May 15, 2016 commemorated the 68th anniversary of Al-Nakba. It marked the beginning of the forcible expulsion and exile from their land of 750,000 Palestinians by Zionist militias. In the immediate aftermath, approximately 4,244,776 acres of land were stolen and annexed into the Zionist state which had declared its existence four days previously. By 1949 this state occupied 78 per cent of Palestinian land. Between 1948 and 1950 more than 500 Palestinian towns and villages were systematically destroyed or repopulated. Today, more than half of the 11.5 million-strong Palestinian people are refugees from the Nakba and subsequent forced displacement and genocide.
On May 15 the Palestinian people joined by the people of all countries solemnly commemorated the terror and suffering which continues to be inflicted and affirm their right of return. Their resistance will never cease until the right of the Palestinian people to their homeland and their right to be is secured. The more than 7 million Palestinian refugees stand as one with the people living under Zionist occupation inside and outside Israel in pledging that they will return to build a nation which no longer experiences the humiliation, racism, genocide and constant punishment endured during 68 years of occupation and state terrorism. The peoples of the world must affirm with renewed vigour that there is no more pressing injustice to be rectified than the Zionist occupation of Palestine and all the heinous crimes perpetrated under its existence.
The right of return is well-founded in international law. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights says, “Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.”
The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination affirms this right with the emphasis that it cannot be denied on the basis of “race, color, or national or ethnic origin.” The Fourth Geneva Convention states that persons evacuated by an Occupying Power during warfare must be transferred back to their homes as soon as hostilities cease.
The International Convention on Civil and Political Rights states, “No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country.” UN General Assembly Resolution 194 adopted on December 11, 1948 declares that the Palestinian refugees “wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date.” Resolution 194 has been reaffirmed by the UN General Assembly more than 110 times since its first adoption. UN General Assembly Resolution 3236 adopted in 1974 affirms “the inalienable right of Palestinians to return to their homes and property from which they have been displaced and uprooted, and calls for their return.”
Sixty-eight years later, the Zionist occupation of Palestine and continued exile of millions of Palestinians remain illegitimate. Without any legitimacy, the oppression and dispossession of the Palestinian people relies on U.S. imperialism and its dictum of Might Makes Right, as well as other countries that are part of the imperialist system of states including Canada. To this end the right of the Palestinian people to return and march ahead with their nation-building project is anathema to the U.S. imperialists who require the Zionist state to maintain its occupation in order to carry out subversion against the peoples of Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and the whole of West Asia and Northern Africa.
The Palestinian people and Palestinian youth the world over are eager to return to their homeland. They are eager to return to the place from which their parents and grandparents were brutally expelled and build a bright future for themselves. Palestinians are burning to see their country free from a ruthless occupation which continues to take so many lives with impunity. They are fighting every day to make it a reality. The Palestinian people today reject all the old equations which insist that they must conciliate with the occupation and give up their right to be. On Nakba Day 2016, the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) salutes the Palestinian people for their steadfastness and continued sacrifice and calls on the Canadian people to step up the work to ensure that the brutal rule over the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank is ended and the right of return affirmed.
(With files from CPC(M-L) archives; Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition. Photos/Graphics: Activestills, C. Latuff, B. Korotzer.)
Nakba Day marked with calls to affirm Right of Return
Millions of people took part in events commemorating the 68th anniversary of Al-Nakba on May 15 around the world. Marches of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians took place in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on Nakba Day.
Events began in Palestine on May 12 with the 19th annual March of Return. This year the march was held near Bedouin towns in the Negev (Naqab), a desert region occupied by Israel since 1948. Thousands of Palestinians, waving their national flag and holding banners marched across the Negev demanding the recognition of the right to return for Palestinian refugees and those internally displaced from their villages in Israel.
The March of Return is staged each year from the site of a Palestinian village destroyed by Israeli forces in 1948. The march was launched this year from the destroyed village of Wadi Zubala and continued near the town of Rahat to underscore Israel’s ongoing destruction of Bedouin villages throughout the Negev. Israeli forces have been undertaking a wave of demolitions against the approximately 160,000 Bedouins residing in villages not recognized by the state of Israel.
This year, the event was attended by local Palestinians, activists, rights leaders, Knesset (Israeli parliament) members, and leaders of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee. A moment of silence was held in memory of the Palestinians killed and displaced in 1948, and was followed by the crowd pledging to preserve the Bedouin lands of the Negev and renewing their commitment to the Right to Return.
Ayman Odeh, a member of the Knesset and head of the Arab Joint List of deputies told the crowd that this march was particularly important because residents who were displaced from the village of Wadi Zubala in 1948 fled to the unrecognized Bedouin towns of Atir and Umm al-Hiran. Both villages are now slated for demolition to make room for Zionist settlers.
Odeh referred to the pending demolitions as “the continuing Nakba” and added that “the issue of Nakba is not an issue of the past, but an issue especially important for the future.” “Recognizing the Nakba, and working on correcting this injustice is the only way to ensure a just peace and achieve real reconciliation between the two peoples,” he said.
Mohammad Barakeh, former Knesset member and head of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, gave closing remarks to the crowd: “The Zionist movement hopes that adults will die young and the young will forget, but we insist on passing down memories [of the Nakba] from generation to generation.”
“We are here in the Negev to remember a time almost forgotten, when 600,000 to 700,000 Palestinians were expelled to the Sinai and Jordan in 1948. Some forget the crimes of displacement in the Negev. But we are here to make our blood and the blood of our people in the Negev known, and their right to return to the Negev, and our peoples’ right to return [to their lands] everywhere.”
(Ma’an News Agency. Photos: Ma’an, MEE