Today, May 15th, 2018, marks the 70th anniversary of the Nakba. Every year, on Nakba Day, Palestinians commemorate the displacement of nearly a million Palestinians that occurred as a direct result of Israel’s Declaration of Independence in 1948.
On this day of catastrophe, seventy years ago, Palestinian families were forced from their homes. Many Palestinians living in Gaza today are actually refugees, forced to flee from what is now called Israel. There they wait, in an open air prison, suffering in ways most people cannot even begin to imagine, hoping to one day return home.
In light of the reaction of many Americans to the ongoing violence in Gaza directed toward Palestinians along Israel’s border fence during the March of Great Return, it seems extremely important to revisit the factual history of the occupation.
Violence erupted Monday, as the U.S. moved its embassy to Jerusalem, having officially declared the city the capital of Israel. Mainstream media in the U.S. has largely downplayed the situation, refusing to call it was it is: A massacre.
Over 60 Palestinians were murdered in cold blood with thousands more injured.
Doctor’s Without Borders deemed the violence “unacceptable and inhumane,” Amnesty International called the violence “another horrific example” of Israeli excessive force, a U.N. Human Rights Commissioner criticized Israel’s actions, and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders has publicly condemned the attacks.
Today a Canadian doctor, 1 of 19 medical professionals shot by snipers, was shot in the leg. He believes he was targeted.
Leading up to the massacre, more than 40 Palestinians were killed and thousands seriously injured during the Great March of Return. Participants in the six-week long campaign have been attempting to symbolically assert their rights to their homeland, their identity, and their liberation, starting on Land Day, March 30th, and ending today, on Nakba Day.
Israel appeared to target clearly marked press during the weeks long campaign, resulting in multiple deaths. While supporters and soldiers were caught cheering at the sight of Palestinians being shot.
Israeli violence has permeated every aspect of Palestinian life, from the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians in 1948 to the current situation unfolding today. The story is long and the details are grim and gut wrenching but we all, especially those of us in United States, owe it to the Palestinians suffering in Gaza today to learn the true history of their occupation and daily struggle.
Investigative journalist Abby Martin traveled to Palestine and Israel in 2016 to learn about and witness the occupation firsthand. While there, Martin learned the deep and heart breaking history of the land. “What we saw was one of the biggest human rights disasters on the planet. A brutal and growing military occupation that thrives off U.S. sponsorship, soon to be strengthened even more by another $38 billion in tax dollars—the largest military aid deal in history,” said Martin.
Martin returned with a treasure trove of footage and anecdotal stories. In this Empire Files episode, Martin succinctly and effectively reveals the true history of Israel’s colonization of Israel. Before we are able to comment on the current atrocities and attempt to take sides, we must educate ourselves about the larger conflict, including the historical precedent for rejecting the U.S. embassy’s move to Jerusalem and for the Great March of Return itself.
As much of the world looks on in horror, the U.S. continues to ignore history and has refused to permit a U.N. investigation into the massacre, attempting to blame Iran for stoking violence. In an act of pure disregard for human rights, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley went so far as to walk out of the room as the Palestinian envoy began to speak.
Top Photo | Al Nakba graffiti (wikimedia)
This article (Watch Abby Martin Reveal the Brutal Truth About Israel and Palestine) is Creative Commons and written by Emma Fiala.