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The Nakba’s 70th Year
By Mohamad Al-Sahli
May 18, 2018

This year, the Palestinians commemorate their Nakba as never before. What has been witnessed in the Gaza Strip since the last March 30th reflects a qualitative shift in dealing with this anniversary, by turning it into a field action station that has put the occupation in front of "new" calculations and concerns.

Perhaps the most important reason for this shift is the declaration of the Trump war on Palestinian rights most of which is the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties, which they have been expelled from during the Nakba and after it. In addition to the American collusion with the Israeli narrative of the Nakba and the attempt to remove the political and legal status of the Palestinian refugee.

The most important factor that gave momentum and escalation to the return marches, witnessed by the Gaza Strip, is that it is happening under the leadership and supervision of a national body that includes most of the Palestinian political and social components, thus embodying the unity of the field confrontation, at a time when the repercussions of the division and its disasters are worsening.

The US-Israeli coalition in its war against the rights of Palestinian refugees aims to revoke the Palestinian narrative of the Nakba, and thus writing off its entitlements as in UN Resolution 194. The Netanyahu government has considered Trump's positions as a golden opportunity to impose its vision towards the solution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, through the so-called the “century deal”, in which the regional solution is a basic framework for resolving this conflict. Tel Aviv is aware that this framework enables it to achieve its objectives, especially since the Trump administration is paving the way for implementing the deal by adapting “the Arab region” through imposing normalization with the Israeli occupation as a necessary prelude to accepting Arab “partners” in implementing the American plan.

It can be said that the recent positions of the US administration are helping Tel Aviv to move from the stage of denying the Palestinian Nakba to a stage in which it seeks to remove it from the regional and international negotiation agenda while seeking to do the same towards Jerusalem and the borders of 4th June, 1967, especially, that the “leaked information” about the American deal talks about separating neighborhoods from East Jerusalem from the city and dealing with them as the capital for the meager Palestinian state, which the Trump administration is trying to convince the official Palestinian leadership to be equivalent to the state that the Palestinians seek to embody it.

The US-Israeli coalition has sought for the disengagement of Resolution 194 from the decision of establishment UNRWA in order to change its function, and not to link its existence to the provision of the needs of Palestinian refugees until the realization of their right of return to their homes and properties. On the background of this effort, repercussions and reactions have emerged in the international community that rejected the financial embargo imposed by the Trump administration on UNRWA; the Rome Conference constituted an expression of this rejection.

Tel Aviv and its allies realized that the perpetuation of the Nakba and resulting other disasters have not alienated Palestinian refugees from their adherence to the right of return, and its bet that “the elderly die and the young forget” was a loss. However, it is trying hard to close this file, which has concerned it since its rape of the land of Palestine and the displacement of its people.

The Netanyahu government knows that the violation of the rights of Palestinian refugees and the non-recognition of the city of East Jerusalem as a Palestinian capital in any negotiating offer will not pass, and no Palestinian negotiator will be able to propose it before the Palestinian people. Therefore, the opportunity to achieve this is by the imposition of this solution, which is available in the mechanisms included in the context of talking about the American deal. Assistants and advisers of Trump have announced that "Palestinians are concerned in the solution but they are not partners in taking the decision on it".

On the other hand, the Palestinians met Trump's decisions about Jerusalem and the refugees with great anger, and the Palestinian discourse towards this has been united regarding the attitude of the American war on Palestinian rights. The Palestinian popular rage has been culminated by the uprising of Jerusalem and freedom in the West Bank and Jerusalem. And the anniversary of the Land Day witnessed a development in the Palestinian popular movement with the announcement of launching the return marches and the extension of the activities of adherence to the right of return and their continuation until the anniversary of the Nakba.

In addition to what these marches represented of embodiment for the unity of confronting the occupation in the field. They confirmed at the same time that the battles for the defense of Palestinian rights are on one side. Where the national struggle for the right of return is integrated with the struggle for the right to self-determination and full independence. In the context of the struggle for the achievement of the major goals, the fronts of confrontation against settlement, Judaization, siege and the Israeli aggressive and expansionist policy are being divided.

The events of the land and the Nakba have confirmed the expansion of the Palestinian people's unity in the 48 territories, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the refugee camps and the Diaspora. These events have been a clear message to the occupation and its allies that the American-Israeli fierce attack on Palestinian rights and the accompanying threat and aggressive measures will not succeed in dissuading the Palestinians to not adhere to their rights and strive for them.

But the weak point in the course of the conflict with the occupation and confronting the aggressive decisions of Trump's administration, lies in the continuation of the Palestinian official leadership to adhere to its previous policies and insist on its political trend under the Oslo Accords and ignore the decisions of the national consensus, especially the decisions of the Central Council in its last two sessions and the decisions of the National Council that was held recently.

The return marches in the Gaza Strip have been witnessing Israeli crimes against the participants, which the national and international human rights institutions and centers have classified these crimes as war crimes against humanity as defined by international law. The Central Council has already decided to go to the International Criminal Court and submit complaints against the crimes of the occupation, in the context of its decisions to internationalize the Palestinian cause. But unfortunately the official Palestinian leadership has repeatedly declared its intention to do that, but it has not.

The Council also stressed the necessity of disengagement from the Oslo Accords and their political, security and economic constraints. It also stressed that the establishment of any political process should be in accordance with the resolutions of international legitimacy, in the forefront, Resolution 194, which guarantees for refugees the right to return to their homes and properties. At the same time, it called for the popular resistance to be launched and defended politically and in the field. But these decisions and other have been frozen since they were taken.

Needless to say, that the commitment to implement these decisions ensures progress on the path of achieving the national goals. Thus, the non-implementation reflects negatively on the course of the national struggle and in the forefront “the Intifada of Jerusalem and freedom” and the “Return Marchs”.

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

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