May 15, marks the anniversary of 53 years of Palestinian dispersion and dispossession.
In 1948, Palestinians were driven from their homes at gunpoint, by acts
of terrorism, and by the
threat of war and further massacres. Some 750,000 men, women, and children became exiles living in refugee camps in neighboring Arab countries. A whole society and way of life was destroyed through the establishment of the state of Israel. To Palestinians, this is known as Al-Nakba, The Catastrophe, and it is the very core of the conflict between Israel, Palestine and their Arab neighbors. Under UN resolutions and international law, Palestinians have, and have always had, the right to return to their homes. Israel has refused to acknowledge this right and the U.S. has failed to enforce it.
The state of Israel was founded on the destruction of Palestinian society. Over 400 Palestinian villages were destroyed, lands were seized, and Israeli towns and kibbutzim were built on their ruins. The remaining Palestinian population live as second-class citizens in their own country, without full and equal rights with regard to employment, housing, health care or land ownership.
Today the dispossession continues. Israel continues to occupy
Palestinian territory, confiscate
land, destroy homes and olive groves, build illegal settlements and bring in hundreds of thousands of settlers, all in violation of international law and UN resolutions.
The US and Canada should play a more forceful role in ending Israeli aggression, human rights abuses, violations of international law and expansionism, by:
calling for Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories;
supporting the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes;
calling for the dismantling of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories;
insisting that Israel extend the same rights and privileges to all citizens of Israel, regardless of ethnicity or religion.
Fifty-three years of injustice, of expansion, of flouting international law, is too much.
If you can, take some time to day to let government officials know that the Israeli oppression of Palestinians can no longer be tolerated.
Jean Chretien, Prime Minister
John Manley, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Fax: (613) 995-1534
White House: (202) 456-1111 or firstname.lastname@example.org
State Department: (202) 647-6575 or Secretary@state.gov