In Pictures: Nakba 68 Protest in Dublin
On Saturday 14th May 2016 the IPSC held a march and ‘Moving Gallery’ to commemorate the Palestinian Nakba. Gathering at St. Stephen’s Green a large crowd marched down Grafton Street, around College Green over O’Connell Bridge and ended near the Jim Larkin statue outside the GPO on O’Connell Street.
Protestors carried large photographs from Al Nakba, Palestinian and black mourning flags, and a giant key symbolising the Palestinian right of return to their homeland denied them by the State of Israel for 68 years. You can read the leaflet we handed out by clicking here (PDF).
The event commemorated what Palestinians call Nakba Day, this year marking the 68th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba (‘Catastrophe’) which saw the expulsion of over 750,000 Palestinians, forcibly uprooted from their homeland in an act of ethnic cleansing that facilitated the foundation of the State of Israel.
Today, Palestinian refugees are once again caught up in the crisis, many of them risking their lives crossing the Mediterranean to flee the brutal civil war in Syria, endemic poverty and discrimination in Lebanon, and Israel’s cruel illegal siege of Gaza.
Upon reaching the GPO, the crowd was addressed by Fatin Al Tamimi and Martin O’Quigley, Chairperson and Vice-Chair of the IPSC respectively, and our guest of honour was Ms. Lubnah Shomali from BADIL, Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights who had just finished a speaking four of Ireland. The following is the text of Ms. Shomali’s speech:
Nakba: The Reality
The reality is that the Palestinian Nakba is in its 68th year.
The reality is that the Palestinian displaced population is the largest and longest standing displaced population in the world today, numbering almost 8 Million.
The reality is that 66 percent of the Palestinian population has experienced displacement at least once in their lifetime.
The reality is that Palestinians continue to be forcibly displaced by an Israeli regime based on forcible transfer, colonization and apartheid.
The reality is that forcible transfer, colonization and apartheid are international crimes that trigger the legal and ethical responsibility of states.
The reality is that Palestinian refugees do not receive the required humanitarian aid and services in accordance with international law.
The reality is the that the special protection framework created by the United Nations to ensure Palestinian refugees protection has resulted in the exact opposite: a protection gap.
The reality is that Palestinian refugees have been experiencing secondary displacement and subject to an even greater protection gap.
The reality is that Israel continues to enjoy blanket impunity for its human rights violations, grave breaches of international law and crimes.
The reality is that 43 out of 77 vetoes have been issued by the United States on behalf of Israel in the United Nations Security Council.
The reality is the United States government provides Israel with 3.7 Billion USD per year in military aid, that is roughly 10.2 Million per day.
The reality is that the Secretary General of the United Nations and other UN agencies acknowledged that Israeli policies create a coercive environment that leads to forcible transfer.
The reality is that forcible transfer is a grave breach of international law; in other words it is a war crime and/or a crime against humanity.
The reality is that Israel is guilty of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The reality is that international community, in particular powerful western States, not only lack the political will to hold Israel accountable, but also provide Israel with blanket impunity and assistance.
The reality is that States are obligated under international law to protect Palestinians, to condemn Israel’s actions, to stop rendering aid to Israel and to investigate and prosecute perpetrators.
The reality is that the international community (states, the UN and the EU) has failed to fulfill its obligations towards the Palestinian people.
The reality is that Israel continues to deny Palestinians their inalienable rights, in particular the the right to self-determination and the right of Palestinian refugees and IDPs to return to their places of origin.
The reality is that Palestinian refugees and IDPs’ right to return is unalienable and firmly enshrined in international law.
The reality is that history has proven that colonial, apartheid regimes are unsustainable.
The reality is that Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) is a legitimate form of non-armed resistance.
The reality is that BDS is a pathway to ensure respect of international law, particlularly equality, the right to self determination and Palestinian refugees and IDPs’ right to return.
On this, the 68th year of the Nakba, its time to face the reality.