Palestinians plan fresh protests to mark war anniversary

Committee behind last weekend’s protests says they were ‘just the beginning’, and calls for further marches on 5 June

Palestinian protesters cross the Israel-Syria border

Harriet Sherwood in Jerusalem

guardian.co.uk, Sunday 22 May 2011

Palestinian refugees are planning a fresh round of marches on Israel next month, amid signs that grassroots protests could gain momentum from deep disillusion over the prospects for peace talks and the impact of the Arab Spring.

A committee behind demonstrations last weekend, in which 14 people were killed on the Lebanese and Syrian borders, have called for further protests on 5 June to mark the anniversary of the 1967 Six Day War, during which Israel occupied the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

The rallying call is likely to be given added impetus by Israel’s rejection on Friday of Barack Obama’s explicit backing for a Palestinian state based on pre-1967 borders.

The committee, which said last weekend’s protests were “just the beginning”, said thousands would march to the pre-1967 “green line” between Israel and the West Bank, the border with Gaza, the fence between the occupied Golan Heights and Syria, and Israel’s international border with Lebanon. Continue reading

Jordan Times: “Palestinians unite as they mark Nakba”

Friday, May 13, 2011
Activists hold Palestinian flags and orange flags of an Arab Israeli  political movement during a rally marking the anniversary of the ‘Nakba’, Arabic for catastrophe, in East Jerusalem on Saturday (AP photo  by Sebastian Scheiner)
Activists hold Palestinian flags and orange flags of an Arab Israeli political movement during a rally marking the anniversary of the ‘Nakba’, Arabic for catastrophe, in East Jerusalem on Saturday (AP photo by Sebastian Scheiner)
AgenciesLeaders of rival Palestinian factions displayed rare unity on Saturday as they marked their “day of catastrophe” or Nakba at a rally in Gaza, raising hopes of reconciliation between the two bitter rival parties.

It was the first time leaders from Islamist Hamas and the more secular Fateh movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had shared the platform at a large public gathering since Hamas seized the Gaza Strip from Fateh in a 2007 civil war.

Palestinians mark “nakba day” on May 15, the day in 1948 when more than 760,000 Palestinians – estimated today to number 4.7 million with their descendants – were pushed into exile or driven out of their homes in the conflict that followed Israel’s creation 62 years ago. Continue reading

Lebanon: The Nakba in Beirut

Palestinian women wearing traditional dresses salute as they sing the national anthem during a festival to commemorate Nakba in Beirut yesterday. Palestinians will mark “Nakba” on May 15 to commemorate the expulsion or fleeing of some 700, 000 Palestinians from their homes in the war that led to the founding of Israel in 1948.

Egyptian Activists Gear Up For Third Intifada

By Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani

CAIRO, May 10, 2011 (IPS) – Following the February ouster of Egypt’s longstanding President Hosni Mubarak, calls have been circulating in Egypt and throughout the region for a ‘Third Intifada’ to begin May 15.

“Unlike the first two Palestinian uprisings, the proposed Third Intifada is meant to involve the entire Arab world,” Egyptian journalist and political analyst Abdelhalim Kandil told IPS.

It began with the appearance of a Facebook.com page in early March calling for a ‘Third Intifada’ against the ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestinian land. The page, reportedly founded by Arab pro- Palestinian groups, set the launch date for May 15 – the day on which hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were driven from their homes in 1948 to make way for the nascent state of Israel.

The page attracted some 230,000 members within two weeks, prompting Israeli officials to lodge a complaint with the popular California-based social-networking website. On Mar. 29, Facebook.com removed the page – which had at that point surpassed the 500,000-member mark – claiming that its contents were found to “promote violence”.

The page was almost immediately replaced with several copycat pages, however, which reiterated calls for “the liberation of Palestine from the [Mediterranean] Sea to the [Jordan] River” and “the return of Palestinian refugees to their homes in historical Palestine” in accordance with U.N. Security Council Resolution 194 of 1948. Continue reading

Palestinian unity: details still unclear

al Jazeera

[While details of the PA-Hamas deal are still largely unclear, the largest question is whether or how Palestinian people–in Gaza, in the West Bank, inside Israeli areas, and throughout the diaspora–can assert some meaningful level of control over the process, or will be manipulated once again.  At the same time, there is concern from the (US/EU) imperialist powers about how they may control or strongly influence this process–through their old corrupt subordinates in the PA and through the traditional US-tied Egyptian military, which is being touted as “the Palestinian deal-makers.” — Frontlines ed.]

Israel: Knesset (parliament) criminalizes opposition to ethnic cleansing

[Imagine the US banning talk of America’s roots in the enslavement of Africans and the genocide of indigenous; or Turkey, banning talk of the genocide of Armenians, or the oppression of Kurds; or India, criminalizing consideration of Kashmiri oppression.  These are equivalent to the Israeli Knesset’s action banning Palestinian commemorations of the Nakba (the disaster) which Israel’s founding has continued to mean for Palestinian people. — Frontlines ed.]

Nakba: A Forbidden Past

A bill was passed by the Israeli Knesset which calls on the government to deny funding to any organization, institution or municipality that commemorates the founding of the Israeli state as a day of mourning. The bill has become known as the “Nakba bill,” referring to the ethnic cleansing of historic Palestine during and before the establishment of the State of Israel in 1947-48.

“Law will not influence the way we commemorate the Nakba,” Haneen Zoabi, Palestinian member of the Knesset, told The Electronic Intifada. “On the contrary, we must prove to our people and to the state that we will not be afraid from this law and that this will not succeed in oppressing our feeling or our identity. We will commemorate the Nakba in a much more impressive way this year than we ever did.”

“This is a kind of law to control our memory, to control our collective memory. It’s a very stupid law which punishes our feelings. It seems that the history of the victim is threatening the Zionist state,” Zoabi said. Continue reading

After the Palestine Papers, can the PA survive?

Jonathan Cook, The Electronic Intifada, 1 February 2011

Will PA President Mahmoud Abbas go the way of deposed Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali? (Thaer Ganaim/MaanImages)

With the 18-year-long Middle East peace process finally pronounced dead, is the Palestinian Authority finished too?

That is the question being asked by Palestinians in the wake of a week of damaging revelations that Palestinian negotiators secretly made major concessions to Israel in talks on Jerusalem, refugees and borders.

The PA — the Palestinians’ government-in-the-making, led by Mahmoud Abbas — was already in crisis before the disclosure of official Palestinian documents by Al Jazeera television last week. Continue reading