Media release: Palestinian Australians Commemorate 70 years of Catastrophe

On 15th May, Australians join others around the world to commemorate the 70-year anniversary of the Nakba (Arabic: The Catastrophe), the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and destruction of Palestinian communities that took place with the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.

The pain of this anniversary is compounded by the move of the US embassy to Occupied Jerusalem, a lump of salt in an ongoing wound for Palestinians.

“The Nakba represents a watershed period in the history of the region and the people of Palestine, when an estimated 750,000 indigenous Palestinians were uprooted from their homes, over 400 villages destroyed and thousands killed to establish an exclusionary Jewish-majority state in Palestine,” Bishop Browning, Australia Palestine Advocacy Network President said.

Palestinians today experience ‘ongoing Nakba’ at the hands of ever-expanding Israeli policies of forced displacement and colonisation, emboldened by this unilateral American support.

“Australian Palestinians have had enough of stale promises of a state, in the face of Israel’s flagrant human rights abuses,” said Bishop Browning.

“Israel has undermined its own seat at the table with its expansion of internationally condemned illegal settlements and the Israeli-imposed humanitarian disaster in Gaza.

“As an ally and friend to Israel, Australia must call on Israel to comply with international law and to ensure it cease its violations of the rights of Palestinians in order for a peaceful and just resolution to be reached.

“Only through courageous leadership, the collective will of the international community and respect of international law, can Palestinians exercise their inalienable right to self-determination.  Seventy years is seventy years too long.

”Australia must take real action, and stand on the right side of history. Now is the time to Recognise Palestine.”

Nakba Commemoration Events happening nationally: 

Adelaide, 15 May, 5pm, Parliament House steps

Brisbane, 15 May, 5.30pm, King George Square

Canberra, 19 May, 1pm, Garema Place

Hobart, 15 May, 5.30pm, Parliamentary Lawns

Melbourne, 15 May, 9.30-1.30pm, State Library (vigil)

19 May, 12pm, State Library (protest)

Perth, 19 May, 11am, Yagan Square

Sydney, 15 May, 6.30pm, Sydney Town Hall

16 May, 6.30pm, Commemorating 70 years of Nakba, NSW Parliament

More information on these event available here.