The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) held a webinar commemorating the 73rd anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba of 1948, when thousands of Palestinians were forced out of their homes by Zionist gangs to make way for the creation of prrsent-day Israel.
The webinar was chaired by political activist in the UK Batoul Sbeita.
Richard Falk, a professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University, and a former United Nations rapporteur on human rights in Palestinian territories occupied in 1967, sounded the alarm over the crimes of ethnic cleansing committed by the Israeli occupation against the Palestinians since the Nakba days.
He said Israel aims to ethnically cleanse the Palestinians and prevent them from returning to their homeland.
Feminist Randa AlSanyoura, also an expert in international humanitarian law, said the Palestinians have been displaced from their homeland more than once since of the Nakba.
She referred to Israel’s eviction plan targeting Palestinian families in the occupied east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah as a stark reminder of the forcible dislocation of Palestinians in 1948.
She added that such crimes seek to establish more setller units for Israelis in violation of international law.
She also said that Israeli aggressions have forced Palestinian women and children in the blockaded Gaza Strip to seek shelter at UNRWA schools and premises.
The activist referred to what she described as a "thread of hope", in reference to the International Criminal Court's decision to investigate Israeli war crimes against the Palestinians, expressing her hope that the day will come when the occupation leaders will be held to account.
Actuvist "Sawssen Mohammad" warned of Israeli plans to foster an evironment of deprivation and homelessness against Palestinian children.
In her contribution she cited affidavits testifying to Israeli assaults on Palestinian children and violation of their rights.
She said as many as 500 Palestinian minors have been held in Israeli detention centers and scores of others have been killed in Israeli airstrikes on the blickaded Gaza Strip.
Activist Jerry Carol underscored the latest surge in violence by Israeli forces, saying the international community should urgently step in and work on bringing Israeli crimes against the Palestinians to a halt.
Every year on May 15 Palestinians commemorate the day in which tens of thousands of civilians were forced out of their homes during the war that led to the creation of the self-proclaimed State of Israel in 1948.
This year, the Nakba Day comes amid deadly Israeli airstrikes, Jewish mob attacks and other forms of violent tactics imposed by the Zionist forces.
On May 15, 1948, some 750,000 Palestinians were expelled into refugee camps that still exist in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon following the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.
Millions of Palestinians, including those displaced with the establishment of Israel, now found themselves having to live under military occupation, as well as further Israeli expansionism in their lands.
For many Palestinians, the Nakba is the first chapter in a process of land grab that began in 1948.
On Saturday, an Israeli airstrike targeted and destroyed a high-rise building in Gaza City that housed offices of The Associated Press and other media outlets hours after another Israeli air raid on a densely populated refugee camp killed at least 10 Palestinians from an extended family, mostly children.
Over recent days, nearly 10,000 Palesitinians fled to UNRWA schools as they sought safe shelters.
The latest outburst of violence by Israeli forces and settlers started in Jerusalem and spread across the region over the past week, with clashes and rioting in mixed cities of the occupied Palestinian territories. There was also widespread Palestinian protests Friday in the occupied West Bank, where Israeli forces shot and killed 11 people.
PRC has been deeply concerned by the latest surge of violence by the Israeli occupation forces and settlers. The international community and the U.N. agencies should play a crucial third-party role in deterring unauthorized Israeli measures and in facilitating and fostering a climate of dialogue towards a peaceful resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, including the future status of Jerusalem.
PRC strongly condemns Israel’s imminent eviction of Palestinians in the east occupied Jerusalem city of Sheikh Jarrah, in violation of its obligations under international humanitarian law and UN resolutions. If unaddressed, the eviction plan could lead to the displacement of over 500 Palestinians, including women, children, and elderly civilians, from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah.
The international community should intervene immediately to pressurize Israel to abide by its obligations under international law secure Palestinians’ inalienable rights, including their right to stay on their native land and establish an independent Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital.
A lasting solution to the Palestinian refugee plight should also see the day. Palestinian refugees should be granted their right to return to their motherland as per UN Resolution 194 (III) resolving that “refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date.