Macabre Killings at Nakba Day

Photo source: USA Today

By Naveed Qazi | Editor, Globe Up Front

It was a day to symbolise the sufferings of Palestinian Muslims, who were expelled from their homeland. 

But something tragic happened. 

The day of sympathy, for 700,000 Palestinians expelled during the 1948 war, turned into a mass killing of people. The 70th anniversary turned into a macabre, a bloodbath.

A 31-year-old Nasser was shot in the chest, about 800 meters away from the fence. At the hospital, his heart stopped beating.

One of the teenagers, an 18-year-old, Bilal al-Ashram, son of Nisma Abdelqader, was shot straight in the head. His brother, at the local morgue, had been shocked about his death.

On Facebook, Bilal had written a post the previous day, where he insisted to go to Bir Se’ba, a city in the south, from where his family had been expelled during the Nakba.

Factually, the journey was their birthright, but they were killed for their intentions. 

Killing sprees of Palestinians are often largely unprovoked and serve as an illustration of perpetual tragedies. It is often observed in the mainstream Israeli press, where Netanyahu calls the killing of Palestinians on the border, as a 'wise decision'.

Media Lens, a watchdog organisation, critical of the mainstream media, flaked BBC, the leading British corporation, for calling the massacre, as ‘a mere clash’ at the border. Actually, it was one of those examples of ‘crowd correct journalism’, drifting away from reality.

These two were not the only people who were killed. There were around forty-six people killed and 2700 were injured including babies and children on May 14th, 2018 at the Gaza border. They had huddled together against opening up of a US embassy in Jerusalem, a disputed territory.

Make no mistake, Israel is in control of radical right-wingers. It is for this reason that we keep hearing about the Palestinian slaughter time and again. Aren’t these figures, too, tragic, to say the least?

Palestinian Muslims and Israeli Jews have been fighting with each other since the beginning of the 19th century, beginning of post World War I. 

The Muslims, living in Israel, have been barred from making Adhans, and live amidst the poorest ghettos of the world. Quiet lately, protests broke out near Al Aqsa mosque, where hundreds of protestors sustained injuries.

The fence constructed by Israelis made up of barbed wires with surveillance cameras has become an embodiment of sorts, an imposed border on Palestinians, who try to defy it every now and then. 

Since March 2018, Israeli forces at the Gaza strip have killed around 300 Palestinians.

In history, the first fence was constructed in 1994, after the enactment of Oslo Accords, to control the Palestinian travel movement.

The Israeli government believes that they have voluntarily left Gaza as they vacated some settlements. But at the same time, they think that Palestinians crossing the fence is a threat to their sovereignty. 

Israelis want to wield power over the fence and also want to control much of the air and sea routes. They claim to have an argument, although an ambiguous one, while as Egyptians control the land crossing known as Rafah. 

Much of the food travels through these Israeli controlled territories.

When Hamas took over the realms of power, Egyptians and Israelis restricted the movement that included supplies of food. It is because Hamas sanctions human shields and public bombings.

Human Rights advocates call Gaza an ‘open-air prison’. In its recent history, many political leaders emerged from the Yarmouk Camp, ‘ the capital of Palestinian diaspora’, who were eventually assassinated, by the Israeli intelligence.

According to David Makovsky, an expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy: ‘Gaza is not a Palestinian State. Part of the problem is that nobody wants Gaza. Egyptians see it as a political quicksand.’

Over the course of time, Nakba has acquired such a deep resonance within the Palestinian identity. It reminds them time and again that they are expelled people. 

Nakba is a part of their collective memory, inherited with time, from father to son, generation to generation.

When this community largely does a peaceful protest against the Israeli occupation, they are labelled as ‘suicidal’ and ‘terrorists’. 

There is a fact that Israel knows for sure: if every exiled Palestinian family comes home someday, that day would be an end of Israel. It is because Jews would then never make a majority in the region. They don't want an ethnoreligious imbalance.

According to Noam Chomsky, Christian Zionism was a popular ideology amidst British elites and American politicians. It had been a vantage point for the drafting of the Balfour Declaration. There is a powerful Jewish lobby controlling America, including the media corporations, right now.

This lobby would not have been powerful at all, if it had not been supported the way it has been. And, it still can be put down, but western leaders, especially the Americans don’t want to keep it as part of their agenda, for their own national interests.

Despite that, quite lately, there have been Jewish American voices dissenting on Palestinian oppression, and they no longer want to give Israel their political support. According to an Oped, in Middle East Eye, written by Azad Essa, there are political groups, such as IfnotNow, that want an end to American support of occupation, in Israel, and it signifies a shift, in their ideas, after a massacre, at the Tree of Life Synagogue, in Pittsburg, that killed eleven people.

These facts do raise serious questions. The audience, largely belonging from the western world, should actually retrospect, what they see, and hear, about Palestine on their media. It is a region, which has seen innumerable deaths, innumerable acts of violence, innumerable crackdowns, and every act of oppression, imaginable.

Trump, just like Obama, has lied to us. Whereas Obama promised peace in the Middle East, he eventually increased Israeli military aid ten times. Trump also assured of doing something different, for truce and ceasefire, but his actions have spoken of certain vagueness.

During the inauguration of the US embassy in Jerusalem, he invited two American pastors with a history of anti-Semitism as well as Islamophobia. It was something ironical, on his part, to send them, for public prayers, at the US embassy in Jerusalem.

In places such as Boston and Cape Town, thousands of people have protested against savage Israeli policies against defenceless Palestinians. 

The OIC has also sent a message of solidarity.


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