Monday, May 16, 2011

Nakba Day, May 15, 2011

In Denver we marched in support of Palestinian human rights - at the Capitol and down the 16th Street Mall. A peaceful protest of Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands and its continuing confiscation of Palestinian lands for the building of its security wall, which it is building in many places, not on Israeli land, but on Palestinian land. Click on the photo to see video of our protest march in Denver.

The Nakba or "catastrophe" is Palestinians' commemoration, on Israeli Independence Day, May 15, of the depopulation of 500 Palestinian villages in 1947-49, and the forceable removal of Palestinians from their homes and farmlands, as well as the destruction of many of those villages.

In the West Bank, Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh was arrested on Sunday, as he participated in a protest in the village of Al-Walaja, where the Israelis are continuing to build their security wall on Palestinian land. The wall in Al-Walaja is being built on village farmlands instead of on Israeli land. The wall is close to surrounding the village, completely cutting it off from the world. The map shows Al-Walaja, at the left, surrounded by the wall (red dotten line indicates where the wall is currently being built); tan areas are Palestinian towns and villages, blue areas are Israeli settlements, green line marks the 1949 armistice line separating Israel and the West Bank Red lines are completed wall; purple is proposed, dotted red under construction.

Israel claims that it is building the wall to protect its settlements (Har Gilo, Gilo), which are also constructed on Palestinian land, well within the Palestinian West Bank. As you can see from the map, the settlements themselves separate Palestinian towns and villages from one another, making commerce and daily life difficult.

See Dr. Qumsiyeh's own video of the demonstration and his arrest:

Other video of Al-Walaja and his arrest:

Today Dr. Qumsiyeh, an American citizen, and a Palestinian, is still being held in Ofer prison in Israel. Please write to President Obama and the US State Department to put pressure on Israel for his release.

Or call: White House comment line: (202) 456-1111
State Department public information line: (202) 647-6575

Read an excellent analysis of Palestinian protests and the what the future holds for peace in Palestine/Israel, an op-ed piece in the Jerusalem Post by Israeli peace activist Gersho Baskin.

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