(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

Thousands of Palestinians marched and rallied in Gaza this morning.

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

The events marked Nakba Day, an annual protest of the ethnic cleansing of over 750,000 Palestinians driven from lands now claimed by Israel in 1948.

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

In a statement, the BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights said:

Of the 11.4 million Palestinians worldwide, 66% are forcible displaced, (refugees and internally displaced people) and over half live in the Shatat (forced exile). Instead of an event relegated to history, the Nakba continues into its 65th year – the central source for the annual increase of these displacement statistics.

In the past year, for example, Israeli colonization, occupation and apartheid have targeted the indigenous presence of Palestinians particularly in Jerusalem, Area C of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip Buffer Zone and the Naqab. On 6 May 2013, Israel approved the Prawer Plan, which threatens to forcibly displace up to 70,000 Palestinian Bedouin in the Naqab. On the same day, Israel issued 11 home demolition orders in Deir Nidham village near Ramallah, which, if carried out, will make 40 Palestinians homeless. On large and small scales, the displacement of the ongoing Nakba repeats the original crime and tragedy producing Palestinian refugees and Internally Displaced Persons annually.

Ongoing forcible displacement targets Palestinians residing on both sides of the Green Line: in the 1967 occupied territory and on the Israeli side of the “1949 Armistice Line”, as well as those living in enforced exile. Nevertheless, the Palestinian people remain steadfast in their struggle to end the systematic violations of their human rights, political and national rights, and to practice their right of return.

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

Gaza’s Centre for Political and Development Studies (with which the author/photographer has worked on several projects, including The Prisoners’ Diaries), said in a statement released by e-mail:

David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister and one of its founders was quoted as saying: “The old will die and the young will forget,” yet time has proven him wrong. The young generation of the descendants of Palestinian refugees is still clinging to the glimpse of hope of return. One can notice this by asking one of the many kids playing in the alleys of Palestine’s many refugee camps about his/her original village. They will respond with the names of villages and cities from which their parents and grandparents were expelled. “Yibna, Qastina, Breer, Aqer, Yaffa, Joura, Majdal, Swafeer, Barwqa, Zarnouqa, Beer Alsaba, and Lod,” they would respond.

Israel marks the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948 as its “Day of Independence”. This contradicts the basic historical facts about what happened and is still happening in Palestine. Ethnically cleansing 531 Palestinian villages, towns and cities is never “independence”. It is a crime on a great scale that was committed against the real owners of the land, Palestinians, in a time of weakness.

Any negotiated settlement that does not guarantee the right of return will not last long. No force can prevent a refugee from returning home.

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, with compensation for their losses, remains a goal of every Palestinian faction, as well as a demand of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

Versions of this post previously appeared on the Alternative Information Center and Mondoweiss.

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During Israel’s November attacks on the Gaza Strip, the Real News Network reporter in the video, Yousef Al-Helou, told Ceasefire Magazine’s Alessandra Bajec:

Tuesday’s attacks killing the three journalists were a direct attempt to silence the truth, to prevent those cameramen from reporting the atrocities committed by Israel. Attacking the media is not something new to us in Gaza. We have lost numerous colleagues during the 2008-2009 war. Even in ‘quiet times’, cameramen have been killed in Israeli tanks shelling while they were filming.

These attacks are aimed at scaring journalists, for example we are now afraid to report from the border areas. But believe me, at the same time, we are even more determined to continue our mission to expose these crimes. Before being journalists, we are humans. When you see small bodies of children torn into pieces or burnt to death, we have a responsibility to report what’s happening.

Please sign petitions condemning the Newseum’s exclusion of journalists in deference to the protests of their killers. Members of Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) at George Mason University have posted one; the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee has another. Also feel free to tell the Newseum what you think of its cowardice directly.

And if you’re anywhere near Washington, DC, please  consider joining a protest, again organized by SAIA members, outside the Newseum on Saturday.

Greek Orthodox Christians marked the beginning of Easter Sunday with a four-hour midnight service in Gaza’s 1,606-year-old Church of Saint Porphyrius last night.

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

On Friday, Israeli occupation authorities turned “dozens” of church members back from the Beit Hanoun checkpoint, despite their permits to spend Easter in the West Bank.

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

Those who reached Jerusalem faced “a battle camp scenario,” Hanna Amireh, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee and head of the Presidential Committee on Church Affairs, told the AFP.

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

“It is not only that Israel has isolated our occupied capital from the rest of our country – forcing our people to apply for special military permits to access their families and holy places for religious occasions – but even Palestinians from Jerusalem were beaten when trying to reach the Church of the Holy Sepulchre,” Amireh said. “Even praying has become an act of resistance for Palestinians.”

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

Under attack in Jerusalem and siege in Gaza, the Holy Fire ceremony proceeded, as a flame believed to be miraculously produced in Church of the Holy Sepulchre was quickly spread to Greek Orthodox and other Eastern Christian believers across  the world.

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

This year Roman Catholics in Gaza celebrated Easter according to the Orthodox calendar as a show of Christian unity, and many whose service at Holy Family Church had ended earlier joined the gathering at Saint Porphyrius.

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

The event culminated with a spirited rally and fireworks display in the church’s courtyard at midnight, but continued for several hours into the early morning.

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

 

[April 30, 2:35 pm update: Mondowiess and the Alternative Information Center have published versions of this post.]

Greek Orthodox Christians at Gaza’s Church of Saint Porphyrius, which recently commemorated its 1,606th anniversary, celebrated Palm Sunday yesterday according to the Eastern church calendar.

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

The liturgy and procession in the church’s ancient courtyard followed an annual gathering on Friday afternoon, when parishioners wove palm reeds into crosses and baskets for yesterday’s event.

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

Unlike Christians in much of the world, those in the besieged Gaza Strip cannot attend religious celebrations elsewhere in Palestine without special authorization by Israeli occupation authorities.

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

The Israeli army’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) unit only issues a small number of these permits, to Christians younger than 16 or older than 35.

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

Christians between these ages, too old, young, or ill to travel without assistance by relatives in the prohibited age range, or arbitrarily denied permits, as well as all the Gaza Strip’s large Muslim majority, are prevented from accessing religious sites in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and elsewhere.

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

This year COGAT authorized roughly 540 Greek Orthodox Christians to travel to the occupied West Bank for Easter celebrations, out of a current population around 1,500.

The following two statements, by the Palestinian Ministry of Detainees’ and Ex-detainees’ Affairs and the Hussam Association, were e-mailed from Gaza, Palestinine this morning.

A woman in Gaza carries a sign of Samer Issawi in a march for Palestinian Prisoners' Day on April 17. (Photo: Joe Catron)

A woman in Gaza, Palestine carries a sign of Samer Issawi in a march for Palestinian Prisoners’ Day on April 17. (Photo: Joe Catron)

بعد ملحمة أسطورية ..

أبو السبح : “العيساوي” يسجل انتصاراً كبيراً على آلة القهر والظلم

هنأ د. عطا الله أبو السبح وزير الأسرى والمحررين الأسير سامر العيساوي وعائلته وكل أبناء الشعب الفلسطيني وكافة أحرار العالم الذين وقفوا بجانبه ، بالصمود الأسطوري الذي حققه في وجه آلة القهر والضغط الصهيونية التي كانت تمارس ضده ، بعد أن تم الاتفاق على أن يتم الإفراج عنه بعد 8 شهور من تاريخ اليوم وعودته إلى “العيساوية ” مسقط رأسه في مدينة القدس بعد إضراب مفتوح عن الطعام دام لمدة 277 يوما وذلك احتجاجا على استمرار اعتقاله دون تهم توجه إليه أو تقديم لائحة اتهام بحقه .

وعبر الوزير أبو السبح عن سعادته بالتوصل إلى هذا الاتفاق الذي يضمن حياة الأسير العيساوي وخروجه حيا وحراً من السجون الإسرائيلية ، بعد ملحمة اسطورية كبيرة حملت ثلاثة معاني كبيرة أولها معنى التضحية والثبات التي قدمها سامر رغم كل الضغوطات والممارسات الابتزازية التي تعرض لها من قبل إدارة السجون من أجل انهاء إضرابه ، ثانياً اصراره على العودة الى القدس مسقط رأسه يحمل رمزية كبيرة للعالم الإسلامي بأن سامر لم يخن القدس ولم يفرط بها  ، والمعني الأخير هو عدم رضوخه للابتزاز والعروض التي كانت تقدم له رغم أن الشباك الاسرائيلي سخر كل جهوده من اجل اخضاع سامر لشروطه .

وأشاد الوزير بصلابة وقوة تحدي الأسير العيساوي برفضه الإبعاد عن وطنه مسقط رأسه حيث كان ينتظر سامر حكماً طويلاً او الابعاد ولكن صموده كسر هذه المعايير ورفض كل المحاولات السابقة والعروض التي قدمت له بالإبعاد وتخيريه ما بين الموت داخل السجون أو الحياة خارجها بعيدا عن وطنه وأهله ليثنوا من عزيمته وإرادته، فاختار أن يموت بالسجن ولا يبعد عن وطنه خطوة واحدة ،ليكمل مسيرة نضاله فوق أرضه .

وشكر الوزير كافة الجهود الرسمية والشعبية التي تضامنت مع الأسير العيساوي وزملاءه الأسرى المضربين عن الطعام مؤكدا على ضرورة مواصلة هذه الجهود والعمل على فضح ممارسات الاحتلال المجرم بحق أسرانا البواسل وخاصة المضربين عن الطعام والأسرى المرضي منهم .

حسام : انتصار الأسير العيساوي يفتح الباب لإنهاء ملف الأسرى الذين أعيد اعتقالهم

أكدت جمعية الأسرى والمحررين “حسام” بأن الانتصار الكبير الذي حققه الأسير البطل سامر العيساوي بعد ثمانية أشهر كاملة من معركته البطولية طلبا لحريته يفتح الباب أمام إنهاء ملف الأسرى الذين أعيد اعتقالهم بعد صفقة شاليط .

وقالت الجمعية بأنه من الممكن استغلال الاتفاق الذي تم بين دولة الإحتلال والأسير سامر العيساوي قانونيا في إيجاد حل مماثل لثمانية أسرى آخرين تم إعادة اعتقالهم بعد إطلاق سراحهم ضمن صفقة شاليط والذين تتشابه قضاياهم إلي حد كبير مع قضية الاسير العيساوي بحيث يشكل ذلك أساسا منطقيا لإطلاق سراحهم .

وأوضحت الجمعية بأن عجز الإحتلال عن إدانة الأسير العيساوي وإعادة فرض حكمه السابق  يؤكد زيف وبطلان كافة التهم الموجهة إليه وبأن قرار اعتقاله كان قرارا باطلا وينطوي علي دوافع انتقامية لاطائل من ورائها سوى إظهار غطرسة وعنجهية هذا الإحتلال .

وطالبت الجمعية الأسرى الذين تم إعادة اعتقالهم تعسفيا بعد صفقة شاليط إضافة إلي الأسرى الإدارين القابعين بشكل غير قانوني في سجون الإحتلال العمل علي بلورة خطة نضالية جماعية لتسليط الضوء علي قضيتهم العادلة واستثمار الانتصارات التي تحققت علي يد الأسير العيساوي وأسلافه من الأسرى الأبطال من أجل إنهاء معاناتهم وإطلاق سراحهم  .

وأكدت الجمعية بأن هذه البسالة المنقطعة النظير وصراع الإرادات الذي فرضه الأسير العيساوي في خضم أطول ملحمة نضالية شهدها التاريخ قد أودى بالمؤسسة الإسرائيلية بكافة  مستوياتها إلى حالة من التخبط والعجز التام عن مواجهة هذا الشكل الأسطوري من أشكال المقاومة السلمية مما أجبرها في نهاية المطاف على الرضوخ لمطالبه المشروعة في الحرية والكرامة .

وأضافت الجمعية بأن المعركة الأسطورية التي خاضها الأسير العيساوي قد أثارت حالة نادرة من تعاطف محلي وإقليمي ودولي أضاف زخما نوعيا قضية الأسرى العادلة خصوصا وللقضية الفلسطينية علي وجه العموم .

وبهذه المناسبة تقدمت “حسام” بالتهنئة القلبية الخالصة إلي الأسير سامر العيساوي وعائلته الكريمة وإلي جماهير الشعب الفلسطيني عموما وإلى الحركة الوطنية الأسيرة علي هذا الانجاز العظيم موجهة التحية لكافة الأحرار في العالم وإلي كل من ساهم بوقفة أو بكلمة مساندة قادت إلي هذا الانتصار التاريخي والذي أشاع حالة من الفرح والابتهاج بين صفوف شعبنا وكافة الشرفاء في كافة أماكن تواجدهم .

GAZA, PALESTINE, April 8 - A rally outside the International Committee of the Red Cross' Gaza Strip headquarters welcomed freed Palestinian detainee Ibrahim Baroud after his 27 years of captivity in Israeli prisons. (Photo: Joe Catron)

GAZA, PALESTINE, April 8 – A rally outside the International Committee of the Red Cross’ Gaza Strip headquarters welcomed freed Palestinian detainee Ibrahim Baroud after his 27 years of captivity in Israeli prisons. (Photo: Joe Catron)

GAZA, PALESTINE, April 8 - A rally outside the International Committee of the Red Cross' Gaza Strip headquarters welcomed freed Palestinian detainee Ibrahim Baroud after his 27 years of captivity in Israeli prisons. (Photo: Joe Catron)

GAZA, PALESTINE, April 8 – A rally outside the International Committee of the Red Cross’ Gaza Strip headquarters welcomed freed Palestinian detainee Ibrahim Baroud after his 27 years of captivity in Israeli prisons. (Photo: Joe Catron)

GAZA, PALESTINE, April 8 - A rally outside the International Committee of the Red Cross' Gaza Strip headquarters welcomed freed Palestinian detainee Ibrahim Baroud after his 27 years of captivity in Israeli prisons. (Photo: Joe Catron)

GAZA, PALESTINE, April 8 – A rally outside the International Committee of the Red Cross’ Gaza Strip headquarters welcomed freed Palestinian detainee Ibrahim Baroud after his 27 years of captivity in Israeli prisons. (Photo: Joe Catron)

GAZA, PALESTINE, April 8 - A rally outside the International Committee of the Red Cross' Gaza Strip headquarters welcomed freed Palestinian detainee Ibrahim Baroud after his 27 years of captivity in Israeli prisons. (Photo: Joe Catron)

GAZA, PALESTINE, April 8 – A rally outside the International Committee of the Red Cross’ Gaza Strip headquarters welcomed freed Palestinian detainee Ibrahim Baroud after his 27 years of captivity in Israeli prisons. (Photo: Joe Catron)

GAZA, PALESTINE, April 8 - A rally outside the International Committee of the Red Cross' Gaza Strip headquarters welcomed freed Palestinian detainee Ibrahim Baroud after his 27 years of captivity in Israeli prisons. (Photo: Joe Catron)

GAZA, PALESTINE, April 8 – A rally outside the International Committee of the Red Cross’ Gaza Strip headquarters welcomed freed Palestinian detainee Ibrahim Baroud after his 27 years of captivity in Israeli prisons. (Photo: Joe Catron)

GAZA, PALESTINE, April 8 - A rally outside the International Committee of the Red Cross' Gaza Strip headquarters welcomed freed Palestinian detainee Ibrahim Baroud after his 27 years of captivity in Israeli prisons. (Photo: Joe Catron)

GAZA, PALESTINE, April 8 – A rally outside the International Committee of the Red Cross’ Gaza Strip headquarters welcomed freed Palestinian detainee Ibrahim Baroud after his 27 years of captivity in Israeli prisons. (Photo: Joe Catron)

GAZA, PALESTINE, April 8 - A rally outside the International Committee of the Red Cross' Gaza Strip headquarters welcomed freed Palestinian detainee Ibrahim Baroud after his 27 years of captivity in Israeli prisons. (Photo: Joe Catron)

GAZA, PALESTINE, April 8 – A rally outside the International Committee of the Red Cross’ Gaza Strip headquarters welcomed freed Palestinian detainee Ibrahim Baroud after his 27 years of captivity in Israeli prisons. (Photo: Joe Catron)

Hundreds of Palestinian farmers marched to the Gaza Strip’s Israel-imposed “buffer zone” this morning, where they rallied and planted olive trees. The demonstration, organized by the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), was part of a global day of action for boycotts of Israeli agricultural companies organized by UAWC, other Palestinian agricultural organizations, and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) National Committee. It followed a Wednesday rally in the Gaza seaport.

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)

(Photo: Joe Catron)