forget the endless arguments about who offered what and who spurned whom and whether the Oslo peace process died when Yasser Arafat walked away from the bargaining table or whether it was Ariel Sharon's stroll through the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem that did it in.

All that matters are the facts on the ground, of which the most important is that -- after four decades of intensive Jewish settlement in the Palestinian territories it occupied during the 1967 war -- Israel has irreversibly cemented its grip on the land on which a Palestinian state might have been created.

Sixty years after Israel was created and Palestine was destroyed, then, we are back to where we started: two populations inhabiting one piece of land. And if the land cannot be divided, it must be shared. Equally.

This is a position, I realize, which may take many Americans by surprise. After years of pursuing a two-state solution, and feeling perhaps that the conflict had nearly been solved, it's hard to give up the idea as unworkable.

But unworkable it is. A report published last summer by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs found that almost 40 percent of the West Bank is now taken up by Israeli infrastructure -- roads, settlements, military bases and so on -- largely off-limits to Palestinians. Israel has methodically broken the remainder of the territory into dozens of enclaves separated from each other and the outside world by zones that it alone controls (including, at last count, 612 checkpoints and roadblocks).

Moreover, according to the report, the Jewish settler population in the occupied territories, already approaching half a million, not only continues to grow but is growing at a rate three times greater than the rate of Israel's population increase. If the current rate continues, the settler population will double to almost one million people in just 12 years. Many are heavily armed and ideologically driven, unlikely to walk away voluntarily from the land they have declared to be their God-given home.

These facts alone render the status of the peace process academic.

At no time since the negotiations began in the early 1990s has Israel significantly suspended the settlement process in the occupied Palestinian territories, in stark violation of international law. It preceded last November's Annapolis summit by announcing the fresh expropriation of Palestinian property in the West Bank; it followed the summit by announcing the expansion of its Har Homa settlement by an additional 307 housing units; and it has announced plans for hundreds more in other settlements since then.

The Israelis are not settling the occupied territories because they lack space in Israel itself. They are settling the land because of a long-standing belief that Jews are entitled to it simply by virtue of being Jewish. "The land of Israel belongs to the nation of Israel and only to the nation of Israel," declares Moledet, one of the parties in the National Union bloc, which has a significant presence in the Israeli parliament.

Moledet's position is not as far removed from that of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as some Israelis claim. Although Olmert says he believes in theory that Israel should give up those parts of the West Bank and Gaza densely inhabited by Palestinians, he also said in 2006 that "every hill in Samaria and every valley in Judea is part of our historic homeland" and that "we firmly stand by the historic right of the people of Israel to the entire land of Israel."

Judea and Samaria: these ancient biblical terms are still used by Israeli officials to refer to the West Bank. More than 10 years after the initiation of the Oslo peace process, which was supposed to lead to a two-state solution, maps in Israeli textbooks continued to show not the West Bank but Judea and Samaria -- and not as occupied territories but as integral parts of Israel.

What room is there for the Palestinians in this vision of Jewish entitlement to the land? None. They are regarded, at best, as a demographic "problem."

The idea of Palestinians as a "problem" is hardly new. Israel was created as a Jewish state in 1948 only by the premeditated and forcible removal of as much of the indigenous Palestinian population as possible, in what Palestinians call the Nakba, or catastrophe, which they commemorate this week.

A Jewish state, says Israeli historian Benny Morris, "would not have come into being without the uprooting of 700,000 Palestinians. ... There was no choice but to expel that population." For Morris, this was one of those "circumstances in history that justify ethnic cleansing."

Thinking of Palestinians as a "problem" to be removed predates 1948. It was there from the moment the Zionist movement set into motion the project to make a Jewish state in a land that, in 1917 -- when the British empire officially endorsed Zionism -- had an overwhelmingly non-Jewish population. The only Jewish member of the British government at the time, Edwin Montagu, vehemently opposed the Zionist project as unjust. Henry King and Charles Crane, dispatched on a fact-finding mission to Palestine by President Wilson, concurred: Such a project would require enormous violence, they warned: "Decisions, requiring armies to carry out, are sometimes necessary, but they are surely not gratuitously to be taken in the interests of a serious injustice."

But they were. This is a conflict driven from its origins by Zionism's exclusive sense of entitlement to the land. Has there been Palestinian violence as well? Yes. Is it always justified? No. But what would you do if someone told you that there was no room for you on your own land, that your very existence is a "problem"? No people in history has ever gone away just because another people wanted them to, and the sentiments of Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull live on among Palestinians to this day.

The violence will end, and a just peace will come, only when each side realizes that the other is there to stay. Many Palestinians have accepted this premise, and an increasing number are willing to give up on the idea of an independent Palestinian state and embrace instead the concept of a single democratic, secular and multicultural state, which they would share equally with Israeli Jews.

Most Israelis are not yet reconciled this position. Some, no doubt, are reluctant to give up on the idea of a "Jewish state," to acknowledge the reality that Israel has never been exclusively Jewish, and that, from the start, the idea of privileging members of one group over all other citizens has been fundamentally undemocratic and unfair.

Yet that is exactly what Israel does. Even among its citizens, Israeli law grants rights to Jews that it denies to non-Jews. By no stretch of the imagination is Israel a genuine democracy: It is an ethno-religiously exclusive state that has tried to defy the multicultural history of the land on which it was founded.

To resolve the conflict with the Palestinians, Israeli Jews will have to relinquish their exclusive privileges and acknowledge the right of return of Palestinians expelled from their homes. What they would get in return is the ability to live securely and to prosper with -- rather than continuing to battle against -- the Palestinians.

They may not have a choice. As Olmert himself warned recently, more Palestinians are shifting their struggle from one for an independent state to a South African-style struggle that demands equal rights for all citizens, irrespective of religion, in a single state. "That is, of course," he noted, "a much cleaner struggle, a much more popular struggle -- and ultimately a much more powerful one."

I couldn't agree more.

Saree Makdisi is a professor of English and comparative literature at UCLA and the author of Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation, out this month from W.W. Norton. This essay was originally published by The Los Angeles Times and is republished with the author's permission.

Remembrance of the Naqba- Interviews

[Interview] Remembrance of the Naqba

By Maaika Santana and Nick Resmann | 29/04/2008 - 12:41

On the 16 of April 2008 we had a conversation with Tal Dor and Nidal al-Azza on their work in Israel/Palestina concerning the Naqba and the palestinian refugees. Tal works in the Israeli ngo Zochrot and Nidal in the palestinian ngo Bidal. Invited bij Actieplatform Palestina (APP) and Association Belgo-Palestinienne (ABP) they visited some cities in Belgium to talk about their experiences and vision on the Naqba.

By Nick Resmann and Maaika Santana

Foto Masser [1]

Can you explain what is meant by ‘Naqba’?
Nidal: Naqba is an Arabic word. It means catastrophe. AL Naqba is the uprooting process of Palestine, of Palestinians, which occured in 1948. In that year 800.000 Palestinians were displaced and from one day on another they became refugees. Nowadays there are more than 7.000.000 refugees. There are 59 refugee camps that are recognized. For us, the displacement of Palestinian people, and thereby the Naqba, is still ongoing.

Next month, on the 14th of May, Israel will exist sixty years. A reason to celebrate?
Tal: I think I stopped celebrating the independence day a few years ago. It was part of the change in my political awareness. The Naqba has two days. The Naqba memorial is on the 15th of May, which is the day that Israeli Palestinians –Palestinians with an Israeli identity- go to the villages and have the Naqba march. Jewish Israelis celebrate the day of independence then, but according to the Hebrew calender.
In Zochrot for the last 5-6 years we have joined the 15th of May. There’s a march that we join every year. For me and other Jewish Israelis it’s important to understand that the creation of Israel is in fact the destruction of the Palestinian people and the theft of land. This is something we don’t speak about in Israel. We don’t speak about the amount of villages that were destroyed and the amount of people that were displaced and became refugees. For me, this day is a heavy day, being part of my history. The Naqba is part of my history as well.

How is the relationship with the neighbouring countries, where a lot of refugees went to?
Nidal: In Libanon, Jordan, Syria and other countries they commomerate Naqba-day too. Most Palestinians put a black flag on their houses. They participate in demonstrations to demand the right to return.

What is the position of those countries towards the refugees?
Nidal: It differs from country to country. In Lebanon it’s the worst. There they are prohibited to practice a list of 28 jobs. For example they cannot become university teachers. In Syria their situation is better. In Jordan they have citizenship, but they still feel, after 60 years of Naqba, that they are foreigners. In Egypt they have temporary residency. They have to renew it every 6 months. More then 3 or 4 times we denounced the scandalous deplacement of the Palestinian refugees in the Gulf states. After the first war in Iraq the Palestinians were displaced from Kuwait. Now, after the US occupation in Iraq, more than 15.000 Palestinians were displaced from Iraq. There are three new camps. One on the Jordanian border and two on the Syrian-Iraqi border. In Lebanon and Jordan it happened too, in 1970 and 1971. That is the secondary movement. So their situation in other countries is unstable. However, the on going Naqba is the result of many reasons that can be summarized in the lack of humanitarian assistance and absence of protection that they are entitled to under international law and relevant resolutions.

Let’s talk about the status of refugees in international law, which is the main topic on which you’re ngo is working.
Nidal: I’m working at Badil Centre. Badil is a big Palestinian ngo. It’s mostly supported by refugees, in the West Bank and Gaza, but also from Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. It has contacts with the popular and social movements within the refugee camps. Badil is defending refugees rights. It deals with the right to return as a human right. It uses international, including European human rights instruments and documents. Refugees are entitled to practice their right to return. They should be restituted and compensated. These rights are assured by the resolution of the UN of 1948, resolution 194. This resolution contains those rights. Badil campaigns for this resolution to be implemented.

You mentioned that there are about 7.000.000 refugees.
Nidal: Nowadays there are more than 7.000.000 refugees, about 70% of the Palestinian population. They are the largest group of refugees over the world. Two out of five refugees worldwide is a Palestinian.

If all the Palestinian refugees get the right to return you get an inversement of the etnicity within historical Palestine: there would be more Palestinians then Israeli Jews. That’s the Israeli argument for not allowing the right to return. How do you deal with this argument?
Nidal: I think the nature of the state of Israel should be in question, not the right itself. The right is not negotiable. It’s a right. NATO, European Union and the United Nations enabled more than 12 million refugees to practice their right to return in Kosovo, Bosnia, Rwanda, Columbia and other countries during the 1990s. But after six decades of Naqba, the Palestinians are still unable to practice their right to return. I agree that there would be demographic problems. I agree with that. But other countries face this problem too. I think the problem is in the nature of Israel, as a colonial and racist system. This idea of a pure Jewish state for the chosen people, containing the Jewish dominance of the state, is in my opinion inconsistent with international law, human rights and democratic principles. This issue should be in question, not the right to return in itself. In this context we believe that we can practice this right and we believe that it will be possible and practical, especially because we present it with the best solution we see: to build one democratic, secular state for its entire people. A state where people can practice their rights equally, without difference in race or religion and free of any kind of discrimination.

We will come back to possible solutions. But first maybe Tal can say something about her organization, Zochrot. What is the purpose of the organization?
Tal: Zochrot is there to introduce the Naqba to the Israeli population. The Naqba is taboo. It is not discussed. That part of our history is not part of our education, even though the Naqba is part of our daily life. You see the Naqba everywhere, but you don’t give it the name. You see the Palestinian ruins, you see fruit trees that were planted by Palestinians, but you don’t give it the name. Zochrot would like the Israeli people to acknowledge and take responsibility over their history, so that there would be reconciliation, a just solution.

Is it from the perspective that the Jewish Israeli’s also are suffering from it?
Tal: It’s less that, it’s more because it’s also our history. It’s not only the Palestinian history. It’s also a weight on our shoulders. We have to take our responsibility. Of course we believe that by ending the violence and by having one state we will suffer less. There will be less violence for everybody. And of course we see that today the occupation, and the 60 years of occupation, are not serving us. But it’s more from the perspective of taking responsibility and wanting to change your reality, wanting to live in a different reality.

How are you trying to do that in Zochrot?
Tal: We use different methods. Our main action that we continue until today, we’ve done 23 already, is that we go to the destroyed Palestinian villages and we post the name of the village. We say: here was ‘Chechmo Anes’, and we remember it. We start putting the names very visual in our landscape and in our discourse. Following that we make booklets of each village. We collect the oral history, maps, documents, and so on. There are lots of documents in the archives and in Palestinian private possess, as prove of the ownership of their houses. There are a lot of documents stating the battles that took place, documents of Israeli commanders stating what they did and how it was planned to really erase any Palestinian remembrance.

How is it welcomed if you do these kind of actions? Are people willing to listen, are they interested or do they not want to hear from it?
Tal: It’s not easy. For most people it’s very difficult. First of all, our signs usually are taken away. Sometimes quicker than other times, sometimes destroyed even. By residents. It is very difficult what we are trying to say and to bring up. Sometimes we just create a platform for people. They say “ there is a Palestinian house next to mine, I would like to learn about it. Do you have connections with refugees?” So, it is true that it is a minority but more and more people want to know. But in most cases it is very difficult.

Do you have the feeling that you stand alone in this or are there other movements in society?
Tal: Of course on the Palestinian side we have a lot of partners. With other left activist organisations. Badil was one of our first and is a big resource for us. There are other Israeli organisations that believe in the same vision as we do. We worked together for example with Mapach, which works in disempowered communities, Palestinian and Jewish. We work together to introduce and to speak about the Naqba. Also with Basjalom, with Palestinian organisations within Israel.

And do you find supporters on the political side?
Tal: We don’t work with the political parties. There is a small group of left parties, Balad, the national Palestinian party and Jadatch, the Jewish communist party. But they have a small minority. I would not say that they represent us but definitely it is the only left voice in the Israeli parliament.

Being here together is quiet a signal, a signal of dialogue and unity. You already referred to a one-state solution. Can you explain this ideal solution?
Nidal: One state, a secular democratic state, is the only solution that can stop and uproot the conflict. When we talk about the right to return and you mentioned the demographic threat to Jewish majority, we believe that it is a Zionist idea to keep the Jewish dominance of the state. Maybe in ten years the 20 percent of Palestinian population that have Israeli citizenship will be denied the right to be in such a state. Because it should be Jewish. They suffer from different kinds of discriminations only because they are Palestinians and not Jewish. So our vision is connected to the right to return.
On the other hand it is also connected to what we call the acquired rights of Jews in Palestine. With acquired rights is meant that when someone acquired something illegally after a certain period of time, he or she acquire rights providing recognition and getting others acceptance. We can recognise acquired rights, but they have to recognise what happened in the Naqba and give the refugees the right to return. After that we can establish one democratic state.
The two-state solution, Tal would you like to talk about that? (Tal laughs and says “no, you can”) I just want to say that after the completion of the wall, less then 11 % of historic Palestine would remain for Palestinians. The West Bank remains full of settlements, bypass roads (Jewish only) and checkpoints that we have to pass. So we are talking about a state of 11 percent or less of the old Palestine for all Palestinians. I want to add: who can convince the Palestinians that they have to be in one state and cannot come in the other? Their memory, culture and villages are there as well. Or who can convince the Jews to have no right to stay in Bethlehem or in Hebron, to come to these holy places?

One of the problems is the wall …
Nidal: We consider all our problems, the wall, the checkpoints, the occupation, the violations of human rights, the 11.000 prisoners, Jerusalem, the borders, the water, the electricity as interconnected. We believe that these are all the results of what happened during the Naqba. So if we really want to find a just solution we have to start with the Naqba. We have to talk about what happened with the refugees, their rights and how we can resolve the problem. After that Jerusalem won’t be a big problem. Muslims, Jews and Christians can go to pray there. These problems would become manageable.

How is this idea of a non-religious state welcomed within Israel, in the Jewish and Palestinian communities? Is their any kind of support for amongst the people?
Tal: In Israel it is still a minority. A minority that is now more and more talking and writing about it. But it is now starting to develop.

If you adopt this solution, you give up the idea of Israel as a Jewish state. Are people willing to make that sacrifice?
Tal: A small minority is. In Zochrot we speak about giving up the Jewish state and the privileges. We speak about an equal state. Yes it is difficult and it is a minority but it is beginning to be discussed. The people speaking now about one state are activist or academics. Not the politicians. We are working to make as many Israelis as possible to believe in it. To live on the land equally and not to think that the only important safety is the Jewish safety or the only way to be safe on the land is to have a military regime.

From a Palestinian point of view?
Nidal: The one state solution is welcomed by Palestinians, although I am not talking about politicians. Last year Birzeit University did a poll. The result that came out was that 81% of the Palestinians support a one-state solution. But at the same time, this 81% think Israel would not accept it, or that it would not be welcomed by the international main powers. I think the one-state solution is not welcomed by the main powers because it is not favourable for the western interests in the area. In Badil we work on this. We have 14 partners in the West Bank, 2 other partners inside Israel and one Israeli partner, Zochrot with whom we try to educate the new generation of refugees, and trying to spread this idea in the Palestinian community. Not the one, democratic state is the most difficult, but the acquired rights of Jewish people who would also be living in the one state, and therefore would enjoy equal rights. But all partners believe this process of education is working.

Do you see some reasons for optimism?
Nidal: Because of our optimism we still struggle since Naqba. We still have our dream of a one-state solution and we work to accomplish it. Because of this we sometimes find a way to manage with daily life. We participate for example in demonstrations against the wall, be a part of the campaign ‘Stop the wall’. We support prisoners and their family. It will take time, but we have an aim.

If you have an aim, you know where to go. We wish you good luck.


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Commemoration de la NAKBA à Lyon, en France

(c)Anne Paq/, Lyon, 11 Mai 2008.

père, dis-moi
est-il vrai que tous les hommes, en tous lieux
ont du pain, des espoirs
et un hymne national ?
Pourquoi donc avons-nous si faim
et chantons-nous, tout bas, des poèmes tristes ?

Mahmoud Darwish,
Extrait du poème Chanson naïve sur la Croix-Rouge dans Rien qu’une autre année, traduit de l’arabe par Abdellatif Laâbi, éditions de Minuit 1983, page 35

Nous ne célébrerons pas l’anniversaire de la naissance d’Israël
Seymour Alexander, Ruth Appleton, Steve Arloff...

publié le vendredi 9 mai 2008

Dans une lettre à l’éditeur du Guardian, datée du 30 avril 2008, des membres éminents de la communauté juive britannique font savoir qu’ils ne célébreront pas le soixantième anniversaire d’Israël.

En ce mois de mai, des organisations juives vont célébrer le 60ème anniversaire de la création de l’état d’Israël. On peut le comprendre, si l’on garde à l’esprit les centaines d’années de persécution, dont l’Holocauste fut l’acmé. Pourtant il est des Juifs qui ne s’associeront pas à ces célébrations. Il est temps de reconnaître l’histoire de l’autre, le prix payé par un autre peuple pour l’antisémitisme européen et le génocide hitlérien. Comme le répétait Edward Saïd, ce que l’Holocauste fut pour les Juifs, la Naqba le fut pour les Palestiniens.

En avril 1948, le mois du massacre de Deir Yassin et de l’attaque au mortier du marché de Haïfa, où se trouvaient des civils palestiniens, commença le plan Dalet. Il autorisait la destruction de villages palestiniens et l’expulsion de la population indigène hors des limites de l’état. Nous n’avons pas l’intention de le célébrer.

En Juin1948, à Lydda et Ramleh, pendant les chaleurs du plein été, 70 000 Palestiniens ont été chassés de chez eux sans eau ni nourriture. Des centaines sont morts. Cet épisode est connu comme la Marche à la Mort. Nous n’avons pas l’intention de le célébrer.

Au total, c’est 750 000 Palestiniens qui devinrent des réfugiés. Quelques 400 villages ont été rayés de la carte. Pourtant, ce ne fut pas la fin du nettoyage ethnique. En 1956, des milliers de Palestiniens, citoyens israéliens, furent expulsés de Galilée. Des milliers d’autres quand Israël occupa la Cisjordanie et Gaza. Les réfugiés ont le droit de revenir chez eux ou d’être indemnisés, suivant la loi internationale et la résolution 194 adoptée par l’ONU. Nous n’avons pas l’intention de le célébrer.

Nous ne célébrerons pas la naissance d’un état établi par le terrorisme, les massacre, le vol de la terre d’un autre peuple. Nous ne pouvons célébrer la naissance d’un état qui persiste dans le nettoyage ethnique, qui viole la loi internationale, qui inflige à la population de Gaza la monstruosité d’une punition collective, et qui continue à dénier aux Palestiniens la jouissance des Droits de l’Homme et de leurs aspirations nationales.

Nous ferons la fête lorsque les Arabes et les Juifs vivront en égaux dans un Moyen Orient en Paix.

Seymour Alexander, Ruth Appleton, Steve Arloff, Rica Bird, Jo Bird, Cllr Jonathan Bloch, Ilse Boas, Prof. Haim Bresheeth, Tanya Bronstein, Sheila Colman, Ruth Clark, Sylvia Cohen, Mike Cushman, Angela Dale, Ivor Dembina, Dr. Linda Edmondson, Nancy Elan, Liz Elkind, Pia Feig, Colin Fine, Deborah Fink, Sylvia Finzi, Brian Fisher MBE, Frank Fisher, Bella Freud, Catherine Fried, Uri Fruchtmann, Stephen Fry, David Garfinkel, Carolyn Gelenter, Claire Glasman, Tony Greenstein, Heinz Grunewald, Michael Halpern, Abe Hayeem, Rosamine Hayeem, Anna Hellman, Amy Hordes, Joan Horrocks, Deborah Hyams, Selma James, Riva Joffe, Yael Oren Kahn, Michael Kalmanovitz, Paul Kaufman,, Yehudit Keshet, Prof. Eleonore Kofman, Rene Krayer, Stevie Krayer, Berry Kreel, Leah Levane, Les Levidow, Peter Levin, Louis Levy, Ros Levy, Prof. Yosefa Loshitzky, Catherine Lyons, Deborah Maccoby, Daniel Machover, Prof. Emeritus Moshe Machover, Miriam Margolyes OBE, Mike Marqusee, Laura Miller, Simon Natas, Hilda Meers, Martine Miel, Laura Miller, Arthur Neslen, Diana Neslen, Orna Neumann, Harold Pinter, Roland Rance, Frances Rivkin, Sheila Robin, Dr. Brian Robinson, Neil Rogall, Prof. Steven Rose, Mike Rosen, Prof. Jonathan Rosenhead, Leon Rosselson, Michael Sackin, Sabby Sagall, Ian Saville, Alexei Sayle, Anna Schuman, Sidney Schuman, Monika Schwartz, Amanda Sebestyen, Sam Semoff, Linda Shampan, Sybil Shine, Prof. Frances Stewart, Inbar Tamari, Ruth Tenne, Martin Toch, Tirza Waisel, Stanley Walinets, Martin White, Ruth Williams, Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, Devra Wiseman, Gerry Wolff, Sherry Yanowitz.

publié par l’UJFP le 6.05.2008 ?storyid=385

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Not to forget

(c) Anne Paq/ Activestills, Aida refugee camp, 2007

The Institute for Middle East Understanding

Ten facts about the Nakba
IMEU, May 1, 2008

Palestinian women walk through the Nahr el-Bared refugee camp in Lebanon in 1951. (UNRWA)
Palestinian women walk through the Nahr el-Bared refugee camp in Lebanon in 1951. (UNRWA)
"We thought it would be a matter of weeks, only until the fighting died down. Of course, we were never allowed to go home." Nina Saah, Washington, DC

"My family's farm of oranges, grapefruits and lemons, centuries old, was gone." Darwish Addassi, Walnut Creek, California

"Those of us who left unwillingly in 1948 are plagued with painful nostalgia. My house in West Jerusalem is an Israeli nursery school now." Inea Bushnaq, New York, New York

"The people of New Orleans woke up one morning to complete devastation and had to flee. The Nakba was our Hurricane Katrina." Abe Fawal, Birmingham, Alabama

Sixty years ago, more than 700,000 Palestinians lost their homes and belongings, their farms and businesses, their towns and cities. Jewish militias seeking to create a state with a Jewish majority in Palestine, and later, the Israeli army, drove them out. Israel rapidly moved Jews into the newly-emptied Palestinian homes. Nakba means "catastrophe" in Arabic, and Palestinians refer to the destruction of their society and the takeover of their homeland as an-Nakba, "The Catastrophe."

Ten Facts about the Nakba

1. The Nakba is a root cause of the Israeli/Palestinian problem.

It is marked on May 15, the day after Israel declared its independence in 1948.

2. This traumatic event created the Palestinian refugee crisis.

By the end of 1948, two-thirds of the Palestinian population was exiled. It is estimated that more than 50% were driven out under direct military assault. Others fled as news spread of massacres committed by Jewish militias in Palestinian villages like Deir Yassin and Tantura.

3. Jewish leaders saw "transfer" as an important step in the establishment of Israel.

Jewish leaders spoke openly of the need to use military clashes to expel as many Palestinians as possible before other Arab countries could come to their defense. The Haganah militia's Plan Dalet was the blueprint for this ethnic cleansing. Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, said "We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population." (See what other leading Israelis have said about transfer.)

4. Hundreds of Palestinian villages and towns were destroyed.

Jewish forces depopulated more than 450 Palestinian towns and villages, most of which were demolished.

5. Palestinian property and belongings were simply taken.

The newly-established Israeli government confiscated refugee land and properties without respect to Palestinian rights or desires to return to their homes.

Israeli historian Tom Segev reported that: "Entire cities and hundreds of villages left empty were repopulated with new [Jewish] immigrants... Free people - Arabs - had gone into exile and become destitute refugees; destitute refugees - Jews - took the exiles' places in the first step in their lives as free people. One group [Palestinians] lost all they had while the other [Jews] found everything they needed - tables, chairs, closets, pots, pans, plates, sometimes clothes, family albums, books radios, pets....

6. Some Palestinians stayed in what became Israel.

While most Palestinians were driven out, some remained in what became Israel. Although citizens of the new state, they were subject to Israeli military rule until 1966. Today, Palestinian citizens of Israel comprise nearly 20 percent of Israel's population. They have the right to vote and run for office, but more than 20 Israeli laws explicitly privilege Jews over non-Jews. Nearly one-quarter of Israel's Palestinians are "internally displaced" persons, unable to return to the homes and lands that were taken from them.

7. There are still millions of Palestinian refugees dispersed around the world.

Today, there are 4.4 million Palestinian refugees registered as such with the United Nations, and at least another estimated 1 million who are not so registered. Thus a majority of the Palestinian people, around 10 million persons, are refugees.

8. Refugees have internationally-recognized rights.

All refugees enjoy internationally-recognized rights to return to areas from which they have fled or were forced out, to receive compensation for damages, and to either regain their properties or receive compensation and support for voluntary resettlement. This right has been explicitly acknowledged in recent peace agreements in Cambodia, Rwanda, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Guatemala, Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Burundi, and Darfur. This right was affirmed for the Palestinians by the United Nations Resolution 194 of 1948. Israel, however, does not allow Palestinian refugees to return, although a Jew from anywhere in the world can settle in Israel.

9. Justly resolving refugee rights is essential to Middle East peace.

An overwhelming majority of Palestinians believes that refugee rights must be fulfilled for peace between Palestinians and Israelis to endure. And according to an August 2007 poll by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center, nearly 70 percent believe that refugees should be allowed to return to "their original land".

10. The Nakba has implications for Americans.

Israel's ongoing denial of Palestinian rights - and unconditional U.S. financial and diplomatic support for Israel - fuels anti-American sentiment abroad. A 2002 Zogby poll, conducted in eight Arab countries showed that "the negative perception of the United States is based on American policies, not a dislike of the West." The same poll showed that "the Palestinian issue was listed by many Arabs among the political issues that affect them most personally." Resolution of the Palestinian refugee issue would undoubtedly improve America's international image, by proving that the U.S. government supports the consistent application of international law.

Monday, May 05, 2008

60 years of oppression and ongoing Nakba- Nothing to celebrate


We're not celebrating Israel's anniversary

The Guardian, Wednesday April 30 2008

In May, Jewish organisations will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel. This is understandable in the context of centuries of persecution culminating in the Holocaust. Nevertheless, we are Jews who will not be celebrating. Surely it is now time to acknowledge the narrative of the other, the price paid by another people for European anti-semitism and Hitler's genocidal policies. As Edward Said emphasised, what the Holocaust is to the Jews, the Naqba is to the Palestinians.

In April 1948, the same month as the infamous massacre at Deir Yassin and the mortar attack on Palestinian civilians in Haifa's market square, Plan Dalet was put into operation. This authorised the destruction of Palestinian villages and the expulsion of the indigenous population outside the borders of the state. We will not be celebrating.

In July 1948, 70,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes in Lydda and Ramleh in the heat of the summer with no food or water. Hundreds died. It was known as the Death March. We will not be celebrating.

In all, 750,000 Palestinians became refugees. Some 400 villages were wiped off the map. That did not end the ethnic cleansing. Thousands of Palestinians (Israeli citizens) were expelled from the Galilee in 1956. Many thousands more when Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza. Under international law and sanctioned by UN resolution 194, refugees from war have a right to return or compensation. Israel has never accepted that right. We will not be celebrating.

We cannot celebrate the birthday of a state founded on terrorism, massacres and the dispossession of another people from their land. We cannot celebrate the birthday of a state that even now engages in ethnic cleansing, that violates international law, that is inflicting a monstrous collective punishment on the civilian population of Gaza and that continues to deny to Palestinians their human rights and national aspirations.

We will celebrate when Arab and Jew live as equals in a peaceful Middle East.

Seymour Alexander
Ruth Appleton
Steve Arloff
Rica Bird
Jo Bird
Cllr Jonathan Bloch
Ilse Boas
Prof. Haim Bresheeth
Tanya Bronstein
Sheila Colman
Ruth Clark
Sylvia Cohen
Judith Cravitz
Mike Cushman
Angela Dale
Ivor Dembina
Dr. Linda Edmondson
Nancy Elan
Liz Elkind
Pia Feig
Colin Fine
Deborah Fink
Sylvia Finzi
Brian Fisher MBE
Frank Fisher
Bella Freud
Catherine Fried
Uri Fruchtmann
Stephen Fry
David Garfinkel
Carolyn Gelenter
Claire Glasman
Tony Greenstein
Heinz Grunewald
Michael Halpern
Abe Hayeem
Rosamine Hayeem
Anna Hellman
Amy Hordes
Joan Horrocks
Deborah Hyams
Selma James
Riva Joffe
Yael Oren Kahn
Michael Kalmanovitz
Paul Kaufman
Prof. Adah Kay
Yehudit Keshet
Prof. Eleonore Kofman
Rene Krayer
Stevie Krayer
Berry Kreel
Leah Levane
Les Levidow
Peter Levin
Louis Levy
Ros Levy
Prof. Yosefa Loshitzky
Catherine Lyons
Deborah Maccoby
Daniel Machover
Prof. Emeritus Moshe Machover
Miriam Margolyes OBE
Mike Marqusee
Laura Miller
Simon Natas
Hilda Meers
Martine Miel
Laura Miller
Arthur Neslen
Diana Neslen
Orna Neumann
Harold Pinter
Roland Rance
Frances Rivkin
Sheila Robin
Dr. Brian Robinson
Neil Rogall
Prof. Steven Rose
Mike Rosen
Prof. Jonathan Rosenhead
Leon Rosselson
Michael Sackin
Sabby Sagall
Ian Saville
Alexei Sayle
Anna Schuman
Sidney Schuman
Monika Schwartz
Amanda Sebestyen
Sam Semoff
Linda Shampan
Sybil Shine
Prof. Frances Stewart
Inbar Tamari
Ruth Tenne
Martin Toch
Tirza Waisel
Stanley Walinets
Martin White
Ruth Williams
Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi
Devra Wiseman
Gerry Wolff
Sherry Yanowitz

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Put Your Body Where Your Heart Is - Break The Siege On Gaza!

Put Your Body Where Your Heart Is - Break The Siege On Gaza!

May 1st, 2008 | Posted in International Actions

Put Your Body Where Your Heart Is - Break The Siege On Gaza!

On May 30th 2008, people of conscience from around the world will gather in Egypt to break through to the imprisoned people living inside the Gaza Strip. People will attempt to enter Gaza in an act to break the murderous siege and to stand in solidarity with those inside.

The siege, brutally imposed by the Israeli government in June 2007, following over a year of sanctions has resulted in lethal denial of medical access, shortages of food, fuel and electricity, and stands as a grave act of collective punishment.

It is time to stand up and shout, "No more!" It is time to show that we will not simply stand by while this atrocity is carried out, as our governments do nothing. It is time to use our bodies to prove what we believe is just in this world.

Our governments have backtracked on their responsibility, as stipulated in past agreements, to facilitate and over see the flow of people through the Rafah border crossing, making us complicit with the murderous acts of the Israeli government.

We call on international human right activists and lawmakers to join us in breaking the siege, entering Gaza, and standing in solidarity with the people imprisoned there. Join us in Egypt, come with us to Gaza and put your body where your heart is.

What you can do?

1. Join us in this act of solidarity with the people of Gaza, come to Egypt before the end of May, preferably as early as possible to help with preparations.

2. Have your organization endorse and circulate this call

3. Support this initiative financially - email for more information

Signed: The International Solidarity Movement - Palestine