“Great March of Return” Culminates in Defiance of Israeli Massacre
On May 14, 1948, the Zionist state of Israel was established by unilateral declaration. It was established on the basis of massacres, the dispossession and mass expulsions of the Palestinian people from their land by the Zionist state and its militias. Some 750,000 Palestinians were forced to flee, registered as refugees with the United Nations.
Today, the Palestinian people face ongoing occupation and increasing encroachment and dispossession by Israeli Zionism, and Gaza has become one vast open prison. This year, on the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, the catastrophe for the Palestinian people, the Great March of Return has taken place over a period of six weeks or so, culminating in the protest on May 14. Just as on March 30, Palestinian Land Day, the Israeli army forces prepared a massacre of the Palestinians so boldly protesting.
On May 14, over 60 people were systematically shot and killed by the Israeli Defence Forces, which are widely now called the Israeli Occupation Forces, and thousands injured. This adds to the number of those killed and injured on March 30, and the countless others – men, women and children – who have been killed, injured and tortured over these 70 years. It exemplifies the inhumanity of Israeli state Zionism, which is backed by support and arms from the US and other big powers including Britain.
And it even more exemplifies the spirit of the Palestinian people who are forced to endure their life under such conditions, as they have been for several generations, and yet are determined themselves to persist in resisting until their inalienable rights are fulfilled. The Great March of Return itself called for the return of Gaza’s 1.3 million refugees to their original villages, and for the Palestinian people as a whole the return to their homeland, a right which is enshrined in international law. Two-thirds of Gaza’s population of two million are refugees from the lands on which the state of Israel was declared in 1948. The unquenchable resistance of the Palestinian people to the Zionist occupiers is just and is their right.
The situation has been inflamed by the move of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, in accordance with Zionist ideology. More than a dozen Palestinian human rights groups condemned the move, according to the Electronic Intifada, stating, “By recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the US is deliberately denying the existing situation of occupation and the applicability of international humanitarian and human rights law.” The Palestinian Human Rights Organisations Council called on thePalestinian Authority to “immediately cease co-operating with the US as an arbiter for peace” and for states to halt aid to Israel and impose sanctions until it “ends its annexation and unlawful prolonged occupation of the Palestinian territory, ceases all breaches of international law, and ensures justice and accountability.”
There have also been demonstrations by Israeli citizens against the Zionist government’s crimes. Hundreds marched in Tel Aviv in solidarity with the people of Gaza and against the occupation of Palestinian lands, under the banner, “Create hope, stop the next war”.
Those who committed the crimes on March 30 and May 14 must be brought to justice. The British government must also be held to account. It should not be overlooked that the criminal acts of the government of Israel, including the continued occupation of Palestine and the denial of the national rights of the Palestinian people, can only take place because of the continued support of the US administration and its allies, including Britain. For decades, British governments have criminally interfered in the Middle East and have given every assistance to the Zionist occupiers and other aggression in the Levant. Indeed, last year was the centenary of the infamous Balfour Declaration, which attempted to write the Palestinian people out of history. Britain also occupied this region in its mandate from 1923-1948, in the aftermath of the imperialist First World War, preparing the ground for the Zionist occupation.
It is indeed sickening to recall that for decades British governments have been calling for “restraint on both sides” or “ending the violence on both sides”, as though the resistance of the Palestinian people can be equated with the crimes committed against them. The aim has been to present the state of Israel as aninnocent and wronged party that must have the right to defend itself, while the rights of the Palestinians to nationhood and self-determination are ignored and their struggle to defend their rights and for self-defence is equated with “terrorism”. The use of tear gas, white phosphorus, rubber bullets and live ammunition to massacre Palestinians armed only with their spirit to affirm and achieve their rights and demands is tearing this so-called even-handedness to shreds. It is not a “fact-finding” inquiry into the role of Hamas that is required, but a condemnation of the criminality of the Zionists and a recognition of the justness of the Palestinian cause.
Nor must it be forgotten that the present furore about so-called anti-Semitism is directed first and foremost at those who condemn the Israeli crimes and support the Palestinian cause. In fact, it can be said that Zionism itself is a racist ideology. It will not wash that by identifying the Jewish religion with the ideology of Zionism – an equation which indeed many of the Jewish faith reject, as do so many people who identify as Jews – the green light is given to label those who oppose the crimes of Israeli Zionism as “anti-Semitic”. Furthermore, the government has been at the forefront of upholding the definition of anti-Semitism which provides succour to the Zionist occupation of Palestinian land and the crimes of Israeli Zionism.
WWIE calls on the British working class and people to support the just resistance of the Palestinian people and their defence of their inalienable rights. We call on everyone to condemn the state terrorism and other crimes being perpetrated against the people of Gaza by Zionist Israel and those who give it succour. Let us stand as one with the heroic Palestinian people in their just struggle against occupation, in resisting aggression, for their right of return and the freedom of their homeland. Let us join with all those working for genuine peace, and support the people’s movements everywhere resisting aggression, war and occupation.
Gaza City Mural