2009.05.17: NYCLAW Statement On the 61st Anniversary of the Nakba

[Presented at the NYC rally and march sponsored by the Break the Siege on Gaza Coalition-NY <http://www.bsg-ny.org/> and Al-Awda NY <http://www.al-awdany.org/index.htm>]

Statement On the 61st Anniversary of the Nakba
Times Square, New York City, May 17, 2009
Presented by Michael Letwin, Co-Convener, New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW); Founding Member, Labor for Palestine

Today we commemorate the Nakba of 1947-1948, when Zionists ethnically cleansed Palestine by massacring Palestinians in places like Deir Yassin, erasing 531 towns and village, emptying 11 urban neighborhoods, and expelling more than 750,000 (85 percent) of the Palestinians from 78 percent of their country.

But the Nakba did not end there.

In 1967, Israel seized the remaining 22 percent of Palestine  –  including East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza  –  which, in violation of UN resolutions, remains under Israeli military rule.

Isn’t that the Nakba?

Today, at least 70 percent of 10 million Palestinians remain refugees  –  the largest such population in the world. Despite other UN resolutions, Israel vows that it will never allow them to return.

Isn’t that the Nakba?

Palestinians who managed to remain within the 1948 areas  –  today, 1.4 million (or 20 percent of the population in Israel)  –  are permanently separated from their families in exile, subject to more than 20 discriminatory laws, treated as a “demographic threat,” and threatened with mass expulsion.

Isn’t that the Nakba?

In East Jerusalem and the West Bank, 140 illegal, ever-expanding Jewish-only settlements and road systems dominate the water resources and control 40 percent of the land. Palestinians are confined, separated, denied medical treatment, and degraded by an 8-meter-high separation wall, pass laws, curfews and 600 military checkpoints.

Isn’t that the Nakba?

From 2000-2007, 4274 Palestinians in these 1967 territories were killed. During the same period, the military seized 60,000 political prisoners; it still holds and tortures 10,000 or more.

Isn’t that the Nakba?

In 2006, Israel turned Lebanon into a killing ground, slaughtering and maiming thousands of people, destroying the civilian infrastructure, and turning a quarter of the population into refugees in their own land. At the same time, it continued to brutalize Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

Isn’t that the Nakba?

On December 27, 2008, Israel invaded Gaza, killing 1400 Palestinians and wounding another 5,000; nearly all were civilians, including hundreds of children. Gaza remains under brutal Israeli siege.

Isn’t that the Nakba?

Since 1948, the U.S. government has given Israel  –  its foreign aid recipient  — at least $108 billion. In the past ten years alone, U.S. military aid was $17 billion; over the next decade, it will be $30 billion. Just as in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, U.S. aircraft, white phosphorous and bullets kill and maim on behalf of the occupiers, while both Democratic and Republican politicians condone the slaughter.

Isn’t that the Nakba?

The U.S. and Israeli regimes continue to arm and train the corrupt Quisling Palestinian Authority in order to suppress Palestinian resistance and overthrow the democratically elected Hamas government.
Isn’t that the Nakba?

Fifteen hundred 500 U.S. labor bodies have plowed at least $5 billion of our union pension funds and retirement plans into State of Israel Bonds.

Isn’t that the Nakba?

In July 2007, top officials of the AFL-CIO and Change to Win signed a statement by the Jewish Labor Committee that condemned British unions for even considering the nonviolent campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.

Isn’t that the Nakba?

What can *we* do to end the Nakba?

Above all, we can support the growing international campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel, which demands full Palestinian self-determination, including an end to Israeli military occupation, the right of Palestinian refugees to return, and elimination of apartheid throughout historic Palestine.

When those goals have been won — and only then — will the Nakba truly end.

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