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Nov 29, 2007 at 12:00 AM

BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights

29 November 2007

60 Years After the UN Partition Plan

Launch of the "Nakba-60 Campaign" - a Global Campaign for the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People

"We had a country, but they they came and stole our country", members of the old generation of Palestinian refugees from towns and villages in what is now Israel summarize what happened between 1947 - 1949, and they call it the "Nakba" (catastrophe). "Look, they are stealing our country", say Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank today. They point at Israel's Wall, roads, military checkpoints and Jewish colonies which deprive them of access to some 40 percent of the land and cause more displacement. "This is our Nakba; the Nakba is ongoing", they say.

Today, 60 years after the UN Partition Plan, Palestinians and people of conscience worldwide launch a year-long campaign of public awareness-raising and education about the Nakba and Israel's discriminatory Apartheid-like regime over the Palestinian people in the 1967 OPT, Israel and in exile.

60 years ago, on 27 November 1947, the United Nations recommended partition of Palestine (UNGAR 181) against the wishes and rights under international law of the indigenous Palestinians who composed two thirds of the country's population. The international community envisioned that there should be two states: a "Jewish state" on 55 percent of the land - in the most fertile parts of the country and with access to the sea - for a population composed of an equal number of Arabs and Jews; and, an "Arab state" on the rest of the land, which - arid and land-locked - was to survive with the help of international aid.(1)

Today, the international community rallies around the new "Annapolis process" and continues to pursue partition. Again, there is no political will to respect, protect and promote the rights of the Palestinian people under international law, and international aid is to ensure that the Palestinian Authority and hope for a Palestinian state will survive.

Meanwhile, Israel claims legitimacy based on the historic UN Partition Plan, although the existing "Jewish state" and its proposals for conflict resolution based on "two nation states" or "two states for two peoples" do not respect the right of "non-Jews" (i.e. Palestinians) to equality as required under the provisions of the 1947 UN plan, subsequent UN resolutions and international law. Not held accountable to international law, and in deviation from Israel's common stand that "we must never forget or forgive", Israel's Minister of Foreign Affairs Tsipi Livni went even further, when she said to her "Palestinian colleagues" in Annapolis: "Do not bemoan the establishment of the State of Israel ... for us the establishment of the Palestinian state is not our Nakba, or disaster provided that upon its establishment the word "Nakba" be deleted from the Arabic lexicon in referring to Israel."

Palestinians, however, insist in their rights to commemorate suffering and injustice and seek remedy for victims, in particular for Palestinian refugees. The ongoing Nakba is at the core of the agenda. The one-year-long "Nakba-60 Campaign" launched today is carried by Palestinian community networks, the global Palestine Right-of-Return Coalition and the global movement for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it respects international law and universal human rights. It is supported and coordinated globally by a wide range of civil society organizations and networks, including the World Social Forum and the International Coordinating Committee of NGOs on Palestine (ICNP). The ICNP Call to Action for Nakba-60 is published today; it calls for concerted global civil society efforts to promote the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, in particular the right to self-determination and return (UNGAR 3236 of 1974).

For copies of the ICNP Call to Action and information and events related to the Nakba-60 Campaign see:
www.badil.org/campaign40-60/index.html
(1) UNSCOP Report, 3 September 1947, A/364.
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