[News] Palestine - Ethnic cleansing is an everyday reality

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Mon May 16 17:48:21 EDT 2016


https://electronicintifada.net/content/ethnic-cleansing-everyday-reality/16691 



  Ethnic cleansing is an everyday reality

16 May 2016 -
Yara Hawari <https://electronicintifada.net/people/yara-hawari>

Thousands marched last week to commemorate the Nakba 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/nakba>, the 1948 ethnic cleansing 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/ethnic-cleansing> of Palestine.

Held in the southern Naqab <https://electronicintifada.net/tags/naqab> 
(Negev) region for the first time in 19 years, the 2016 March of Return 
is being hailed as the largest such event for Palestinians living inside 
present-day Israel.

Organized by the Association for the Defense of the Rights of the 
Internally Displaced, the 12 May protest emphasized that the Nakba — 
Arabic for catastrophe — continues today.

Not only did participants assert the right to return 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/right-return> of Palestinians 
uprooted and exiled in 1948, they also drew attention to Israel’s 
ongoing efforts to internally displace Palestinians inside its de facto 
borders.

The annual event has previously been held in destroyed villages in the 
northern Galilee <https://electronicintifada.net/tags/galilee> region. 
The significance of the geographical move was underscored by activist 
Rafat Abu Aish, one of the march’s organizers.

“The Nakba continues in the Naqab,” he said.


    Villages destroyed

Abu Aish cited the demolition of Palestinian homes and the proposed 
uprooting of tens of thousands of Palestinian Bedouins as examples of 
the present-day ethnic cleansing in the Naqab. Though implementation of 
the latter proposal — known as the Prawer Plan 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/prawer-plan> — was halted following 
major protests, Israel has not stopped destroying 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/patrick-strickland/palestinian-bedouin-homes-demolished-israel> 
Bedouin villages.

This year’s march focused on Wadi Zubalah, a village destroyed and 
ethnically cleansed of its Palestinian Bedouin population in 1948. Its 
expelled residents were resettled by military order to Umm al-Hiran 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/umm-al-hiran>, another village, in 
the 1950s. They have lived there ever since.

The survivors of that expulsion and their families are now facing 
further displacement.

Earlier this month, the Israeli high court ruled 
<http://www.adalah.org/en/content/view/8550> that plans to destroy Umm 
al-Hiran and displace its residents may proceed. The Israeli state 
wishes to replace the village with a new Jewish town to be called Hiran.

Activist Raed Abu al-Qian spoke of how his family had been forced out of 
Wadi Zubalah.

He brought his four-month-old daughter to the march, arguing it was 
important for the young to come and see “the land of our grandparents 
and the well that they used to drink from and the houses that they used 
to live in, to know our history so they can continue coming here.”


    Hope

Muhammad Kayal, one of the founders of the Association for the Defense 
of the Rights of the Internally Displaced, said that participants in 
this year’s march “include school pupils, university students and even 
younger children, from many different parts of society.”

He noted that many regard themselves as third-generation Nakba 
survivors. Any expectations that the Israeli establishment may have had 
of young people forgetting about the Nakba have been confounded.

“These third and fourth generations are holding on to the right of 
return more than the first and second generations,” said Kayal. “They 
have hope.”

Holding the march in the Naqab was also an attempt to counter Israel’s 
efforts to “divide and rule” Palestinians.

Ilan Pappe <https://electronicintifada.net/tags/ilan-pappe>, a 
well-known historian who has been active with the Association for the 
Defense of the Rights of the Internally Displaced for many years, said: 
“The Naqab was not always associated with the struggle of the 
Palestinians in Israel due to the state’s attempt to accord a unique 
position to the Bedouin community. “

“Having the central commemorative event in the Naqab strengthens the 
connection between all the Palestinians inside Israel,” he told The 
Electronic Intifada.

During the rally prominent figures in the Palestinian community inside 
Israel — including lawmakers Ayman Odeh 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/ayman-odeh> and Haneen Zoabi 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/haneen-zoabi> — were called forward 
to mix soil from the north of historic Palestine with the soil of the 
Naqab in the south.

With hundreds of Palestinian flags on display, many at the march 
referred to the right of Palestinians in refugee camps in Syria 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/syria>, Lebanon 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/lebanon> and Jordan 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/jordan> to return home.

“The right of return of the internal refugees is strongly associated 
with the general Palestinian right of return,” said Pappe. “No matter 
what the Israeli official policy is, no matter what would be the 
tactical calculations of current Palestinian politics, this is an 
individual right that cannot be traded or abolished by anyone.”

For millions of Palestinians, the Nakba is not an event that belongs to 
the past. It is an everyday reality.

/Yara Hawari is a final year PhD candidate at the University of Exeter 
and a freelance writer. She lives in occupied East Jerusalem./


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