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Renewing the Nakba in Jerusalem
By: Mohammad Al-Sahli
April 30, 2018

The state of Israel is reestablishing the physical and "legal" mechanisms that have enabled it to seize Palestinian lands after their displacement from their homes and property during and after the Nakba.

This is evident in the actions taken in East Jerusalem and its intention to begin the game of "settling" the Palestinian land and houses in the Israeli Land Registry, and linking the fixing of the contracts of sale and purchase that took place between the Jerusalemites to this registration.

Ironically, the occupation authorities have consistently prohibited the registration of lands or houses' ownership in the name of their Palestinian owners in the neighborhoods of East Jerusalem and the surrounding villages and towns.

When it now begins to emphasize the registration process, it aims to enable the settlers to seize hundreds of Palestinian homes and retain them as "absentee property", and there is no proof that they belong to the owner who was unable to register this property in the Land Registry because of disrupting this process by the occupation authorities.

The re-production of the Palestinian Nakba in East Jerusalem and several areas in the West Bank is based on two main factors that existed before and after the 1948 Nakba: Killing with the aim of displacing and seizing land and property. Just as the Zionist gangs at that time terrorized and killed the Palestinians, the settlers' gangs, now are doing so. In recent years, the villages and towns of the West Bank have witnessed murder and assault on Palestinian property, including the killing and burning of the Dawabsha family. It turned out that these operations are under the supervision of the occupation army and the collusion of the Israeli government and even the Israeli "judiciary" when the prosecution did not adopt confessions of the perpetrators of the murder and burning on the grounds that these confessions were obtained illegally.

Needless to say that the settlers are now representing a large reservoir of electoral votes for the extremist Zionist parties and an arm for the government and the army of the occupation that executes the dirtiest methods of applying the Israeli expansionist policy. While the Israeli occupation government claims to the international community that what is going on is just an "out-of-the-law" outburst by small groups that do not have any official status, and therefore the occupation government does not bear the consequences of what these groups do.

If the occupation government and its security and military institutions and the gangs of settlers cannot repeat the Nakba series and the scene of mass displacement for many known reasons, they are struggling to legalize the dispossession of the property of the displaced Palestinians who have left the West Bank since the aggression of 1967, in particular, the Jerusalemites. Just as it ignores Resolution 194, which guarantees the right of return of Palestinian refugees to their homes and properties from which they were expelled in 1948, it also denies Resolution 425, which guarantees the right of return of displaced persons to their land and property in the occupied Palestinian territories, by the aggression of 1967.

The game of recording the property of Jerusalemites in the Land Registry and the complications caused by the occupation measures in the face of completion of this process, come to complete the duality of murder and the theft of property. In this regard, the occupation courts play a crucial role in passing this game in preparation for putting the lands and properties that owners cannot prove their ownership according to the "new" limits of the occupation under the status of "Absentee Property", in preparation for its confiscation in the framework of the frantic campaign to Judaize the city of Jerusalem.

It is well known that a dangerous role has been played by Trump's policies toward the city of Jerusalem by recognizing it as the capital of the occupation and his intended announcement that the transfer of the US Embassy to it will be simultaneously with the Palestinian Nakba.

As Washington and the colonial capitals of Europe contributed to the Palestinian Nakba in 1948, the Trump administration is repeating this role regarding East Jerusalem and the entire occupied Palestinian territory by the 1967 aggression. Prior to the declaration of its aggressive position on Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees, it considered the settlement as an Israeli right, thus, green light has been given to the occupation which would be more capable in the spread of settlement and the Judaization of Jerusalem.

However, despite the bullying of the Trump administration and its continuing threats against those who seek to put the Israeli occupation before the international legal accountability, positive steps have been taken in the United Nations, beginning with the recognition in 2012 of a Palestinian state under occupation on the borders of 4 June 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital to the Security Council's decision at the end of 2016 condemning the Israeli settlement, to the rejection of the Security Council and the General Assembly to the Trump decision on Jerusalem; in addition to dozens of resolutions issued by the United Nations institutions and supported the Palestinians and their national rights.

This is an international political climate that encourages the continuation of the political battle against the occupation in the international forums. This assumes that the official Palestinian leadership must refrain from its hesitation and inaction towards the crimes of the occupation against the Palestinian people and the lives of its children and their property

It is self-evident that the continuation of this reluctance encourages the occupation to pursue its expansionist plans, which have recently sought to bring about a demographic change in Jerusalem in favor of Judaizing it, and encourages it to continue its support for the crimes of settler gangs in killing Palestinians and plundering their property.

On the other hand, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank continue their uprising victory in defense of Jerusalem and the right of return of Palestinian refugees to their homes and property. The marches of return in the Gaza Strip have confirmed the public momentum and support for the objectives of the marches and their activities despite the difficult reality experienced by the people of the Gaza Strip under the siege, the aggression of occupation and the repercussions of the division. What is happening in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip is an important national motivation in confronting the policies of the occupation, and despite that this requires a political support (which is already has been provided by the decisions of the Central Council in its last two sessions) but this support has remained locked in the texts of decisions that the Palestinian official leadership has frozen and even it has taken reversed policies through trenching under the useless Oslo roof and sticking to the security, political and economic limits of these Accords.

The growing popular movement in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip has made it possible to achieve important achievements, as happened in the uprising of Jerusalem against the occupation measures in Al-Aqsa, pointing out that what is happening now is open to development and escalation in the face of the American-Israeli alliance, which seeks through practical steps in politics and the field to liquidate the Palestinian cause, and to devise a regional solution that marginalizes the rights of the Palestinian people and opens the door for formal normalization with the occupation at the expense of these rights.

Mohammad Al-Sahli is the Editor in Chief of Al-Hourriah newspaper, the official speaker of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Translated by Ibrahim Motlaq

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