Nakba Commemoration – 15 May, 2008

Press release
BADIL and the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign on behalf of the National Committee to Commemorate the Nakba*

 

Nakba Commemoration – 15 May, 2008

  • Nakba Day: Mass demonstrations across Palestine and the world against Israeli colonialism, apartheid, occupation, and the continued denial of Palestinian refugees’ right to return.
  • National Committee statement reaffirms commitment to Palestine struggle and Right of Return. For more information see: http://stopthewall.org/analysisandfeatures/1650.shtml 

    Global Events

    • Justice is the Key to Tomorrow: Flying 21,915 Black Balloons. Ramallah (Qalandia camp football field), Jerusalem, Bethlehem (Aida Camp), Jenin, Haifa Palestine – as well as Amman (SAS Hotel), Rome, Berlin, Santiago and other cities across the globe, turning the skies over Israel’s independence celebrations black. 2pm. For more visit: www.60yearsofnakba.org  or contact: balloons@60yearsofnakba.org
    • Radio Free Palestine: 18 Hours of Broadcasting on 60 Years of Dispossession. This is a coordinated radio broadcast from 12am(midnight) until 6pm (Eastern Time) that will be hosted by the International Middle East Media Center in Bethlehem (imemc.org, Palestine), in collaboration with the Badil Centre for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, CKUT 90.3fm in Montreal (Quebec), CHRY 105.5fm in Toronto (Ontario, Canada), KBOO 90.7fm in Portland (Oregon, USA), Pacfica Radio and Democracy Now! (USA), CKDU 88.1fm (Nova Scotia, Canada), CFUV 101.9fm (British Columbia, Canada), CFRC 101.9fm (Ontario, Canada), CILU 102.7fm (Ontario Canada), WPFW 89.3fm (USA), WRNC 97.7 (USA), and Radio Resonance (London, UK).
      You can listen live at: http://live.kboo.fm:8000/high.m3u 
      Learn More at: http://www.imemc.org/index.php?obj_id=2196 Contact: news@ckut.ca 

    Events in Palestine

    • Central Demonstration, Ramallah. Work and Traffic stoppage at 12pm; Demonstration leaves al-Awda camp at 12:05pm, marching along Irsal street to Manara Square; 1pm rally at Manara square. Contact: Wajih Atallah, Union of Youth Activities Centers in the Refugee Camps, tel.: 0599-255584, mail: uyac@uyac.org 
    • Central Demonstration, Haifa. For more information visit: ittijah.org, contact info@ittijah.org 
    • Jerusalem Demonstration Commemorating 60 Years of Nakba: End the Israeli Occupation Now! Starts 10am from Damascus Gate (Bab El-‘Amoud). Organized by independent residents, Contact: Mohammad Abu Humus: 050 5679572
    • Mass marches, demonstrations as well as cultural events across Palestine in Gaza, Ramallah, Jenin, Nablus, Salfit, Qalqilya, Bethlehem.
    • Nakba Commemoration, Tubas; Recreation of a destroyed village; Intergenerational Dialogue and Discussion;
    • Nakba Commemoration, Beit Sahour. Festival will include tents presenting Palestinian cuisine and various cultural performances. Black balloons will be released for Nakba commemoration. Contact: uyac@uyac.org 
    • Nakba Commemoration, Nazareth (15-17 May): The People, the Land, the Story. Cultural performances; book, photo/handcraft exhibitions; and ‘trips to the roots’. Organized by the Arab Cultural Centre, contact: +972-4-608-2352
    • Nakba Commemoration, Jaffa. Forum, Exhibits, Testimonies, Cultural Performances, and Tours of Jaffa Organized by the Arab Affairs Cooperative in Jaffa. Contact info@ittijah.org for more.
    • Nakba Commemoration, Umm El-Fahem. Car Demonstration, Painting and Photography Exhibit, Folklore and Heritage Exhibition. Starting at 5pm, organized by Al-Karameh Cultural Centre and Volunteer Work Committee in Umm El-Fahem. Contact info@ittijah.org for more information.
    • Trips and Tours of Destroyed Villages in the Naqab. Organized by the Arab Council for Education in the Naqab.
    • Opening of The Nakba Project: Return of the Soul Exhibition in Jerusalem. 7:30pm at Al-Hoash Gallery (1st floor of Nuzha building, Nablus Street). Gallery hours: Mon-Fri: 5pm-10pm; Thurs-Sat: 12pm-7pm). Exhibit will travel to Edinburgh: July 2008; Ramallah: August 2008; Beirut: September 2008; Amman: October 2008. For more information contact: info@alhoshgallery.org 

    Events internationally

    • March of Return: Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon march towards the Lebanon-Palestine Border; “Homes of Return” candle lighting ceremonies and human chain activities in all Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.
    • International Conference: Freedom and the Right of Return, Palestine and 60 Years of Ethnic Cleansing in Jakarta, Indonesia. For more information: www.voiceofpalestine.net and www.suarapalestina.net
    • All Night Protest Calling for the End of Israeli Apartheid and Return of Refugees. Starts at 7pm in front of Israeli Embassy in Athens, Greece. For more visit http://www.intifada.gr, contact: victory@intifada.gr
    • Finding Palestine. Festival in Rome, Italy including: Painting exhibits by Hazem Hrab, Gaza; Isis Rsik, Nazareth; "Dunum, Palestinian Land" Photos by Luca Tommasini; National Premiere of "Jerusalem East Side story" and screening of "the Iron Wall" by Mohammad Alatar; Public Forum featuring Mohammad Alatar, Samir Al Quariuty, Sabri Atiyeh, Luisa Morgantini, Mjriam Abu Samra; Dabka performance and Palestinian fashion show by the Palestinian stylist Jamal Taslaq; Public Forum: "Palestinians: the tragedy to be victims of the victims" For more information visit: http://www.palestinewz.org .
    • Palestinian Hip-Hop Show, featuring DAM!, Invincible and a B-Boy battle. Straight from 1948 Palestine. All ages show. Organised by Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid, Toronto, Canada. For more information visit www.caiaweb.org .
    • Transformar El Dolor en Amor: Mass Demonstration 6:30pm, Plaza De La Constitucion, Santiago, Chile.
    • Candlelight Vigil: Remembering 60 Years of Dispossession and Displacement 4:30–6:30 p.m., State Library of Victoria – Melbourne, Australia. 7:30–9:30 p.m. Film Screening: “Jerusalem: East Side Story” and others, RMIT Capitol Theatre. For more information, visit www.1948.com.au .
    • Poetry recital and film screening in Caracas, Venezuela: from 6 pm Venezuelan poets give homage to the Palestinian struggle, at 8 pm screening of the feature film “The Door to Sun”. The events organized by the Foro Itinerante de Participation Popolar are part of a whole week of cultural events to commemorate the Nakba. For more information visit http://www.medioscomunitarios.org/pag/index.php 
    • Blood Donor Drive aiming to collect 531 Blood Units (one for each Palestinian town and village destroyed in the Nakba) in the United Arab Emiretes. Contact the Palestinian Social Committee in Abu Dhabi (PSC), media@albayyara.com 
    • Al-Hannouneh Folkloric Dance 8pm at Radisson SAS Hotel, Amman, Jordan. Part of the “Guardians of Memory” Cultural Week.
    • Forum on 60 Years of Palestinian Nakba. Featuring Tamer Khalafi (Palestinian refugee), Dr. Mai Al-Kaila (Ambassador of Palestine), Room: Aula Magna of Universidad de Chile – Law School, Santiago, Chile.
    • "60 years of Nakba – The Land was not Empty" Reading out of the names of all destroyed villages near Reichstag (Federal Parliament Building), Berlin Germany.
    • "60 years Israel – 60 years of expulsion of Palestinians" Central Market Place, Bremen, Germany.
    • Palestine Solidarity Festival Honoring the special guest, the Palestinian Awqaf Minister, at the Palestinian Consulate in the United Arab Emirates. Contact the Palestinian Social Committee in Abu Dhabi (PSC), media@albayyara.com .
    • Screening of "Deir Yassin". 7pm, Pond Room 530, Detroit, Michigan, USA. Organized by Film Society, Students Allied for Freedom and Equality(SAFE) and SABEEL, contact Shirley Zempel: Zempel.shirley@gmail.com .
    • Symphony Arabica by Merlijn Twaalfhoven. A symphony performed by over 200 professional musicians, amateurs, and children from the Middle East and the Netherlands.8:30 p.m., Big Hall of the Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands. For more information, visit www.arabica.nu .

    Note that Badil will keep an updated list of this year’s Nakba-60 Commemoration events at: http://www.badil.org/Publications/badil-nakba-60-info-packet/events.htm 

    The Palestinian Nakba on the ground

    On this day, 1948

    • In the Haifa district, Zionist forces captured the village of Umm al-Zinat. The village, which had been home to more than 1,400 people, has since been reduced to rubble.
    • Today, the attacks on the pocket of villages Jaba’, Ijzim and ‘Ayn Ghazal began in the Haifa district. This “Little Triangle” resisted Israeli attacks until the end of July when more than 8,000 people were eventually driven from their homes. At least 130 villagers were reported dead or missing, with residents of Ijzim recalling later that they had been fired upon by soldiers and aircraft as they left their village. Both Jaba’ and ‘Ayn Ghazal were systematically destroyed.

    Nakba Today

    Jerusalem today is facing an ever increasing drive to ethnic cleansing. The months after the Annapolis conference have seen a further acceleration of settlement construction. More than 3,500 new housing units in the settlements have been approved, a large infrastructure project to link the outer Jerusalem settlements via a ring road has been announced and land confiscation to this purpose started. To make space for the new Jewish settlers and ensure a Jewish majority in the Palestinian capital, the Wall cuts off people and villages, some of them completely ghettoized from all sides. Amount of Palestinian houses are under threat of demolition. Between 1967 and 1999, almost 6600 Palestinians in Jerusalem had already seen their ID cards revoked under a variety of pretexts, expelling them from their city. While this policy continues, presently, about 10,000 children in Jerusalem are unable to register in their parents’ ID cards and receive personal documents.

    The Arab population in Jerusalem still comprise 35% of the total population and pay 33% of total taxes levied by the occupation municipality, while they receive less than 5% of the municipality’s budget allocation. More than 25% of the shops in the city have been shut down completely due to the siege and elevated taxes imposed by the Israeli authorities on Palestinians. The poverty rate among the Jerusalemites is over 50%. Life in the Jerusalem becomes a daily act of resistance for its Palestinian population.

    The ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem that is slowly transforming the city that has been for centuries a cultural and commercial hub for people from different continents and faiths into a Jewish-only metropolis started in 1948. 38 villages and suburbs in West Jerusalem were ethnically cleansed, turning approximately 23,000 Palestinian into refugees. Further 3 villages and the Maghrabi Quarter in the old city were destroyed after the 1967 war. Currently, the occupation authorities are working at the implementation of their “Jerusalem 2020” plan to attempt the final destruction of this unique city’s cultural diversity and its Palestinian presence, history and future. For more information see:

    – Civic Coalition for the Defense of Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem – www.ccdprj.ps 
    – Badil report "Displaced by the Wall" at: http://www.badil.org/Publications/Books/Wall-Report.pdf 
    – Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign fact sheet on Jerusalem and the Wall: http://www.stopthewall.org/downloads/pdf/jerusalemfinal2.pdf 

    Background Resources:

    • For resources on the history of the Nakba, information about Palestinian refugees, and their right of return under international law, see the Nakba-60 Resources Info-Packet at:
      http://www.badil.org/Publications/badil-nakba-60-info-packet/index.html 
    • For information about selected cases of ongoing displacement, please visit:
      http://www.stopthewall.org/activistresources/1583.shtml 
    • For information, resources and links to organizations working on the growing campaign for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions on Israel until it dismantles its military occupation’s colonial apartheid system in the West Bank, Gaza and Golan Heights; ends systematic discrimination against its Palestinian citizens; and implements the Palestinian refugees’ right to return to their homes and properties, please visit the website of the Boycott Divestment Sanctions Campaign National Committee (BNC): http://www.bdsmovement.net 

    For more information, please contact:
    Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign
    Email: global@stopthewall.org , Tel.: +972-2-297-1505

    Badil Centre for Palestinian Refugee & Residency Rights:
    Email: mediaenglish@badil.org , Tel.: +972-2-277-7086

    *The week’s events coordinated by the National Committee to Commemorate the Nakba. The National Committee represents national movements and networks, including the Council of National and Islamic forces, the Global Palestine Right-of-Return Coalition, the Popular Committees and youth centers of the refugee camps all over Palestine, the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, Badil Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), the Civic Coalition for the Defense of Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem and the PLO Department for Refugee Affairs (DORA).

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