Arabic media mum on Nakba Day events (JERUSALEM POST) By OREN KESSLER 05/15/12)
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Arabic media were uncharacteristically reticent ahead of
Tuesday’s “Nakba Day,” hinting that this year’s commemorations may be
tamer than last, when more than a dozen people were killed trying to
rush Israel’s northern borders.
Lebanese news outlets reported that unlike last year, no protests are
expected to be held at the country’s frontier with Israel.
Issam Halabi, director-general of the League of Palestinian Refugees,
told Beirut’s Daily Star newspaper that calls like last year’s
to “march on Jerusalem” have been largely absent from Palestinian
camps in Lebanon.
The paper reported that this year’s Nakba Day – when Palestinians and
other Arabs mourn Israel’s creation in 1948 – will be limited to
communities north of the Litani River in a bid to avoid a repeat of
last year’s bloodshed. Commemorative activities are reportedly also
planned for Martyr’s Square in the coastal city of Sidon.
The mother of Imad Abu Shaqra, one of the protesters killed on the
Lebanese border last year (it remains unclear whether Israeli or
Lebanese fire was responsible), told the paper she had encouraged her
son to join the rally.
“If another march to the border is organized, I’ll be the first one
to take part,” she said.
Muneer Makdah, a senior Fatah official in Lebanon, said that the
Lebanese authorities did not give permission to Palestinians to march
toward the border with Israel, citing “security reasons.”
He said that rallies will be held only inside Palestinian refugee
camps in Lebanon to avoid friction with the Lebanese army.
Over the last week, Al Jazeera ran a steady stream of feature
programs under the heading “The ongoing Nakba,” often tying them into
the weeks-long hunger strike waged by Palestinian prisoners in
Israeli jails. None of the reports, however, suggested plans were in
place for large-scale protests in Arab cities or along Israel’s
Social media was also comparatively quiet. In March, pro- Palestinian
activists called for a million-man “Global March to Jerusalem,”
taking to Facebook and Twitter to drum up support among tens of
thousands of people around the Arab world. No similarly ambitious
Facebook or Twitter campaign was launched for this week’s events.
Still, calls to mark Nakba Day were aired Monday in places as
geographically remote from the Israeli-Arab conflict as London and
On Sunday, a few dozen people gathered outside the British prime
minister’s residence bearing placards calling to “Free Palestine”
and “stop the Judaization of Jerusalem.”
On Monday in Karachi, the “Palestine Foundation of Pakistan” (PFP)
called for protests across the country on Nakba Day, including at the
United Nations office in the city. On Tuesday they also intend to run
a commemorative seminar in the city’s Federal Urdu University
titled “Palestine, a Country of Palestinians” and presided over by
the Palestinian ambassador to Pakistan.
“For the past six decades, the Palestinians are faced with
hostilities at the hands of the Zionists,” PFP leaders told the
Pakistani daily The Nation.
“The United States, Europe and international community, through their
actions and policies, proved that they are enemies of the
Ziad Asali, founder of the American Task Force on Palestine, wrote
this weekend that commemoration of the events of 1948 need not serve
as a barrier for future Middle East peace.
“Palestinians must recognize and accept Israel, which is a legitimate
member state of the United Nations,” wrote Asali, born in Jerusalem
in 1942, for the blog “Open Zion.”
“The Arabs were unable to prevent the Jewish people from establishing
the State of Israel in 1948. But Israel cannot incorporate the
Palestinian territory and population conquered in 1967 without losing
both its Jewish and its democratic character,” he wrote.
“Tuesday is Nakba Day 2012, [and] 64 years after I lost my home and
suddenly found myself a refugee at age six, the task before us is to
make sure that no further nakbas, no more pogroms or unspeakable
horrors, ever occur again.” (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 05/15/12)
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