News ID: 115118
Publish Date : 16 May 2023 - 22:52

Nakba Day: Pro-Palestine Rallies Sweep World

RAMALLAH (Dispatches) -- Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have marked the 75th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba day, or the day of “catastrophe,” with large-scale rallies and demonstrations.
The Nakba Day is observed annually on May 15 by Palestinians to remember the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes after the establishment of Israel in 1948.
In Gaza, people took to the streets, marching through the main thoroughfares, hoisting Palestinian flags, and displaying banners emphasizing the right of return.
The demonstration culminated at the headquarters of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process in the western part of the city.
Imad al-Agha, an official from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah Movement, addressed the gathering, affirming the Palestinians’ commitment to their right to return to “historic Palestine” and their determination to achieve it.
“Our people await the awakening of global conscience to resolve their legal question, which has become the oldest and largest issue known to the world and the United Nations,” he stated.
Hamas said in a statement that the Nakba day came “in the wake of a recent round of conflict where our Palestinian people, united with their resistance in Gaza, proved that they are capable of defending their national rights.”
The commemoration of the Nakba day in Gaza follows a ceasefire agreement brokered by Egypt between the occupying regime of Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) movement in Gaza, bringing an end to a five-day deadly confrontation.
In the West Bank city of Ramallah, a large-scale demonstration took place in front of the tomb of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat before proceeding to the city center.
Participants observed a moment of silence for 75 seconds, symbolizing the 75th anniversary of Nakba.
Palestinian Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh, who participated in the rally with other officials, said “the Nakba is a crime that extends over 75 years, and our people are still paying with their blood and living flesh the bill of aggression.”
In New York, the United Nations headquarters held its first-ever commemoration of the Nakba anniversary, with the participation of Palestinian President Abbas, delivering a speech during the online event.
Abbas asked for the suspension of Israel’s membership from the United Nations as it had failed to implement even one of the hundreds of resolutions adopted by different UN bodies since 1948 asking it to protect Palestinians rights and end its occupation.
“We demand today officially, in accordance with international law and international resolutions, to make sure that Israel respects these resolutions or suspend Israel’s membership of the UN.”
The event was organized as per a resolution passed by the UN General Assembly in November last year.
Anywhere between 700,000 and 800,000 Palestinians were forced to leave their lands, homes, villages, and towns in historic Palestine by the Zionist forces during the months leading up to the creation of Israel on May 14, 1948. More than 500 Palestinian villages and towns were destroyed during those months by Zionist forces.
Considered as large-scale ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Palestinians, Nakba also created one of world’s largest refugee populations, which is currently living all across the world but mostly in the occupied Palestinian territories of Gaza, West Bank, and East Al-Quds and in neighboring Arab countries such as Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.
Abbas asserted that since colonial powers such as the U.S. and Britain were “directly responsible” politically and morally for Nakba, they have a historical responsibility to bring the suffering of Palestinians to an end.
Historic Palestine was a colonial mandate of Britain before it abruptly announced its termination in May 1948. Both the U.S. and Britain backed the Zionist forces during the long years of mandate administration and failed to intervene during the Zionist forces’ ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.
Abbas also asked the occupying regime of Israel to end its occupation and apologize and pay compensation to Palestinians for the destruction it caused during Nakba.
Speaking during the event, the UN Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs and Peacebuilding Rosemary DiCarlo repeated the UN position on the issue which states that Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories is illegal under international law and must end.

Abbas noted that the UN decision to commemorate Nakba is a recognition of the historical injustices against Palestinians and a refutation of Zionism’s myths regarding the establishment of Israel.
Meanwhile, human rights and civil society movements across the world took out marches and organized events to commemorate the day.
Solidarity activists across Latin America marked Nakba with talks, meetings, cultural activities, media interviews and social media campaigns.
Flag-waving Palestinians participated in a mass rally in Santiago, the capital of Chile, to mark the anniversary. Some of the participants held keys as a symbol of their hope to return to their homes in Palestine. Chants of “Free, free Palestine” reverberated around the streets.
In Brazil, president of the Freedom and Socialism Party Juliano Medeiros, said: “Today, we reaffirm our unwavering commitment to support the right of return and the tireless struggle of the Palestinian people. We are united in the quest for justice and equality. We are on the side of Palestine!”
Thousands of people took part in a demonstration of solidarity on Avenida Paulista, the most prominent street in Sao Paulo. Solidarity activists called on the Brazilian government to take a clear position that defines Israel as an apartheid entity, and play a greater role in pressuring the international community to condemn the Israeli occupation and stop its ongoing massacres of the Palestinian people.
People also attended a solidarity festival in Lima, the capital of Peru. More than four thousand solidarity activists took part in the festival, riding bicycles decorated with Palestinian flags and wearing Palestinian t-shirts. The festival was accompanied by an exhibition of Palestinian heritage introducing Palestinian handicrafts and embroidery. More than 4,000 booklets detailing the history of the Palestinian cause, Palestinian heritage and tourism in Palestine were distributed.
Nakba Day was commemorated differently in Venezuela, where the Bolivarian University of Venezuela held a special session to express solidarity and mark the catastrophe that displaced hundreds of thousands of Palestinians.

‘Shocking Restrictions’ in West Bank

The occupying regime of Israel introduced a “confusing, complex and arbitrary” set of restrictions on foreign entry into the occupied West Bank, often based on racial and ethnic profiling, according to a new report.
In a press release published on Tuesday, the International Centre of Justice for Palestinians (ICJP) said an array of new procedures introduced by the Zionist regime in 2022 - collectively named COGAT 22 - have stood to entrench the military occupation of the West Bank and deny access to millions of Palestinians in the diaspora.
Under the regulations, foreign passport holders - including Palestinians living abroad - will also no longer be able to obtain visas on arrival and instead have to apply for them at least 45 days in advance, the ICJP report said.
In most cases, foreigners visiting the West Bank will no longer be able to arrive via the Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv, and will instead be required to enter through the land crossing between Jordan and the West Bank.
The new rules do not apply to those visiting Jewish-only settlements in the occupied West Bank.
The London-based ICJP said the reforms included “shocking mass surveillance tactics” that allowed the Israeli authorities to record personal data on land claims and inheritance, as well as the names and national ID numbers of relatives of those entering the occupied territory.
In a statement, ICJP co-director Tayab Ali described the new restrictions as a “bureaucratic nightmare designed to tie people’s ankles together with red tape”.
“COGAT 22 is a draconian development that is designed to disrupt people’s lives, strip people of their rights and segregate people from one another. It is a classic tactic of divide and conquer, and an entrenchment of Israeli apartheid. However, these new regulations simply formalize a reality that Palestinian people have been forced to live with for years,” he said.
“It cuts West Bank Palestinians off from the rest of the world, so it is imperative that the international community holds Israel accountable for these arbitrary and discriminatory restrictions on the exercise of people’s rights.”