Tuesday, 19 May 2009

The Right of Return: the heart and soul of the Palestinian cause ‎‏

The Right of Return: the heart and soul of the Palestinian cause ‎

Sixty-one years ago, one of the greatest crimes in the annals of human history occurred when European Ashkenazi Jews, aided by western powers, took over Palestine and expelled and dispersed its native inhabitants to the four corners of the world.

The barbarians committed widespread massacres, replaying and reenacting in Palestine some of the genocidal episodes that had been done in Europe a few years earlier.

The criminal thieves created Israel, a manifestly racist and bellicose entity based on murderous ethnic cleansing, usurpation, dispossession and lies.

The creation of the evil entity in Palestine was a brash act of rape; it will always be an act of rape no matter how many people continue to sing the hymns of Zionism and glorify the big lie

Does a theft become lawful after the passage of 61 years, or even 500 years?

Today, Israel is a well-established state from the materialistic view point. It is quite advanced in the realm of science and technology and has a horrendous war machine with which it constantly savages its Palestinian victims and threatens its neighbors, near and distant.

The evil entity also exerts tremendous influence on the politics and policies of the United States to the extent that U.S. Congress has been described as “an Israeli occupied territory.”

Moreover, the worldwide Zionist movement controls much of the western media which it utilizes to terrorize western politicians who often hasten to support Israel, right or wrong, lest they be haunted with the virulent canard of “anti-Semitism.”

This is the reason the international community, which is controlled and led by the western bloc, has been utterly unable to dislodge Israel from its Nazi-like policies in the Middle East, including the frequent genocidal blitzes in Lebanon and Gaza.

Likewise, this is also the reason why America and Europe nonchalantly watch Israel practice apartheid and “lebensraum” or territorial expansion at the expense of the Palestinian people, and refrain from making even a gesture of dissatisfaction toward Israel’s criminal racism.

Indeed, had it not been for the enthusiastic embrace of evil Zionism by the Americans and Europeans, a just resolution of the Palestinian plight could have been reached a long time ago.

Immoral entity

Non the less, Israel will always be a state bereft of any moral foundation, an entity whose very existence is justified by nothing other than its military supremacy and brutal oppression of its victims.

Hence, it is imperative that we continue to reject this entity as long as it continues to refuse to allow Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and towns from which they were brutally uprooted 61 years ago.

The Right of Return is the heart and soul of the Palestinian cause. This is an absolute and persistent truth that will never ever go away. Let us not forget that the question of Palestine didn’t start with the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem in 1967.

The Palestinian question is not only about the so-called “occupied territories.” It is mainly about these wandering Palestinians, the five million people who were ethnically cleansed from their ancestral homeland because they were not members of the “holy tribe.”

Needless to say, the right of these thoroughly-tormented victims of Zionism to return to their homeland transcends every other consideration. A basic human right, after all, overrides Israel’s “right” to be a Jewish state. Apartheid can’t be detestable in Apartheid-era South Africa but perfectly kosher in Israel.

The Right of Return is not as often claimed impossible to implement. The land of Palestine can still accommodate many millions of people. Hence, that inalienable right can and must be implemented if the world is truly honest about finding durable peace and stability in the Middle East.

In the final analysis, the right of the most consistently wronged people in the world to justice exceeds whatever “rights” newly-converted Jews in India and South America might have to settle on land that doesn’t belong to them or their ancestors.

A theft is a theft is a theft even if dressed in a religious garment.

Another point, the King of Jordan Abdullah is reported to have said recently that 57 Islamic countries would recognize Israel if the latter accepted the “Arab Peace Initiative.”

Well, I don’t know if the leaders of these countries, many of them tyrannical dictators whose only legitimacy is the legitimacy of the status quo, have authorized the king to speak on their behalf.

However, I am absolutely certain that the masses in all these countries will never recognize Israel as long as the Palestinian refugees continue to be denied the right to return home in what is now Israel.

Besides, do Arab and Muslim states, the Palestinian Authority or even Hamas, have the right to sell out or compromise on the right of return?

This is first and foremost a personal right and no person or party or state under the sun has the right to dispose of it. This is just to make things clear for those who might think that the right of return is subject to haggling in the market of power-politics.

Finally, the enduring determination by the Palestinian people to uphold the right of return has nothing to do with any perceived hostility to the Jewish people. This is not an expression of anti-Semitism as the shipyard dogs of Zionism keep claiming.

This is a matter of justice and morality that overrides Israel’s and Zionism’s whims to enjoy their “superiority complex.”

Today, given existing geopolitical circumstances, the Palestinians are obviously unable to exercise their right to return to their motherland, the holy land of Palestine, now visibly corrupted by Zionist bloodshed and oppression.

But when the wheel of history turns, and it undoubtedly will, Zionism cease to exist, and Jews duped by the seductiveness of the big lie will be overwhelmed by remorse.

Sixty-one years are nothing in the ocean of history.

Palestinian refugee family demands to return home

Rami Almeghari writing from occupied Gaza Strip, Live from Palestine, 18 May 2009

Suleiman Abu Jazzar in his home in the Brazil refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. (Rami Almeghari)
"Only if we return to our homeland, can there be peace. But as long as [Israel] keeps us refugees, we have no choice to resist them now and for generations to come, until we are back in Beir al-Saba," said 75-year-old Suleiman Abu Jazzar in his home in the Brazil refugee camp in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip.

Along with more than 700,000 other Palestinians, Abu Jazzar was forced from historic Palestine by Zionist forces in 1948, a period referred to by Palestinians as the Nakba (catastrophe) and commemorated in mid-May while Israel celebrates its "Independence Day." During 1947-48, Zionist paramilitary groups -- which later formed the Israeli army -- attacked and destroyed more than 450 Palestinian towns and villages. Abu Jazzar's town of Beir al-Saba was given the Hebrew name of Beersheva by its conquerers.

Abu Jazzar and his family are amongst the more than 4.5 million registered Palestinian refugees living in camps in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon -- unable to return to their land, though their right to return is enshrined in international law. There are millions of other Palestinians scattered around the globe comprising the Diaspora, a nation in exile.

"Prior to 1948, we used to live peacefully and happily in our hometown of Beer al-Saba. All out of a sudden, armed Jewish groups attacked the town and displaced my family including myself, as well as many other families," recalled Abu Jazzar.

"In that period, we fled [to the outskirts of] Beir al-Saba, leaving behind us heaps of barley, our main harvest at that time. When night falls, I recall that myself and other youths of the town, used to sneak into these heaps to bring food for hungry children and women.

"After a while, the Jews began to spot us, and finally we were all displaced form the whole area, leading us to the Gaza Strip, where me and my family were settled in the Rafah area here," Abu Jazzar said while laying on a sofa in a traditionally-decorated room.

Asked whether residents of Beir al-Saba resisted the Zionist forces, Abu Jazzar put much blame on the Arab countries and armies for the Palestinian refugees' situation.

"There were no Israeli warplanes at that time, only tanks. Also, their numbers were not that big, but unfortunately we had no guns or weapons. I only recall that someone from the Barahma tribe had a gun. I really blame the Arab armies, which failed us. Their weapons were not that effective. These armies did not even train us how to fight; we were merely farmers and had nothing to do with armament. They are to be blamed for our plight."

Abu Jazzar endured not only the 1948 dispossession, but he witnessed and survived other Israeli wars and conflicts that he described as more Nakbas for the Palestinian people.

"In 1956, the occupation forces invaded our towns here in Gaza, using tanks and armored vehicles. Also, in 1967, they invaded us again and continued to occupy us until recently. They are not leaving us, they don't want us to live peacefully," he said.

More recently, Israeli army launched a three-week comprehensive attack on the Gaza Strip, killing more than 1,400 Palestinians -- the majority of them civilians. During this war, Abu Jazzar's asbestos-roofed house was partially damaged, as Israeli forces destroyed many houses in his neighborhood.

"Only God saved us during the Gaza war, the [Israelis] only want to destroy us completely. I didn't go anywhere during the war; my family and I remained at the house. Where to go? ... In 1948, we left our house and left our farm lands, thinking we would return in a few days. But as you see, son, we are here for 61 years now, and who knows how long we will remain so?"

Umm Salah, Abu Jazzar's 70-year-old wife, sang a Palestinian folk song about the events of 1948: "You have made us refugees. When we fled al-Ramla and Beir al-Saba, heading to Gaza, carrying our luggage on our shoulders, we wondered: what did you do for us, Ben Gurion [Israel's first prime minister], you brought us a Nakba!"

Sighing deeply, she said that only God protects them, but she hopes for peace, nevertheless.

"It is true that they are more powerful than us, but where can we go -- where? We just resist them by our steadfastness on this land, sticking to our homes," Umm Salah said.

Both Abu Jazzar and Umm Salah said that they would refuse to take monetary compensation instead of a return to their town of origin. "Our history is there in Palestine," they said together, "in Beir al-Saba. How could we sell our history?"

The now elderly refugees have evidently passed down their profound connection to their land to their 28-year-old daughter, Laila, who said with great emotion:

"What peace are they talking about? Every day they kill us, our families have lived the suffering for 61 years now. ... If there is a truce, this truce cannot last, as they aim to destroy us completely. Look at the last Israeli war on us, they killed many people. We should keep steadfast, until we return to our hometown of Beir al-Saba. We can never accept any compensation, even if we all die one after another."

Rami Almeghari is a journalist and university lecturer based in the Gaza Strip.

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