Friday 15th May 2020, Nakba Day

“Today, over 7 million Palestinians live as refugees or displaced persons across the Middle East and beyond — descendants of those displaced during the 1947-49 war, and those who have been subject to forced displacement under the Occupation of Palestine by Israel since 1967.” Chris Rose writes about Nakba Day 2020

15th May — Nakba Day, commemorates the forceable expulsion of over 750,000 Palestinians by Jewish militants as they set out to establish the state of Israel in 1948. More than 500 Palestinian villages were depopulated during that time and many were completely destroyed.

Today, over 7 million Palestinians live as refugees or displaced persons across the Middle East and beyond — descendants of those displaced during the 1947-49 war, and those who have been subject to forced displacement under the Occupation of Palestine by Israel since 1967.



Palestinians are one of the largest and longest-standing refugee populations in the world. Despite countless international laws and UN Resolutions that affirm their inalienable rights as refugees, they are still refused the right to return home. Many of them live in refugee camps, or as stateless people in other countries, denied both citizenship of that country, and their own.


Two weeks is a long time in Palestine..., so says one Palestinian refugee who some 70 years later, is still waiting to return home. This short film speaks of what it’s really like living as a refugee in your own land.

Coronavirus update

As of 11th May 2020, some 547 Palestinians are confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 in the Palestinian territories, including 172 in East Jerusalem, 355 in the remainder of the West Bank and 20 in the Gaza Strip, of which 6 are active.

The state of emergency established on May 5th 2020 on the West Bank has been extended until early June — as part of this, there are nocturnal curfews from 19:00 each day.

The effect on the economy has been devastating, particularly in those areas such as Bethlehem which are dependent on the tourism industry and where many people rely on casual day wages. Our partners Holy Land Trust, Wi’am Reconciliation Centre and Alrowwad Cultural Centre have responded through circulating food packages and immediate aid to their communities and are now looking at how they shape longer-term responses.

Palestinians are one of the largest and longest-standing refugee populations in the world. Despite countless international laws and UN Resolutions that affirm their inalienable rights as refugees, they are still refused the right to return home.

An increased incidence in Israeli settler violence during the crisis continues to be a principal concern, with ongoing attacks, vandalism against Palestinian vehicles and olive trees, and physical attacks on Palestinian farmers during the reporting period.

In Gaza there has been a small rise in the number of cases but so far it has not entered the population as a whole. The Rafah Crossing with Egypt remains closed in both directions. However, the Egyptian authorities have announced that the crossing will open between 12th and 14th May in one direction, to allow for the return to Gaza of up to 1,500 Palestinians, who will be quarantined for 21 days. This will be the first opening of the crossing since mid-April, when about 1,600 people returned to Gaza.

Annexation

Israel’s new coalition government announced on 21st April that from as early as 1st July, they will legislate to formally annex parts of the occupied West Bank, including the Jordan Valley. Annexation, as well as being illegal under international law, further threatens the rights and livelihoods of thousands of Palestinians, who are already experiencing severe restrictions under Israeli Occupation since 1967.

Mothers with young children attend a drop-in health clinic in Gaza City.

Mothers with young children attend a drop-in health clinic in Gaza City where there has been a small rise in the number of COVID–19 cases but so far it has not entered the population as a whole.

Annexation represents the next step in President Trump’s Peace and Prosperity plan. It finally ends any hope of the two-state solution. It also represents ‘the imposing of an apartheid regime’, according to Israeli academic Jeff Halper and many other commentators.

Israel’s new coalition government announced on 21st April that from as early as 1st July, they will legislate to formally annex parts of the occupied West Bank, including the Jordan Valley.

Against this back drop, the reaffirmation by the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court of her position that there is a reasonable basis to initiate an investigation into the situation in Palestine and that the Court has territorial jurisdiction over East Jerusalem, as well as the rest of the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip is particularly significant.

There is still a long way to go, but it looks increasingly like this represents one of the last hopes for accountability.

Take Action

We are committed to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement as we believe that this has the most significant long-term impact.

Specifically,

  • supporting the cultural boycott; please visit pacbi.org to see the latest call from the global community of artists to end the blockade of Gaza,
  • the need for churches and other groups to widen their investment screens to include companies that profit from actions that have been declared illegal under international law — please visit Sabeel-Kairos,
  • the call to stop arming Israel — pleaser visit War On Want for more on this.
We are committed to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement as we believe that this has the most significant long-term impact.

In these circumstances it is vital that we seek to extend this call for sanctions and pressure on the UK government, who through their ambassador, have already expressed displeasure with Israel’s intentions.

Musician and Palestine activist Roger Waters.

Writer and climate activist Naomi Klein.

Musician Roger Waters and writer and climate activist Naomi Klein are just two outspoken public figures who support Palestinian rights and the continued pressure brought about by the BDS movement.

We think it is important to contact our MP’s, and ask them to join the 127 who have already signed an unprecedented cross-party letter calling on the Prime Minister to place sanctions on Israel if this occurs. You can use this same link to read the letter and see who has signed it.

If your MP has not signed the letter, please write to them, send them the link and ask them to publicly show their support for international law and peace in Palestine and Israel by joining the call for sanctions against Israel should it proceed with annexation.




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