Monthly Archives: May 2008

Palestine: Nakba Digest

Palestine: Nakba Digest (NYCLAW)

The following digest is in connection with worldwide commemoration of the Nakba. It supplements previous NYCLAW postings on Palestine, located at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LaborAgainstWar/messages

REMEMBERING THE NAKBA

ARAB-ISRAELI RECALLS ETHNIC CLEANSING IN 1948
“One morning in September 1953 we heard the explosions. We thought a new war had started. We climbed a hill to see what was happening,” Maghzal says. “They bombed our village. I cannot describe the sadness and anger on the faces of our people.”  As the state of Israel celebrates six decades, the elderly Arab Christian says he still holds on to the hope of the right to live again in his village. “For us Biram is holy land,” Maghzal said, “more sacred than Jerusalem.”
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=2&article_id=91781

ISRAEL’S ARAB MINORITY NOT CELEBRATING INDEPENDENCE DAY
A monument in Kufr Qassem’s center commemorates the events of 1956 when nearly 50 villagers – unaware that a curfew had been imposed on Israeli Arabs on the eve of Israel’s Sinai Campaign – were shot to death by Israeli border police as they returned home after the deadline. Every year, thousands of Arab Israelis gather at the monument, and local residents frequently refer to the massacre by way of emphasizing that they will stay in their village, regardless of what happens.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3540821,00.html

FALLING FROM HEAVEN: ETHNIC CLEANSING OF PALESTINE
Today, as Israel celebrates “60 years of independence”, the Al Nakba of the Palestinian people continues. On May 5, the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz published a report which noted that since the creation of the Israeli state 60 years ago, there have been 1,634 Israeli civilians killed and 14,000 injured by “acts of terror”. What the article did not mention, however, was that in the much shorter period of 7.5 years (from September 2000 to March 2008 since the beginning of the Al Aqsa intifada) that more than 3615 Palestinian civilians have been killed by Israeli state “acts of terror” and 25,650 Palestinian civilians had been wounded. The Haaretz article, also failed to mention that since its creation 60 years ago, the Israeli state has continued the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people via a war of attrition and in the name of “security”.
http://palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=13781

PALESTINE: THE CRIME OF PARTITION
The past and current Israeli dispossessions of Palestinians represent grave violations of human rights. However, it is arguable that the U.N. partition resolution was an even greater crime. In a misguided effort to atone for the horrific human tragedy of the Holocaust, the U.S. led the effort that forced Palestinians to pay the price for atonement.
http://palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=13794

PALESTINIANS MOURN 60TH ANNIVERSARY OF ‘THE CATASTROPHE’
While Israelis celebrated the 60th anniversary of their nation’s birth with fireworks and barbecues, sirens wailed across the Palestinian territories today in mourning. It was a day of grief for Palestinians, who refer to the founding of Israel as the Catastrophe, or al-Nakba. Thousands took to the streets to commemorate those exiled or killed in the conflict that followed the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. More than 700,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled, their property was expropriated and they have not been allowed to return.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/may/15/israelandthepalestinians
Slideshow: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/gallery/2008/may/15/israelandthepalestinians.photography?picture=334155195

NAKBA FOR THE THIRD GENERATION
[F]or me the Nabka is more than fleeing your homeland and losing your identity; it is, in point of fact, not having one single memory of the homeland from where your grandparents and your parents came from. It is not having anything to tell your children about the taste of your land’s fruit, the smell of its sand, the times spent with the people there.
http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900SID/LSGZ-7EMD44?OpenDocument&RSS20=02-P

FOR PALESTINIANS, MAY 14 MARKS THE DAY MANY WERE TURNED OUT OF THEIR HOMES
The Israeli Jewish woman of Austrian origin who let her in was surprised by how my grandmother quickly found the bathroom with no directions.”This is my home, where my children were born and where I planted the fruit trees whose fruits you now arrange in the bowl on the kitchen table,” explained my grandmother. Defensively, the woman replied, “This is a sad story but the same thing happened to us in Austria. In any case, I bought this house from the Israeli government.” My grandmother replied, “Madam, you bought stolen property that should be returned to its rightful owner. And given what you have suffered in Austria at the hands of the Nazis, you should be the last ones to do this to us.” My grandmother left her home in tears.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080513.wcomment0514/BNStory/International/home

ONGOING NAKBA

BLAST KILLS GAZA TEACHER IN FRONT OF HER CHILDREN
Wafer Shaker al Daghma, 34, a teacher at a local UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) elementary school, was killed last Wednesday as she stood preparing to open the wooden door of her home to the troops. According to UNRWA and relatives who found her body, the military used an explosive device on the door which blew most of her head from her body. They then confined the traumatised children — aged from two to 13 — for five hours while the body lay outside the door of the room where they were held.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/blast-kills-gaza-teacher-in-front-of-her-children-826265.html

GAZA LIVES BEING PUT AT RISK
As the grueling Gaza fuel crisis continues, so does the strain on local public transport services, including ambulances, across the Gaza Strip. Approximately 15 percent of local public services are operating across Gaza, whilst up to 90 percent of private cars remain off the roads, and all of Gaza’s 450 fuel stations remain closed. For ambulance drivers, the situation is particularly fraught, as demands for their services have soared over the last two months due to an almost complete lack of alternative transport to hospitals.
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article9540.shtml

SLIDESHOW: INSIDE A PALESTINIAN REFUGEE CAMP
Sixty years ago many Palestinians fled or were forced to leave their homes in what is now Israel and some of those people found their way to refugee camps such as Shatila in Lebanon.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7398071.stm

ID CARDS SPLIT PALESTINIAN FAMILIES
All Palestinians hold ID cards that essentially dictate where they can live, work and move.
http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/70166EA0-93E8-47F6-AF75-CF5B7AF61C8A.htm

PALESTINIANS ON THE VERGE OF A MAJORITY
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is reported to have believed while in office that “the bantustan plan was the most suitable solution to [Israel’s] conflict.”15 Yet Israeli leaders rarely speak publicly of Bantustans, instead using euphemisms like “separation,” “disengagement” or “convergence.” While emphasizing their goal of a “two-state solution,” they continue to support construction of walls, Jewish-only settlements and roads and other infrastructure across the West Bank that are incompatible with full withdrawal, viable Palestinian statehood or territorial contiguity.
http://www.thejerusalemfund.org/images/informationbrief.php?ID=192

PALESTINE: 20 QUESTIONS ABOUT ISRAEL
The ethical choice, surely, is a single state with Jews living alongside their Arab neighbours as equal citizens and sharing the land within a common legal and democratic framework. That, after all, was the original intention, and the developments of the last 60 years are a gross perversion and betrayal. Only the Palestinians themselves have had the courage to resist it.
http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m42547&hd=&size=1&l=e

ISRAEL’S ANXIETY AS JEWS PREFER GERMANY
[M]any Jews who once might have considered emigrating to Israel – making their Aliya – have in the past few years been choosing to head to Germany instead. . . . Israel lobbied hard – and ultimately successfully – to persuade Germany to end its generous immigration laws for Jews which encouraged hundreds of thousands to head to the reunited European state after the collapse of communism.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2008/05/14/do1406.xml

OBAMA’S PANDERING TO ISRAEL
Praising Israel in a speech about racism is like praising the history of White South Africa in a speech about civil rights. Has the fact that Israel is a Zionist state completely escaped the minds of all the Obamakins?
http://counterpunch.org/mowrey03262008.html

PALESTINIAN RESISTANCE TODAY

HAMAS SUPPORTERS DEMONSTRATE AGAINST ISRAELI BLOCKADE
Thousands of Islamic Hamas movement’s supporters demonstrated on Thursday against the ongoing Israeli blockade near Erez crossing on the border between northern Gaza Strip and Israel. Witnesses said that several dozens of demonstrators tried to reach the crossing area of Erez, adding that Israeli soldiers stationed at the crossing opened warning shots to prevent them from approaching the crossing area. Paramedics said that several teens were shot and wounded by Israeli soldiers’ gunfire, adding thatPalestinian ambulances present at the area took them to nearby hospitals in northern Gaza Strip.
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-05/15/content_8180102.htm

THOUSANDS DEMAND RIGHT OF RETURN IN RAMALLAH DEMONSTRATION
Thousands of Palestinians converged in the center of the West Bank city of Ramallah under the midday sun on Thursday for a demonstration to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba and to demand the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes in what is now Israel. . . . . A press release sent to media before the demonstration predicted “the largest demonstration in the West Bank since the outbreak of the Second Intifada.” Jamal Juma’, coordinator of the Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign and organizer with the National Committee to Commemorate the Nakba said, “The enthusiastic mobilization in the last week among Palestinians all over their homeland and in the Diaspora has shown that 60 years of ongoing Nakba, massacres, assaults and repression have not been able to subdue the Palestinian call for their rights. Ben Gurion’s expectation that ‘the old will die off and the young will forget’ has been proven wrong.”
http://www.maannews.net/en/index.php?opr=ShowDetails&ID=29311

WEST BANK DEMONSTRATES IN UNISON FOR RIGHT OF RETURN
The National Campaign to Implement the Right of Return organized nonviolent marches throughout the West Bank on Wednesday in memorial of Al Nakba. All began in the morning and headed for the demarcation lines. . . . Jericho marched, as did Ramallah and Al Bireh, and Hebron in the south. As most of these cities are surrounded by checkpoints or the Wall, they did not have far to go. But a massive demonstration taking place throughout the entire West Bank at the same time sends a message. “It is our right and we will not give it up, nor will we be deterred,” the organizers wrote.
http://english.pnn.ps/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2775&Itemid=1

ARAB LEADER: ISRAEL CAN’T DESTROY PALESTINIAN PEOPLE
Thousands of people attended a rally marking 60 years since the Palestinian Nakba in the village of Kfar Qana on Friday. The event was organized by the Islamic Movement’s northern branch. . . . According to the sheikh, the fact that the Holocaust failed to destroy the Jewish people should serve as proof to Israelis that their attempt to “perpetrate genocide of the Palestinian people” was bound to fail.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3541373,00.html

60 YEARS ON, REFUGEES VISIT LOST JERUSALEM HOMES
Some 300 Palestinians marked 60 years since Israel’s founding in May 1948 with a protest walk through affluent Jewish parts of west Jerusalem that were once home to many Arabs. They wore black T-shirts with “This is my House” printed on the back. . . . The demonstrators pointed at houses, many decorated with Israeli flags marking the 60th anniversary of independence, and recalled their former Palestinianowners: “This is the Dajani house. That is the Nammari house. This is the Halaby house.”
http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSL11222279

THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE TO THE RIGHT OF RETURN
To the People of Palestine, Whether you live within the “Green Line,” in Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza, or in exile, you shall return, there is no doubt that you shall return.. . .  [W]e refer to the Palestinians who managed to stay within the part of Palestine occupied in 1948 as the “Palestinians within the Green Line” or the “Palestinians in 1948 occupied Palestine” when referring to them, instead of phrases that deny them their Palestinian identity. Also to refer to “Historic Palestine” when referring to the Palestine’s borders during the British mandate, as well as stressing that the right of return is to the refugees’ “original homes and properties”. . . . [A] person or organization’s stance on the right of return as the litmus test that determines our relationship with Israeli institutions and entities, and a measure for differentiating between projects as ones aimed at normalization or not.
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article9542.shtml

A SHARED LAND AS ONE STATE THE WAY TO PEACE
Palestinians are commemorating the start of our ongoing tragedy this Thursday, but we are also looking forward. We are at an important turning point, where two things are happening. First, despite ritual declarations of international support, the prospect of a two-state solution has all but disappeared as Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are caged into walled reservations by growing Israeli settlements and settler-only roads – a situation that resembles the bantustans of apartheid South Africa. Second, despite Israel’s efforts to keep Palestinians in check, the Palestinian population living under Israeli rule is about to exceed the 5 million Israeli Jews. . . . [M]ore Palestinians, recognising statehood is unrealistic, debate and adopt the one-state solution, offering Israelis and Palestinians equal rights in the land they share.
http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/a-shared-land-as-one-state-the-way-to-peace/2008/05/12/1210444334547.html

LABOR SOLIDARITY

U.S. LABOR AND GAZA
Yes, the Israel lobby seeks to silence opponents of Israeli Apartheid. All the more need for trade unionists to break that silence by speaking out against Israeli military occupation, for the right ofPalestinian refugees to return, and for the elimination of apartheid throughout historic Palestine.
Endorse: http://www.petitiononline.com/Gaza/petition.html

MAY DAY: ON THE CURRENT CONDITIONS OF THE STRUGGLE OF THE PALESTINIAN WORKING CLASS
This May Day, we call upon the workers of the world and the international labor movement to supportPalestinian workers in our struggle for liberation. The solidarity of working class forces around the world, particularly the workers of the United States, is needed. The Histadrut, a racist arm of the Zionist state that has done nothing but aid in the exploitation of Palestinian workers, should be boycotted and unwelcome at all labor functions. Israel Bonds are not a fit investment for a labor organization – they are an investment in a racist, colonial state. The U.S. labor unions hold billions of dollars in such bonds; now is the time to divest from Israel Bonds and make it clear that racism is the common enemy of all workers, around the world. In addition, the labor unions of Europe have key roles to play in fostering solidarity withPalestinian workers.
http://www.pflp.ps/english/?q=may-day-current-conditions-struggle-palestinian-wo

ANTI-ZIONIST JEWS

NO TIME TO CELEBRATE: JEWS REMEMBER THE NAKBA
As North American Jews, we stand together with Palestinians in mourning 60 years of al-Nakba and in honoring 60 years of vibrant resistance. We will celebrate when Arab and Jew live as equals in a peaceful Middle East.
Endorse at: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/notimetocelebrate/

WE JEWS 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.
Endorse at: http://www.thestruggle.org/not_celebrating.htm

ISRAELI GENERAL’S SON: THERE IS HOPE IN GAZA
Israel’s assault on the people of Gaza is so horrendous that it will not soon be forgotten. This vicious attempt by Israel to destroy an entire nation has tipped the scales for good and Zionism will forever be remembered as a blemish in the history of the Jewish people. The people of Gaza, however, give us hope and they will forever be remembered for their courage and resilience during these trying times.
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article9510.shtml

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Sean Bell Bulletin: Report on Yesterday’s Protests

Sean Bell Bulletin: Report on Yesterday’s Protests

“All the support and everyone by my side saying Sean’s name — It feels good.” –Paultre Bell, Sean’s Widow

By Noha Arafa (CDD-Brooklyn)

Yesterday, at least one thousand people protested around the city against the acquittal of police officers who killed Sean Bell in a hail of 50 bullets in 2006. Two hundred and sixteen protesters were arrested in peaceful civil disobedience.

In Brooklyn Rev. Herbert Daughtry and City Councilmember Charles Barron led 300-400 protesters, who blocked traffic at the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges and the BQE. Forty protesters were arrested, including several elderly ladies. After the arrests, some Brooklyn protesters joined others for a rally at NYPD Headquarters, awaiting the release of all those arrested.

It was particularly moving to see how protesters remain galvanized by the need to speak out. Civil disobedience will continue every Wednesday, escalating toward a citywide shutdown.

Legal Aid participants in protests around the city included Antonia Codling (CDD-Bronx); Mimi Rosenberg (Civil-Brooklyn), one of the Brooklyn arrestees; Lucy Herschel (CDD-Queens); and Michael Letwin, Charles Billups and Noha Arafa (CDD-Brooklyn).

Members of SEIU and others unions also protested at one of the Manhattan sites.

At 7 p.m. tonight, there is a citywide strategy meeting about upcoming at the House of the Lord Church, Atlantic Ave. (at Hoyt Street), Brooklyn. Further information will be forthcoming.

Attached (below) is a poster from yesterday’s demonstration that reads “We Are All Sean Bell — This Whole Damn System is Guilty.” Please put them up in your office and forward widely to others.

Below are selected reports of yesterday’s protest and the Sean Bell case.

No Justice — No Peace.
We will not be silent until justice is achieved.

“We’ll do this 365 days a year if we have to.” — Sean Bell’s friend, Joseph Guzman, injured in the November 2006 shooting.

——–
Selected Reports

Speaking after his release Wednesday night, Sharpton said, “I think this dispels the myth that people are not interested. … I think a real statement was made,” he added of the protests. “We’re very proud of it”. . . .

Seeing Wednesday’s turnout — “all the support and everyone by my side saying Sean’s name — It feels good,” said Paultre Bell.

Bell’s friend Joseph Guzman, injured in the November 2006 shooting said: “We’ll do this 365 days a year if we have to”. . . .

“The system can not go on as usual,” said Mimi Rosenburg, 55, a lawyer from Bay Ridge, who sat by a road near the Brooklyn Bridge and waited to be arrested. “There needs to be justice for Sean Bell. I think civil disobedience is necessary.”

http://www.newsday.com/news/local/newyork/ny-nybell0508,0,3344732.story

*****
Here are pictures from the action that began at Varick & Houston Streets, marched slowly for a half mile along a route that was not disclosed in advance to those gathered, and stopped to block two adjacent intersections at Hudson & Canal, resulting in nearly two dozen arrests. Representing in colors were the NAACP and SEIU.

http://nyc.indymedia.org/en/2008/05/97023.html

*****
Protesters participated in spirited chants of “We are all Sean Bell, NYPD go to hell!” and “No justice, no peace! Fire racist police!”

“We aren’t going to let our people get slaughtered,” said activist and organizer Amos Hughes. “People can say we need to respect the verdict, but I say we don’t have democracy.” He added, “Black people don’t have rights–only the right to remain silent”. . . .

Cory Wise, a wrongly accused and exonerated defendant in the Central Park jogger case in the 1990s, was among those arrested. Moments before his arrest, he said, “I was in a situation like this with the police. So right now, I call myself a freedom fighter.”

http://socialistworker.org/2008/05/08/we-are-all-sean-bell

*****
Nearly 60% of voters disagree with the “not guilty” verdict, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday. Just over a third of white voters oppose the verdict, compared with 89% of black voters, and 71% of Hispanic voters. . . . “There is a substantial racial divide in New York City on the Sean Bell case and the broader issues of police conduct,” Quinnipiac Polling Institute director Maurice Carroll said in a statement.

http://www.crainsnewyork.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080508/FREE/733407584/1097

*****
During the last two years the NYPD reported the race of those shot by police, nearly 90 percent of the people shot at by officers were black or Latino. In 1998 the Department stopped reporting the race of civilian targets and started reporting the breed of dogs being shot.

http://www.nyclu.org/node/1756

*****
Photos, Audio and Video:

http://www.newsday.com/news/local/newyork/ny-nybell0508,0,3344732.story

http://video.google.com/videosearch?client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=s&hl=en&q=%22sean%20bell%22%20%22sharpton%22%20%22may%207%22&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wv

http://www.blackvoices.com/blogs/2008/05/08/sean-bell-protest-al-sharpton-arrested/

http://www.democracynow.org/2008/5/8/200_arrested_in_massive_show_of

http://homepage.mac.com/brainyandbrawny/Protest/PhotoAlbum46.html