- For Palestinians worldwide and millions supporting them,
Nakba Day commemorates loss of their homeland, initially 78% in 1948, then
the rest 19 years later in 1967.
- Speaking for many, Audeh Rantisi recounted the horror,
- "I cannot forget three horror-filled days in July
1948," weeks after Israel's May 14 Yom Ha'atzmaut, its Declaration
of Independence at the expense of displaced and slaughtered Palestinians.
- "The pain sears my memory," he said, "and
I cannot rid myself of it no matter how hard I try."
- Many hundreds of thousands of Palestinians endured brutality,
harassment, humiliation, and loss of their entire world, what Edward Said
called "a slow death," shattered lives, and the incalculable
horror of it all.
- Explaining the horrific toll, Rantisi added:
- "First, Israeli soldiers forced thousands of Palestinians
from their homes near the Mediterranean coast, even though some families
had lived in the same houses for centuries."
- "Then without (food or) water, we stumbled into
the hills and continued for three deadly days. The Jewish soldiers followed,
occasionally shooting over our heads to scare us and keep us moving. Terror-filled
my 11-year old mind as I wondered what would happen. I remember overhearing
my father and his friends express alarm about the recent massacres by Jewish
terrorists. Would they kill us, too?"
- Soldiers shot resisters, including women and children.
For others "I saw many stagger and fall. Others lay dead or dying
in the scorching midsummer heat. Scores of pregnant women miscarried, and
their babies died along the wayside. The wife of my father's cousin became
very thirsty." She couldn't continue.
- "Soon she slumped down and was dead....Those wretched
days and nights in mid-July of 1948 continue as a lifelong nightmare because
Zionists took away our home of many centuries. For me and a million other
Palestinian Arabs, tragedy marred our lives forever."
- Nakba Day Confrontations
- Israeli viciousness marked Nakba day commemorations,
assaulting peaceful demonstrators in Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem,
and along the Lebanese/Syrian borders. Mounting deaths, injuries and arrests
- Headlining "Heavy clashes in Qalandiya on Nakba
Day," AFP said:
- "Heavy clashes broke out near Ramallah in the West
Bank on Sunday when youths clashed with Israeli troops as Palestinians
mourned the (63rd Nakba Day) anniversary...."
- Soldiers used tear gas, rubber bullets and live fire
"near the Qalandiya crossing between Ramallah and annexed East Jerusalem....Clashes
were also reported in the East Jerusalem district of Issawiya....And in
al-Walaja, a village (straddling) the Bethlehem-Jerusalem border,"
demonstrators waved Palestinian flags, shouting, "Go away, go away!
We don't want to see the Zionists."
- Haaretz writers Nir Hasson, Anshel Pfeffer and Jack Khoury
headlined, "Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli forces on Nakba
- Throughout Occupied Palestine, annual "protests
mark(ed) the creation of the State of Israel. A witness at (Gaza's) Erez
crossing said that Israeli troops fired two tank shells and (other live
fire) at the approaching protesters."
- Other Haaretz accounts said clashes swept the Territories.
Eight or more deaths were reported. Dozens were hurt, and many arrests
made during violent Nakba Day commemorations. Death and injury tolls rose
during the day.
- Ma'an News reported fierce clashes between Palestinians
and Israeli forces. "Medics told Ma'an that at least 15 demonstrators
were injured by artillery shells and gunfire as they approached the Erez
crossing with Israel."
- Later reports added dozens to the count, including deaths
after Israeli tanks opened fire in northern Gaza and conducted other attacks
throughout the Territories.
- Israelis always confront peaceful Palestinian protesters
violently, suggesting mounting deaths and injuries may continue into next
week, including children, some critically hurt according to medical reports.
- Earlier Sunday, Press TV reported at least several Gazan
deaths, four or more in the West Bank, 12 in Golan (now 14 or more), and
dozens injured throughout the Territories, many of them children. Soldiers
fired tank shells, high-velocity tear gas canisters, rubber bullets, and
live ammunition, enforcing a 24-hour lockdown Palestinians didn't obey
and shouldn't on their most important commemoration day.
- A later in the day Press TV report said two dozen were
killed and scores injured from clashes throughout the Territories and in
Lebanese/Syrian border areas. Israeli attacks, in fact, may continue all
night into Monday, mindless that the whole world is watching.
- As a result, on Nakba Day 2011, global millions see Israel's
real face - lawlessly assaulting peaceful protesters violently, leaving
dozens killed or injured, including children.
- The Palestine News Network (PNN) reported the following:
- -- at least 30 injured in Golan's Majdal Shams village;
- -- 30 or more injured in Ramallah, two critically from
live fire and high-velocity tear gas canisters fired at point blank range
at peaceful protesters; "(w)itnesses told PNN that soldiers were targeting
peaceful protesters by shooting directly at them;"
- -- in Gaza, 27 or more Palestinians were hurt, including
children, from Israeli tanks and troops shelling protesters;
- -- Israeli forces attacked Palestinians in al-Walajeh
village between Jerusalem and Bethlehem; several were injured, four or
more arrested; and
- -- other clashes in Hebron, Jerusalem's Old City, the
Sho'fat refugee camp, Silwan village, and other West Bank locations, Israelis
assaulting peaceful protesters violently.
- With events still unfolding, PNN reported ten killed
and at least 300 injured throughout Occupied Palestine, as well as along
the Lebanese/Syrian borders. Other accounts confirm higher numbers as death
and injury counts rise.
- The International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC) headlined,
"Defying Israeli Restrictions; Thousands Mark The Nakba Day in Jaffa,"
- "Despite Israeli 'laws' criminalizing the commemoration
of the Nakba Day....thousands of residents, including Jewish peace activists,
marched on Saturday evening in Jaffa....affirming Palestinian historic
rights and their legitimate struggle against oppression and occupation."
- Ahead of Sunday commemorations, they defied Israel's
"Nakba Law," prohibiting expressions and commemorations of Palestinian
history, culture, and legal right to express, teach, and disseminate it
freely. For Israelis, it's to erase this seminal event from their consciousness.
- IMEMC also headlined, Israeli "Army Places West
Bank Under Siege," saying:
- Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered a "24-hour siege,"
deploying 10,000 soldiers and police throughout the Territories. Government
officials said anyone observing the day in "Israel" will be arrested,
- Another IMEMC report highlighted Jerusalem clashes, causing
injuries and at least 20 arrests for "disturbing the peace."
Besides assaults by Israeli soldiers and police, an eyewitness said a settler
"fired illegal Dumdum rounds at local Palestinian youths protesting
in the area."
- Ma'an News said Israel deployed seven extra battalions
in the West Bank besides large contingents of police. Nonetheless, mass
rallies were held throughout the Territories and on border areas.
- Press TV said Israel deployed tanks to Lebanon's border,
increasing chances for greater violence.
- Israel National News headlined, "IDF Stops Nakba
Invasions from Lebanon and Gaza; 4 Lebanese Dead," accusing Palestinians
of being "Nakba Day rioters," saying:
- Artillery fire wounded "at least 40 Arabs. IDF spokespersons
have not confirmed or denied the reports."
- On Press TV, Beirut-based Franklin Lamb described an
unprecedented historic turnout in support of Palestine. Hundreds of buses
brought supporters to Lebanon's boarder, including Palestinian refugees.
More than 50,000 participated, perhaps double that number, supporting a
long overdue liberating third Intifada.
- Reuters writer Oren Kessler headlined, "Thousands
rally in Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon for 'Nakba Day,' " saying:
- Marchers commemorated Nakba Day, demanding the right
- Writer Haim Shafir headlined, "Israel-Palestinian
violence erupts on three borders," saying:
- At least eight dead and dozens wounded were reported.
"Israeli troops shot at protesters in three separation locations
to prevent crowds from crossing Israeli frontier lines in the deadliest
such confrontation in years."
- Addressing thousands at Gaza City's al-Omari Mosque,
AP quoted Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh saying:
- "Palestinians mark the occasion this year with great
hope of bringing to an end the Zionist project in Israel. Palestinians
have the right to resist Israeli occupation and will one day return to
property they lost in 1948. To achieve our goals in the liberation of our
occupied land, we should have one leadership."
- Whether this translation accurately conveyed his sentiment
isn't clear. Earlier, he and other Hamas officials expressed willingness
to recognize Israel in return for a viable Palestine state within 1967
borders, just 22% of their original homeland, a deal Israel rejects.
- In fact, in Cairo on May 3, agreeing to unity with Fatah,
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal said:
- "Hamas was ready to pay any price for internal Palestinian
reconciliation. The only battle of the Palestinians is against Israel.
Our aim is to establish a free and completely sovereign Palestinian state
on the West Bank and Gaza strip, whose capital is Jerusalem, without any
settlers and without giving up a single inch of land and without giving
up on the right of return."
- Supportive Global Events
- Notably, supportive rallies were held worldwide, including
- -- London
- -- Paris
- -- Rome
- -- Berlin
- -- Brussels
- -- Dublin
- -- Vienna
- -- Sofia
- -- Bern
- -- Montreal
- -- Toronto
- -- Edmonton
- -- Vancouver
- -- Ottawa
- -- Madrid
- -- Amsterdam
- -- Turkey
- -- Cairo
- -- Alexandria
- -- Tunis
- -- Sydney
- -- Brisbane
- -- Washington, DC
- -- Olympia, Washington
- -- New York
- -- Los Angeles
- -- San Francisco
- -- Houston
- -- Boston
- -- Cleveland
- -- Miami
- -- Sacremento
- -- Dearborn, Michigan, and
- -- perhaps many other cities as well.
- America's media reported little or nothing, including
the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times. Wall Street
Journal writers Charles Levinson and Joshua Mitnick headlined, "Israeli
Military Opens Fire Along Syrian, Lebanese Borders," saying:
- "Israeli soldiers opened fire on hundreds of protesters
attempting to cross the border into Israel from Lebanon, Syria and the
Gaza Strip on Sunday, as protests erupted across the region to mark the
creation of the state of Israel, which Palestinians call the Nakba or catastrophe."
- No explanation of the day's significance was given nor
in most other Western media accounts, including BBC quoting Israeli General
Yoav Mordechai saying IDF troops opened fire on Golan protesters trying
to breach a border fence, calling it:
- "a serious incursion....We are seeing here an Iranian
provocation, on both the Syrian and Lebanese frontiers, to try to exploit
the Nakba day commemorations."
- Correspondent Jon Donnison in Ramallah said, "Palestinians
are feeling emboldened and inspired by the uprisings elsewhere" in
the region, providing no explanation of the day's significance except for
one throwaway line, saying:
- "Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were
forced out of their homes in fighting after (Israel's) creation."
- Omitted from its early edition, The New York Times added
an Ethan Bronner article headlined, "9 Killed as Israel Clashes With
Palestinians on Four Borders," saying:
- "As many as nine Palestinians were reported killed
and scores injured in the unprecedented wave of coordinated protests."
- "The biggest confrontation took place" in Golan,
killing four, said Bronner. In fact, 14 is the 9PM Golan time count, a
number perhaps rising during the night into Monday.
- Bronner said four Lebanese protesters were killed, also
way understated given the passion and commitment of massed tens of thousands
expressing Palestinian solidarity, nine or more paying with their lives.
He also cited Israel's military attributing one Gazan death to a youth
planting explosives, hardly likely in full view of IDF forces.
- Moreover, he quoted General Yoav Mordechai claiming Iran
coordinated confrontations, then admitted he offered no evidence. According
to Israel Radio's chief Arab affairs analyst, Yoni Ben-Menachem, Syria's
Assad was involved, trying to divert attention from his own troubles, another
claim with no corroboration.
- Like other Western accounts, Bronner explained nothing
about Nakba Day's significance, a history long erased in New York Times
reports, editorials and op-eds, nearly entirely pro-Israeli.
- At a Sunday cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Netanyahu
denounced Nakba Day protests, contemptuously saying:
- "I regret that there are extremists among Israeli
Arabs and in neighboring countries who have turned the day on which the
State of Israel was established, the day on which the Israeli democracy
was established, into a day of incitement, violence and rage. There is
no place for this, for denying the existence of the State of Israel. No
to extremism and no to violence. The opposite is true."
- Besides America, no state anywhere is more violent and
lawless than Israel, notably during its own "creation" when it
displaced 800,000 Palestinians, massacring many others, as well as destroying
hundreds of villages and urban communities, besides committing mass atrocities.
- Israel notably erased this history, substituting its
own sanitized version, regurgitated in frequent Netanyahu comments. Like
Obama, he's an unindicted war criminal and inveterate liar, today mocking
the horrendous human toll and occupation, preventing Palestinians from
living free on their own land in their own country, a status they're determined
- Perhaps May 15 began it, inspiring a global groundswell
too powerful to contain.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
email@example.com. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the
Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays
at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs
are archived for easy listening.