Tibi decries racism ahead of Nakba Day

This year, Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld says, police are not preparing for any special deployments or reinforcements.

May 14, 2013 04:11
3 minute read.
Palestinians at the Damascus Gate on 'Nakba Day'

Palestinians at the Damascus Gate on 'Nakba Day' 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

This year’s Nakba Day on Wednesday, on which Palestinians annually lament the establishment of the Jewish state, appears to lack the hype or build-up of the past two years.

In 2011 the event made international news when Syrian Palestinians breached the border fence in the Golan Heights, and shooting erupted on the border-fence with Lebanon as well.

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By the day’s end 15 people had been killed by Israeli security forces. As a result of the clashes, there was high anticipation before Nakba Day in 2012.

Ahead of the coming Nakba Day MK Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List-Ta’al) said that “we find ourselves in a difficult and cruel reality where racism has become mainstream and is controlling Israeli society, the Knesset, and government.”

This year, Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said, police were not preparing for any special deployments or reinforcements for Nakba Day. That said, because it falls at the same time as Shavuot, police will already be deployed in and around Jerusalem by the thousands to safeguard Jewish visitors to the city.

The northern district police also said it didn’t have any special warnings or deployments planned for this year, as opposed to in 2012, when forces were deployed across the North in case the situation got out of hand as in the year before.

Abir Kopty of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee said that she didn’t know of any special protests to be held this Nakba Day, only that she knew that there would be busloads of protesters arriving for demonstrations in and around Jerusalem, as well as another protest at Ofer Prison in the West Bank.

In his interview with The Jerusalem Post on Monday, Tibi stated that the Nakba Law – which passed in 2011 and bars any public funding for institutions marking Nakba Day – is a discriminatory law that prevents Palestinians living in Israel from commemorating their history or expressing empathy for their families which were expelled in 1948.

He added that it was not right for the state to prevent him from saying that he is sad because his family was killed or deported.

“We have human natural feelings, and forbidding us from displaying our narrative is narrowing the space where Arabs can act, think, or express empathy,” the MK stated.

“When Israelis recognize the suffering of the other side, the Arab citizens in this case, they bridge the gap between Arabs and Jews living in Israel,” he added.

Instead, he said, Israelis attack those who remember the tragedy of what happened in 1948 – a “Nakba” in the real sense of the word.

“People were driven out of their homes, families were broken up, people’s lands were confiscated, people were expelled, and an entire nation was destroyed before it could rebuild itself. Isn’t that a Nakba?” Regarding the matter of refugees, Tibi stated that Israel is not even dealing with the issue. It is also ignoring the Arab League peace initiative presented by Arab countries that would be willing to make peace with Israel.

He went on to state that 65 years after the Nakba, the situation is bad and “Arabs are being attacked and insulted in the street, railway station, park, shopping centers and even football stadiums just because they are Arabs.”

According to Tibi, government services are also lacking in the Arab sector, including education, health, and housing.

“This is the extension of the Nakba and we all should stop this flow before it drowns us all,” Tibi said.

Awad Abderfattah, secretary-general of the Balad Party, told the Post, “The problem really started in 1948 and not in 1967.”

The suffering and the problems continue, as one in four Israeli-Arab citizens have been displaced, claimed Abderfattah.

He went on to say that “we define” the current situation in Israel as “Apartheid” and “not a normal state,” one in which leaders are continuing the 1948 war using different means.

Abderfattah said that the Balad party was planning for several events in various towns, noting that there was some disagreement on whether to hold mass events on Wednesday to mark Nakba Day, as some members of the Israeli-Arab community are arguing they already held a mass demonstration on Israeli Independence Day last month. He added that there may be a mass event in the town of Umm el-Fahm on Wednesday night, but this has not yet been confirmed.

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