Nakba at 70

"We act not because we are hopeful, but because it is the right thing to do. We act because we have been inspired by our Palestinian friends and because of all that we have learnt from them." Amos Director Chris Rose writes about the 70th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba — or 'catastrophe'.

Nakba at 70

It is 70 years since the creation of the state of Israel. 70 years since the Palestinian Nakba.

We finished last week’s Giro Della Palestina protest bike ride at the Walled Off Hotel. 
I asked our old friend Wisam Salsaa who manages the hotel if they would mark the Nakba in some way. “No, for us every day is the Nakba. When we created the museum we wanted to say something different about politics. We put in a figure of Balfour signing his Declaration, not to mark that 100 years ago he signed it but because every day he is still signing it. The world is still signing the Balfour declaration.”

The opening of the American Embassy in Jerusalem is not just to celebrate 70 years since the foundation of the State of Israel – it is to send a message to regional governments and to Palestinians about how the Trump administration/America view their aspirations.

No, for us everyday is the Nakba. When we created the museum we wanted to say something different about politics. We put in a figure of Balfour signing his Declaration, not to mark that 100 years ago he signed it but because everyday he is still signing it. The world is still signing the Balfour declaration." Wisam Salsaa – Walled Off Hotel

The silence from world leaders in response to the repeated shooting and killing of those protesting at the Gaza border has been deafening, over 50 people have been killed, over 10,000 injured and nearly 5,000 hospitalised.


Cycling through the West Bank you experience the totality of the occupation. You experience it in the ever-expanding settlements, the armed presence in the South Hebron hills, the Israeli soldiers berating us for cycling through checkpoint 300 – “This is a border crossing.” (I had to bite my tongue).

You experience it through George Bush’s ‘Roadmap’ – two parallel road systems for two separate populations on one tiny piece of land. One for those who live there illegally and who have the vast majority of resources and all the infrastructure of occupation, and the remainder for the occupied.

It was therefore not surprising to hear Elias D’eis from Holy Land Trust say, “I have no more hope. Jerusalem, Gaza, Israel at war with Iran – the young people despair and they will become more extreme. There are no more signs of hope for us.”

The silence from world leaders in response to the repeated shooting and killing of those protesting at the Gaza border has been deafening, over 50 people have been killed, over 10,000 injured and nearly 5,000 hospitalised.

And I had no hope to offer. Too often metaphors have been used to talk of the darkness before dawn, but that time has passed. So I told him of a conversation between Garth Hewitt and Yehuda Shaul, co-founder of ‘Breaking the Silence’ about hope: 

“It is not about hope. Screw hope. You just wake up in the morning and you do the right thing today. That’s everything.” It is cold comfort, but maybe it is the only truth we have at this time.

This week we are partnering with Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Amnesty and many others for @70 Celebration of Palestinian Culture, led by Amos Trustee and Gazan Ahmed Masoud. Last night Ahmed sent through this message:

Sometimes I wonder what it's all worth and what difference it makes. Then I remember that if we weren't doing @70 I would probably be sitting on the sofa stressing about tomorrow, about the last 70 years, about the injustice, about feeling guilty for leaving my family behind.  So thank you all for making this week happen, for giving us a voice, for making us feel valuable. It's humbling to work with you all. For the last few weeks, it almost felt like I have been by the border demonstrating.”

I have no more hope. Jerusalem, Gaza, Israel at war with Iran – the young people despair and they will become more extreme. There are no more signs of hope for us.” Elias D'Eis – Holy Land Trust

Ben Jamal from PSC replied, “I always feel when the forces we oppose feel most powerful and the future most dark, what sustains us and has to be retained is faith in people’s essential goodness and that good people working together for justice will prevail.”

We act not because we are hopeful, but because it is the right thing to do. We act because we have been inspired by our Palestinian friends and because of all that we have learnt from them. I do not know if we will prevail but I do know that every time we stand together and we act, with and for those who are oppressed, we remind people that they are not alone – not forsaken, not forgotten; and we have the chance, however slim, of ‘sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.’

— — —

As news comes through of the murder of 58 Palestinian protestors and hundreds more injured in Gaza, our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who have lost loved ones today, those who have been injured and the medical staff trying to respond.

An emergency rally has been called for 5:30 pm today (15th May) at Downing Street in London to protest today’s killings.




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