End the catastrophe imposed on the Palestinian people!

Painting depicting the Nakba by Palestinian artist Ismail Shammout.

May 15 marks the 72nd anniversary of Al Nakba — the Catastrophe — a day marking a “continuous journey of pain, loss and injustice” for the Palestinian people. It marks the day that some 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes during the 1948 war. Palestinians were forced from their lands and homes due to military attacks by Zionist forces, supported by the British and U.S. governments. The Israeli Zionist forces attacked 774 cities and villages, and occupied 80 per cent of the Palestinian soil after killing nearly 15,000 Muslim and Christian civilians. Those who survived were forced to migrate to the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and neighbouring countries, such as Syria, Jordan and Lebanon.

May 15, Al Nakba Day, is living memory of these crimes, crimes which set the scene for today’s conditions where more than seven million Palestinians live in exile, while two million are living in the Gaza strip, the world’s largest open-air prison.

This year due to the COVID-19 pandemic conditions, the form the mass mobilization will take is online seminars, film streaming and online expressions of support of all kinds. The peoples of the world support Palestinian resistance, statehood and their right to be and will honour and recognize their struggle with all their hearts and minds, demanding that the world community of nations do its duty and end the injustice once and for all. 

Leading up to Al Nakba Day, Israeli occupation soldiers brutally shot and killed Zaid Qaysia, a 15-year-old Palestinian from Hebron, on May 12. Four others were wounded. Israeli soldiers were raiding the Al Fawwar refugee camp. Dozens more Palestinians have been detained in Israeli raids across the occupied West Bank. One Israeli soldier died at the hands of the resistance while carrying out these savage raids in recent days.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the day Israeli troops killed Zaid Qaysia. Pompeo commented that “Israel has the right to defend itself and America will consistently support you in that effort.”

Pompeo was in Israel to discuss Israeli annexation of occupied Palestinian territories. Netanyahu set July 1 as the date to officially annex parts of the West Bank and a number of illegal Israeli settlements. Pompeo said “there remains work to do and we need to make progress on that” revealing that annexation and extinguishing the right to be of Palestinians is the U.S. imperialist agenda, not simply an Israeli agenda. Annexation is what the U.S. “Deal of the Century” announced earlier this year by President Trump is about.

The Israeli Zionists are pushing ahead. On May 6, according to the Jerusalem Post, the Israeli Minister of Defense Naftali Bennett approved the expansion of the Efrat settlement south of Jerusalem (al-Quds), and endorsed the plan for some 7,000 new settler units in the 11,000-resident municipality.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has condemned Israel’s plan to annex much of the occupied West Bank, saying the move will shut the door on possible “peace negotiations” with the Palestinians. The Palestinian Authority has rejected the “Deal” with utter contempt. The Arab League has said annexation would be a “war crime.” The Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates denounced the Israeli regime’s approval for the construction of the 7,000 new settler units in the West Bank as a flagrant violation of international law and UN resolutions. According to the Palestinian Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour, the UN Security Council will meet to discuss the situation on May 20.

On this occasion of the 72nd anniversary of Al Nakba Day, the world  salutes the heroic resistance of the Palestinian people and once again raises the demand to end the injustice now!

No to Israeli Annexation!
No to the U.S. Deal of the Century!
Free Free Palestine!

Great Return March actions in Gaza, near the Israeli border, mark Nakba 70 in 2018.

(Photos: Ralph JH, Great Return March)

Information on U.S.-Israeli Agenda of Annexation and Extinguishing Palestinian Right to Be

Demonstration in Ramallah, February 11, 2020, one of many in Palestine and around the world rejecting the Trump administration’s “Deal of the Century.”

U.S President Donald Trump announced his so called “Deal of the Century” on January 28 this year. It aims to legitimize the role of the Zionist state over the Palestinians, depriving them of their livelihoods and lands and, in particular, negating their rights as a people, including the right of return. The Palestinian people have rejected the “Deal of the Century” in its entirety, while the Israeli state and its political leaders are acting as if it is a done deal.

Immediately after the terms of the “Deal” were disclosed, the publication Canada Talks Israel-Palestine issued a summary of its main features and presented its assessment to Global Affairs Canada “to help Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne make up his mind on the substance of the Deal.” The government of Canada has remained silent.

Here are ten of the main provisions of the Deal identified by Canada Talks Israel-Palestine:

Expansion of Israel’s Borders: Israel’s borders will now extend to the Jordan River. In the process, Israel will gain another 20 per cent of the West Bank. It will give up some mostly uninhabited desert land in the Negev near the Gaza-Egypt border. Israel will retain sovereignty over territorial waters, which means not only that it will control access to Gaza, but also the subsea resources (chiefly natural gas) off the Mediterranean coast.

Exclusive Israeli control over Jerusalem: Palestinians will have to accept that all of Jerusalem (“undivided”) is Israel’s capital and under Israeli control, including the Old City. Palestinians will be allowed to keep some land on the periphery of East Jerusalem and call it their “capital.” (In Canadian terms, “we will take Ottawa as our capital and you can have Barrhaven.”)

Settlements: Israel will annex the Jordan Valley and claim sovereignty over 100 Israeli settlements in the West Bank. This includes 15 isolated settlements, which will be enclaves within an eventual Palestinian state. The Israeli military will have access to these isolated settlements.

Israeli military control: Israel will be in control of security from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. The Israel Defense Forces will be able to go anywhere in the West Bank and Gaza.

Right of return denied for almost all refugees: Over half the Palestinian population are refugees — between 5 and 7 million people. They are the descendants of non-Jews (Muslims and Christians) who were driven out of what became Israel in 1947/48. But according to the plan, only a small number of Palestinian refugees and their descendants will be allowed into the new Palestinian “state.” None will have the right to enter Israel. The rest will have to give up the idea of return, despite the fact that it is guaranteed in international law

A Palestinian “quasi” state — “eventually? maybe?”: The plan does not include immediate recognition of a Palestinian state; rather, it holds out the prospect of a future Palestinian “State” — eventually, and under certain conditions. But this state is unlike any other state in the world. It will be a strange collection of separate “areas” cut off from each other by Israeli-only roads, and pockmarked by Israeli settlements, which will be Israeli territory. The Palestinian state will have no territorial contiguity, and the parts of the West Bank will be connected via 12 tunnels or bridges. Israel will maintain control of all its borders. The West Bank and Gaza Strip will be connected by a 20-kilometre tunnel.

Some Palestinian Israelis could lose Israeli citizenship: The plan leaves open the possibility that Israel will redraw its borders to exclude several large Palestinian towns now on Israel’s borders. By including them in the future Palestinian “state,” Israel would reduce the number of non-Jews in Israel by several hundred thousand.

An end to resistance: Trump also called for the disarmament of Palestinian political factions like Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and “firm rejection of terrorism” as a requirement for Palestinian statehood. Palestinians would give up their right to defend their homes and schools from attacks by settlers, for example. The plan also demands that the Palestinians drop their request that the International Criminal Court investigate Israel for “crimes against humanity.”

Recognition of Israel as a Jewish State: Palestinians would be required to recognize Israel as the Jewish State, and accept that the Israeli border will be along the Jordan valley. Israeli citizens who are not Jewish (i.e., Palestinian citizens of Israel, who number 1.5 million) will have to accept permanently their situation as second class citizens with fewer rights than those of Jewish Israeli citizens.

Promises of new investment and job creation: The plan holds out the lure of $50 billion in investments over 10 years. “Over the next 10 years, one million great new Palestinian jobs will be created,” Trump promised, adding that the poverty rate will be cut in half, and the Palestinian GDP will “double and triple.” He did not say who will pony up the money, however. The implication seems to be that it will come from other Arab states, though none has offered any.

Statement Issued by Global Affairs Canada on January 28 on the Release of U.S. Middle East Peace Plan

Montreal demonstration, February 2, 2020, stands with the Palestinian people in denouncing the “Deal of the Century.”

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Foreign Affairs, stated “Canada remains committed to the goal of achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East. This includes the creation of a Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel and ensuring Israel’s security within its own borders.

“Canada recognizes the urgent need to renew efforts toward a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and will carefully examine the details of the U.S. initiative for the Middle East peace process.

“Canada has long maintained that peace can only be achieved through direct negotiations between the parties. We urge the parties to create the conditions for such negotiations to take place.

“Canada reaffirms its readiness to support meaningful dialogue between the parties toward a negotiated and viable two-state solution.”

Toronto protest February 1, 2020, rejects “Deal of the Century.”

TML Weekly, May 16, 2020, No. 17

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