Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Palestinians Dying to Celebrate Israel's 63rd Birthday

So what's this Nakba Day jazz we heard about on last night's TV news bulletins, and will be reading about in today's papers?

SBS World News 6:30pm, 16/5/11:

"There were reports that up to 20 people have been killed and dozens more wounded during clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces. The Palestinians were marking what they call Nakba or Catastrophe Day, an annual protest over the creation of the Jewish state in 1948.' (Deadly clashes on Israeli border)

I see, Palestinian party-poopers were up in arms (clashes) over Israel's 63rd birthday, and 20 people, probably Israelis unfortunately, were killed.

ABC1 News 7:00pm, 16/5/11:

(Spoken against a graphic, chockas with Stars of David and menorahs): "Bloody clashes have marked the anniversary of the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. Israeli forces killed 20 people during pro-Palestinian protests across the country. Hundreds more were wounded. The protests came on the day Palestinians call the Nakba or Catastrophe. This is how the Day of Catastrophe began with a suspected terror attack in Tel Aviv..." (Israeli soldiers kill protesters)

Right, so Palestinian party-poopers were actually celebrating Israel's 63rd birthday... with a terror attack!

But, what's this? After featuring Israeli Defence [*sigh*] Spokeswoman Avital Leibovich reading from her autocue that the Syrians were behind it all, the ABC's girl on the ground, Anne Barker, actually said, "... and in Lebanon thousands marched to the border with Israel demanding the right of return for all Palestinian refugees."

The right of whaaat? Anne doesn't let on.

So what about today's fishwrapper?

The Sydney Morning Herald. Rubbing his eyes after a hard night lovingly massaging Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs press releases, Fairfax ME correspondent Jason Koutsoukis writes:

"On Sunday [the armistace line that divides the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights from Syria] was transformed into a scene of dramatic confrontation when Israel Defence Forces troops were caught unawares [!] by more than 100 [!!] Syrians of Palestinian descent who trampled the fence and surged across the border. Alarmed [!!!] at the sight of so many people penetrating the border, Israeli troops stationed at a nearby outpost fired on the crowd, killing 3 [!!!!] and wounding several dozen. These were mainly young men joining the 'Nakba Day' protests staged across the region to mark the 53rd [!!!!!] anniversary of the creation of Israel... While the motives of the protesters seemed [!!!!!!] simple enough, the question many Israelis [the only folk who matter, right, Jason?] were asking... was how much official backing the protesters had received from Syrian and Lebanese authorities... Israel's Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor... defence forces spokesman, Brigadier General Yoav Mordechai... behind the scenes, a top Israeli political adviser... according to the defence forces... one defence forces official said." (Israel points finger* over co-ordinated incursions by refugees) [* Only a finger?]

OK, so Palestinians were celebrating Israel's 53rd [2001] birthday, but those poor Israeli soldier boys - taken completely by surprise and spooked - spooked - into shooting... this is becoming tedious.

The Age. As above. Only the headline changes: Israel fears more unrest after border clashes.

Clearly, we're wasting our time with the Australian ms media (I won't even bother with its Murdoch branch) here. Where is the reader to go for a decent account of why Palestinians from Lebanon, Syria and the Occupied Territories were prepared to die in a predictable* hail of Israeli gunfire to uphold one of humankind's most fundamental rights, to return to the land from which they were once driven by men with guns?

OK, try the UK Guardian's report by journalist Matthew Cassel, who was actually there:

"Climbing up the mountain to reach the Palestinian right-of-return protest in Maroun al-Ras in south Lebanon on Sunday felt a bit like being back in Tahrir Square. The thousands of mostly Palestinian refugees were smiling as they joked about the strenuous climb, and helped each other up the mountain to reach the site where they were going to stage their demonstration. Some knew it could even be dangerous, but that didn't matter as much as the rare opportunity to join together and call for their rights. The small elevated Lebanese village just overlooking the border with Israel became a massive parking lot as buses carrying Palestinian refugees and Lebanese from across Lebanon converged for a protest commemorating what Israeli historian Ilan Pappe calls the 'ethnic cleansing' by Zionist militias of more than 700,000 Palestinians from their lands and homes in 1948 - what Palestinians refer to as the 'Nakba', or catastrophe. Men and women, young and old, secular and religious, were all present. This was the first time in 63 years that Palestinian refugees would go to the border in their tens of thousands and call for their right to return home. For most, it was the first time even seeing the land that they've grown up hearing described in precise detail through the popular stories of elders old enough to remember life in what is today considered Israel. The Israeli regime not only keeps under occupation more than 4 million people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and limits the rights of more than a million Palestinian citizens of Israel, it also denies more than 5 million refugees the fundamental right of return to the place they were forced to flee." (Palestinians in Lebanon, at the lonely end of the Arab uprisings, 16/5/11)

[* "[Israeli Prime Minister Levi] Eshkol had already had reason to be worried about the Gaza refugees roughly two years before the Six-Day War [of 1967]. The refugees were multiplying, and when their numbers reached half a million, he feared the situation would become explosive. Once, he asked the chief of staff what would happen if the Egyptians [who then controlled the Gaza Strip] simply marched the refugees - women and children in the vanguard - toward the border with Israel. [Yitzhak] Rabin said they would not do that, and if they did, as soon as the IDF had killed the first 100, the rest would go back to Gaza." (1967: Israel, the War & the Year that Transformed the Middle East, Tom Segev, 2007, p 524)


Rob said...

a mouthpiece for the Obama regime has stated that the Israelis were "right" to kill demonstrators trying to breach it's borders.Couple of teensy problems there;first Israel does not have any borders because they have not finished stealing bits of Palestine,Lebanon and Syria-having come to an agreement with Hussein of Jordan to give back the 360sq kilometers of jordan it stole in'67 as long as Israeli farmers who had put so much work in could continue to "exploit" it.Next point the "border" with Syria in the Golan is no such thing as no country recognizes Israel's illegal annexation,last but far from least imagine the reaction if Canada or Mexico started killing Americans approaching their borders,or if Austalia killed refugees approaching our shores truely thes people are incredible..

Anonymous said...

The 20 killed have received much more attention than the 200+ killed in Syria over the last two weeks or the thousands in Libya.

Most of these 1948 have never been to pre-1948 Israel and will remain in poor living standards so long as they intend on looking backwards rather than forward, irrespective of where they live

Anonymous said...

The reporting is sick-making. Thanks MERC

MERC said...

Then, Anon 1, as one who doesn't believe in 'looking backwards', you must find Israel's founding fairytale about it being a resumption of a thousands-year old Jewish sovereignty in ancient Palestine pretty damn pathetic.

Not to mention Jews from New York and wherever, who have never set foot there, swanning off to occupied Palestine to reclaim a fantasised and backward-looking birthright.

Rob said...

Anon 1-first "more attention" your point is what?2nd, there was no "pre-1948 Israel" it was called Palestine,all of it.The whole point of the al-Nakba rememberence is that the only way a "Jewish state" with a "Jewish majority" could be established was by forcibly driving out the majority native population[the Palestinians]this was done by Jewish terrorists-Begin,Shamir etc and Haganah-killing thosands of defenceless civilians,destoying and stealing their property.Even someone with as poor a grasp of history-and English-are you in an Israeli government hasbarah group?-should be able to grasp this.