Wednesday, July 18

Submission: Palestinian ethnic cleansing from Israel is ongoing, must be stopped


(Creative Commons photo by Bradley Howard via Flickr)

(Creative Commons photo by Bradley Howard via Flickr)


For us Palestinians, May 15 is a date of irreversible loss. It marks the start of when our relatives and our people were driven from their homes during Israel’s 1947-1949 campaign of ethnic cleansing, never to return. Many of them carried the keys to the homes that they were forced to leave, thinking that they would see them again one day. This dream was never realized, and to this day Israel continues to deny Palestinians the right of return. We refer to May 15 as Nakba Day – nakba is the Arabic word for “catastrophe,” and this phrase refers to the beginning catastrophe that first uprooted our people. However, Israel’s present-day actions also constitute a continuous nakba that Palestinians are forced to endure.

Though this massive campaign of ethnic cleansing reached its peak in 1948, it has been ongoing to date – 68 years later – with thousands of Palestinians continually being driven from their homes, primarily in the West Bank where hundreds of illegal Israeli settlements uproot and replace Palestinian homes and villages. As Palestinians in exile, we feel the effects of this ongoing nakba. For those of us with family still in the West Bank or Gaza Strip, we live in worry of what may come any given day. For those of us whose families were driven from our homeland, we continue to experience the trauma that our parents and grandparents suffered, and we grapple with the current reality that prohibits us from returning home. Many Palestinians are forced to live as stateless refugees in neighboring countries, but even the privilege of citizenship does not guarantee being able to see Palestine again: For while some of us have at least been able to visit Palestine, getting in is not a sure bet as Palestinians of all nationalities are subjected to intense interrogation by Israeli officials, often only to be denied entry. As long as the occupation and ethnic cleansing continues, Palestinians will remain uprooted, dispersed.

In addition to our physical displacement, we are forced to deal regularly with people denying our history, our very existence. How often have we heard “there never was a Palestine”? Discussing origins can be one of the most basic and meaningful ways of establishing a connection with others. But for Palestinians, this seemingly simple act is fraught with difficulty as our very identity is all too often dismissed as too political, too controversial.

Despite this reality, we, as Palestinians in the U.S., will continue to educate those around us, to share the voices and histories of our ancestors, and to demand that Palestinian rights are realized, including the full right of return.

Palestine is not far from UCLA. We are your students, your faculty, your staff. Our presence on this campus is testament to Palestinian resilience and perseverance in the face of Israel’s ongoing effort to eliminate and silence us. Dana’s paternal grandparents were driven from their home in Jaffa in 1948 and forced to go to Gaza, where they were made refugees a second time. Omar’s grandmother’s family was expelled from Haifa and forced to flee to Lebanon in 1948. Safwan’s family escaped the ethnic cleansing of their village of Jimzu in 1948 and fled to the United States where they have lived in exile since. On this Nakba Day, we affirm: we have been displaced, but we will endure. And Palestine will be free.

Saifan is a UCLA staff member in the department of psychology. Ibrahim is a fifth-year comparative literature student. Zahzah is a graduate student in comparative literature and a member of Students for Justice in Palestine.

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  • Karen Nicholas

    Take heart…the world IS awakening to the immorality, INHUMANITY, that defines the “State” of Israel, and the atrocities that it’s Zionist government perpetrate upon the Palestinians. Things are taking a bit longer to reach the minds and hearts of the citizens here in the U.S. due to decades of indoctrination and brainwashing through our Zio owned media; from our school textbooks chock full of revisionist history, to the Zionists that own the Federal Reserve, and our banks, all the way to those who have infiltrated our very government. Even our Churches shove the fictitious term “Judeo-Christian”, (an oxymoron btw..the two are NOT compatible) down our throats from the pulpits. What you DON’T hear about on our mainstream media, or read about in the “education” of our children, are the CRIMES that Israel has committed..not just upon the Palestinians, but humanity as a whole. Thanks to the internet, though, the TRUTH is spreading…like WILD FIRE.
    Keep up the good fight…keep the light shining on those TRUTHS and they will be heard….we ARE awakening and the suffering will end, hopefully sooner rather than later!

    • vincent

      “CRIMES that Israel has committed..not just upon the Palestinians, but humanity as a whole. ” And people wonder why Israel is hesitant to make any concessions that could compromise its security. When the people you are asked to welcome into your borders believe you are a plague upon humankind it does seem a bit foolish to believe that they will be content to just peacefully coexist with you once they are inside.

      • Karen Nicholas

        Those “borders” are NOT Israeli..but PALESTINIAN. Your point is MOOT. Israel is an apartheid, genocidal State..and WILL be held accountable. Maybe not today..nor tomorrow…but the day will come!

        • lejardin

          Another brainless bimbo. Well, “Karen,” if you were actually interested in history, rather than in merely spreading your antisemitic blather, you would pick up a book and learn that there was never any “Palestine”. It was Ottoman land when the Arabs became tenants on it. It was then won by the British, who allowed the Jews to return to their homeland, which they’d won long before Islam even existed. The Arabs *could* have been good neighbors, they *could* have profited from the Jewish Juggernaut (and indeed, many Arabs moved into the area when the Jews came back, in search of work)… but alas, they blew it. It is extremely rare for an Arab not to shoot himself in the foot when given a chance.

          • berkeleyboy75

            Palestine is a variation of Philistine. The Philistines are mentioned in the old testament (hebrew history?) as being neighbors to the tribes of israel, either as kingdoms or other tribes. In addition, there is ample evidence that there were people in the “promised land” when Moses led his people into Canaan. Whether they were Palestinians or Canaanites is semantics. They have the right to call themselves whatever they want. Your argument led to the Palestinians resorting to violence; they do exist and you should acknowledge them. You are spreading misinformation at best and propaganda at worst, not history.

        • Nicole Bakker Fier

          Sorry, Palestinians refused to accept any “borders” in 1948 and in every peace deal thereafter. There was no Palestinian state before 1948, and when it was handed to them on a silver platter, they rejected it. Why? Because of their pure genocidal hate of the Jewish people- their leaders absolute stubbornness in rejecting the right of the Jews to exist as a nation. If Palestinians had a state, could Jews live in it? Could outward homosexuals live it? Could women who were outwardly feminist live in it? Would other religions be allowed to practice their beliefs in the Palestine you dream about? I believe the answers to those questions are ‘no’ and that would make your blessed state an Apartheid state, or at best just a terrible state. BTW, the answer to those questions is ‘yes’ in Israel, making it kind of the opposite of aprtheid, silly goose. Remember, if the Palestinians put down there guns, knives, and rocks, there would be peace. If Israelis put down their guns, there would be genocide. It’s really that simple.

    • BradD99

      Quiz:

      Muslim states are acceptable and Arab states are acceptable yet a Jewish state is “RACIST/UNACCEPTABLE” because:

      1) You’re an antisemite and a hypocrite. A bigot.
      2) Actually, if Muslim and Arab state are OK, obviously a Jewish state is OK too.

  • Nicole Bakker Fier

    Nakba: the celebration of the Arab league’s first attempt to attack Israel and commit genocide of the Jewish people and lost, despite outnumbering them 20:1. In the process, they lied to the Palestinians, conning them to leave their homes, guaranteeing them that not a Jew would be left in 2 weeks time. Nakba: when brothers lie to brothers for the purpose of hate and murder. Nakba: the long history of Palestinian Submission to the Arab League, starting in 1948 and never ending. Got that whole ethnic cleansing thing backwards.

    • hypocrisy

      Written like a true fanatic.

      • Nicole Bakker Fier

        No, spoken as a Jew who sees over a billion Muslims, over 2 billion Christians, over a billion atheists in the world, and only 15 million Jews in the world. Yet the conspiracy theories and lies about the Jews are far in excess of all the others. It’s no wonder, the liars far outnumber those being lied about. It’s also no wonder because antisemitism, hate, and evil has and will always exist. And the hate in the world is spewed from the groups who want to dominate over the groups who refuse to take on the haters’ skewed belief systems. The Jews hold onto their beliefs, to the chagrin of the proselytizing religions, and it kills them, literally — they blow themselves up for it. The Jews just want to exist. They are the oldest nation in existence today yet they are the ONLY nation that has to fight to the right to exist. Their existence is actually considered debatable to the evil doers in the world. So read the real history as to why the Palestinians were displaced in 1948. It was due to the cons and lies put upon them by their overpowering brothers who continue to control them, yet never help them.

        • hypocrisy

          Sorry. Your religious fantasies don’t give you any right to ethnically cleanse people off lands they were born on.

          • lejardin

            They weren’t “ethnically cleansed,” you teenage halfwit. You’re willfully parroting the lies of the extreme left and your Arab masters. Please get a brain, then use it. We’ll all thank you.

        • moosehorn

          All the miseries were afflicted on the Palestinian people by by the Zionists evil doers.

      • lejardin

        Some day, pick up a book, read it… ;-)

        • moosehorn

          If anyone needs to d some serious reading about true facts, it you and those who believe your myth narrative.

    • moosehorn

      Lies, lies, lies, and more lies, from the Zionists and their supporters.

    • BradD99

      Israel is less than 1% of the Middle East.
      It is the world’s only Jewish-majority state, next to 20 Arab states and 50 Muslim countries.
      Israel is so tiny you can barely see it on a map.
      And the vast majority of citizens of Israel were refugees, from other parts of the Middle East, from other parts of Israel/Palestine, and elsewhere.
      Israel is a tiny little state, yet the most democratic state in that region BY FAR.

      Yet there are some mentally ill people in this world who spend literally 12-18 hours a day of their “life” devoting all their energy into trying to convince other

      people that erasing/destroying the world’s only Jewish state is 1) Not anti-semitic (2) Peaceful and for justice.

      Nazis tried to destroy Jews.
      And now in 2016, “Nazis” in another form try to destroy the world’s only Jewish state.

  • vincent

    On May 15, 1948 the Arab States invaded Israel with the assistance of much of the local Arab Palestinian population for the purpose of destroying Israel. They were defeated and lost territory as a result. No nation will actively permit large numbers of enemy combatants to dwell within its borders and Israel is no exception. Where they are exceptional is how they treated non combatant Muslim Palestinians who did not participate in the war, accepted the state of Israel and chose to live as Israeli citizens. Such persons were treated very well by the standards of the time and today their descendants remain full fledged Israeli citizens who enjoy for more civl rights protections than their coreligionists in Muslim majority countries.

    The sad fact is that their is only one Israeli territory with two distinct populations with deep historical ties to the area who lay claim to it. This is not uncommon. The present day boundaries of almost every nation on earth were are defined, in large part, by the results of war in which there were winners and losers and Israel is no exception. And here, “the right of return,” if we are honest, would lead to inevitable civil war. A modern liberal democratic state with equal rights for gays, women as the Jews want to live under and a conservative Islamic theocracy which the Muslim Palestinians seemingly want to live under are not compatible and cannot coexist. I do not see any realistic way that both populations and peacefully possess the same territory which is why there have been wars and the fact is that the State of Israel won those wars.

  • Joshua Melamed

    Yes, it is definitely a catastrophe when you start a war and then lose it.

    • hypocrisy

      Or when you ethnically cleanse.

      • Tasha Simpson

        don’t start a war if you can’t deal with losing. What exactly were the 5 arab armies who invaded Israel in 1948 going to do if they won?

    • moosehorn

      All wars were provoked/started by the Zionist state.

      • Joshua Melamed

        Well thank God you’re not going to become a historian!

      • SamXie

        Yes- how dare the Jews even think of existing in their ancient homeland!

  • lejardin

    “…our relatives and our people were driven from their homes during Israel’s 1947-1949 campaign of ethnic cleansing…”

    Hilarious misinformation… this never even happened! You people willingly followed the diktat of the surrounding Arab states who told you to leave your homes while they defeated Israel, after which you could return… oops! OOOOPS!!! :-0 :-0 :-0 :-0 :-0 :-0 :-0 :-0 :-0 :-0 :-0 :-0 :-0 :-0

    • moosehorn

      Misinformation” coming from your side, yes, but there is nothing hilarious about it!!!!

  • Tasha Simpson

    I fail to understand why palestinians think every person on the planet should care more about their issue than poverty, injustice in practically every country in the world- let alone the troubled history of every country. India and Pakistan had a [population transfer of millions of people. The US is engaged in war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Boko Haram and the Syrian civil war rage on.The Palestinians have a higher standard of living and access to education and health care- paid for by donor countries of the world- compared to millions in india and throughout Africa. If you are pro-palestinian, focus on developing your people for democracy and entrepreneurship instead of constant demonic fantasies of revising history by murdering the israelis.

    • moosehorn

      Are you trying to justify the Palestinian suffering, und the Zionist brutal occupation, by Problems caused by conflicts in other parts of the world?

    • BradD99

      It’s 2016, and Israel exists. And will continue to defend itself, and will continue exist as a Jewish state next to 20 Arab states and 50 Muslim states. This won’t

      change, no matter how many mentally-ill, obsessed anti-semites waste their miserable, pathetic lives spending 18 hours a day trying to demonize the Jewish state’s very

      existence. While the Muslim states that surround Israel destroy themselves via jihadist civil war, etc.

  • SamXie

    Its hardly “ethnic cleansing” when the population quadruples, infant mortality plumets and life expectancy increases dramatically.

  • Beer Baron

    It would be difficult to find anything accurate in the author’s diatribe against Israel, but I will restrict myself to the following points:

    The myth of Arab Muslim victimhood is cheap propaganda stemming from the failed Arab attempts to destroy destroy Israel and drive its Jewish population “into the sea.” The anti-Israel left continues to pander to the irrational, bigoted demands of the Middle East’s Arab Muslim majority to suppress the region’s only non-Muslim state, in favor of yet another Arab Muslim country. That blatant disregard for the rights of anyone who is not an Arab Muslim is precisely the reason why the Jews of Israel had to fight for national independence.

    The mere existence of Israel proclaims the national rights of the Jewish INDIGENOUS population of Israel; a country and a people that predate Arab colonialism and will outlive it as well.

  • BradD99

    Quiz for dishonest pro-Palestinian activists:
    1) Why is a Jewish state racist/evil yet Muslim states acceptable?
    A) Obviously all the states are acceptable, unless someone is an anti-Jewish bigot and a hypocrite.

    2) If Israel still has 1.5 million Arab citizens, while the Arab states that surround Israel have erased their Jewish populations to almost zero, who is guilty of ethnic cleansing?
    A) The Arab states, obviously, unless you’re a dishonest anti-semite.

    3) Why are Arab-majority states allowed to be Arab, Muslim-majority states allowed to be Muslim, yet the world’s one tiny Jewish-majority state not allowed to be Jewish?
    A) Because… antisemitic hypocrite.

  • BradD99

    Approximately 80 percent of historic Palestine became Jordan. Around 1922.
    Jordan immediately ethnically cleansed “Palestinian” Jews out.
    Jews have been “Palestinians” for thousands of years. Since long before Islam existed.

    That’s where 80 percent of Palestine “went.”

    But Israel has Jews.
    So “Palestinians” only talk of what Jews have when they speak of “Palestine.”
    Yet hey leave out the 80 percent of Palestine that is now an Arab-Palestinian state.

    They just want Israel/Jews dead or gone.

    It’s all about erasing Israel.

    Which is why they demonize the world’s only tiny Jewish state for being a Jewish state, while openly accepting 20+ Arabs states and 50+ Muslim countries.

    Which is why “Palestinians” demonize Jewish nationalism (zionism), yet openly promote Arab nationalism, Muslim nationalism and Palestinian nationalism.

    Which is why Palestinians don’t mention that in Israel in 2016 there are over 1.5 million Arab citizens, while meanwhile Palestinians deem any Jew in the West Bank as “illegal” and why the Arab countries near Israel all have almost ZERO Jews left. Do the math, then figure out who is guilty of “ethnic cleansing.”

    Arab countries + Palestinians waged war against Israel, lost the war, and now in 2016 waste their lives writing dishonest editorials in college newspapers and harassing any Jew/Israeli who insists that peace is possible.

  • BradD99

    The Israeli Arab population of Israel goes up every year.
    The Palestinian population outside of Israel goes up every year.

    That’s the opposite of “genocide.”

    Anti-Israel activists seem to lie, constantly.

  • Beer Baron

    It would be difficult to find anything remotely accurate in this unintentionally-hilarious, Orwellian rewriting of history masquerading as an editorial.