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15 May, 2011 22:04

"Israel must recognize Palestinian catastrophe" – Israeli Arab activist

"Israel must recognize Palestinian catastrophe" – Israeli Arab activist

At least 16 people were killed when Israeli troops shot at pro-Palestinian protesters on Israel’s Lebanese, Syrian and Gazan borders.

The clashes broke out on Nakba Day, which marks the anniversary of the founding of the Jewish state when many Palestinians lost their homes.Political activist Sami Abou Shahadeh says that what happened on Israel’s borders Sunday is merely the continuation of a long-running catastrophe.“Palestinians who were expelled from their houses 63 years ago are now still refugees in this part of the Arab world, they just wanted to commemorate Nakba Day,” Shahadeh told RT. “To transform these events into what happened is a real crime, that’s just another crime that the Israeli government is committing.”The political activist stated that millions of refugees are still not allowed to go back to their homes.“The majority of these people are still not allowed to go back, and the war ended 63 years ago! And it’s not just that – all of Israeli society, not just the government, is denying the fact that the Palestinians experienced a catastrophe in the establishment of the Israeli state,” Shahadeh declared. “The fact that the Palestinians want to go back home is the most normal thing I can think of. The Israeli violence is a serious catastrophe that most of the world unfortunately doesn’t know enough about, and they believe all the Israeli lies.”The political activist says he is skeptical that the international community will hold Israel responsible for the killings.“I don’t believe someone can bring the Israeli army and the Israeli government to justice,” he declared. “Israelis can do whatever they want, that is why they are behaving this way toward pro-Palestinians, peace activists or anyone who wants to hold any demonstration in Gaza or Jerusalem. They say that these people were throwing stones – so what? People might get angry and throw stones on the borders – what could happen to the huge massive forces of Israel if people throw some stones at the borders? This can’t justify the killing of innocent people in the north, in Gaza and in Jerusalem.”Shahadeh maintains that if the Israeli society continues denying Nakba Day and ignoring the fact that the most important component of the Palestinian issue is the refugee issue, the world is going to have this conflict for many years to come. “If we want to reach a solution and a historical compromise between the Palestinians and the Israelis – which will be good for the whole Middle East, Israeli society and the Israeli government – the Palestinian Nakba should not be denied, the responsibility must be taken for what Israel did to the Palestinian people in 1948, and a good solution of the refugee issue must be though of.”

Analyst and writer Stephen Lendman believes what Israel is doing is a violation of human rights.“Israel attacks peaceful protesters while many tens of thousands were enjoying and commemorating Nakba Day,” he said. “The whole world sees the real face of Israel now – a violent state attacking peaceful protesters while all they are doing is expressing the legal right to commemorate an important day.”He also stated that Western powers, in particular the US, do not stand up against this violence.“America partners with everything Israel does,” he argued. “It funds Israel billions of dollars every year, gives Israel the latest weapons and technology. The Israeli lobby in America can get nearly the entire Congress to go along with whatever Israel wants, including illegal wars, violence and torture.”

And Jafar Farah the director of the Mossawa Centre for Arabs in Israel believes the international community has double standards. Usually quick to introduce sanctions when international law is violated, the international community is in no hurry to deal with Israel. “In case of Israel we see all over history of double standards and I think it’s very important to hold Israel to international standards” Farah told RT.“The international community has a responsibility. Taking into consideration the creation of the state of Israel, the decision to create a two-state solution was taken by the UN, so I think it’s about time that the UN and the international community call on the Israeli public and the Israeli policy makers to decide now what they want. You can’t hold 3 million people under occupation without taking a decision about what Israel wants” he added.