This Nakba Day, Let us remember the tragedy of 1948 and the continued resistance of Palestine in the face of increased Israeli oppression! 

By WORKERS’ VOICE

Every year on May 15, Palestinians both at home and in the diaspora commemorate the Nakba, or “catastrophe” in Arabic. The day marks the commemoration of the dissolution of the British Mandate of Palestine and the founding of the settler-colonial Zionist ethnostate of Israel. It was on this day that the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their land began. The number of expropriations has only increased over time as the Israel expands and encroaches into what little territory remains for Palestinians.

The Jewish settlers are backed by the Israeli government, including figures such as minister of the interior Ayelet Shaked (who without irony appeared in a campaign ad featuring “fascism” perfume, and who has called on Twitter to kill all Palestinians”). This blatant seizure of Palestinian homes is forcing more and more Palestinians from land that has belonged to their families for generations.

The UN partition of Palestine gave 54% of arable land in Palestine to the Zionist movement. Of the 475 Palestinian villages and towns existing in 1948, 385 were destroyed. The Zionist army and militias drove 780,000 Palestinians out of the country and seized 75% of Palestine. The Palestinians who remained in the state of Israel, so-called Israeli Arabs, are treated as second-class citizens.

Nakba Day is also a day to remember Palestinian resistance in defiance of overwhelming odds against them. On this day we also remember and commemorate the First Intifada, which began in Palestine 35 years ago, in 1987. The origins of the intifada have deep roots in mass boycotts, strikes, and nonviolent resistance against the Israeli state in their cruel mistreatment of Palestinians for decades. It was from this first brave act of resistance that the Palestinian struggle for self-determination, equality, and freedom from oppression coalesced. As Marxists, we truly admire and value any movement that has its roots in the working class, and the First Intifada was no exception!

We also remember the Second Intifada, of 2000-2004, when thousands of Palestinian youth resisted the settler occupation of Palestine. The Second Intifada saw the IDF massacre of civilians at the Jenin refugee camp and massive repression against the Palestinian people, including the detention of thousands without trial.

Now the intifada must once more pick up its banner of struggle in response to recent events in the West Bank and the city of Jerusalem. Within the last year, there has been significant escalation in East Jerusalem in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, with the eviction of countless families from their homes to make room for Jewish settlers, many of whom are from the United States. In addition, there were sustained attacks against Palestinians praying at Al-Aqsa mosque throughout the month of Ramadan, with people subjected to frequent gassing and violence by Israeli police. Al-Aqsa has long been a symbol of resistance to Israeli occupation, so it is no surprise that the police have focused their efforts there, in an attempt to scare and intimidate the Palestinian people.

However, the blatant disregard for Palestinian rights has reached a new level with the May 11 assassination of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh, who was murdered by an IDF sniper while covering a raid in Jenin. She was wearing clothing clearly indicating her status as a member of the press. The next day, thousands marched in her funeral procession in Ramallah. We join supporters of Palestinian rights worldwide in calling for justice for Shireen. Her murder is just one more example of the brutality of the Israeli occupation. Israel has attempted to ascribe blame for her death to Palestinian militants, but this has been proven to be false, with evidence pointing to a hit arranged by the IDF.

Free Palestine! For a democratic, secular Palestine with equal rights for all! Lift the siege of Gaza! End illegal settlement building and return stolen land to the Palestinian people! End U.S. aid to Israel! Long live the intifada! End Israeli apartheid; no to settler-colonialism everywhere!

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