Commemorating the Nakba, the Palestinian dispossession of 1948, is a significant annual event. Remembering the victims and highlighting Israel’s ongoing occupation of Palestinian land is a key ritual, bound in present day blood and tears. The Zionist lobby may continue to deny ethnic cleansing and blame Palestinians for their own misfortune (the charming sentiment of an Australian, Christian Zionist) but these views are in the minority. Justice for all the citizens of Israel and Palestine is essential if peace is ever to be achieved. As Israeli Eitan Bronstein writes on this anniversary:
My request is, therefore, that you persist and will not give up your right to return.
It might sound a little strange because who am I to ask of you to insist on your own rights, the basic right of people who were uprooted from their land and their homes. But despite this, despite how awkward or absurd this request may be, despite it sounds as minefield, I insist. Please, you and your children, don’t ever give up your right to return. Not (only) for yourselves but for me also. Do you understand? If you give up this right all chance for a just life in this land will be lost and I will be sentenced to the shameful life of an eternal occupier, armed from the soles of my feet to the depths of my soul and always afraid, like all colonizers.
In Sydney yesterday, events took place across the city (photos here) and hundreds of people turned out calling for the end of Israeli occupation: