Palestinians worldwide are commemorating the annual Nakba day to remember the ethnic cleansing that occurred during Israel's creation. Over 600 towns and villages were demolished by Jewish paramilitary groups and then by the state of Israel itself during months of violent raids which triggered a mass exodus of the indigenous population, marking a key milestone in the Zionist take-over of Palestine.
Rallies and speeches are usually held across Palestine to mark the event. However, this year's commemorative events in Gaza and the West Bank have been cancelled amid the coronavirus pandemic. Palestinians worldwide are nevertheless marking the event in different ways, remembering the pain of countless victims of Israel's brutal occupation and to assert their rights.
British-Palestinian groups have joined in the remembrance, issuing a strong statement in solidarity with Palestinians across the world. Below is their statement.
"Today, on 15 May, 2020, Palestinians around the world remember the 72nd anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba. Al-Nakba, meaning 'the catastrophe' in Arabic, represents the Palestinian exodus and the displacement of roughly 700,000 Palestinians from historic Palestine in 1948 at the behest of the Zionist occupation and British colonialism.
On this occasion, we affirm that the inalienable rights that Palestinians hold under international law will not be compromised, and that the Palestinian people will never concede on their right to return to the homes forcibly taken from them and their ancestors.
Despite the systematic suffering, displacement, and oppression that has aimed to eradicate Palestinian identity and the right of return, Palestinians will continue to resist and remain steadfast in defending their human rights. While occasions remembering the Nakba are not necessitated to remind Palestinians of their collective suffering, it is an occasion where all Palestinians can emphasise the absolute belief and confidence in both the just cause for which we are all fighting, and the belief that we will inevitably return to the land and holy sites that have been forcibly appropriated from us.
Indeed, Palestine, Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa remain key pillars of the unified struggle of the Palestinian nation and are at the heart of the fight for justice and human rights in Palestine. We affirm that those ceding these pillars and calling for, or pursuing, acts of normalisation with the state of occupation are a stain on this struggle for justice and human rights.
On this anniversary, it is essential to renew the unbinding covenant of the Palestinian people in the fight towards liberation. In this context, we affirm the following:
- Return to Palestine is an inalienable right of the Palestinian people and will not be reneged and comprised just as the mountains of Safad, Eilaboun and Nablus remain immovable. All unjust Zionist procedures that seek to change the identity of the land upon which our fathers and forefathers resided on will fail.
- We affirm our categorical rejection of all initiatives and projects designed to liquidate the Palestinian issue or diminish the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. Foremost amongst these projects is the so-called 'Deal of the Century'. In this regard, we affirm the right of the Palestinian people to resist these projects using any and all available means within international law.
- We affirm our total rejection of all acts of normalisation with the state of occupation. Whether political, cultural, artistic, commercial, or in the sports, we consider such acts detrimental to the pursuit of justice in Palestine. We also note that such acts serve to rationalise the crimes and human rights abuses of the occupier and provide the state of occupation with a carte blanche for the furtherance of these crimes.
- We salute the steadfastness of the thousands of Palestinians in Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza, 1948 lands, and in the diaspora, and we invite them to participate in activities pertaining to the commemoration of Nakba72 using all available means (including social media campaigns and physical demonstrations where possible). Foremost amongst these initiatives is the international campaign 'Return… My Right, My Decision' and the International Campaign for Preserving Palestinian Identity (Intimaa).
- We send our warm greetings and well-wishes to the 5,000 heroes of Palestine languishing in uninhabitable conditions across Israel's jails. We urge our people to provide all forms of support to these heroes, including but not limited to resisting and rejecting the proposed initiative by the occupation state to compel banks in the West Bank to close the accounts of Palestinians spending time in Israel's jails.
- We call for our people to remain steadfast and united around the key and fundamental principles underpinning our cause: identity, the sanctity of land, and the right of return. Upholding these principles, we urge the Palestinian people to find unity at this crucial moment as ending fragmentation is key in overcoming this brutal occupation."
Palestinian Forum in Britain (PFB)
Friends of Al-Aqsa
Palestinian Youth Organisation (Olive)
Palestinian Return Centre (PRC)
European Palestinian Communication Forum (Europal)