March 30 – Land Day: Palestinian Day of Struggle Against Colonization

March 30 marks Land Day, a day in which Palestinians inside and outside Palestine commemorate and celebrate the Palestinian connection to the land and continuous struggle against colonialism. 2013 is the 37th Land Day, coming on the anniversary of the mass upsurge in occupied Palestine 1948 in 1976, in response to yet another Israeli attempt to confiscate over 20,000 dunums of Palestinian land in the Galilee. Thousands of Palestinians of ’48 rose up in a general strike and mass protests, the largest upsurge of Palestinians in the ’48 areas since the Nakba.

Six Palestinians – Kheir Mohammad Salim Yasin, Khadija Qasem Shawahneh, Raja Hussein Abu Rayya, Khader Eid Mahmoud Khalaila, Muhsin Hasan Said Taha, and Ra’fat Ali Az-Zheiri – were shot dead by the occupation army as they protested.

In 1976, organizers of Land Day said, “This day is a new landmark of the Palestinian struggle for liberation. With this declaration our masses proclaimed and ascertained their Palestinian identity….March 30, ‘The Day of the Land’,
has become a Palestinian Feast that we will celebrate every year.”

Palestinians in occupied Palestine ’48, in the West Bank and Gaza and everywhere in exile continue to mark Land Day annually with protests, gatherings, and renewed commitment to liberation of the land and people of Palestine.

On this Land Day, we look forward to coming together in Vancouver on May 3-5 for critical conversations and organizing about Palestinian representation and the future of our Palestinian national movement. Click here to register today for the Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North America, and click here to donate to help support the conference’s efforts.

Part of our Historical Documents collection focus on Land Day and the struggle of Palestinians in occupied Palestine ’48. For example, see the following resources:

The following posters are some of the countless images produced by Palestinian organizations to mark Land Day. For a complete collection, see the Palestine Poster Project.

Keynote presenters announced for Shatat Conference

Seven keynote panelists for Return and Liberation: Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North America have been announced by the organizers. These speakers include the following presenters:

rabab-abdulhadiRabab Abdulhadi Senior Scholar of the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Initiative, at the College of Ethnic Studies, San Francisco State University

hanna-kawasHanna KawasChair, Canada Palestine Association and Co-Host, Voice of Palestine

karma-nabulsiKarma NabulsiFormer PLO representative; professor, St Edmund Hall, Oxford University. 

camilia-odehCamille Odeh

Founding Director, Southwest Youth Collaborative and longtime Palestinian organizer

loubna-qutamiLoubna Qutami

General Coordinator, Palestinian Youth Movement

Abdel-TakritiAbdel Razzaq Takriti
Lecturer in International History at the University of Sheffield, England and author
issam-yamaniIssam Al-Yamani
Executive Director, Palestine House and longtime Palestinian activist

No Condescending Saviours: Obama Unwelcome in Palestine by Omar Shaban

No Condescending Saviours: Obama Unwelcome in Palestine
by Omar Shaban

Obama’s speech in Ramallah reaffirmed my conviction that the conference that will be held in Vancouver in May is more important than ever – and this is why.

With an extremely patronizing and condescending attitude, and with a saviour mentality, Obama barged into the Palestinian territories unwelcomed to preach to Palestinians on how to go about resisting the occupation. He stood by the side of the PA’s unelected President Mahmoud Abbas surrounded by American flags with an annoying smirk on his face bragging about American support for the creation of “an independent and sovereign state of Palestine.” Note how he chose the preposition “of” instead of “in” indicative of the general American attitude towards Palestinian national self-determination, which demands that Palestinians forget about their sentimental, national and historical attachment to all of Palestine, settle for whatever is left and establish what may look like a state.

He then continued with commending Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad – Palestinian Authority officials who are widely recognized as willing puppets and symbols of corruption, exploitation and subservience to a settler colonial agenda. Brushing aside all the efforts of the Palestinian civil society and grassroots organizations at maintaining the existence of the Palestinian national identity, actively resisting the ongoing occupation of Palestine and serving the Palestinian community day after day, Obama insisted on highlighting what he referred to as “the progress they [Abbas and Fayyad] made,” which could not have been accomplished without the measly donations provided by USAID.

“Ramallah is a very different city” that suits what Obama wants Palestine to look like – the bastion of corruption, embezzlement and exploitation of Palestinian sweat and blood. “Palestinian security forces are stronger and more professional” and, I should add, are better at executing their mission – repressing Palestinian activists and dissidents, shutting down blogs and news websites that speak out against the occupation, arresting and jailing Palestinian youth and torturing armless young men, women and elders.

He then decided, as a bad guest, to feed the division between Ramallah and Gaza – by employing the standard and infamous divide and conquer techniques that give legitimacy to the colonial intermediary (the PA in Ramallah) and demonize what the Palestinians last elected as an authority (the government in Gaza). Ramallah’s puppet rulers who appealed to the morals of the occupiers are the the way forwards, whereas those who resist occupation “have blocked progress for so long.”

How odious is Obama’s audacity of political manipulation and disregard of the day to day suffering of the Palestinian people? how odious is his contempt to the Palestinians’ right to elect and choose who governs them? And how odious is his rejection of the Palestinians right to resist a vicious occupation that has been going on for 65 years?

It needs to be made very clear that the Palestinians do not need Obama or anybody to lecture them on how to resist the Israeli occupation; and this is why this conference is very important. Travelling from all across the world, Palestinian activists will congregate in Vancouver to express solidarity with the Palestinian people, bring to light the plight of the Palestinians in the shatat especially in the refugee camps, discuss and create more efficient methods at fighting the general Zionist discourse which promotes colonialism and imperialism, dismantle the myths that the current leadership of the PLO and PA try to perpetuate, and build a united vision for the future.

This conference is going to reject Obama’s condescending attitudes. It will send him and his allies in Canada and Europe a clear message that the Palestinian people is not in need of his measly USAID which when compared to aid he gives to Israel is less than a drop in the sea.

Palestinians inside and outside of Palestine do not need a war criminal to tell them that they have “the talent, the drive, and the courage to succeed in their own state” – they already know that.

As we say in Arabic: بدناش جميلتك ..

تحت شعار ” طريقنا العودة و التحرير ” مُؤتمر للشتات الفلسطيني في أمريكا الشمالية في مايو / أيار القادم

أعلنت اللجنة التنظيمية لمؤتمر الشتات الفلسطيني في أمريكا الشمالية عن بدء الاستعداد واعلان فعاليات ” مؤتمر العودة والتحرير ” والذي تستضيفه مدينة فانكوفر الكندية أيام 3 و4 و 5 / أيار القادم ، في فضاء الذكرى ال 65 للنكبة الفلسطينية التي بدأت عام 1948

وأكدت اللجنة في بيانها أن المؤتمر سيبحث دور الفلسطينيين في القارة الامريكية والشتات حيث تعقد ورش عمل خاصة حول التمثيل السياسي الفلسطيني وتطبيق حق اللاجئين الفلسطينين في العودة ، و دور الحركة الطلابية في الجامعات ، فضلاً عن تنظيم الشبيبة والناشئة وتفعيل دور حركة التضامن مع الشعب الفلسطيني وحملات الدفاع عن الاسرى والاسيرات في سجون الاحتلال.

وأعلنت اللجنة عن اكتمال تشكيل لجنتي الاعلام والتواصل على مستوى القارة ، بمشاركة العشرات من النشطاء في المدن الأمريكية والكندية . كما تم إطلاق موقعاً إلكترونياً خاصاً للمؤتمر وتحديد أهم الندوات وورشات العمل واللجان الوظيفية واللوجستية.

وتلعب حركة الشباب الفلسطيني دوراً مركزياً في تنظيم وقيادة المؤتمر، كذلك تشارك قوى طلابية ولجان فلسطينية في اللجان، وكوادر من حركة العودة في نيويورك وطلبة من أجل الحقوق الفلسطينية في كندا وشبكة صامدون لدعم الأسرى والجمعية
الفلسطينية الكندية في مقاطعة برتش كولمبيا واذاعة ” صوت فلسطين ” إضافة إلى عدد من أعضاء ولجان مناهضة العنصرية الاسرائيلية وغيرها .

ويستضيف المؤتمر عددا من الفنانين والمبدعين العرب وفرقة العودة للدبكة الشعبية والفنانة الفلسطينية نسرين حجاج . وضيوف من فلسطين المحتلة وشخصيات من دول المنافي والمهاجر .

ويسعى المؤتمر إلى تنظيم أوسع كتلة ضغط شعبية للنهوض بدور الحركة الوطنيه الفلسطينية في الشتات ولمواجهة الحركة الصهيونية وحماية حق الشعب الفلسطيني في اختيار ممثليه والمشاركة في إعادة تأسيس وبناء هيئاتة الوطنيه الموحدة.

From SAIA York: York Federation of Students endorses BDS campaign

On this International Day Against Racial Discrimination, in an historic vote at the largest students’ union in Canada, York University’s undergraduate students’ union, the York Federation of Students, voted overwhelmingly in favour of a resolution to endorse the Global Campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israeli apartheid.

The resolution was drafted in response to the 2005 Palestinian civil society call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel as a means to pressure it to comply with international law and to end its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza; allow Palestinian refugees their internationally guaranteed right to return to their homes and villages; and grant equal rights to Palestinian citizens of Israel.

With 18 votes in favour and 2 opposed, the board of the York Federation of Students passed the resolution to endorse the BDS campaign, as well as demand that York University abide by the BDS call; specifically urging the University to withdraw its investments from Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems, Amphenol and other companies that are selling weapons and military equipment to Israel .

“The oppression of the Palestinian people at the hands of the Israeli state is not some far off issue that we can choose to ignore. We are already deeply implicated in the human rights violations of the Israeli State through our investments in the above-mentioned companies. We do not have the privilege to remain ‘neutral’ on this issue,” said Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) York collective member Huda Al-Sarraj.

In November of this academic year, SAIA York achieved its first BDS success with the passing of a BDS motion at the York University Graduate Students’ Association (GSA). SAIA York now hopes to bring its demand for divestment to the York University Administration by lobbying for the implementation of a socially responsible investment policy. With the support of the GSA and the YFS, as well as the TA’s, GA’s and contract faculty union, CUPE 3903, which passed a BDS motion in 2006, SAIA York will now demand an end to the investment of university funds into companies that profit from violations of international law and human rights.

For Media contact:

Johannah May Black – 416 662 2084

Hammam Farah – 416 669 8144

See SAIA’s video:

On Mothers’ Day: A Letter to Mother Palestine and her Daughters by Reham Alhelsi

The following piece, by Reham Alhelsi, was published at A Voice from Palestine. We re-publish it here today with greetings, salutes and love to all of the Palestinian mothers who nourish children and the land, nurture Palestinian society, and lead, march and fight in the struggle.

MotherandFighter2Dear Mother Palestine,

On Mother’s day, as the Hannoun wakes up, and as the almond tree blossoms and you wear your green and red dress, we celebrate you. On this day, we celebrate the land, our heritage and our home, we celebrate you mother Palestine, the mother of us all. We celebrate your daughters: our mothers, our sisters, our comrades, who have carried the flame of resistance, protected it and kept it burning. We celebrate your daughters: the martyrs, the prisoners, the injured, the revolutionaries, the workers, the farmers, we celebrate Palestinian mothers. We celebrate your daughters: the mother of the martyr, the mother of the prisoner, the mother of the injured, the mother of the revolutionary, the mother of the worker, the mother of the farmer, the mother of every Palestinian. On this day, as we celebrate the mothers of Palestine, I write to you and to your daughters who are now with you, who have become part of you. On this day, I write to Palestinian mothers who sacrificed their lives for you mother Palestine, those who sacrificed their lives for us. Today, I write to the mothers who were killed while protecting their children, their homes and their land. On this day, I write to the mothers who were killed by Zionist terror gangs, by the brutal occupation with its bullets, tanks, drones, its dungeons, siege and its network of death-traps. I write to the mothers who are always on our minds, whose names we have printed in our memory, whose stories and sacrifices tell your story mother Palestine.

On Mother’s Day, tell Hilweh Zeidan that we remember her on this day and every day. Tell her that we remember her courage, defying the bullets of the Zionist terrorists, standing by her husband and her son as they defend their home, as they defend Deir Yassin from the killers. Tell her that when she took her son’s gun, when she stood near her fallen husband and son, when she continued the struggle against the Zionists, Hilweh not only fought to defend her home, she fought to defend every one of us. Tell her that her spirit that feared no death, was our guide over the decades. Tell her that her blood which watered the land, paves the way for liberation. Tell Saliha Al-Halabi that the Zionist criminal who emptied his bullets into her body, killing her and her 9 month old unborn child, has not been brought to justice yet. Tell her that the Zionist criminal who afterwards ripped open her stomach and took out her slaughtered child is considered a hero by the terrorist entity that was built on where her village once stood. Tell her we still mourn her and the pregnant mothers bayoneted in the abdomen while alive. Tell her we still mourn the children maimed in front of their mothers before having their heads cut off. Tell her that 64 years later, her killers still kill Palestinian mothers, still commit massacres, still ethnically cleanse Palestine. Tell her that 64 years later, the Arab brethren still cry crocodile tears over our pain, still sell our blood to the highest bidder and still betray you mother Palestine. Tell her that 64 years later, we remember every victims of every Zionist massacre and every Zionist crime, we repeat the names of every Palestinian massacred, every village demolished, every field uprooted. Tell her that we are united by the pain and the blood of Deir Yassin, Beit Darras, Dawaymeh, Khisas, Sa’sa’, Balad Il-Sheikh, Abu Shusha, Beit Daras, Tantoura, Kufr Qasem, Qibya, Sharafat, Azazmeh, Beit Jala, Qalqilia, Jenin, Gaza, Bethlehem and every massacre committed by the Zionists. Tell her that 64 years later, we have not forgotten, have nor forgiven. Tell her that every day we tell the hypocrite world that it might turn a blind eye, but we will never cease until every single victim receives justice, until Palestine receives justice. Tell her that the march never stopped, and even though some have derailed, the majority has the map imprinted in their hearts, and with every march we come closer to Beisan, to Acca, to Tabariya, to Safad, to Jerusalem. Tell her, dear mother Palestine, that 64 years later, Palestine is as precious as ever, Palestine remains our home forever.

On Mother’s Day, tell Umayyah Imran that we remember her on this day and every day. Tell her that the Zionists still kill Palestinian mothers and their born and unborn children at the European-paid military checkpoints. Tell her that her children place flowers on her grave every day, that they sing their kindergarten songs to her. Tell her that her children and the children of every Palestinian mother killed at Israeli checkpoints don’t fear these death traps, but repeat the oath given to their mothers; to remain steadfast, to continue the struggle. Tell her that on the spot where she was left to bleed to death, the poppies defy the death traps and bloom every spring, brining a promise of hope and justice. Tell her that students, workers and farmers are still humiliated at the checkpoints, are still hunted down by killers hiding inside towers. Tell 16 year old Fahmi Al-Darduk, that his mother still cries over her only son, shot at an Israeli checkpoint and left to bleed to death, his only crime was listening to music from his cell phone. Tell 22 year old Bahsar Al-Qadiri, who was stopped at the death trap, tied and thrown into a pit and forced to stay there under the scorching sun until he died, that his mother has kept his room and his university books as he had left them, that she kisses his picture every day. Tell Nada Hussein that her 8 children celebrate Mother’s Day every year at her grave. Tell her that the Israeli soldiers who killed her still prevent patients from reaching hospitals, still delay them at checkpoints, leaving them to die a slow and a painful death. Tell Kamla Ash-Sholi that her two children keep asking about her, keep asking their father why the Israeli soldiers who shot their mother at the checkpoint for no reason were not punished. Tell her that Nahil Abu Raja still mourns her stillborn baby Zaid, killed by the checkpoint. Tell her that the mother of Khalid Mousa, the mother of Jamila and Huda As-Safadi, the mother of Aminah and Fatima Al-Qadi, the mother of Rawan Hreizan and many others still mourn their children, still remember them playing with their toys, still remember the day they were born, still remember the day they were stopped at Israeli checkpoints, prevented from reaching hospital and their children left to die while Israeli soldiers laughed. Tell 18 year old Kifah Zu’rub that his screams and cries still ring throughout his home, that his mother remembers every minute and every second of that day when her son was attacked by Zionists’ dogs, and prevented at the checkpoint from reaching hospital, how despite the injuries he was turned back home to die a painful death. Tell her that while Palestinian mothers and grandmothers are humiliated and killed at Israeli checkpoints, Arab brethren extend their hands to the killers. Tell her that while Palestinian pregnant women are forced to deliver at the roadside under the eyes and laughs of Israeli occupation soldiers, Arab brethren continue to talk about dignity, about “honour”. Tell her their cries for help and their screams of pain are music to the Zionists and fall on the deaf ears of the Arab brethren. Tell her that as life slips away, as they close their eyes, the world turns a blind eye. Today, on Mother’s Day, tell her dear mother Palestine and tell every Palestinian mother, that their cry for justice will never be silenced. Tell them that we won’t rest until we seek justice for Aisha Nassar, Rihab Nofal, Laila Baheiri and Rana Al-Jayyousi and every Palestinian victim. Tell her that we mourn with ever mother who lost a child, mourn with every child who lost a mother. Tell Fawziyyah Ad-Darak we remember every patient prevented from reaching hospital, every patient killed at Israeli checkpoints. Tell her we mourn her and mourn Khadra Mustafa, Fatima Ash-Sharafi, Basim Ar-Rimawi, Aisha Hasan, Safia Qandil, Khatima Abdel Rahman and every Palestinian patient left to die at the Israeli checkpoints.

On Mother’s Day, tell Wujdan Khalid that the Zionists still kill us with their American-paid poisonous gas. Tell her they still kill unborn Palestinian children, like they killed her 9 month old stillborn son Sa’d. Tell her they celebrate killing Palestinian mothers and their unborn children, they promote it and sing of “killing two for the price of one”. Tell her their racist minds see Palestinian babies as a “threat” that should be eliminated, and see Palestinian mothers as “weapons’ factories” that should be “demolished”. Tell her that they still throw gas canisters into homes, into crowded refugee camps, shoot them directly at protesters. Tell her that they still drown funerals with poisonous gas, that they still target schools and hospitals. Tell her that their poisonous gas still strangles mothers while in their kitchens baking bread. Tell her that their poisonous gas still kills the trees and silences the birds. Tell her that we mourn her, remember her, and remember Aziza Jabir, Dawlat Al-Masri, Amira Abu Askar and Nabila Al-Yaziji, Shukriyeh Faris and their unborn children. Tell her that we mourn and remember Amnah Darwish, Fatma Al-Walidi, Shamieh Jarrar, Fatma Salman, Kamleh Sharaf, Subhiya Mankush, Watfa Farajallah, Na’ima ‘Adi, Fatma Al-Khawaja, Rabi’a Ash-Sharafi, Khadra Abu Salameh, Khayriyah Alawneh and every mother killed by Israel’s poisonous gas.

On Mother’s Day, tell Wafa’ Ad-Daghmah that her children still see her lying on the ground in a pool of blood, still tremble at the memory of that day when Israeli occupation forces blew up their home and killed their mother in front of their eyes. Tell her that her blood refuses to be forgotten, her pain refuses to be silenced. Tell Manal Al-Batran and her 5 children that the Zionists still occupy the sky over Gaza, still occupy the land and the water. Tell them that Gaza homes are shelled by bombs and missiles while the so-called PA talks about freedom and liberation. Tell them that Palestinian schools in Gaza are targeted with illegal weapons while Arab brethren race to normalize with the Zionists. Tell them that Palestinian children in Gaza sleep to the noise of drones, and mothers don’t sleep at all, hug their children and try to protect them from the next missile. Tell them that Gaza says farewell to her children almost every day, while those who claim to represent us fight over chairs and imaginary posts. Tell them that Gaza stands alone and defies the daily Zionist terror while Arab brethren meet to coordinate new NATO invasions of Arab land. Tell Zeina Al-Awawdah and her 3 children that the world remained silent when the Zionist missile blew her and her children into pieces. Tell them that world leaders did not announce that they “cry with the people of Palestine”. Tell them that the so-called PA sold their blood without a wink of an eye. Tell them that the Arab brethren don’t even condemn Israeli crimes anymore. Tell Hayat Sheikh-Khalil that Gaza is still besieged. Tell her that the siege still kills Palestinians, still makes widows and orphans. Tell her that Palestinian mothers have to watch their children die a slow and a painful death, and fathers have to hear the cries of their children and not be able to do a thing. Tell her how young people, once full of hope and determination, wither in front of their parents. Tell Huda Al-Khawaja that her killers are welcomed in every world capital. Tell her that leaving her to bleed to death in front of her 5 children and preventing medical treatment was termed “a mistake”, for whom no one is to be charged or punished. Tell her that the world saw her die slowly, saw her children plead for help, heard the Israeli soldier say in front of the camera that they were doing “purification” work in the refugee camp, and the world remained silence, turned a blind eye. Tell Mariam Ayyad and Wajiha Rabay’a that their children have a million mothers now. Tell them that Palestinian mothers continue to protect their children from Zionist missiles, bombs, bullets and dungeons. Tell them that Palestinian mothers continue to rush and save Palestine’s children from the Zionist kidnap gangs and the death squads. On Mother’s Day and on every day, tell them, mother Palestine, that we mourn them, we remember them, we remember their sacrifices, we won’t forget the crimes. Tell them that we continue the fight for our and their freedom, for our and their rights, we continue to seek justice for us and for them, no matter how long it takes, because justice will prevail.

On Mother’s Day, tell Maryam Makhtoub and Najla’ Syam that Al-Aqsa is still in danger. Tell them that Zionist raids have increased while the actions of Arab brethren in support of Al-Aqsa remain non-existent. Tell them that Jerusalem is being ethnically cleansed, Judaized while those who claim to represent us “negotiate” over the colour of their VIP-cards. Tell them that Palestinian mothers still dream of the day when their children will be free, when Palestine will be free. Tell them that Palestinian mothers are forced to give birth inside Israeli dungeons while “PA” and Arab officials dine and wine in Tel Aviv, and while the whole world whines over the violations of human rights committed everywhere, but not those committed by the Zionist entity. Tell them about Intisar Al-Qaq, Majida Salaymeh, Umaymah Al-Agha, Samiha Hamdan, Mirvat Taha, Manal Ghannam, Samar Sbeih and Fatima Az-Ziq. Tell them that Palestinian mothers are kidnapped from the midst of their children, dragged away from the warmth of their homes and thrown into dungeons. Tell them how Palestinian mothers are harassed, tortured, isolated and threatened with their lives and the lives of their loved ones. Tell them about Iman Ghazzawi, Ibtisam Il-Isawi, Ireena Sarahneh, Qahira As-Saadi, Latifa Abu Thra’, Muntaha At-Tawil, Kifah Jibril, Hanan Al-Hmouz and Samha Hijaz. Tell them that the Zionist entity holds trials for the victims it killed, sentenced them and keeps Palestinian martyrs hostage. Tell them about Dala Al-Mughrabi, Darin Abu Eishah, Zeinab Abu Aalim, Hanadi Abdel Malik, Wafa’ Idris, Ayat Al-Akhras and Hiba Daraghmeh.

On Mother’s Day, tell Fatma Ghazal and Fatma Abu Dayyah and all your daughters that Palestinian mothers continue to be the spearhead of resistance, continue to be the guardians of the land, continue to be the teachers of the revolution, continue to the leaders, the marchers, the freedom-fighters. Tell them that Palestinian mothers don’t fear the machine gun of the Zionist colonists, don’t fear the tank of the occupation soldier, don’t fear the interrogation cells of the dungeons. Tell them that Palestinian mothers are the martyrs, the prisoners, the farmers, the workers, the protectors. Tell them that Palestinian mothers still cry for their children, still talk to their children’s pictures on the wall, place a Hannoun over their children’s graves. Tell them that Palestinian mothers hold back the tears, but can’t hold back the waves of longing, can’t stop the pain. Tell them that when a Palestinian martyr is carried to our mother, to Palestine, over the shoulders of thousands of comrades, every martyr becomes the child of a million Palestinian mothers, and a million tears fall for him/her, and a million zaghroota are sung for him/her. Tell them they are our mothers, the daughters of Palestine.

Dear Mother Palestine,

On Mother’s Day, tell my grandmother Mariam that I remember her every word and her every song about the land. Tell her that her smile is my constant companion, her courage and dignity my protecting armour. Tell her that I walk with her in Jrash, I hold her hand where my grandfather’s house once stood, I see her apple tree and her flowers. Tell her that the keys have not rusted, they are sacred and that the return journey to Jrash began the minute she was forcibly expelled from her home under the rush of bullets. Tell her that Jrash is closer than ever, though it might seem far away. Tell her the road to Jrash is clearer than ever, though it might seem blocked with so many obstacles. Tell her that her grandchildren are loyal to her legacy, carry her will in their hearts next to Palestine. Tell her that their compass points only towards Jrash. Tell my grandmother Aishah that I remember our walks up the hills, remembers her singing traditional songs. Tell her that her fig tree is still steadfast on the hill, standing in defiance, facing the illegal Zionist colony and the military checkpoint. Tell her that the olive trees that were burnt down to ashes have grown, have defeated death and are reborn, have defied uprooting and still cling to the land. Tell her that the land beyond the checkpoint and the barbed wire misses her, asks about her. Tell her that the lands asks: when will freedom come?

Dear Mother Palestine,

On Mother’s day and on every day, tell your daughters who have become part of you, whose bravery guides us, that we remember them, that we see them in the eyes of every Palestinian child, in the smile of every Palestinian mother, in every Hannouneh and in every olive tree. Tell them that the mothers of Palestine will continue to raise freedom-fighters, martyrs, prisoners and revolutionaries. They will continue to raise Palestinians, sing to them the songs of Palestine, tell them about Haifa and Beisan and Safad, teach them that Palestine will always be one from the River to the Sea, that rights are not begged for but are taken. They will continue to lead the struggle for a free Palestine, free from the River to the Sea, for they are your daughters, mother Palestine.

During the First Intifada, one song we often sang, chanted in marches and protests says:
Oh my people, the revolution has grown and we are her revolutionaries
In my village and in my town, from her River to her Sea
Oh my people, my family, join the revolution oh my people
The house they demolish, it’s our duty to rebuild
The child whose father they imprison, it’s our duty to embrace

Oh mother of the martyr ululate, all the young people are your children
Oh mother of the prisoner rebel, death but not humiliation
Salute the revolting sister, salute the patient mother
We choose the time and we decide the place
Our words are our deeds and our souls in our palms
And if we die, our children continue the march


The Answer to “Why Can’t We be Friends?” by Omar Shaban

The following article was written by Omar Shaban, a member of the Conference organizing committee and of Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights at UBC (SPHR-UBC), the conference hosting group at the University of British Columbia.

This article was inspired by the poorly written article in UBC’s official newspaper The Ubyssey.

hold-israel-accThere is no doubt that when an oppressor – no matter who they are – fails to make a good “moral” case as to why they are oppressing a certain person, or a group of people, this oppressor will try to find ways to reconcile between what they perceive as a necessity to oppress and the necessity to rebrand this oppression as a necessity. This is especially true when it comes to the Zionist oppression of the Palestinian people inside and outside of Historic Palestine. The Zionists have always tried to work on the two fronts I mentioned above: the necessity to oppress and the necessity to rebrand the oppression as a necessity.

The Necessity to Oppress:

The perceived necessity to oppress is a very distinctive feature of the Zionist movement inside and outside of Palestine. Since the beginning of the Zionist project, earlier Zionists had no qualm with inflicting suffering and misery upon another population in order to advance their narrowly defined political project. From the perspective of Theodore Herzl, it was absolutely acceptable for the Zionists to displace an entire population, remove them from their roots and replace them with an entirely alien population using false rhetoric such as “a land without a people for a people without a land.” Successive leaderships of the World Zionist Organization expressed similar sentiments – sentiments that were later transformed into actions that culminated in the ethnic cleansing of over 750,000 Palestinians from their land. The oppression of the Palestinian people continued to be a necessity for the the Zionist project even after the creation of the Israeli state on stolen Palestinian land. For Israel to be a democracy and Jewish at the same time, the state must maintain a Jewish majority which means two important things: 1) keeping the Palestinians who were forcibly expelled from Palestine in 1940s outside of Palestine, and 2) creating laws, rules and regulations to control and exclude the Palestinian who remained inside of Palestine.

Zionist rhetoric maintains that the Jewish state has, since day one, been facing an existential threat levelled against her by the brutal totalitarian regimes of the Arab world. Right after what they term as “the declaration of independence” (independence from whom? I am not sure), the newly born Jewish state was “invaded” by Arab armies bent on the inhuman objective of eradicating the only Jewish state in the entire world. The Jewish state has had to defend itself from her haters after this failure of an invasion numerous times – first the Zionists had to find methods to ward off the attacks of the Palestinian Fida’iyeen (self-sacrificers) whose activities were sporadic and disorganized, then they had to deal with a resurgent Palestinian National Liberation Movement represented by Fatah, then they had to fight the Arab armies in 1967, then an increasingly popular Popular Front for Liberation of Palestine in the late 1960s and early 1970s, then a united Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in the 1980s and an Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) in the late 80s and early 90s. Because of this imminent threat against Israel, because of the numerous and systemic attacks against it, and because this state is isolated in a sea of Arabs who are fuelled by hate and anger, Israel has a right to not only defend itself, but also attack whom it perceives as a threat – and that can be combatants and freedom fighters as well as their support base which includes civilians, their properties, their schools and playgrounds and their entire livelihood.

From the Zionist perspective, oppressing the Palestinian people is a necessity because the mere existence of Israel as a Jewish state depends on it. There is no other way to maintain a democracy for the Jewish people other than through the exclusionary policies of Apartheid and ethnic cleansing, occupation and siege. Disobeying the law – international and even Israeli law – becomes justifiable and an acceptable Kantian norm whereby the “ends justify the means.”

The Necessity to Rebrand this Oppression as a “Normal” Necessity:

Over the past hundred and so years, the Zionist quest to rebrand and promote the necessity for oppression has undergone an extremely significant transformation. In the beginning, the Zionists sought to convince the leaders of Europe of the worthiness of their “cause” using the language of Realpolitik and necessity. The leaders of Europe must support the Zionist project despite their flagrant anti-Semitism because it is in their political and economic interest to do so. From the perspective of earlier Zionists, this necessity had to become the norm; a norm that allows them to operate around the political and economic structure of Europe, as well as within this structure. If the Zionist project is indeed a political and economic necessity, then the only intelligible course of action is to support it and this is what happened. It began with the Kaiser of Germany allowing Herzl to present his ideas, to the political leaders of Switzerland allowing him and his supporters to hold their first conference in Basel, to supporting and facilitating Zionist immigration to Palestine, to convincing Britain to promise the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, and eventually to creating a Jewish state after a long campaign of systemic ethnic cleansing.

Now the quest to promote Zionism is taking place on University campuses. Barely an event organized by a Palestinian solidarity group on university campuses passes without invoking the need to have “constructive and meaningful dialogue” and forgetting about the divisive issues and focusing on moving forward and achieving “peace” (whatever that means). This insistence on “constructive dialogue” is indicative of a strong desire by the Zionists to pacify and neutralize any resistance to advancing the Zionist project. University students are now taking the lead and initiative to debunk all the Zionist myths – historical and current – about the reality of the situation in Palestine. The boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel is gaining ground in virtually every higher education institution all across the globe as students are becoming more aware that the last bastion of Western imperialism is an entity that should not be allowed to exist in its current form. More students are becoming more aware of Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and of the systemic racism Palestinians with an Israeli citizenship face on a daily basis, and of the unjust and inhumane repression that Palestinian refugees have been enduring in their host countries for six and a half decades. This increased awareness of the Palestinian predicament is making the Zionist promotion of their project more difficult as it poses a moral threat to the very foundations of this project.

Thusly, rebranding the oppression of the Palestinians as a necessity becomes a necessity. Every crime perpetrated by the Israelis against the Palestinians and the areas where Palestinians are is framed within the context of self-preservation, protection and fighting an existential threat. Israel, which is facing this existential threat, cannot be reduced to a mere colonial entity created for the sole purpose of advancing the geopolitical interests of Western powers in the region – there is more to this “tiny state.” It is a state for its Jewish citizens who share a collective identity and a shared history represented by food, dance, culture, and music. These citizens are not merely political and military objects necessary for the maintenance of the regime, they are global citizens with achievements that span all disciplines, cross borders and boundaries and challenge pre-conceived notions. This elaborately fabricated structure which includes economic, financial, scientific and educational institutions was put in place by a people who have been yearning for emancipation for thousands of years; an emancipation that they finally attained in Palestine – a land which was apparently empty and a desert before the Zionist settlement in it.

Such is the discursive dichotomy of the Zionist modus operandi. It is a dichotomy based on rewriting history, falsifying facts and disseminating propaganda to promote and legitimize a racist ideology. And this is why we can’t be friends with the Zionists. The fundamental premise of any friendship – no matter how deep or shallow it may be – is a mutual understanding, a shared empathy and a genuine sympathy with the experiences of the other. Such a framework does not exist when it comes to the Zionist oppression of the Palestinians. The relationship between the Palestinians and Zionists is that of an oppressed with their oppressor. In this case, the oppressor is not only seeking to eliminate the Palestinian national existence from both consciousness and history, but it is also seeking to normalize this eradication through a vicious campaign that depends on an interdependent duality – 1) the legitimization of oppression and the existence of the oppressor and 2) the delegitimization and demonization of the oppressed and their mere existence.

March 19 in Ramallah: Palestinians for Dignity to protest Obama visit

nobamaPalestinians For Dignity call for a demonstration in objection to President Obama’s visit to the occupied Palestinian territory

Tuesday March 19 at 4:30 pm

 Starting at Al Manara Square, marching towards Al-Muqata (Ramallah)

Long Live Free Palestine

Palestinians For Dignity


President Obama’s visit to the occupied Palestinian territory comes at a time when our prisoners are waging a hunger strike battle in the face of Israeli government obstinacy, and in the face of US silence towards the slow murder these heroes are being subjected to. Most recently Palestinian prisoner Arafat Jaradat died during interrogation inside the Israeli prison of Megiddo. Moreover, the visit comes in light of the continued international isolation of Israel and the ever-increasing boycott campaigns against it.

On one hand, it is simply naive to presume that U.S. policy toward Israel has changed since Obama took office. A March 2012 report by the U.S. Congress discusses a $3.1 billion in military aid for the year 2013 only, including financing the Iron Dome system, and increasing US bilateral support to Israel to $115 billion since 1949. In addition, the US is committed to maintain Israel’s security at the expense of the lives, land and livelihood of Palestinians; whether by justifying the massacres against Palestinians in Gaza, or through its silence concerning settlement expansion, destructions of homes, forcible transfer and other Israeli policies.

On the other hand, it is hypocritical and disingenuous that the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) disregards the role of the Obama administration in blocking its membership request in 2011 at the Security Council, and its vote against the resolution at the General Assembly in 2012. Furthermore, the US congress has imposed financial sanctions on international institutions recognizing “Palestine”. And to add insult to injury, while the PLO/PA assure Palestinians they consider Jerusalem the Palestinian capital, yet they receive the US President in the Ramallah enclave.

Despite the attempts of the Palestinian “leadership” to ease the atmosphere, with statements about Obama pressuring the Israeli government on the issue of Palestinian political prisoners, or promises of petty US aid, however, the ultimate objectives of the visit are clear.

The visit aims to achieve three goals; first, to relieve the pressure off the Israeli government, which is suffering increased international isolation (albeit with words more than actions). Second, to restrain the frustration of the Palestinian street simmering in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners and finally, to prolong the expected lifetime of the PA, which after 20 years is becoming more and more disconnected from its people.

The Palestinian people will not accept to play a role in achieving these interests, and will not succumb to these pressures. What is required of us as Palestinians is to persue a complete boycott of our occupier on all fronts: security, economical, political, cultural and academic, and to rebuild a representative entity for Palestinians everywhere. Not aid in relieving the pressure on the Israeli government by engaging in a futile process, and allowing it to complete its expansionary policies and annexation through uprooting Palestinians from their land and homes.

Accordingly, we call on the masses of the Palestinian people to change this path and demonstrate against receiving he who considers Israel “the closest ally in the region”, and to refuse the return to futile negotiations. We call for entrenching the sacrifices of the martyrs and prisoners  by refusing to surrender and to work with Palestinians everywhere to establish  a strategic program of resistance, where political, economic, military, popular and various other forms of resistance and duties are shared each according to their ability.

March 30: Ana Min Hunak: Arab Cultural Evening for Palestinian Land Day – Vancouver

Ana-Min-Hunak-March30Ana Min Hunak: I am from there…
Arab Cultural Evening for Palestinian Land Day
Saturday, March 30
6:00 PM
Bonsor Banquet Hall, 6550 Bonsor Avenue, Burnaby, BC 
(Near Metrotown) – Free Parking Available
Join the Palestine Cultural Society and the organizing committee of the Vancouver Palestinian Shatat Conference for an Arab cultural evening commemorating Palestinian Land Day – experience Palestinian culture as we celebrate our connection to the land.
The cultural evening will be held in Bonsor Banquet Hall in Burnaby, BC.
*Palestinian and Arab music
*Delicious food
*Palestinian DABKEH performance
*Poetry and song
*Art on display
Children are welcome – bring your family! This is an evening for community celebration, solidarity, and cultural resistance.
Tickets on sale in advance and at the door: $15 general admission, $10 for students, $45 group rate for a group of 4, $65 group rate for a group of 6. Children under 12 free.
To buy tickets online, visit:
For tickets, call:
Omar – 604-379-4050
Rima – 604-506-4765
Abdelaziz – 604-600-1561
Abdullah – 604-760-1058
**tickets will be limited: FIRST COME FIRST SERVE!**
Proceeds will support the Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North America, taking place in Vancouver May 3-5, 2013! 

International Women’s Day: Women in the Palestinian Liberation Struggle

On International Women’s Day, it is critical to recognize the central role of Palestinian women in the struggle for liberation.  Palestinian women are, and have been throughout history, leaders, intellectuals, fighters, organizers, and writers in the Palestinian national cause, and have been a constant part of every mobilization for justice and liberation in Palestine. Indeed, the structures pioneered by Palestinian women’s committees were in many ways the backbone of the popular support networks of the Intifada and building connections among members of the Palestinian community outside Palestine. Within Palestine and in the diaspora, Palestinian women have organized themselves and their people for struggle and action.

Part of our Historical Documents collection include focuses on Palestinian women and the continuing leadership of Palestinian women in the movement over time. Some excerpts include:

The Institute for Palestine Studies has made a special collection available for International Women’s Day, consisting of journal articles looking at Palestinian women’s organizing.

The following posters are a few of the many pieces that have been produced by Palestinians over the years in commemoration of International Women’s Day, March 8. For a more complete collection, please visit the Palestine Poster Project:












It should also be noted that Palestinian women political prisoners remain in Israeli jails, as noted in the following poster for International Women’s Day 2013 by the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees:



lina-jarbouni12 Palestinian Female Prisoners remain in ‘Israeli’ Occupation jails: Lina Jarbouni, she is the longest serving Palestinian woman political prisoner, she is from Arabba Al Batouf village, near the Palestinian City of Akka (Akko-Acre): Arrested on 18th April 2002 and sentenced for 17 years by the court of the Occupation.

Manar Zawahreh from Bethlehem: Arrested on 13th September 2012 and sentenced for one year by the court of the Occupation.

Inam Al-Hasanat from Bethlehem: Arrested on 13th August 2012 and sentenced for two years by the court of the Occupation.

Asma Al-Batran, from Hebron: Arrested on 27th August 2012 sentenced to 10 months by the court of the Occupation and fined up to 680 USD.

Hadeel Abu Turki from Hebron: Arrested on 26th July 2012 sentenced to one year by the court of the Occupation.

Salwa Hassan, from Hebron: Arrested on 19th October 2011 sentenced to 21 months by the court of the Occupation.

Occupation is holding 6 female prisoners without trial, they are:

Alaa Aljobeh from Hebron, Arrested on 12th July 2011

Ayat Mahfoth from Hebron: Arrested on 4th February 2013

Nawal Asa’di from Jenin: Arrested on 5th November 2012

Muna Qa’dan from Jenin: Arrested on 13th November 2012

Alaa Abu Zayton from Nablus: Arrested on 9th February 2013

Intisar Alsayyed from Jerusalem: Arrested on 22nd November 2012