For young Palestinians, Nakba Day is dedicated to remembering the catastrophes that our grandparents went through. But with every passing year, we realize how much the day belongs to our catastrophes too. My maternal grandfather was born in 1929. Although Alzheimer’s disease eroded his memory during the later years of his life, he had a surprising knack for recalling his experiences growing up in Haifa under the British mandate of Palestine. He described the open plains he crossed with friends to swim at the beach; the diplomats and missionaries who traveled through Haifa’s German Colony; and the port and railway…Read More... | 1 Comment
On Nakba Day, activists build a symbolic train to bring Palestinian refugees back to their homes in what is today Israel. Photos and text by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org Hundreds of Palestinians gathered outside the Bethlehem-area Dheisheh Refugee Camp on an unseasonably hot Sunday, Nakba Day, in order to board and accompany a symbolic “Return Train” meant to take Palestinian refugees back to their homes and villages from which they fled and were expelled in 1948. Dheisheh is home to thousands of Palestinians who fled or were expelled from some 45 villages and cities in what is now the state of Israel.…Read More... | 1 Comment
In appointing itself the gatekeeper of historical memory, Israel has shackled the promotion of its own narrative to the suppression of the Palestinian narrative. A few years ago I took part in a class about the Armenian genocide at Toronto University with students from around the world, including several Armenian and Turkish participants. Three of the Armenian students were sitting opposite me during the seminar. Within about 15 minutes of the lecturer beginning to speak, they broke down crying, one by one. Seeing their distress, one of our Turkish classmates, A., also began to weep. It was a stark visual…Read More... | 5 Comments
I went down to the Negev to participate in this year's Nakba Day events. The fact that it's the 68th year and little has changed depressed me; the sense of unity and the bubbly optimism of some of the activists encouraged me. "I will not come with you to the march!" my adolescent son exclaimed. "I'll sit at home and watch it. Wasn't our home taken away from us during the Nakba? So here. You go, and take your little boy who doesn't understand anything, and leave me alone." "Don't you support the right of return?" I ran after him…Read More...
Abdullah Abu Rahmah, one of the leaders of the 11-years-old Bil'in protests against the separation wall, has been arrested after confronting Border Police over the dispersal of the cycling event. Text and pictures by Oren Ziv Abduallah Abu Rahmah, one of the leaders of the Bil'in protest movements, was arrested on Friday during a bicycle race in the West Bank to mark the 68th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba. Hundreds of Palestinian and international cyclists participated in the so-called "return ride" that kicked off in Ramallah and ended in the village of Bil'in, where grassroots protests against the occupation and…Read More...
The IDF's decision not to charge Abed Fatah al-Sharif’s killer with murder should not surprise anybody — it is entirely consistent with the impunity Israeli security personnel have enjoyed for decades when it comes to killing Palestinians. The Israeli army’s Military Advocate General on Thursday announced that it will not seek murder charges against a soldier who was videotaped executing Abed Fatah al-Sharif, an incapacitated, wounded Palestinian man suspected of stabbing a soldier in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron last week. (The soldier’s identity is widely known but cannot be published here due to a court-imposed gag order.)…Read More... | 1 Comment
Two Nakba-themed events were organized by groups you'd least expect, suggesting that the legacy of the Palestinian catastrophe has ventured beyond Palestinian and leftist circles. By Eitan Bronstein Aparicio and Dr. Eléonore Merza Bronstein Until a few years ago, inside Israel Nakba Day was marked primarily on Independence Day. It was a family and community tradition among internally displaced Palestinians going back to the days of the military government. After the Oslo Accords it developed into large, popular political demonstrations. Three years ago, Tel Aviv University students started holding a memorial ceremony on Nakba Day itself, May 15. The event…Read More... | 12 Comments
On Nakba Day last year, Israeli Border Police killed two Palestinian teenage protesters and gravely injured a third. Two days after witnessing one of the shootings, I find myself at a memorial service in Vienna, honoring my relatives who perished in the Holocaust. The dizzying identity carousel never stops revolving. It is the early afternoon and I am in a car with two companions, driving through the West Bank. It is Nakba Day 2014, and we are on our way to Beitunia, a Palestinian town next to Ofer Prison, in order to attend one of several demonstrations being held in memory of the…Read More... | 4 Comments
And a very popular one among right-wing Israelis and Diaspora Jews. I've been writing for years against the "Pallywood" theory – the right-wing notion that videos showing Palestinians getting killed by Israelis are really elaborate fakes meant to blacken Israel's name. Yet it's only this morning I realized that the term "Pallywood," which was coined by Boston University Prof. Richard Landes, is an ethnic slur, and a particularly ugly one. It not only mangles the name of an entire people, it does so in the most contemptuous context – it links the name Palestinian with the telling of lies, and…Read More... | 46 Comments
Naming and shaming. Following Wednesday’s arrest of a Border Policeman on suspicion of murdering a Palestinian teenager in a May 15 Nakba Day protest, here is a partial list of Israeli and pro-Israel figures who insinuated that the video of the shooting (which also showed the killing of another teenage protester) had been fabricated: Defense Minister Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon: “I’ve seen lots of films that were edited [to distort what had happened]. This film I’ve not yet seen, but I know the system.” IDF spokesman Maj. Arye Shalicar: “That film was edited and does not reflect the reality of the…Read More... | 69 Comments
The arrest appears to prove what footage and family indicated from the start: Live bullets were fired at protestors, unlawfully, as the victims posed no immediate threat. A Border Police officer was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of shooting Nadim Syam Nuwara (17) with live ammunition, one of two Palestinian teenagers killed during Nakba Day protests in the West Bank village of Beitunia last May. The border policeman is being charged with murder and his commander is also facing charges for not reporting the incident. The shootings, which were caught on film by CCTV cameras, showed that the protesters posed no…Read More... | 28 Comments
When our sympathy only reaches out to the children of one nation alone, we have condemned all of them to this atrocious cycle of violence. The news spread in a flash. After 18 days of tense waiting, the three bodies of the abducted Israeli boys were finally discovered, with their families’ worst fears realized. Gilad Sha'ar, 16, Naftali Fraenkel, 16, and Eyal Yifrah, 19, were murdered in cold blood, not far from the site where they were snatched as they hiked home together. There aren’t enough words to express the loss of a child. It is a language that only…Read More... | 86 Comments
For the general public, it seems that the feelings of an Israeli reporter are more important than the death of Palestinian youths. By Lilach Ben David (translated by Sol Salbe) By now it has become a cliché of journalistic writing in Hebrew. "I felt like I was being lynched in Ramallah," is the way every person who has come to blows with Arabs since October 2000 describes the experience. And in the case of reporter Avi Issacharoff, even those who encounter a group of angry, young Palestinians feel free to use the cliché, without faltering or correcting the record. But…Read More...
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