Sunday, May 15, 2011

ADC Condemns Israeli Use of Deadly Force on al-Nakba Commemorators

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), a US Campaign member group, is the largest grassroots Arab-American civil rights and civil liberties organization in the United States. It was founded in 1980 by former Senator James Abourezk. ADC has a national network of chapters and members in all 50 states.

Washington, DC, May 15, 2011 -- The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee strongly condemns the use of deadly force by Israeli forces on Palestinians commemorating al-Nakba or the catastrophe. For Palestinians and others in the Middle East, May 15th marks the destruction of historic Palestine and the massive forced expulsion and displacement of Palestinians by Israeli forces in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. News reports indicate that Israeli forces opened fire on commemorators in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, as well as in the border areas including Lebanon and the Occupied Golan Heights.  The use of deadly force on peaceful civilians, by any nation, must not be tolerated by the international community. Immediate action by the international community must be taken to ensure that the Israelis stop using excessive force on the demonstrators. Further, a clear message must be sent that the use of force will not be tolerated and Israel will be held accountable for its actions.  According to media reports, and at the time of this release, at least nine Palestinians have been killed and dozens more injured after Israeli snipers opened fire on the peaceful demonstrators.

Al-Nakba was not a singular event - displacement continues to this day, affecting thousands of Palestinians throughout the Middle East.  There are approximately seven million Palestinian refugees and 450,000 internally displaced persons, representing 70% of the entire Palestinian population worldwide (9.8 million). Internal displacement continues, unabated, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) due to the Israeli construction of the wall, house demolitions, evictions, and land confiscation.

Similar patterns of forced displacement for Palestinians living in Israel occur as well. Urban development plans for the exclusive benefit of Jewish communities are displacing indigenous Palestinian communities in places like Naqab (Negev) and the Galilee. In 2010, the Netanyahu government approved the development of 1,600 new housing units in Occupied East Jerusalem, a policy condemned by the U.S.  This development will also forcibly displace several Palestinian families from their land and homes.

ADC is committed to a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. Any peaceful resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict requires the dismantlement of the Israeli Wall (the wall was declared illegal by the International Court of Justice), the cessation and dismantlement of all settlements, an end to the collective punishment imposed on the Palestinian population as a result of Israeli occupation policies, respect for the exercise of democratic rights of Palestinians in electing their government, the creation of a viable and independent Palestinian state, and the upholding of the right of return of the Palestinian refugees under international law. ADC will continue to advocate for the rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination in an independent and fully sovereign Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.