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Israel Penalizing Nakba Commemoration: One More Step Down the Path of Apartheid PDF Print E-mail
Mar 03, 2010 at 12:00 AM

Badil Resource Center [3 March 2010]

The Israeli parliamentary Law Committee has recently approved a law proposal the (“Nakba bill”) that, if passed by the Knesset, would impose economic sanctions on the organizers of Nakba commemorations. Every year in May, Palestinians and supporters of their right of return commemorate the Nakba of 1948, which marks the single most traumatic and far-reaching event in the long and ongoing process of forced displacement and dispossession of the Palestinian people by the state of Israel. Nakba commemorations are important events in Israel, where some 335,000 Palestinians, citizens of Israel, continue to be denied their right to return to their homes, lands and communities, and are forced to live as internally displaced persons within their own country.

Palestinian citizens of Israel have experienced the Nakba (an Arabic word meaning catastrophe) not only in 1948 but every day since then. The “ongoing Nakba” is caused by Israel's system of institutionalized racial discrimination which is composed of laws, policies and practices that have resulted in second-class citizen status of Palestinians, more land confiscation, discriminatory development planning, segregation of Palestinian communities, home demolitions and forced evictions, in order to ensure Jewish privilege and domination. Forcible displacement of Palestinian citizens continues as result, in particular in the Naqab (Negev), the Galilee and in towns with a 'mixed' Jewish and Palestinian population. Every aspect of Palestinian citizens’ life is affected by Israel's system of institutionalized racial discrimination, including an education system that has worked to deprive Palestinian students of knowledge of their history and identity.

The proposed “Nakba bill” forbids government-supported organizations from spending money on activities that commemorate the Nakba, and will deduct as much as ten times the amount of money they spent on such activities from their budget. In effect, the bill requires that Palestinian citizens of Israel deny their history and identity, and identify with “Zionist values” that negate their Palestinian national identity. It requires that Palestinians sanction their own historical dispossession and accept their current status as second-class citizens in the “Jewish state” and their detachment from the Palestinian people.

The Knesset prepares to discuss the Nakba bill at a time when it has already passed another law that declares all Jews who have immigrated to Israel from Arab countries to be refugees. This law, similar to an earlier resolution passed by the U.S. Congress, was passed in an attempt to cloud and undermine the quest for rights-based solutions for the Palestinian refugees. It aims to distract from the fact that the individual and collective rights of refugees are not a matter of a trade-off but to be examined on the merits of each case. As with all refugees, including Palestinian refugees, Jewish persons who are refugees under international law, must not be denied their right to return to their places of origin.

In the 62nd year of the Palestinian Nakba, BADIL calls upon the international community to condemn Israel's Nakba bill and to hold Israel accountable to its obligations under international law, including its obligation to respect, protect and promote the right of all displaced Palestinians to return to their homes of origin as part of reparations.
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Vancouver panel says: "Enough!"
Wednesday, June 6th, 2007

It is the conviction of Canpalnet that there are many and varied pathways that can and do bring Canadians to a simple conclusion; namely, that Israel's occupation must be ended, for elementary justice, and to salvage the humanity of all.

To illustrate this, a diverse and distinguished panel of speakers assembled in Vancouver at a press conference on June 6th to express their opposition to Israel’s 40 year occupation of Palestinian lands, and to call for the government of Canada to take action against that occupation and in support of human rights and international law. The conference took place in the Bank of Nova Scotia Room at Simon Fraser University’s Harbour Centre campus in downtown Vancouver.

Dr. Naseer Aruri, noted Palestinian intellectual and prolific author, was a special guest. Born in Jerusalem, now Emeritus Chancellor Professor at the University of Massachussetts, he has been a member of the international board of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch (USA), and Palestinian human rights groups. His most recent work is Dishonest Broker: The U.S. Role in Israel and Palestine.

A statement of support was sent by the all-party parliamentary group in Ottawa, the Canada Palestine Parliamentary Association.

That message and the statements of the panelists (listed below) are posted on this site.  

  • Svend Robinson, long time member of Parliament.
  • Sister Elizabeth Kelliher, of the Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement.
  • Murray Dobbin, journalist, broadcaster, and author of books on Canadian politics.
  • David Diamond, founder and artistic director of Headlines Theatre and recipient of the City of Vancouver’s Cultural Harmony Award.
  • Lee Lakeman, organizer of Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter and a representative for the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centers.
  • Carl Rosenberg, editor of Canadian Jewish Outlook Magazine.
  • Terry Greenberg, recently retired member of Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs.
  • Reverend Brenda Faust, Minister of Port Coquitlam Trinity United Church.
  • Henry Krause, pastor of Langley Mennonite Fellowship.
  • Cynthia Flood, prize-winning Canadian short-story writer.
  • Dr. Ivar Ekeland, Canada Research Chair in Mathematical Economics at UBC and former President of the University of Paris-9.
  • Ken Davidson, head of the International Solidarity Committee of CUPE (Canadian Union of Public Employees).
  • Thekla Lit, founder and president of BC ALPHA (Association for Learning and Preserving the History of World War 2 in Asia).

To see podcast of press conference:

40 Years of Occupation(Part 1) Press Conf. WM video - 9 mins - June 6, 2007

40 Years of Occupation(Part 2) Press Conf. video - 9 mins - June 6, 2007

 

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