The 73rd Anniversary of Nakba – the Ongoing Catastrophe Palestinians Suffer

photos by Gloria Tatum

May 15, 2021, marks the 73rd year of the Nakba or “catastrophe”. It was the day in 1948 that over 700,000 Palestinian Arabs fled or were expelled from their homes and between 400 and 600 Palestinian villages were destroyed and Palestinian history erased.                   

Every year on May 15, Palestinians and their supporters around the world from New Zealand to New York commemorate the Nakba, the beginning of the process of violent mass displacement of Palestinians from their land and homes by Zionists militants who claim that God gave them all the land in Palestine.

“To this day, colonization and dispossession remain an ongoing process, where Palestinians continue to endure land theft and encroachments on their basic rights. Despite the multiple decades of Zionist brutality, our resilient people remain committed to resisting Zionist settler-colonialism and to the liberation of Palestine,” from a joint statement by Palestinians in Noth America on Nakba Day.

Nakba Day statement:

If you don’t know this – it is because until lately almost all media were censored from reporting the Palestinian side of this conflict.  Only publications like Mondoweiss, Democracy Now, and Al Jazeera had the freedom to report the Palestinian side which has seldom been told in the United States.

In Atlanta, over a thousand Palestinians and supporters marched from CNN center to Woodruff Park where youth leaders gave speeches.  Unfortunately, because the Atlanta police confiscated their sound equipment at Centennial Park, it was difficult to record what they said due to the fact they had to use an old-fashioned megaphone plus all the noise from a thousand enthusiastic young Palestinians.

This event was organized by the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM) and most of the information in this report is from their website and other news sources.

This is a David and Goliath story with Israel being Goliath. Palestine has no army, navy, air force, or military budget.  Israel has 513 thousand personnel, Navy 20 thousand personnel, Air Force 89 thousand personnel, a military budget of $20.5 billion dollars annually, plus 3.8 billion yearly or $10.8 million daily in military aid from the United States.

Our taxpayer dollars that go to Israel go into their military budget that finances the killing of Palestinian civilians and children, and the destruction of their homes, hospitals, buildings, and infrastructure in Gaza and other occupated Palestinian territories. 

“Israel is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, they have all the power, technology, and one of the most advanced militaries in the world, and the Iron Dome to protect Israel from incoming bombs. With all of this weaponry, money, and advantage, Israel claims to be the victim of impoverished Palestinians.  This is how imbalanced the power dynamic is between the Palestinians and Israelis,” according to the PYM website.

What’s Going On In Sheikh Jarrah?

The Sheikh Jarrah district is inhabited by the descendants of refugees who were expelled from their towns and villages by the Israeli military during the Palestinian Nakba (Catastrophe) in 1948.  As part of the resettlement agreement, Palestinian families were to receive legal titles to the land within three years but that never happened.

Since Israel seized East Jerusalem in the 1967 war, Israeli settler groups have claimed ownership of the land in Sheikh Jarrah based on local Israeli laws.  Under international law, the Israeli judicial system has no legal authority over the population it occupies. Despite this, settler groups have filed multiple successful lawsuits to evict Palestinians from the neighborhood since 1972. 

For decades, the Zionist occupation army has terrorized Palestinians in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in Jerusalem in an attempt to forcibly evict families from their homes and replace them with illegal Israeli settles.

 At least 13 families were ordered to leave their homes between May and the start of August 2021 by an Israeli district court. A total number of 58 people, including 17 children will be forcibly displaced from their homes despite living there for generations 

By 2018, there were 611,000 Israeli settlers living in 250 settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in contravention of international law.

What Happened Before the Current Bombing Started?

According to the New York Times, twenty-seven days before the first rocket was fired from Gaza, a squad of Israeli police officers entered the Aqsa Mosque and cut the cables to the loudspeakers that broadcast prayers to the faithful. The police raid on the mosque, one of the holiest sites in Islam, was one of several actions that led to the resumption of war between Israel and Hamas. 

This was the turning point,” said Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, the grand mufti of Jerusalem [referring to the attack on Aqsa Mosque] “Their actions would cause the situation to deteriorate,” as reported in the New York Times.

What is rarely reported is what led up to the latest conflict. The following report is from the PYM on provocations by Israel that lead to Hamas bombing Israel.

Gaza Attacks Explained by subhi. taha from the PYM website

During the holy month of Ramadan, the Israeli occupation forces used weapons to violently attack Palestinians praying in Al Aqsa Mosque. In the first 3 days, over 600 Palestinians were injured.

This instigated widespread peaceful protest by Palestinians against the Aqsa Mosque attacks and the Sheikh Jarrah evictions.  The protests were met by Israeli occupation forces with stun grenades, small bombs, and rubberized steel bullets.  

After all these blatant attacks by Israel, Hamas officially asked Israel to stop attacking Aqsa, a place of worship, or they would retaliate against Israel. 

Israel’s answer was to attack again twice as hard, injuring twice as many Palestinians as the first attack.  The extremist militants took all the keys to all the doors in Aqsa Mosque.

So, as promised, Hama retaliated and fired missiles at Israel and Israel reported one injury from the missiles. But as they always do, Israel plays the victim like they weren’t the ones who injured 600 plus Palestinians at Aqsa and took control of the mosque.

Now Israel had the excuse they wanted to begin bombing homes, mosques, hospitals, and civilians in Gaza.  They blew up a building that housed international journalists from Associated Press, BBC, Al Jazeera, and other news agencies. 

As of today, on May 17, 192 Palestinians are dead including 58 children, and 10 Israelis dead including 2 children, according to national news.  All of these deaths are tragic but it’s the disparity in numbers because one side is the occupier and the other side is the occupied.

There Must Be a Crack in the Censorship Shield Because the Palestinian Side is Leaking Out into Mainstream News

“There is no hope for a two-state solution. It is the policy of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to never allow a Palestinian state on his watch. The Israel settlements have expanded into East Jerusalem and into the West Bank, in ways that make a Palestinian state impossible.  …. Palestinians have a real loss of hope and a feeling that they will never have human rights and a state of their own,” Ben Rhodes, former Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications said on MSNBC. 

“In the Middle East, where we provide nearly $4 billion a year in aid to Israel, we can no longer be apologists for the right-wing Netanyahu government and its undemocratic and racist behavior. ….We must recognize that Palestinian rights matter,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt) said in an NYT article.

“Israel’s behavior has gotten so outrageous with the annexations over the years. President Biden needs to be far stronger than he has been so far…this is a human rights crisis and he needs to address it,” U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich) said on MSNBC.

“Palestinians are being told the same thing as Black people in the U.S. that there is no acceptable form of resistance,” U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass) said on MSNBC.

“Palestinian Lives Matter because of the disproportionality of the violence is against the Palestinians.  Look at the numbers: in the 2008 -2009 war 3 Israeli civilians were killed and 926 Palestinian civilians were killed.  In 2012, United Nations figures show 4 Israeli civilians were killed while 101 Palestinian civilians were killed. In 2014, UN figures show  6 Israeli civilians killed while 1,462 Palestinian civilians were killed,” Mehdi Hasan said on his MSNBC show. 

Written by Gloria Tatum

POB 33713

Decatur, Ga 30033

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