Cathy O’Toole MP – speech honoring Al Nakba

photo of Cathy O'Toole MP
May 21, 2018

This month Palestinians commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Nakba. That is Arabic for catastrophe. During the violence surrounding the establishment of Israel, over 700,000 Palestinians lost their homes, over 400 Palestinian villages and towns were razed, and at least two dozen massacres of Palestinians took place. Seventy years later, Palestinians continue to experience the Nakba: displacement, exile and insecurity.

Full speech

Ms O’TOOLE (Herbert) (16:40): This month Palestinians commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Nakba. That is Arabic for catastrophe. During the violence surrounding the establishment of Israel, over 700,000 Palestinians lost their homes, over 400 Palestinian villages and towns were razed, and at least two dozen massacres of Palestinians took place. Seventy years later, Palestinians continue to experience the Nakba: displacement, exile and insecurity. To reflect the horrible reality for many Palestinians today and the presence of the Nakba in their lives, I wish to quote from a recent opinion piece printed in The New York Times by Fadi Abu Shammalah, the executive director of the General Union of Cultural Centers in Gaza and a participant in the recent nonviolent marches in Gaza:

The people in Gaza have been living one tragedy after another: waves of mass displacement, life in squalid refugee camps, a captured economy, restricted access to fishing waters, a strangling siege and three wars in the past nine years. Israel assumed that once the generation who experienced the Nakba died, the youth would relinquish our dream of return.

A number of constituents in the electorate of Herbert are very concerned over the state of affairs in Palestine. This year I am very proud that some of them made their voices heard, with Labor for Palestine marching in the Labour Day march in Townsville for the very first time. I stand today with Mr Shammalah, all Palestinians, and those locally in Australia who are working for a just future. (Time expired)

Link to parliamentary Hansard

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