May 15, 2011 Nakba Day- What Happened and What it Means - History

May 15, 2011 Nakba Day- What Happened and What it Means - History

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A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

May 15, 2011 Nakba Day- What Happened and What it Means

Today, May 15th, was "Nakba Day", the day the Arabs commemorate, what to them was "the great disaster", the creation of the State of Israel. While one can accept the fact that the creation of the State of Israel was indeed a bad day for them, one also must remind anyone who will bother listening, that it did not have to be that way. If the Palestinians would have accepted the UN partition plan, 60 years of bloodshed, refugees, and everything else that happened could have been avoided. May 15th could have been a day of joint celebration; marking the end of the British colonial mandate. But I guess that was not to be our joint fates'.

It was their decision, not ours, to oppose the UN solution. Whenever you engage in debate or discussion on the rights and wrongs of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, note that the sum total of all the mistakes Israel has made over the years, pale in comparison to this initial mistake made by the Palestinians. Furthermore, the essence of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, to this day, is their failure to accept the UN plan. The past 20 years of peace attempts have ulimtately failed because of an unwillingness on the part of the Palestinians to accept that plan. A few on the Jewish side are equally guilty, however, they are a distinct minority. The opposition on the Palestinian side is much larger problem. Let us hope that it will not take another 62 years for both groups to accept the plan that was right in 1947. It is this original plan, with some modifications that remains the only viable plan for ending the conflict.

Today, we saw an attempt by President Assad, together with his supporters from Hezbollah and Hamas to redirect the interest of the world away from his slaughtering of his people, and towards events in Israel. In a move that was orchestrated by the Syrian regime, a busload of Palestinians were brought to the border at Majdal Shams. They broke through a rather pathetic border fence and entered the Druze village there. The Israeli army commander on the scene, who was surprised by the actions, (the Israeli military was expecting something similar at Qunetra, and also in the Golan Heights), wisely ordered has men not to use deadly force, and to allow the rock wielding demonstrators to cross the border. As a result, only two were killed, instead of the hundreds, that I believe Assad was hoping for. The Israeli forces were concerned that there might be an attempt to kidnap Israeli soldiers. Thus, they clearly had to be on the their guard and exert some force. The Druze villagers worked to get these demonstrators to leave and return to Syria. The mayor of the Druze village made it very clear that he thought this was a provocation of Assad. The mayor further stated that the Arab people would see through it. This was one of the strongest condemnations of Assad by a Druze leader on the Golan, a group that has assiduously tried to stay neutral in the ongoing violence in Syria.

Similar attempts were made on the Lebanese border. The Lebanese army tried to stop the protestors. It seems that the Lebanese who were killed, were killed by the Lebanese army and not by the IDF-- despite claims Israel had shot at them. There was a similar attempt from Gaza, but the Egyptian army did not let any Egyptian demonstrators through from Egypt. As a result demonstrations in the South were limited. There were also a limited number of problems in the West Bank. The only major point of contact was the Kalandia check point between Ramallah and Jerusalem; a regular point of conflict. The Palestinian Authority did not allow demonstrators from other parts of the West Bank to get there. The larger question is what happens if the Palestinian and the Arab world expand these types of actions in ever larger numbers?

Lastly, there was a terrorist attack in Tel Aviv today. An Israeli Arab used his truck as a weapon to attack other cars, killing one Israeli. This evening, the news came out that the driver had just come back from Saudi Arabia. The driver claims that his actions were completely an accident.

Nakba Day protestors charge Israeli border 8 dead

You have to tip your cap to Israel's enemies. They know exactly how to put the Jewish state in an impossible position while making it appear that Israel is culpable of serious human rights violations.

Case in point hundreds of demonstrators from Syria and Lebanon, gathered on the Israeli border, staged attacks against Israeli soldiers that gave them no option but to open fire. Eight protestors are dead and Israel has another public relations nightmare on its hands.


Four people were reportedly shot dead by Israel Defense Forces troops Sunday as they opened fire on large numbers of infiltrators trying to breach Syria's southern border with Israel. Another four people were said to have been killed on the Lebanese side of its shared frontier with Israel, as Palestinian protests for the annual Nakba Day. which mourns the creation of the State of Israel, took hold across the region.

In Majdal Shams, which runs along the Israel-Syria border, scores of Palestinian refugees from Syria spilled into the town. The Magen David Adom rescue service said about a dozen others had been wounded. The Israel Defense Forces confirmed opening fire on infiltrators.

About 70 people, most of them Palestinian refugees, managed to cross the border, according to local residents. Initial reports had put the number of infiltrators into the hundreds.

"The way it was reported to me, they broke through the fence," Dolan Abu Salah, the mayor of Majdal Shams, told Army Radio.

[. ]

Carrying Palestinian flags and chanting "we want our land back," thousands of Palestinians tried to approach the electric fence that separates Lebanon from Israel, but Lebanese army troops fired in the air and ordered the crowd to return to where the rally was held.

The demonstrators pelted the Lebanese troops with stones as they struggled to hold them back from the fence.

But around 50 protesters managed to reach the fence and started throwing stones at the Israeli soldiers on the other side of the fence, prompting the IDF troops to fire bullets and tear gas at the protesters.

So far, we have only one side to the story - the Palestinian side. Israeli soldiers are well trained and don't open fire on civilians unless they feel threatened in some way. It will be interesting to hear the Israeli side of the story, sure to be lost or ignored in the coverage of all those "innocent" Palestinians who only want "their" land back.

You have to tip your cap to Israel's enemies. They know exactly how to put the Jewish state in an impossible position while making it appear that Israel is culpable of serious human rights violations.

Case in point hundreds of demonstrators from Syria and Lebanon, gathered on the Israeli border, staged attacks against Israeli soldiers that gave them no option but to open fire. Eight protestors are dead and Israel has another public relations nightmare on its hands.


Four people were reportedly shot dead by Israel Defense Forces troops Sunday as they opened fire on large numbers of infiltrators trying to breach Syria's southern border with Israel. Another four people were said to have been killed on the Lebanese side of its shared frontier with Israel, as Palestinian protests for the annual Nakba Day. which mourns the creation of the State of Israel, took hold across the region.

In Majdal Shams, which runs along the Israel-Syria border, scores of Palestinian refugees from Syria spilled into the town. The Magen David Adom rescue service said about a dozen others had been wounded. The Israel Defense Forces confirmed opening fire on infiltrators.

About 70 people, most of them Palestinian refugees, managed to cross the border, according to local residents. Initial reports had put the number of infiltrators into the hundreds.

"The way it was reported to me, they broke through the fence," Dolan Abu Salah, the mayor of Majdal Shams, told Army Radio.

[. ]

Carrying Palestinian flags and chanting "we want our land back," thousands of Palestinians tried to approach the electric fence that separates Lebanon from Israel, but Lebanese army troops fired in the air and ordered the crowd to return to where the rally was held.

The demonstrators pelted the Lebanese troops with stones as they struggled to hold them back from the fence.

But around 50 protesters managed to reach the fence and started throwing stones at the Israeli soldiers on the other side of the fence, prompting the IDF troops to fire bullets and tear gas at the protesters.

So far, we have only one side to the story - the Palestinian side. Israeli soldiers are well trained and don't open fire on civilians unless they feel threatened in some way. It will be interesting to hear the Israeli side of the story, sure to be lost or ignored in the coverage of all those "innocent" Palestinians who only want "their" land back.

NAKBA DAY - May 15th Prophecy !!

1/1 S New Year's Day
1/5 P Shivaratri (night of Shiva creator/destroyer)
1/5 S Twelfth Night
1/6 P Dionysian Revels
1/6 P Kore gives birth/manifestation of divinity
1/6 S Epiphany
1/7 S St Winebald Day
1/9 S Full moon
1/12 N birth of both Rosenburg and Goering, nazi leaders in WWII
1/19 N Martin Luther King Day
1/17 S Feast of Fools (Old Twelfth Night)/Satanic and demon revels
1/18 S Old Epiphany
1/18-1/22 P Dream Festival (Pleiades)
1/20 S St. Agnes Eve
1/21 S New moon
1/30 N Hitler named Chancellor of Germany

2/1 ­ 3 P Mysteries of Persephone/Imbolc (Druid Earth Mother)
2/2 S Candlemas (Imbolc)
2/6 S Full moon
2/12 S Lincoln's Birthday
2/13 S Friday the thirteenth
2/14 S N Valentine's Day
2/15 P Lupercalia (she-wolf mother of Romulus and Remus: honoring of Pan)
2/16 S Presidents' Day
2/22 S Washington's Birthday
2/ 21-22 P Feralia/Terminalia (Roman All Souls'/ boundary day)
2/20 S New moon
2/24 S N Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras)
2/25 S N Ash Wednesday (beginning of Lent)
2/29 S Leap Year Day
3/1 S St. Eichatadt
3/6 S Full moon
3/9 P Festival of Ishtar (Astarte, Aphrodite, Venus)
3/15 P Ides of March: Rites of Cybele & Attis (begins twelve day death and resurrection ritual)
3/7 N Purim begins
3/17 S St. Patrick's Day
3/18 S P Sheila-na-gig (Sheelah¹s Day, Sheelahis Day: Celtic Creatress): Jacques De Molay Day (Knights Templar)
3/20 S New moon
3/20 S N Spring Equinox
3/20-22 P Pelusia, Invocation of Isis (Hindi) Holi /Tubulustrum Roman purification/Shab-i-barat. Night of Forgiveness (Islam)
3/24 S P Feast of the Beast/¹Bride of Satan'/Feast of Priapus/Festival of Isis)
4/1 S April Fools Day
4/4 S Palm Sunday
4/5 S Full moon
4/6 S N Passover begins
4/8 S Day of the Masters
4/8 N Maundy Thursday
4/9 S N Good Friday
4/11 S N Easter
4/13 S N Last day of Passover
4/19 S New moon
4/22-29 S Preparation for sacrifice in some satanic sects (third week of April)
4/19 S Partial solar eclipse in southern Africa
4/20 N Hitler's birthday
4/24 S St. Mark's Eve
4/26-5/1 P Corpus de Baahl
4/29 S N Walpurgisnacht (May Eve)
4/30-5/5 S Grand Climax/Da Meur/Beltane
4/30 N Anniversary of Hitler's death

Nakba Sunday at Maroun al Ras

Maroun al Ras is a beautiful hillside Lebanese village on the border with Palestine. 63 years ago today its villagers lifted their lights to welcome ethnically cleansed Palestinians, who were part of the approximately 129,000 from 531 Zionist- pillaged and destroyed villages who sought temporary refuge in Lebanon. A similar number of Palestinian expellees entered Syria a few miles to the West and another half million were forced into Jordan and Gaza.

On Nakba (“Catastrophe”), Sunday May 15, 2011 Maroun al Ras welcomed approximately 27 per cent of all the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, this time coming from the opposite direction heading back toward their homes in Palestine. Palestinians in Lebanon now number approximately 248,000, approximately half of whom live in 12 squalid camps and as many “gatherings”, although 423,000 remain registered with UNWRA.

The discrepancy in numbers is explained by the fact that Lebanon’s Palestinian refugees, without any of the most elementary civil rights, (contrary to conditions in any of the other 45 camps in the Middle East and in gross violation of international Law as well as Lebanon’s Constitution and bi-lateral and multilateral agreements,) tend to leave Lebanon to seek work, decent housing, and a better life whenever they are able to secure a visa to Europe or elsewhere.

For a majority of the more 72,000 ( some estimates this morning exceed 100,000 because many refugees and supporters traveled south independently and did not register or use provided transportation) arriving in more than 1200 buses & vans, and many on foot, from all the camps and corners of Lebanon, it was their first sighting of their country. Lebanon law has long prevented Palestinians from coming anywhere near the blue line to even look towards their stolen homes and lands or to cross the Litani River north of Tyre. This year, for one day only, the Lebanese authorities reluctantly decided not to interfere with this human rights endeavor.

For the teen-agers on the crowded bus I rode on from Shatila Camp, their parents and grandparents stories and descriptions of Palestine on the Internet was what they talked about.

? As we approached Maroun al Ras, some of them were anxious, others silent and reflective, and some, like many teenagers from my generation about to see the Beatles or Elvis were giddy and squealing as the bus rounded a bend in the road south of Aitayoun and we looked to the approaching hills. “Is that my country Palestine over there?,” Ahmad, a graduate in Engineering who was born in Shatila camp asked. “Nam Habibi!” (“Yes Dear!”) came the reply from the microphone of our “bus mother” gripping her clip board and checking the names to keep track of her flock. This bus seemed to inflate with delirium as we all smiled and shouted. Some of the passengers had prepared signs that read: “People want to return to Palestine,” inspired perhaps by the slogan made famous in Egypt and Tunisia, “People want the fall of the regime.”

The esprit was reminiscent of a Mississippi freedom ride James Farmer of CORE used to tell us about and I thought of Ben Gurion’s boast from 1948 that the old will die and the young will forget Palestine. The Zionist leader could not have been more mistaken. The old, many still vital and those who departed this life, continue to teach and inspire the young from their still remembered stories, guaranteeing that the dream of every Palestinian shall never die.

The organizers from the camps did a tremendous job, but no one could have anticipated the huge numbers who would participate in this truly historic and likely region changing event.

All the Palestinian organizations and factions were united for this project.

Hezbollah kept a low profile so as to keep the focus on the Nakba. However, when the organizers discovered a shortage of buses last week Hezbollah arranged for more, even bringing them in from Syria who themselves used more than 800 buses yesterday to take Palestinians from Syria’s 10 Palestinians camps, including Yarmouk, to the Syrian Golan border with occupied Palestine.

At certain points along the narrow and winding village roads in South Lebanon the convoy would pause and Hezbollah members would appear and distribute bottles of water, fresh croissants and large chocolate filled cookies. They also did traffic control work and provided civil defense and medical services as needed. One imagines it was their guys who erected the nifty new road signs throughout the South that showed the distance to Palestine with an arrow pointing toward Jerusalem. Whenever the buses would pass one of the signs that read in Arabic and English, for example, “Palestine: 23 km”, our bus would erupt in cheers.

The Mabarat Charity, founded by the late scholar Mohammad Hussein Fadallah, who was from the village of Bint Jbeil near Maron al Ras, and which charity operates several gas stations, the proceeds of which supports orphans, discounted gas on Nakba Day for the hundreds on buses & vans.

It is difficult to exaggerate the camaraderie, emotion and sheer power of the event. They came to renew their commitment and send the world a message that they are determined to return to their land no matter the sacrifices required. For some coming to see Palestine, including some of those who have been forced out of their homes and off their lands, 63 years ago, it appeared to be almost a sacred and religious act.

One man, who appeared to be in his 80’s stood not far from me and gazed toward his stolen land near Akka, seen in the distance. Suddenly he slumped to the ground. Two of us elevated his legs and tried to make him comfortable on the rocky ground until first aid arrived.

My best friend in Shatila camp, Zeinab Hajj, whose father walked from his village of Amouka near Safad as a child, stared toward Safad also visible in the distance. Tears ran down Zeinabs cheeks as she gazed at her village. It was a common sight among the old and the young. Even toddlers whose parents wanted them to witness and be part of this historic day appeared to grasp its solemnity and importance.

For the large American contingent and other international guests, it was a majestic and cherished experience observing Nakba Day 2011 at Maroun al Ras.

However as the world soon learned, 10 Palestinians were killed by Israeli snipers and more than 120 wounded, some critically. None of the demonstrators had weapons. Those murdered were all civilians from the camps and were shot in cold blood as they nonviolently as placed Palestinian flags at the fence and gave the peace and victory sign. After Israeli troops fired on them, some threw rocks at the soldiers.

Fortunately some lives were saved by a field hospital affiliated with the group, the Martyr Salah Ghandour Hospital, from nearby Bint Jbeil.

Meanwhile, Lebanon has filed a complaint against Israel with the UN Security Council calling on the Security Council to pressure Israel to stop its hostile and provocative policies against Lebanon and hold it accountable for killing civilians.

Hezbollah’s Secretary-General Hassas Nassrallah commended Lebanon’s Palestinians this morning as he explained his interpretation of Nakba Day 2011: “You do not accept a homeland other than Palestine, and so let no one fear naturalization in Lebanon because your firm decision is to return. Your loud and clear message to the enemy is that you are determined to liberate the land no matter what the sacrifices are and the fate of this entity (enemy) is demise and that no initiatives, treaties or borders will protect it. Your return to Palestine is inalienable right, and its realization has become closer than any other time. “

Hassan Nassrallah’s words require that Lebanon’s next Parliament, with the full, active, direct, and unequivocal support of Hezbollah immediately repeal the racist and discriminatory 2001 law that outlaws home ownership for Palestinians in Lebanon and that Lebanon’s Palestinians be immediately granted the right to work just as all refugees do globally and all foreigners in Lebanon enjoy.

There must be no more resistance to Palestinians being granted the elementary right to work and to own a home. Yesterday at Maroun al Ras Lebanon’s Palestinians once again earned the right to live in dignity and care for their families until Return. As the Palestinians continue their struggle for elementary civil rights here in the inhumane camps of Lebanon, they and the advocates are heartened by Hassan Nassrallah words of a few hours ago: ?”We are with you, and by your side. We are happy for your happiness and sad for your sadness, we carry with you the same hopes and pains, and move on together in the path of resistance so that we continue our victories and liberate all our land and sanctities.

Hopefully Lebanon’s Palestinian refugees will after 63 years in Lebanon, be granted internationally mandated civil rights.


As early as 1949, one year after the establishment of the State of Israel, 15 May was marked in several West Bank cities (under Jordanian rule) by demonstrations, strikes, the raising of black flags, and visits to the graves of people killed during the 1948 war. These events were organized by worker and student associations, cultural and sports clubs, scouts clubs, committees of refugees, and the Muslim Brotherhood. The speakers in these gatherings blamed the Arab governments and the Arab League for failing to "save Palestine", according to author Tamir Sorek. By the late 1950s, 15 May would be known in the Arab world as Palestine Day, mentioned by the media in Arab and Muslim countries as a day of international solidarity with Palestine. [13]

Commemoration of the Nakba by Arab citizens of Israel who are

  • Amqa
  • Arab al-Samniyya
  • al-Bassa
  • al-Birwa
  • al-Damun
  • Dayr al-Qassi
  • al-Ghabisiyya
  • Iqrit
  • Iribbin
  • Jiddin
  • al-Kabri
  • Kafr 'Inan
  • Kuwaykat
  • al-Manshiyya
  • al-Mansura
  • Mi'ar
  • al-Nabi Rubin
  • al-Nahr
  • al-Ruways
  • Suhmata
  • al-Sumayriyya
  • Suruh
  • al-Tall
  • Tarbikha
  • Umm al-Faraj
  • az-Zeeb
  • Arab al-'Arida
  • al-Bira
  • Beisan
  • Danna
  • Farwana
  • al-Ghazzawiyya
  • Jabbul
  • Kawkab al-Hawa
  • Qumya
  • Sirin
  • al-Tira
  • Yubla
  • Arab Suqrir
  • Barbara
  • Barqa
  • al-Batani al-Sharqi
  • Bayt Daras
  • Bayt Jirja
  • Bayt Tima
  • Burayr
  • Dayr Sunayd
  • Dimra
  • al-Faluja
  • Hamama
  • Hatta
  • Hiribya
  • Huj
  • Ibdis
  • Iraq al-Manshiyya
  • Iraq Suwaydan
  • Isdud
  • al-Jiyya
  • Julis
  • al-Jura
  • Karatiyya
  • Kawfakha
  • Kawkaba
  • al-Masmiyya al-Kabira
  • al-Masmiyya al-Saghira
  • al-Muharraqa
  • Najd
  • Qastina
  • al-Sawafir al-Shamaliyya
  • Simsim
  • Summil
  • Tall al-Turmus
  • Yasur
  • Abu Zurayq
  • Arab al-Fuqara
  • Ayn Ghazal
  • Ayn Hawd
  • Balad al-Sheikh
  • Daliyat al-Rawha'
  • Hawsha
  • Ijzim
  • al-Jalama
  • Kafr Lam
  • Khubbayza
  • al-Mansi
  • Naghnaghiya
  • Qamun
  • Qannir
  • Qira
  • Qisarya
  • Qumbaza
  • Sabbarin
  • al-Sarafand
  • Khirbat al-Sarkas
  • al-Sindiyana
  • al-Tantura
  • al-Tira
  • Wadi Ara
  • 'Ajjur
  • Bayt Jibrin
  • Bayt Nattif
  • al-Dawayima
  • Deir al-Dubban
  • Dayr Nakhkhas
  • Kudna
  • al-Qubayba
  • Ra'na
  • Tell es-Safi
  • az-Zakariyya
  • Zayta
  • Zikrin
  • al-'Abbasiyya
  • Abu Kabir
  • Abu Kishk
  • Bayt Dajan
  • Biyar 'Adas
  • Fajja
  • al-Haram
  • Ijlil al-Qibliyya
  • Ijlil al-Shamaliyya
  • Jarisha
  • Kafr 'Ana
  • al-Khayriyya
  • al-Mirr
  • Rantiya
  • Salama
  • Saqiya
  • al-Shaykh Muwannis
  • Yazur
  • Allar
  • Artuf
  • Bayt 'Itab
  • Bayt Naqquba
  • Dayr al-Shaykh
  • Deir Yassin
  • Ayn Karim
  • Ishwa
  • Islin
  • Jarash
  • Lifta
  • al-Maliha
  • al-Qabu
  • Qalunya
  • al-Qastal
  • Sar'a
  • Saris
  • Sataf
  • Sheikh Badr
  • Suba
  • al-Walaja
  • Abu al-Fadl
  • Abu Shusha
  • Aqir
  • Barfiliya
  • Bashshit
  • Bayt Jiz
  • Bayt Nabala
  • Bayt Susin
  • Dayr Ayyub
  • Idnibba
  • Jimzu
  • Kharruba
  • Khulda
  • al-Latrun
  • Lydda
  • Majdal Yaba
  • al-Muzayri'a
  • al-Nabi Rubin
  • Qatra
  • Qazaza
  • Qula
  • Ramla
  • Sajad
  • Salbit
  • Sarafand al-Amar
  • Shahma
  • al-Tira
  • Yibna
  • Abil al-Qamh
  • 'Akbara
  • Alma
  • Ammuqa
  • Arab al-Shamalina
  • Arab al-Zubayd
  • Ayn al-Zaytun
  • Biriyya
  • al-Butayha
  • al-Buwayziyya
  • Dallata
  • Dayshum
  • al-Dirdara
  • al-Farradiyya
  • Fir'im
  • Ghabbatiyya
  • Harrawi
  • Hunin
  • al-Husayniyya
  • Jahula
  • al-Ja'una
  • Jubb Yusuf
  • Kafr Bir'im
  • al-Khalisa
  • al-Khisas
  • Khiyam al-Walid
  • Lazzaza
  • Madahil
  • Al-Malkiyya
  • Mallaha
  • al-Mansura
  • Marus
  • Meiron
  • al-Nabi Yusha'
  • al-Na'ima
  • Qadas
  • Qaddita
  • Safsaf
  • Saliha
  • al-Salihiyya
  • Sa'sa'
  • Tulayl
  • al-Wayziyya
  • Awlam
  • Hadatha
  • al-Hamma
  • Hittin
  • Kafr Sabt
  • Lubya
  • al-Majdal
  • Nasir al-Din
  • Nimrin
  • Samakh
  • al-Shajara
  • al-Tabigha
  • Wadi Hamam
  • Khirbat al-Wa'ra al-Sawda'
  • Yaquq
  • In pictures: 'Catastrophe Day' protests, BBC News
  • nakba - Daily news and struggles from the Palestinian territory, Nakba news

Summer is on its way

It was the moment for which we had all been holding our breath for decades – for 63 years to be precise. Palestinians everywhere watched the unfolding scene transfixed and awed. The camera followed the movements of a small group of people advancing from the mass of protesters. They were carefully making their way down a hill towards the high fence that closed off the mined field separating Syria from its own occupied territory of the Golan that borders historic Palestine, now Israel.

They were mostly young Palestinians, drawn from the 470,000-plus refugee community in Syria: from Yarmouk refugee camp inside Damascus, from Khan el-Sheikh camp outside it, from Deraa and Homs refugee camps in the south, from Palestinian gatherings all over the country.

Slowly, and in spite of the shouted warnings from the villagers from Majdal Shams about the lethal landmines installed by the Israeli military right up to the fence, these remarkable ordinary young people – Palestinian refugees – began to both climb and push at the fence. We were going home.

It was a profoundly revolutionary moment, for these hundreds of young people entering Majdal Shams last Sunday made public the private heart of every Palestinian citizen, who has lived each day since 1948 in the emergency crisis of a catastrophe. Waiting, and struggling, and organising for only two things: liberation and return.

What made this moment and others like it across the region so radical in gesture, democratic in purpose, and universal in intent? It brought the entire world suddenly face to face with the intimate and immediate in the very human struggle for freedom of each Palestinian, whether refugee or not. Sixty-three years ago the entire body politic of the people of Palestine was violently destroyed and dispersed. All Palestinians, whether refugee or not, share that terrible history – it is what unites us.

This is the shared experience we commemorate every year on Nakba Day: the year-long expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians that began in 1947 and continued straight through 1948 into the terrible snowstorm winters of 1949, creating what is now the world’s largest refugee population.

On Sunday, this moment of return was enacted simultaneously in Haifa and among Palestinians displaced inside Israel, on the borders of Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, and Gaza, in the West Bank near the Qalandia refugee camp – wherever the more than 7 million stateless Palestinian refugees now live, very near their original villages and towns. Just out of sight, over the hill, across the border.

This basic injustice has yet to be addressed by any of the schemes currently on the table to solve the Palestinian issue. For this is not about the reconciliation of political parties, the search for a state or the establishment of two, negotiations or the lack of them, the enfranchisement of a third of our people over the disenfranchisement of the rest.

Indeed, what happened on Sunday was not the plan of Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian Authority prime minister, nor that of Fatah or Hamas it most certainly wasn’t the American, European or Israeli plan for dealing with the Palestinian people. Like the rest of the Arab people who have taken their fate into their own hands – and in doing so provided lessons and models in the meaning of democracy and citizenship to the rest of the world for years to come – the Palestinians have demonstrated, quite perfectly and with great courage, what it is to be fully human, and how to hold on to one’s humanity in spite of more than six decades of violent oppression.

Activists living in Majdal Shams had not been expecting them, and were completely surprised to see the dozens of buses pull up on the other side of the valley. Organised largely on the phone and internet, many of these young Palestinian refugees, mostly university students, didn’t even know each other.

They certainly didn’t know what was about to happen to them. Israeli soldiers fired live ammunition at the protesters, who were armed only with the deeds to their property, or ageing photographs of their parents’ farms. One young man carried his grandmother in his arms.

Qais Abu Alheija (from Houd, Haifa district), Bashar Ali Shahabi (from Lubya, Tiberias district), Samer Khartabeel (from the town of Tiberias), Abadah Zaghmout (from the village of Safsaf, Haifa district – an effort to save his life at the clinic of Golan for Development in Majdal Shams failed): all died on Sunday in the Golan, walking home. The Palestinian spring has certainly arrived: this is just the beginning, and summer is on its way.

11 May 2011

Alain Gresh On Palestinian Reconciliation

From Le Monde Diplomatique, 3 May 2011. Translation mine.

On Wednesday 4 May, representatives of thirteen Palestinian factions in Cairo will meet to sign the agreement they've reached. This ceremony follows an understanding that was reached a few days ago between Hamas and Fatah, under the aegis of Egypt.

The text provides for the formation of a government of technocrats or independents, the holding of presidential and legislative elections within a year, the reform of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and a solution to the division of the security forces. As provided by the Oslo Accords, the PLO and it alone is empowered to hold peace talks with the Israeli government (read "Palestinian factions sign reconciliation deal," Al-Jazeera, May 3.)

This text will undoubtedly further the Palestinian Authority's campaign for recognition by the UN General Assembly of an independent Palestinian state in the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. For this reason, it elicited an immediate rejection by the Israelis - who have already begun to take retaliatory measures, including stopping the payment of taxes they collect on behalf of the Palestinian Authority - and has received a very cold reception from the U.S. administration. It is still unclear how it will be implemented, but the text reflects the profound changes affecting the region.

The agreement between Fatah and Hamas took by surprise everyone who has been watching the two sides negotiate for years without success. The reasons for this agreement are numerous, some relating to the Palestinian situation, others to regional developments, particularly changes in Egypt.

The motivation for Fatah and Hamas

Since the revolutions in the Arab world, both sides have faced the rise of a real, if limited, protest movement. Here, the goal was not "the fall of the regime" but "the fall (i.e. the end) of the division." Both responded with a mixture of pressure and repression, but also by making the popular demands their own.

More broadly, the two organizations are at a strategic impasse. The peace process is dead, and the entire Fatah/PA policy of negotiations has been met with solid rejection by the Israeli government. Likewise Hamas, which speaks of resistance, but in practice seeks to maintain a cease-fire with Israel and even to impose it on other Palestinian factions.

The frustration of Mahmoud Abbas is well illustrated by the Newsweek article (Dan Ephron, 24 April) "The Wrath of Abbas." Most notably, he recounts his conversation with Barack Obama, who asked him to withdraw from discussion in the UN Security Council the draft resolution condemning Israeli settlement. He denounced the pressure and even threats of U.S. President. Remember that this resolution was defeated by one vote (with veto power), the United States, against the votes of all fourteen other member states. It's also apparent that the Palestinian president had to take account of developments in Egypt - to which I'll return below.

Hamas is also struggling on the ground. In addition to the strategic stalemate, it faces Salafist groups, some linked to al-Qaida, which accuse Hamas of failing to resist and of not bringing about sufficient Islamization of society. On the other hand, the continued Israeli blockade and the daily difficulties of the population have partly undermined its strength in Gaza.

But other reasons, also related to the Arab Revolt, have pushed Hamas towards compromise. The demonstrations in Syria and their violent repression by the regime weaken one of their main allies, an ally which has hosted the external leadership of Hamas since its expulsion from Jordan. The fact that Sheikh Youssef Al-Qardhawi, one of the most popular preachers in Sunni Islam, who is seen as linked to the Muslim Brotherhood (from which Hamas is an offshoot), has strongly condemned Assad only lead the organization to distance itself, although it has denied any intention to settle elsewhere. (On the situation in Syria, read the article in Le Monde Diplomatique's May edition by Patrick Seale, "Fatal blindness of the al-Assad in Syria") . On the other hand, events in Bahrain and the violent anti-Shiite propaganda issuing from the Gulf countries, have exacerbated tensions between Shiites and Sunnis in the region. Hamas is not only part of the Muslim Brotherhood movement, but also receives some of its funding from wealthy Gulf businessmen, who do not have look at all favorably upon its alliance with Iran. Under these conditions, a reconciliation with Fatah and especially with Egypt is a necessity for Hamas.

Changes in Egypt

The agreement between Hamas and Fatah reflects above all the new Egyptian foreign policy. Cairo - without breaking with the U.S., and without jeopardizing the peace treaty with Israel - is extricating itself from the policy of submission to American and Israeli interests. Mubarak opposed unity between Fatah and Hamas, mainly because he feared the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in his country. He saw Gaza as a security issue, and participated in its blockade. Now that the Muslim Brothers are preparing to participate in the September elections in Egypt, and perhaps even in government, such fears are no longer appropriate. Especially since the democratic climate in Egypt allows for stronger expressions of popular solidarity with the Palestinians and massive rejection of the blockade, which the government has to take into account.

The Egyptian foreign minister has insisted that the Rafah crossing point be opened, calling the Israeli blockade "shameful" (read "Egypt to throw open Rafah border crossing with Gaza", Ahram online, 29 April). Almost more important is the statement by Egyptian Chief of Staff Sami Anan,  who warned Israel against any attempt to interfere in Cairo's decision (Egypt warns Israel: Don't interfere with opening of Gaza border crossing, Haaretz, 30 April). Another Israeli source reported him saying: "The Israeli government must show restraint when it discusses peace talks. It must refrain from intervening in internal matters of Palestine". ("Egypt to open Rafah crossing", Y-Net, 29 April).

This turnaround is reflected in Egypt's relations with Iran, where there is talk of restoring diplomatic relations between the two countries. Tehran, like Damascus, has welcomed the inter-Palestinian agreement. "There's a new feeling in Egypt, that Egypt should be respected as a regional power," said an Egyptian specialist in international relations, quoted by David Kirkpatrick, "In Shift, Egypt Warms to Iran and Hamas, Israel's Foes", New York Times, April 28, 2011.

Nakba Day Refusing To Recognize The Nation State Of The Jewish People

by Sarah Ann Haves

This weekend, Israeli Arabs and Palestinians took to the streets to protest the existence of the state of Israel. Clashes with IDF forces resulted in deaths and injuries, as Israeli troops tried to quell the riots.

In an alleged terrorist attack on Israeli citizens in Tel Aviv, a truck driven by an Israeli Arab crashed into pedestrians and cars, killing one person and injuring more than a dozen others.

Clashes also occurred on the northern border with Syria and Lebanon, as Palestinians and Druze tried to cross into Israel, resulting in the deaths of several protestors. IDF forces also clashed with Palestinians in Gaza, in the West Bank, and in Jerusalem.

This weekend, Israeli Arabs and Palestinians took to the streets to protest the existence of the state of Israel.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians joined in protests throughout the world.

The occasion is Nakba Day, the day of &ldquocatastrophe&rdquo for Arab and Palestinian communities in the Middle East, who are protesting the League of Nations decision on May 15, 1948, to establish the modern state of Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people.

In a cabinet meeting this weekend, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated: &ldquoI regret that there are extremists among Israeli Arabs and in neighboring countries who have turned the day in 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.&rdquo

For two years now, since Netanyahu became Prime Minister of the State of Israel for the second time in his political career, he has entreated the international community to recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. During his tenure, he has also spent much time laboring over the fact that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has not wanted to enter into direct negotiations with Israel, except during a brief period last year. Abbas has also been unwilling to recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people.

During Nakba demonstrations, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh has called on Moslems in Gaza to pray for the end of Israel. This coincides with the Hamas charter which calls for Israel&rsquos destruction. Now that Hamas in Gaza and Fatah in the West Bank have reconciled and signed a unity agreement, the new government they form can be expected to follow in the footsteps of Hamas — no recognition of Israel.

In the meantime, over 150 countries throughout the world have recognized and supported the establishment of a Palestinian state. In September, Abbas plans to go before the UN General Assembly, unilaterally declaring statehood, hoping to take future peace negotiations out of the hands of American brokers, and into the hands of international diplomats within the UN, Quartet and EU. If the UN officially recognizes Palestinian statehood this paves the way for direct negotiations between &ldquoPalestine&rdquo and Israel, which would give the Palestinians equal footing, diplomatically, in a land they do not possess, except in their own verbal decrees.

In this kind of environment, Hamas says it will accept, for a limited time only, a Palestinian state on the land beyond the 1967 Green Line. This is spelled out in the Arab Peace Initiative. This would include all of the West Bank (Judea and Samaria). A Hamas-Fatah government would agree to a temporary cessation of violence against Israel. They would also allow Palestinian negotiators to enter into a temporary peace agreement with Israel, until, at which time, the unified government felt Israel was weak enough to go to war against the Jewish state. Then they would look to occupy all of the territory that is currently the Jewish homeland. These are the intentions of both Hamas and Fatah whether clearly stated publicly or not.

This is a plan that Abbas is willing to accept for the Palestinian people, along with solving the so-called Palestinian &ldquorefugee&rdquo problem. Recently, Abbas reiterated that the &ldquorefugees&rdquo must be able to return to their homes in Israel in any negotiated peace settlement.

Over 150 countries throughout the world have recognized and supported the establishment of a Palestinian state.

In 1948, rather than accepting a two-state solution, the Arab world went to war against Israel. They told Israeli Arabs to flee Palestine, and most did. The Arab nations lost that battle, dubbed &ldquoIsrael&rsquos War of Independence&rdquo. Now, the children of that generation want to return to the area. What is the goal of these Palestinians who today live in Lebanon, Jordan, Gaza, the West Bank, and in other parts of the world? They do not want to enjoy the privileges of their own independent state in the West Bank and Gaza. A majority of these &ldquorefugees&rdquo want to use the keys given to them by their ancestors and take over Jewish property in Israel which they continue to claim belongs solely to them. If they do not recognize the state of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people, then as they lay claim to homes and apartments in the land, would they not be expected to try and expel the Jews?

Currently, Netanyahu is being pressured by the international community to offer more concessions to the Palestinians, through a new diplomatic initiative he is supposed to spell out before Congress and AIPAC, in the coming days. Pressure is mounting, again, from the U.S. Administration as well as Europe, to get Netanyahu and Abbas back to the peace negotiating table no matter what turmoil is going on in the Middle East. Upheaval in Arab countries clashes on Israel&rsquos borders uprisings in the West Bank and Gaza riots on the streets of Israeli neighborhoods demonstrations throughout Israel, the Middle East and the world are, supposedly, all because these two men haven&rsquot achieved peace. This is what many leaders in the global community believe.

The question is, what can Israel offer the Palestinians that would satisfy their appetite when the Palestinians have already declared their intentions? Whether it is step-by-step, accepting the partial plan of Palestinian statehood on part of the land, pushing Israeli communities back to the Green Line or, whether it is the intention of taking the whole land by peace or by war, it is clear what they want. Yet, it is still not clear to the international community what the aspirations are of the Palestinian people.

In fact, American and European diplomats are looking to find a way of accepting a unified Palestinian government even without the stipulation by the Quartet that Israel be recognized by Hamas. Abbas has provided an answer for them. If the international community will accept that the newly formed Hamas-Fatah government will consist of technocrats, and not political leaders, then there won&rsquot be a problem. In other words, because these technocrats would simply be figureheads, not involved in political negotiations with Israel, and not involved in violent force against Israel, this would pave the way for the international community to accept the Palestinian unity government.

All parties would be content except Israel. The Jewish state would know no peace have no defensible borders and the very survival of the country would be at stake.

Independently, Abbas could keep pretending that he wants to negotiate with Israel the international community could take ownership of the peace process and, Hamas could keep launching rockets on Israel&rsquos southern communities. Riots, violent demonstrations, terrorist attacks, and flotilla wars against Israel could continue in the name of &ldquofreedom fighters&rdquo who are just trying to help the Palestinians lay claim to their state. The new Palestinian unity government could distance itself from these more radical elements within their society, who they would claim they have no control over.

This way, all parties would be content except Israel. The Jewish state would know no peace have no defensible borders and the very survival of the country would be at stake.

If today&rsquos Nakba demonstrations are any indication, there is no love lost between Israel, the Palestinians, and neighboring Arab countries. As time goes on, Israel should be distancing itself from a failed process of peace that is only bringing more violence to its borders and within its society. Proving that it has the ability to defend itself when provoked by rage and incitement, Israel must unify as the nation state of the Jewish people and, along with pro-Israel supporters throughout the world, stand strong in the face of growing adversity, worldwide.

&ldquoWhy do the nations rage and the people plot a vain thing?&rdquo Psalm 2:1

Ms. Haves is a news analyst, reporting on political, diplomatic, military and spiritual issues in Israel and the nations.

(c) 2011 Messianic Vision all rights reserved. This article is not reproducible except with permisson from Messianic Vision.

Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright ©1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Israeli military attacks Nakba Day protests with live fire

Protestor shot in his leg with live ammunition during protest in West Bank village of Kafr Qaddum. (Photo: International Solidarity Movement)

Israeli forces open fire on Nakba protests
NABLUS (AFP) 16 May — Israeli soldiers fired tear gas, rubber and live bullets at Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip on Friday, wounding at least 21 people, medics and security sources said. Clashes took place near Ramallah and farther north in Nablus, after a new Israeli cabinet took office and as Palestinians marked 67 years since the Nakba, or “catastrophe,” that befell them when Israel was established in 1948. At a demonstration outside Ofer military prison near the West Bank administrative center of Ramallah, dozens of protesters stoned soldiers who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets, an AFP correspondent said. Medics said seven Palestinians were wounded. In separate clashes in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, rubber bullets and live fire by soldiers wounded at least 10 Palestinians, security sources and witnesses said. The Israeli army confirmed the clashes, but denied that live rounds were fired. More than 1,000 settlers from nearby Jewish settlements were bused into the city to visit Joseph’s Tomb early in the day, and soldiers blocked off roads leading to the pilgrimage site, Palestinian witnesses and security sources said. Palestinians protested, some throwing stones, before clashes with the army erupted …
In Gaza, which is still recovering nine months after last summer’s devastating war between Israel and de facto rulers Hamas, Israeli troops on the border fired live rounds at Nakba Day protesters, wounding four, the enclave’s interior ministry medical spokesperson said. Three demonstrators were hit at a demonstration staged by dozens of people near the border fence east of Gaza City, and a fourth was shot at a similar protest near Khan Younis in the south, Ashraf al-Qudra said. The Israeli army said it had fired at the “lower extremities” of five people who approached the border fence, after warning them not to come any closer. Under Israel’s blockade of the coastal territory, Gaza residents are not allowed within 100 meters (yards) of the border fence on foot, or 300 meters in a vehicle. Israeli soldiers often fire at Palestinians who come closer. The protests were significantly smaller than the main demonstration in Gaza City, which was attended by 2,000 people, an AFP correspondent said.

Hundreds of unarmed demonstrators confront live fire at Kafr Qaddum on Nakba Day
[with photos] KAFR QADDUM, Occupied Palestine (ISM, Huwarra Team) 15 May — Today (Friday, 15th of May), during the Nakba day demonstration in Kafr Qaddum, four young men were shot with live ammunition in their legs. One of the men got a serious bone fracture. Apart from the live ammunition being shot from all directions, Israeli forces fired several rounds of rubber coated steel bullets, tear gas and stun grenades. Throughout the protest, the Israeli military forces used a skunk truck to force the demonstrators back from reaching the closed road closed since 2002 due to the building of the settlement Kedumim. ISMers in the demonstration saw houses and gardens being sprayed, and a boy as young as four crying, covered in the noxious chemical skunk ‘water’. Before the prayer had started, which end usually marks the beginning of the demonstration, soldiers attacked the gathered crowd with the chemical-laced water from the skunk truck. About 200 protesters marched up towards the closed road and were chanting words of freedom. 67 years later, the Nakba is still going on.

Israeli forces suppress Bil‘in weekly march on Nakba Day
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 16 May — Dozens of activists suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation as Israeli forces violently dispersed participants in the Bil‘in weekly march, as at least 21 people were injured across the West Bank and Gaza Strip Friday. Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists participated in the march which started from the center of the village, raising Palestinian flags and signs marking the anniversary of the Nakba. Palestinians across the world commemorate the Nakba every year on May 15, this year marking 67 years since an estimated 760,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled from their homes in during the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. Last year Israeli forces shot and killed two unarmed Palestinian teenagers during a rally marking the 66th anniversary of the Nakba outside of the Ofer detention center near Ramallah.
For Palestinians living within Israel, commemoration of the Nakba also comes at a price. The 2011 “Nakba Law,” Amendment No. 40 to the Israeli Budgets Foundations Law, authorizes the Finance Minister to reduce state funding to an institution if it holds an activity commemorating “Israel’s Independence Day or the day on which the state was established as a day of mourning,” according to Israeli legal center Adalah. The center argues the law “causes major harm to the principle of equality and the rights of Arab citizens to preserve their history and culture. The law deprives Arab citizens of their right to commemorate the Nabka, an integral part of their history.”

Violence / Raids / Clashes / Suppression of protests / Arrests

Israeli forces shoot 3 children, detain 6 near Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 14 May — Israeli forces injured three Palestinian children with live fire during severe clashes that erupted between soldiers and school students in the Jabal al-Tawil neighborhood of al-Bireh in the occupied West Bank Thursday, witnesses said. The injured children were taken to a hospital for treatment, while Israeli forces detained six Palestinian children, all under 10 years of age, and took them to the nearby Psagot settlement, locals told Ma‘an. Israeli forces had reportedly set up an ambush for the students prior to the clashes, locals added … Palestinian children routinely come under live fire and excessive force from Israeli forces, according to children’s rights group Defense for Children International- Palestine.Israeli forces shot and injured at least 30 children across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem since the beginning of this year as of March 24, 2015, DCIP reported. While Israeli military regulation permits the use of live ammunition when a direct mortal threat exists, the DCIP found no evidence that any of the children injured in 2015 thus far posed such a threat to Israeli forces or settlers.

Palestinian youth injured during clashes in Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 May — A Palestinian youth was injured with a rubber-coated steel bullet during clashes with Israeli soldiers at the northern entrance of Bethlehem on Thursday. Medical sources said that a youth was injured in the leg by Israeli soldiers before he was detained and taken to an unidentified location during clashes in the Rachel Tomb’s area in Bethlehem. Violent clashes erupted between youths and Israeli soldiers near the northern entrance of Bethlehem as youths threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at an Israeli military tower. Israeli soldiers responded with live fire, rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas … The incident came ahead of Nakba Day, when Palestinians commemorate the exodus of hundreds of thousands of people who fled or were expelled from their homes during Israel’s creation.

Dozens injured in Silwad and Beitunia, near Ramallah
IMEMC/Agencies 16 May — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Friday afternoon, Silwad and Betunia towns, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and attacked dozens of Palestinians marking the Nakba Day. The Palestine TV has reported that several military vehicles invaded the southern area of Silwad town, and clashed with dozens of local youths. The soldiers fired dozens of gas bombs, concussion grenades, rubber-coated metal bullets, and several rounds of live ammunition. Medical sources said ten Palestinians suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation, and received treatment by local medics. During the clashes, a number of youths hurled Molotov cocktails on the invading soldiers, while the army also fired the “Tutu” live ammunition on the protestors. The Tutu live rounds cause larger bodily harm, and were outlawed by an Israeli court in 2001, but the army continues to use them. Israeli sources said a number of soldiers were mildly injured during the clashes with local youths in the town, while a few soldiers received treatment for the effects of tear gas inhalation, after the protesters managed to throw back some of the gas bombs fired at them.
In addition, clashes took place in Betunia nearby town, after the soldiers invaded it, and attacked local protesters marking the Nakba, and marking the first anniversary of the deaths of Nadim Nuwwara and Mohammad Abu Thaher, who were killed by Israeli army fire on May 15 2014. The soldiers fired dozens of gas bombs, in addition to rubber-coated metal bullets and live rounds, while local youths hurled stones and empty bottles on the soldiers several Palestinians suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation.

Israeli forces chase 5-year-old with skunk water
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 16 May — Amateur photographer Ahmad Nazzal captured Israeli forces spraying “Skunk” water at a Palestinian child during the Kafr Qaddum weekly march in the occupied West Bank on Friday. Five-year-old Muhammad Riyad appears standing in front of Israeli forces wearing a Palestinian keffiyeh before the forces began chasing him with Skunk water, the boy eventually falling to the ground. The foul-smelling liquid has been used by the Israeli military as a form of non-lethal crowd control since at least 2008 and can leave individuals and homes smelling like feces and garbage for weeks. Skunk water was developed by Israeli company Odortec Ltd. in conjunction with the Israel Police and is generally sprayed from specially designed trucks up to a range of 30-40 meters, according to Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem. An Israeli army spokesperson has reported that Skunk contains “organic material and has been approved for use by the Israeli Ministry of the Environment and the Chief IDF Medical Officer,” however exact contents of the rancid liquid have been contested, B’Tselem says. The rights group documented regular use of Skunk water by Israeli forces, and has accused the forces of using the substance as collective punishment, citing instances of Israeli security forces driving Skunk trucks down the streets of villages known for active demonstrations while spraying the substance into residents’ homes.

VIDEO: Security camera captures Gush Etzion vehicular attack
Ynet 15 May by Itay Blumenthal, Yoav Zitun — Security footage [10 seconds] from the scene of the vehicular attack outside Alon Shvut on Thursday, which left four people wounded, shows the terrorist driving his car at high speed and ramming into two of the victims. After hitting the pedestrians who were waiting at a bus stop outside the Gush Etzion settlement, the car is seen speeding away … The IDF set up roadblocks and searched for the perpetrators in the Halhul area and in villages north of Hebron. Kfir Brigade troops arrested the suspected driver minutes after the attack. The Shin Bet said Thursday evening it arrested the suspected driver, 22-year-old Muhammad al-Rafahiya from Hebron, who was released a year ago from Israeli prison after serving time for offenses of rock-throwing and carrying of cold weapons.In his initial interrogation, al-Rafahiya admitted to committing the attack and said he was operating to hurt Israelis out of nationalistic motives. The Shin Bet said they were looking into the possibility that “incitement online and on Facebook cause him to commit the attack, similar to previous lone attackers.” At around 1:15 pm, a black vehicle drove at high speed heading east on a road outside Alon Shvut and then veered sideways onto a hitchhiking station, hitting a group of people waiting for the bus.,7340,L-4657675,00.html

Israeli settlers throw stones at Palestinian vehicles near Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 14 May — Israeli settlers on Thursday pelted Palestinian cars with stones on a main road near the illegal Yitzhar settlement in Nablus, a Palestinian official said. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma‘an that dozens of settlers threw stones at vehicles, while others set fire to land in the village of Burin south of Nablus. Israeli forces closed the Huwwara checkpoint both ways following the incidents. In 2014, there were 324 incidents of settler violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

UPDATE: Israel detains 14 Palestinians in West Bank, youth in Jerusalem
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 14 May – Israeli forces detained overnight [Wed-Thu] 14 Palestinians, including four between the ages of 16 and 19, from various West Bank districts, in addition to a youth in Jerusalem, said Palestine Prisoner’s Club (PPC). PPC said that Israeli forces raided Nablus city, where they proceeded to detain three Palestinians after breaking into and ransacking their homes. The detainees were identified as Jehad ‘Akkah, Ahmad al-Faqih and Naser al-Khatib. Forces also stormed the Tubas village of Wadi al-Far‘ah and detained three Palestinians after breaking into their homes. They were identified as Bashar Barahma, Fares Salahat and Muhammad Janajra. Meanwhile in Bethlehem district, forces stormed al-Khader town to the south of the city, where they detained two Palestinians identified as Tareq Jahalin, 19, and Zeyad ‘Issa, 16. Forces also arrested 16-year-old Khalil Salah after appearing at the Israeli intelligence in Gush Etzion settlement bloc. Forces further summoned Fadi Adawin, 32, from al-‘Izza refugee camp to the south of Bethlehem to appear for interrogation before the Israeli intelligence at Gush Etzion settlement bloc. In the meantime in Hebron district, forces detained two Palestinians, including one from Deir Samet town. One of the two detainees was identified as Muhammad Abu Hamad, 18. In Ramallah district, forces raided Beitello village, where they detained three Palestinians after storming their homes. The detainees were identified as Wasfi Bazzar, Basil Darwish, and Mahdi Rayyan. Meanwhile, Israeli police arrested a Palestinian youth near one of al-Aqsa mosque’s gates. He was led to a police station in Jerusalem.

Israel detains 52 Palestinian workers overnight
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 15 May — Israeli forces detained 52 Palestinian workers overnight Friday near the Modin settlement west of Ramallah as they were heading to work in Israel without permits. Israeli media reported that an Israeli police unit and border guards searched a commercial vehicle normally used for carrying goods on its way to central Israel from Latrun road after the deemed it suspicious. The police found and arrested 26 Palestinian workers without working permits hiding inside of the vehicle after a spare tire fell from the vehicle, forcing the driver to pull over. Later, another vehicle of the same type came under suspicion, and Israeli police found another 26 workers the driver fled the scene when the police stopped the car. According to Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, tens of thousands of Palestinian workers are forced to seek a living by working in Israel as the growth of an independent Palestinian economy has been stifled in the West Bank under the ongoing Israeli military occupation.

Gaza officials: 70 hurt as Israel ordnance explodes
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 14 May — Dozens of Palestinians were injured in a large explosion in the northern Gaza Strip on Thursday, witnesses and medics said. Medical sources said at least 70 Palestinians were injured. Fifteen of those were taken to al-Shifa hospital for treatment as a result of the explosion. The Palestinian ministry of interior said the explosion happened during the dismantling of an unexploded F16 rocket left by the Israeli army. Ambulances rushed toward the scene of the blast in the al-Atatra neighborhood of Gaza City, with black smoke plumes visible from a distance. Locals reported that the blast caused an electricity blackout in the area.

Mainstream media version:
50 hurt in blast at Gaza terror training camp
AFP 14 May — At least 50 Palestinians were wounded in a blast that occurred Thursday inside a terror training camp in Gaza, Hamas officials, medics and witnesses said. “An explosion happened inside a post of the resistance in Beit Lahiya,” said interior ministry spokesman Iyad al-Bozum, in reference to the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas. The Health Ministry spokesman in Gaza, Ashraf al-Qudra, said the blast wounded 50 people, five of them in a serious condition, and including children. Witnesses said the blast took place inside a training camp of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades in the northern Gaza Strip, where Hamas is the de facto power. A doctor in the coastal enclave, Baker Abu Safia of Al-Awda Hospital, said 30 wounded people were brought to his establishment, most of them women and children. He said the hospital “declared a state of emergency” after the explosion took place. Islamist terror group Hamas, which rules Gaza, is committed to the destruction of Israel.

3 Palestinians in Gaza shot, injured in Nakba Day protest
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 15 May — Three Palestinians were injured by live fire during a Nakba Day demonstration in the Gaza Strip on Friday, witnesses said. Locals told Ma’an that Israeli soldiers opened fire on peaceful demonstrators east of Gaza City, hitting three men in the legs. Dozens of Palestinians were taking part in the march to commemorate the 67th anniversary of the mass displacement of Palestinians during Israel’s creation.

Soldiers open fire on farmers and fishers in Gaza
IMEMC/Agencies 16 May — Israeli soldiers opened fire, on Saturday morning, on Palestinian farmers in their own lands, east of the al-Maghazi refugee camp, in central Gaza, while navy ships opened fire on fishing boats in southern Gaza. Media sources said several soldiers and armored military vehicles advanced close to the border fence, and fired rounds of live ammunition on the farmers, and on a number of Palestinian shepherds. The attack did not lead to casualties, but the residents had to leave the area fearing addition Israeli fire, and escalation.
In addition, Israeli navy ships fired dozens of live rounds targeting a number of Palestinian fishing boats in Gaza waters, close to the Khan Younis shore, in the southern part of the coastal region. The attack caused property damage but no injuries the fishers sailed back to shore to avoid further navy fire.

Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla III banned by Israel
World Bulletin 14 May — Israel will not allow unauthorized boats to enter its territorial waters, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said Monday as a trawler left Sweden Sunday intending to break the legal naval blockade of Gaza, the Jerusalem Post reported. A Swedish boat, named Marianne of Gothenburg, announced it set off from Sweden, to take part in the flotilla, several days ago. The boat is named after Marianne Skoog, a veteran member of the Swedish Palestine Solidarity movement, who died in May 2014. Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon described the action as “unnecessary provocation”. He added: “If the so-called helpful Gaza flotillas were really interested in the welfare of the population in Gaza, they would send their aid via Israel.” … The Ship to Gaza organization is calling for an immediate end to the naval blockade of Gaza opening of the Gaza Port and secure passage for Palestinians between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. In 2010, Israeli commandos attacked the Freedom Flotilla II when it entered Gaza’s territorial waters, killing ten people on board.

[with VIDEO] Even in Gaza, you can’t have a film festival without a red carpet
+972 Blog 14 May by Avi Blecherman — The human rights film festival sends a message that Gaza is not just a strip of flattened homes, poverty and militants, as the media tends to portray it, says one of the organizers. ‘The people of Gaza are human beings, who love life, who seek peace, and who want to go to the movies, to live normal lives.’ — While Israeli entertainment reporters have been busy covering the DocAviv documentary film festival in Tel Aviv in recent days, nearby, another rather exceptional film festival came to a close Thursday evening in the Shujaiyeh neighborhood of Gaza City — a festival dedicated entirely to films about human rights … I spoke with festival organizer Saud Aburamadan, a veteran journalist and resident of Gaza on Thursday … The image of the red carpet with destroyed homes on both sides is spine-tingling. Who walked down it? Well, you can’t have a film festival without a red carpet. We took that symbol and made it work for the our reality here in Gaza. For us, red is first and foremost the the color of so much blood that was spilled here this summer. The blood of women, men and children. There was a family in Shujaiyeh, the al-Hilu family, which lost 11 people in a bombing, most of them women and children. Usually the people walking down the red carpet at a film festival are VIPs. Here, we laid down the 70-meter red carpet on one of the main roads that leads to where we screened the films, a road that has nothing but destroyed homes. We invited all of the residents to walk down the red carpet to the premiere. It was our way of saying that each and every one of them is important.

Gazans scavenge for food, recyclables
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 13 May by Rasha Abou Jalal — In light of the dire economic conditions generated by the Israeli siege, Gazans search for food to eat and recyclables to sell — At sunrise, Wael Naim starts his arduous task of sifting through piles of waste in Gaza City, looking for anything that can be recycled. His efforts are a major source of support for his five-member family. Naim, 14, who is the oldest child in his family, told Al-Monitor, “My father used to work in contracting, but he stopped working more than half a year ago due to the recent Israeli war on Gaza, which destroyed the concrete factory that he used to work in. Israel also restricted the entry of cement into Gaza. So now I have a responsibility and look for [ways to make a living].” He said that he searches the piles of garbage for anything that he can sell, such as plastic, copper and iron, to factories and blacksmiths that recycle them into products such as water drums, as well as nuts and bolts made of copper and iron, which are used as machine spare parts. “I stop work at sunset and make about 20 Israeli shekels (about $5) a day, which I give in full to my father. He buys cheap bread and food for my family, as this amount doesn’t even buy half a kilogram [1 pound] of meat,” Naim added.

Pregnant Gaza woman blocked from joining husband in Australia
EI 15 May by Patrick O. Strickland — Mohammed Suliman does not know if he will be able to attend the birth of his first child. His wife Layla has been blocked from leaving Gaza to join him in the Australian city of Adelaide. Their baby is due in August. “We are racing against the clock,” Mohammed said this week, adding that he is focused on trying to get Layla out of Gaza. “So far there has been no progress, so I’m very worried,” he added. “Once she becomes seven months pregnant, she won’t be able to travel.” Mohammed left Gaza through the Erez crossing between Gaza and present-day Israel in late March. Despite having an Australian visa and having paid national health insurance in Australia, Layla was denied exit by the Israeli authorities. Granted a full scholarship to a PhD program in Adelaide University, Mohammed was a couple of months late for his classes by the time he arrived. He had made numerous attempts to leave Gaza before eventually succeeding in doing so. Tight restrictions have been placed by Israel on the number of Palestinians passing through Erez. The Rafah crossing that separates Gaza from Egypt has been completely closed — with some rare exceptions — since the last week of October 2014.

Bill introduced to Knesset to cancel 2005 disengagement from Gaza
JP Updates 14 May by Eliyahu Berkowitz — The last elections brought many surprises, so it should be anticipated that even more surprises are in store. MK Betsalel Smotrich (Bayit Yehudi/Tkuma) presented a new bill to cancel the disengagement law that led to Israel’s withdrawal from Gush Katif, Gaza, in 2005. The bill was submitted to the Knesset Secretariat but wasn’t discussed even in a preliminary reading. It would cancel the laws pertaining to the disengagement which prohibit the entry and stay in the areas evacuated under the program, and the elimination of the rights of those who lived in them. The sections dealing with compensation and rehabilitation of deportees will be left standing. “Today it is clear to all that the expulsion from Gush Katif and northern Samaria was a foolish mortal blow to Zionism and the settlement, and brought about the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip and the difficult security situation,” said Smotrich. “It’s time to fix it, and not just through words”.

Ongoing land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Memories of the Nakba / Discrimination

Objections to commemoration

Shlomo Avineri has criticised observance of Nakba Day on the grounds that a more important issue is the failure to solidify a stronger national movement for Palestinian citizens as a foundation for nation-building. ⎦] ⎧] Arab citizens of Israel have also been admonished for observing Nakba Day in light of their higher standard of living when compared to that of Palestinians who reside outside of Israel. ⎨]

On 23 March 2011, the Knesset approved, by a vote of 37 to 25, ⎩] a change to the budget, giving the Israeli finance minister the discretion to reduce government funding to any non-governmental organization (NGO) that commemorates the Palestinian Nakba instead of the Israeli Day of Independence. ⎪] ⎫] A previous form of the bill, which first came under consideration by the Knesset in July 2001 and again in 2006, established the commemoration of the Nakba Day as a criminal offense, subject to 1-year imprisonment and/or a fine of NIS10,000 (∼$2,500). Palestinians argue that the bill imposes restrictions on freedom of speech and expression, curtails equality, and applies conditions that suppress the national consciousness and historical narrative of the Palestinian people. ⎬]

Watch the video: The Arab-Israeli War of 1948 and Nakba explained