Al-Awda, the Palestinian Right of Return Coalition, along with 14 million Palestinians worldwide, commemorates this year’s anniversary of the Nakbah by calling on our people and communities all over the world to organize and mobilize for return. 74 years ago, Palestine was stolen and divided. Our homes were forcefully occupied and those who refused to comply by evacuating their lands and homes were massacred en masse. Palestinian history and narratives are filled with the individual and collective pain of forced expulsion at gun point and after seven and half decades of struggle, the conflict has not abated.
The Nakba is not a matter of history but an ongoing catastrophe facing the Palestinian people on a daily basis, inside and outside Palestine. Millions of Palestinians continue to be denied their right to return to their homes, lands and properties by the settler colonial Zionist project, and the occupier continues the project of killing, destruction, home demolitions, land confiscation, mass imprisonment, siege on Gaza ad an ongoing series of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Just days ago, on May 11, beloved Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh was shot dead, assassinated by occupation forces as she covered another illegal invasion of Jenin refugee camp. We join Palestinians globally in our mourning and outrage for Shireen, reflecting the ongoing Nakba.
And yet, for 74 years and through to today, Palestinians continue to fight for their freedom and the liberation of their land. We continue to demand our right to live our lives in peace and on our land, free of humiliation, colonization, racist apartheid, expulsion from our lands and the confiscation of all means for livelihood. The Zionist state was erected in Palestine through a very violent process and as a project of European and US imperialisms. The Zionist project appears to have achieved all its aspirations, including, through the Oslo project and so-called “peace process”, a capitulating Palestinian Authority leadership that serves its colonial masters by repressing dissent and resistance to occupation, yet without enjoying peace. It is because peace could never be achieved on the remains of our ancestors, with shopping malls and beach resorts built on top of our graves and European settlers living in our homes and exploiting our land. It is precisely because the Zionists upon transforming from welcomed refugees and immigrants to Palestine, into a brutal settler-colonial force, serving Western empires in the Arab World, committed a grave injustice and violated the essence of our people, denying our very existence. They stole Palestine with homes, farms, libraries, and factories fully furnished.
The Zionist-imperialist partnership extends worldwide. To this day, our organizing and voices are criminalized. The French ministry of interior attempted to ban the organization “Palestine Vaincra” only to have their decision overturned by the judiciary. Germany tries to show that it has grown beyond bloody antisemitism by fully embracing Zionism and transferring the responsibilities of its crimes during the Nazi era to the Arab Palestinian people by banning all liberatory speech, to the point where the German government has expelled Palestinian activists and criminalized peaceful street marches demanding return. The Biden administration has continued with all the extremist Trump policies that aim to erase our identity, by maintaining the US embassy in Jerusalem and continuing its support for new colonies in the West Bank, all while maintaining a suffocating siege on Gaza, effectively transforming it into an open-air prison.
Yet, our people continue to resist under the most difficult circumstances. Our people in Jerusalem rose up against the colonists’ pogroms that meant to intimidate Palestinians out of their properties, homes and religious shrines. Our people in Haifa, Lidd, Nazareth and Naqab revolted in an uprising after the Zionists have projected to the world that “Israel” was built on multiculturalism and democracy. Our People in Gaza supported all the uprising from beyond their open-air prison walls in the battle of “Saif Al Quds” (Jerusalem’s Sword). And we, all over the diaspora, call on our communities to mobilize for our return.
This year, we call on our people to transform the catastrophe into productive action by applying escalated pressure on world governments in the US and the EU to recognize our right to return to Palestine. We march into the streets on the anniversary of Nakbah and build for the international marches for return being organized for October 2022, demanding to go back home and break the political order of apartheid and expulsion imposed on our people. We will march in Lebanon, Palestinian cities across the occupation regions, in Gaza, the Arab World, in Brussels, New York, Ottawa, Vancouver and San Francisco, demanding with a single unified voice the end of Zionist colonization of Palestine, the freedom of our people from the river to the sea, and implementing our right of return. Rights are not given, they are extracted from orders of injustice through years of struggle, and we the Palestinian people, are no different than others, who have achieved their freedoms against all odds. We shall march in October 2022 for return. We shall liberate ourselves wherever we are. We shall not be intimidated into silence. We shall reclaim our rightful place in history, and we shall not whither away into silence. For as long as Zionist colonization of Palestine continues, we pledge to our people and all people of conscience that we shall continue to resist. We ask all voices of justice and solidarity to join us on the anniversary of the Nakbah and again in October for a global march of return towards our beloved Palestine, where marches are being organized to demand return and liberation for all of Palestine.
The Nakbah generation might have passed, but we and our children will continue to fight for freedom and return.
We urge all Palestinians and supporters of Palestine to join us in taking action to remember the Nakbah and to bring the ongoing Nakbah to an end, through victory and liberation for Palestine:
- Escalate the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions, and the isolation of the occupier. Particularly in the United States, where over $3.8 billion is allocated annually to fund and arm the Zionist project, it is critical to bring this so-called “aid” to an end. Whether you are organizing for your campus to stop using HP product (complicit in the mass incarceration of Palestinians) or to end Washington’s funding of the occupation military, this is an important way to challenge complicity and fight back.
- Support Palestinian Refugees Struggling for Return. For over 74 years, Palestinian refugees in the camps have been on the front lines of the struggle for return, yet face severely difficult economic, social and political situations. Help support Al-Awda PRRC’s work to sustain the steadfastness of Palestinian refugees in the camps: https://al-awda.networkforgood.com/projects/125239-support-al-awda
- Join Al-Awda PRRC. Al-Awda is working to build support for Palestinian refugees and the right to return. Join us and get involved in the movement: https://al-awda.org/get-involved/al-awda-membership/