Nakba: Not The Day of Silence
Palestinians and human rights activists are holding rallies and remembrances across the globe to mark the 67th anniversary of the Nakba (Catastrophe) Day.
In the 1948 War, some 800,000 Palestinians or 76 percent of the population – now estimated to number nearly five million with their descendants – were driven out of their homes. Since then, Tel Aviv has denied the refugees the right to return, despite numerous United Nations resolutions (all vetoed by the United States) and international law that uphold people’s right to return to their homelands.
No oppression is so heavy or lasting as that which is inflicted by the perversion of justice or exorbitance of legal authority. The global West, led by the US, the Israel lobbyists and certain Arab officialdom are still doing everything they can to force the Palestinian unity government to recognize Israel.
To this end, they have blockaded Gaza altogether. US lawmakers have even advanced a legislation that penalizes international participation in the growing movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel (BDS) for human rights abuses against Palestinians. Under the new law, the US would put pressure on other countries not to engage in BDS against Israel of any kind, including refusal to do business with illegal settlements.
The potential implications of such a move extend far beyond the ongoing negotiations with the EU, as its language refers to all international trade agreements. The idea is to persuade the world to support the apartheid regime and to force the new Palestinian government to accept the current balances of power, the perpetuation of which is contingent upon their submission to unfair circumstances and the types of blackmail it exerts.
Still, the American legislation, which actually encourages illegal settlement building while strengthening the far right in Israel, shows that the international boycott movement has been an increasingly powerful means to challenge Israel’s impunity when it comes to Palestinian rights and international law.
To this end, the world cannot afford to stand still anymore. The boycotts, divestment and sanctions tactics are essential tools to create a just society in occupied Palestine. The right of return for refugees to their homes from where they were forcibly removed cannot be compromised either. It’s a right guaranteed by international law and enshrined in UN General Assembly Resolution 194.
Tyranny and anarchy are never far asunder and oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The political groups and factions in Palestine are fully aware that the Israelis will stop at nothing to expand their territories or stop them from returning. That’s why they are fighting back.
Their legitimate demand for the right to return, and for equal opportunities and self-determination, is humane and in accordance with each and every human rights book in the world. It should be fully acknowledged and legally backed by each and every human rights organization in the world too. Oppression can only survive through silence.