On May 15th the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) hosted a meeting in Parliament titled 'Ongoing Nakba at 70: Palestinians Demand Right of Return'. The event was hosted by Rushanara Ali MP (Labour).
The chair Tommy Sheppard MP (SNP) started the meeting asking everyone to hold a minute of silence in respect for those killed in Gaza.
First speaker was Ben White, a journalist, analyst, and author. His new book, ‘Cracks in the Wall: Beyond Apartheid in Palestine/Israel’, is published May 2018 by Pluto Press. Mr White urged immediate action in solidarity with the Palestinians being brutalised at the hands of Israeli forces in Gaza, including through an arms embargo and support for the Palestinian-led BDS campaign.
Second speaker was Andy Slaughter Labour MP for Hammersmith. Mr Slaughter discussed the difficulty in highlighting the right of return as an essential part of the Palestinian struggle.
Next speaker Ghada Karmi, is a doctor, author as well as academic, and is an honorary research fellow and an assistant lecturer at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies. Dr. Karmi described what the Nakba has meant to her given that she was living in Jerusalem as a child in 1948 when Zionist militias forced her family to flee.
Professor Nur Masalha, is a Palestinian historian and formerly Director of the Centre for Religion and History at St. Mary's University, Twickenham. He is Editor of “Journal of Holy Land and Palestine Studies”. Professor Masalha is an expert on the Nakba having published six books on the topic recalls how 20 years ago the word 'Nakba' was not part of the mainstream understanding of the Palestinian issue within Britain. Professor Masalha discussing the Great March of Return in Gaza highlighted the centrality of the right of return as not only an issue of Palestinians abroad but it is also an issue of Palestinians residing in Palestine who want to return to their homes and lands in what is now present-day 'Israel'.
Leanne Mohamad, Leanne Mohamad is a 17-year-old young British Palestinian who won the Redbridge Regional “Speak out” challenge in May 2016. She delivered a passionate speech on what the Nakba means to her as a third generation Palestinian born and raised in Britain.