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Issue #1685      May 20, 2015

Remembering Al Nakba

On May 15, 1948, 750,000 Palestinians (over half the population) were expelled from their homeland. Hundreds of Palestinian villages were depopulated and destroyed in an event remembered by Palestinians as Al Nakba or “catastrophe”.

Each year the Palestinian diasporas around the world and their supporters in their new lands, organise rallies of remembrance to mourn this day and call for the right of return, an end to the occupation of their lands and a Palestinian state.

In Perth a rally organised by Friends of Palestine WA was held on May 16, in steady rain in the Murray Street Mall of the Perth CBD, attended by about 100 people. Speakers included ALP Senator Sue Lines who herself has seen at first hand the devastating effect which the occupation and illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank have on Palestinian people.

Ayman Qwaider, a Palestinian refugee, said when he talks regularly with family and friends back in Palestine they say it feels like Al Nakba every day when they wake up to the ongoing repression by the Israeli state. Ayman also spoke of the more than three million Palestinians who live close by their homeland in the Arab states of Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, many who have had a tenuous existence in their adopted lands, including several hundred thousand still living in refugee camps.

One especially poignant form of repression against the Palestinian people has been establishment of the “Nakba Law” in 2011, which authorises Israel’s finance minister to revoke funding from institutions that reject Israel’s character as a “Jewish State” or mark the Independence Day as a day of mourning. Yet what else can it be for the dispossessed and now continually repressed Palestinian people. Under the new government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his reactionary coalition partners hopes for a peace settlement and the recognition of a Palestinian state are further away than ever.

While protesters braved a steady rain to march around the two main malls of the Perth CBD, stone throwing Palestinians including children have had to brave attacks by Israeli soldiers who fired tear gas, rubber bullets and water canon to disperse their protests in the West Bank.

Other rallies and marches were held around Australia and the world including in Sydney outside the Town Hall and in King George Square in Brisbane.

The Communist Party of Australia calls on the Australian government to put pressure on the Israeli government to cease the establishment of further illegal settlements on Palestinian land, to enter into meaningful and binding talks to establish a Palestinian state, with power to protect its sovereignty from incursions by the Israeli state by whatever means.

Next article – Budget 2015-16 – Shelters axed as murder rate soars

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