by Yusuf Dhia-Allah (Special Reports, Crescent International Vol. 45, No. 4, Sha'ban, 1437)
The Palestinians suffered their Nakba (catastrophe) in May 1948 but it has not ended. Everyday is Nakba for the Palestinians under Zionist occupation.
Every year, Palestinians and people of conscience worldwide observe May 15 as the day of Nakba (catastrophe). Nakba is not merely an event that occurred 68 years ago; the Palestinians face it on a daily basis in their homes, schools, villages, towns, and in their fields and lands. For Palestinians, every day is Nakba because the original theft of their land through colonial intrigue in 1948 handing their land to illegal squatters from Europe, Russia, and North America continues to this day with more house demolitions, land theft, and killings.
If 800,000 Palestinians from a total population of 1.4 million were driven out of 1,300 towns and villages in historical Palestine in 1948, such evictions and crimes have continued ever since. In 1948, the Zionists did not merely evict the Palestinians from their homes and lands; they also launched a campaign of terror perpetrating horrible massacres against innocent civilians, especially women, children and the elderly. In the two-year period from 1948 to 1950, the Zionists — both terror gangs like the Irgun and Haganah and regular army units — committed more than 70 massacres resulting in the murder of at least 15,000 Palestinians. Especially gruesome was the massacre in the village of Deir Yasin on April 9, 1948. Menachem Begin, who was head of the Irgun terrorist gang at the time, and later became the prime minister of Zionist Israel, led the attack and proudly wrote in his book, The Revolt, that if there had been no massacre at Deir Yasin, there would be no Israel. Begin went on to write, “Meanwhile, the Haganah was carrying out successful attacks on other fronts… The Arabs began fleeing in panic, shouting ‘Deir Yasin’.” Begin’s terrorists murdered 254 women, children, and the elderly. There were also pregnant women among them whose bellies were ripped open and their bodies dumped in the village well.
Has anything changed in the 68-year period since the massacre at Deir Yasin? The Zionists have not only intensified their theft of Palestinian lands, they are also tightening their grip on Jerusalem including al-Masjid al-Aqsa. To get a glimpse into Zionist crimes, consider this. Since 1967, the Zionist regime has imprisoned nearly 800,000 Palestinians. Currently there are 7,000 Palestinian political prisoners, including 438 children, languishing in various Israeli jails, according to the Israeli daily, Ha‘aretz (April 24).
Some Palestinians have spent decades in the Zionists’ dungeons. Mukhles Burgal from Lydd spent 28 years in prison and finally was released in 2012 as part of the exchange of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit for the freedom of 1,027 Palestinian prisoners. Shalit was captured by Hamas fighters on June 25, 2006 and held until the prisoner swap was arranged.
The trigger-happy Zionist occupation forces have also murdered more than 500 Palestinians in the last seven months among them many youth killed allegedly for throwing stones at Israeli military vehicles or attempting to attack soldiers. The Zionists have now launched a new form of psychological warfare on the Palestinians.
The bodies of many Palestinian youths murdered by the Zionists are not returned to their families. On the rare occasions the bodies are returned, they are delivered encased in a block of ice with specific instructions that they must be buried with the ice blocks and within a couple of hours preventing families from completing their final religious rites. Such tactics are meant to further humiliate and demoralize the Palestinians. And families whose children have been so murdered are subjected to additional punishment: their homes are demolished and the families thrown out in the street.
It is the Zionists’ targeting of al-Quds (Jerusalem), and in particular al-Masjid al-Aqsa, that is greatly alarming. Since last October, Zionist encroachments on al-Haram al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary) have escalated leading to heightened tensions. The Zionists are ethnically cleansing al-Quds (Jerusalem) of its original inhabitants — the Palestinians — while facilitating colonization by more and more Zionist squatters.
The Zionist occupation regime uses different tactics to evict the Palestinians. Those Palestinians who are the original inhabitants of Jerusalem lose their right to city residency if they are away for a certain period of time. The occupation regime automatically brands them as having abandoned residency. The residents are never asked whether they have abandoned the city permanently. Absence for a certain period of time is enough for them to lose their residency right. Zionist squatters immediately move in to occupy the houses. This is theft, pure and simple.
The other tactic used by the Zionists is to demolish the homes of Palestinian youth accused of throwing stones at Israeli soldiers or military vehicles. This is collective punishment. Other members of the family are not guilty of the crime that the youth are accused of. In any case, the youth’s guilt is often not established through any legal procedure. It is the occupation military’s verdict. Even if the matter were to end up in an Israeli court, what justice could the victims hope for from the occupiers’ court? House demolitions are also a common feature of life on the West Bank, which is nominally under Palestinian Authority (PA) control, however all Palestinians know that the PA only exists to be manipulated by the Zionists and imperialists.
The Zionist mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, is on record as stating that he wants to transform Jerusalem into a city with 70% Jewish population. This can only be achieved by ethnic cleansing, that is, forcibly evicting the Palestinians from their homes, a job the Zionist occupation army is too willing to accomplish. Three young Palestinians have lodged their case in an Israeli court against forcible eviction. It has become a “test case” of Israel’s residency revocation policy.
The case of 19-year-old Abed Dwayat is typical. He was arrested together with four other youth last September and accused of throwing stones at Israeli vehicles on a highway that allegedly caused the death of a driver. The alleged stone- throwing incident occurred after clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian youths last September. While the case is still before the courts, the family was issued an eviction order and thrown out of its apartment in Jerusalem. This is what the occupiers’ justice looks and feels like.
“When we got the confiscation notice, we took all the furniture out, and now it’s scattered with friends and neighbors,” said Abed’s mother Sarah Ali Dwayat through an interpreter. “When they came to seal the house two weeks ago [end of April], a soldier told me, in Arabic, that it was to send a message to others so they wouldn’t carry out more acts of terror (sic)” [to deter other Palestinian youth from throwing stones!]
The Zionists are quite innovative in their tactics. The occupation authority refuses to issue permits to Palestinians to repair their houses, much less build new homes. No such restrictions apply to the Zionist squatters. When Palestinians go ahead to repair their houses, the Zionists send the demolition squad to destroy the house, saying the work was undertaken illegally. If the house continues to be left in disrepair that is also reason for the Zionists to confiscate it, alleging it endangers others. Stealing the Palestinians’ homes, property, and land is in the Zionists’ blood.
Even more serious is the Zionists’ encroachment on al-Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem. Since last October, gun-totting Zionist squatters have barged onto the sacred sanctuary with their filthy boots. Palestinian Muslims are forced to resist such encroachment with their bare bodies. They are often beaten up and tear-gassed by Israeli soldiers.
While rabbinical law prohibits Jews from entering onto the noble sanctuary — there is a large board with such inhibition inscribed on it outside the gate to al-Haram al-Sharif — the Zionist squatters are not constrained by their own religious laws even though they lay claim to the noble sanctuary based on their “religious history.” Again, it is the occupiers’ logic at work.
Unfortunately, the Arabian regimes surrounding Palestine — Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia et al. — far from coming to the rescue of the Palestinians or the protection of Islam’s holy places, are in bed with the Zionists. These illegitimate regimes want the Zionists and imperialists to protect them and keep them in power or on their thrones. They are willing to sell the Muslims down the drain. It is not surprising. If they oppress their own people denying them basic rights, why should they care about the plight of the Palestinians or the holy places of Islam?
Today only Islamic Iran, Hizbullah, Islamic Jihad in Palestine, and to some extent Hamas are struggling to liberate Palestine and al-Masjid al-Aqsa from Zionist clutches. It would require a very determined effort on the part of most Muslims to achieve this task.
The road to al-Quds (Jerusalem) may lie through Riyadh, Cairo, Amman and a whole lot of other Arabian capitals.