By WORKERS’ VOICE
Every year on May 15th, Palestinians both at home, and in the diaspora commemorate the Nakba or “catastrophe” in Arabic. This day is the annual commemoration of the dissolution of the British Mandate of Palestine and the founding of the settler-colonial Zionist ethnostate of Israel. It was on this day that the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians began from their land and the number has only increased over time as the Israel expands and encroaches into what little territory remains for Palestinians by way of Jewish settlers backed by extremists in the Israeli government such as minister of the interior Ayelet Shaked (who unironically appeared in a campaign ad featuring ‘fascism’ perfume, and who has remarked on twitter to “kill all Palestinians.”). This blatant seizure of Palestinian homes is forcing more and more Palestinians from land that has belonged to their families for generations.
The UN partition of Palestine gave 54% of arable land in Palestine to the Zionist movement. Of the 475 Palestinian villages and towns existing in 1948, 385 were destroyed. The Zionist army and militias drove 780,000 Palestinians out of the country and seized 75% of Palestine. The Palestinians who remained in the state of Israel, so-called Israeli Arabs, are treated as second class citizens.
Nakba day is also a day to remember Palestinian resistance in defiance of overwhelming odds against them. For it is on this day that we also remember and commemorate the First Intifada which began in Palestine 35 years ago in 1987. The origins of intifada have their deep roots in mass boycotts, strikes, and nonviolent resistance against the Israeli state in their cruel mistreatment of Palestinians for decades. It was from this brave act of resistance that the Palestinian struggle for self-determination, equality, and freedom from oppression coalesced. As Marxists we truly admire and value any movement that has its roots in the working class, and the First Intifada was no exception!
We also remember the Second Intifada of 2000-2004 when thousands of Palestinian youth resisted the settler occupation of Palestine. The Second Intifada saw the IDF massacre of civilians at the Jenin refugee camp and massive repression against the Palestinian people, including the detention of thousands without trial.
Now the intifada must once more pick up its banner of struggle in response to recent events in the West Bank and the city of Jerusalem. Within the last year, there has been significant escalation in east Jerusalem in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah with the eviction of countless families from their homes to make room for Jewish settlers, many of whom are from The United States. In addition to this, there were sustained attacks against Palestinians praying at Al-Aqsa mosque throughout the month of Ramadan. The people there are subjected to frequent gassing, and violence by Israeli Police. Al-Aqsa has long been a symbol of resistance to Israeli occupation so it is no surprise that the police have focused their efforts there, in an attempt to scare and intimidate the Palestinian people.
However, the blatant disregard for Palestinian rights has reached a new level with the May 11th, assassination of Palestinian journalist, Shireen Abu Aqleh, who was murdered by an IDF sniper while covering a raid in Jenin. She was wearing clothing clearly indicating her status as a member of the press. The next day, thousands marched in her funeral procession in Ramallah. We join supporters of Palestinian human rights worldwide in calling for justice for Shireen. Her murder is just one more example of the brutality of the Israeli occupation. Israel has attempted to ascribe blame to Palestinian militants in her death, but this is proven to be false with evidence pointing to a hit arranged by the IDF. Unwilling to allow Palestinians even the slightest reprieve, Israeli forces would continue to harass and physically attack Abu Aqleh’s family and other mourners during funerary processions.
Free Palestine! For a democratic secular Palestine with equal rights for all!
Lift the siege of Gaza!
End illegal settlement building and return stolen land to the Palestinian people!
End US aid to Israel!
Long live the intifada!
End Israeli Apartheid! No to settler-colonialism everywhere!