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Volume 54 Number 11, May 18, 2024 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

Anniversary of Al Nakba - May 15, 1948

End the Catastrophe Imposed on the Palestinian People!
Support Palestinian Resistance Until Liberation!

Workers' Weekly Internet Edition: Article Index :

Anniversary of Al Nakba - May 15, 1948:
End the Catastrophe Imposed on the Palestinian People! Support Palestinian Resistance Until Liberation!

A Government in Shameful Disarray with No Way Forward:
Sunak Tries to Cover Over Britain's Warmongering and Support for Genocide of the Palestinians as "Security" for British People

Anniversary of Al Nakba - May 15, 1948

End the Catastrophe Imposed on the Palestinian People!
Support Palestinian Resistance Until Liberation!

Palestinians participate in March of Return in Upper al-Jalil in the West Bank, May 14, 2024,
commemorating the 76th anniversary of the Israeli occupation of Palestine in 1948.

May 15 is the day we commemorate al Nakba -- the Catastrophe -- a day marking a "continuous journey of pain, loss and injustice" for the Palestinian people. It marks the day that some 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes during the 1948 war. Palestinians were forced from their lands and homes due to military attacks by Zionist forces, supported by the British and US governments. The Israeli Zionist forces attacked 774 cities and villages, and occupied 80 per cent of the Palestinian soil after killing nearly 15,000 Muslim and Christian civilians. Those who survived were forced to migrate to the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and neighbouring countries, such as Syria, Jordan and Lebanon.

"The Road to Nowhere", painting depicting the Nakba by Palestinian artist Ismail Shammout

As we commemorate May 15, al Nakba Day, the world demands that the same crimes being committed today stop immediately. These crimes, committed 76 years ago and ever since then, set the scene for today's US/Israeli genocide.

As a result of the Nakba 76 years ago and crimes committed since then, out of the global population of 14 million Palestinians, more than seven million live in exile, while two million are being slaughtered in the Gaza Strip, the world's largest open-air prison, and another three million live in the occupied West Bank. Israeli occupation authorities are currently detaining some 9,500 Palestinians from Gaza and the West Bank being held in Israeli prisons, of which 3,660 are held in administrative detention - that is, without charge or trial. Of these, 80 are women and 200 are children. At the same point last year, about 4,900 Palestinian prisoners, including 160 children and 31 women were being held in Israeli prisons. Whereas 84 Palestinians had been killed by Israel by April 2023, by the same period in 2024, the death toll is in the tens of thousands. Since October 7, 2023, 35,173 Palestinians have been killed by Israel with at least another 10,000 missing. Of those killed, at least 14,500 are children. At least 60 per cent of residential buildings have been damaged or destroyed, while 80 per cent of commercial facilities have been damaged or destroyed. Two hundred and sixty-seven places of worship have been damaged or destroyed. Only 12 of 35 hospitals remain partially functional. Seventy-three per cent of school buildings have been damaged or destroyed, including all of Gaza's universities. Besides Israel's blocking of aid and use of starvation as a weapon of war against the people of Gaza, 83 per cent of Gaza's groundwater wells are not operational.

Palestine Solidarity, Istanbul, Turkey, May 12

On this occasion, the peoples all over the world condemn the US/Israeli Zionist crimes as well as the relentless expansion of illegal settlements that continue the dispossession of the Palestinians begun in 1948, the attacks on the al-Aqsa mosque, and the collective punishment of the Gaza Strip through a brutal genocidal war that is now targeting people's last refuge in Rafah.

We further condemn the British government, not only for arming Israel and giving the genocide a green light now, but also for Britain's historical role in its backing for Zionism and its heinous role in interfering in Palestine for its own ends. It was in November 1917 when Arthur Balfour, the British Foreign Secretary, issued his infamous declaration in the form of a letter written to Lord Rothschild, which read: "His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people. It being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine." This has been described as: "One nation promising a second the country of a third." The British Mandate period ran from 1920 to 1948, when the Nakba took place. The British ruling class must accept its responsibility for the denial of the rights of the Palestinian people, the partition of Palestine, and its complicity denying the Palestinians their right to self-determination and attacks on their right to be.

We salute the Palestinian people's unrelenting and heroic resistance and stand with them as the struggle for liberation enters a crucial phase.

We further call on everyone to continue to join in the actions which have been taking place across the country, adding the people's voice here to those across the globe condemning the crimes being committed against the Palestinian people which the world is witnessing and the violence and brutal attacks of the occupation forces. Today, May 18, a national demonstration is taking place through central London marking the 76th anniversary of the Nakba and calling for an end to the genocide and that the government stop arming Israel. We give it our full support.

Long Live the Palestinian Resistance!
Uphold the Palestinian People's Right of Return!

Article Index

A Government in Shameful Disarray with No Way Forward

Sunak Tries to Cover Over Britain's Warmongering and Support for Genocide of the Palestinians as "Security" for British People

On Monday, May 13, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak made a major speech at Policy Exchange on Britain's "security", promoted as his pre-election claim to be the new leader following the General Election due to be held later this year. All under the guise of creating "a secure future", it betrayed an incoherent mishmash of worn out and reactionary rhetoric.

He said that he felt "a profound sense of urgency" because "more will change in the next five years than in the last thirty". He tried to set a tone of foreboding with "storms ahead" against the "threats we face at home and abroad" but with "bold action and a clear plan, we can and we will create a secure future". He tried to paint a picture that the "dangers that threaten our country are real", but which have nothing to do with the pro-war stance and support for Israeli genocide consensus of the main cartel parties in Parliament. The "threat" he tried to address was that "an axis of authoritarian states like Russia, Iran, North Korea, and China is working together to undermine us and our values". He talked about "war returned to Europe" as if Britain were not part of the US/NATO axis that has been escalating its expansionism and destabilising Eastern Europe and Ukraine over many years. Sunak completely covers over Britain's role in provoking and continuing to escalate the US-led N ATO's proxy war in Ukraine against Russia as well as Britain's role in escalating sanctions, tensions and threats of war against China, Iran and the DPRK.

Sunak claimed that war rages, too, in the Middle East "as Israel defends itself not only against the terrorists of Hamas but a barrage of missiles fired - for the first time - directly from Iran". The likes of Sunak, as well as Starmer, who are blaming the resistance for war are shamefully attempting to exonerate Israel, giving it their backing, for its war crimes. Sunak's speech made no mention of the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Gaza and genocidal war that Israel is conducting with Britain's support in Gaza and the West Bank. He also denies the right of the Palestinians to resist this genocide of their people and calls them terrorists, nor does he mention the provocations against Iran with the bombing of their Embassy complex in Damascus by Israel, destroying the building housing the consular section, that led to a stand off between Iran and Israel. Sunak also blamed Iran for Yemen's stand in imposing shipping sanctions on Israel in support of the Palestinians and he justified Britain's bombing of Yemen in support of Israel.

Furthermore, what is revealed by this speech is a government in shameful disarray with no way forward trying desperately to cover over its warmongering and support for genocide as "security" for the British people. This was further highlighted when David Cameron, Foreign Secretary sitting in the House of Lords, said on the same day on BBC news that while he would not support a major ground offensive in the Gazan city of Rafah, the UK "would not copy US plans to stop some arms sales to Israel", as, according to Cameron, denying arms to Israel would only help Hamas.

Oxford Action for Palestine

Such shameful comments to try and mask Britain's complicity in the genocide in Gaza prompted Craig Murray, a former British diplomat, to condemn the government on May 13 saying that, "incredibly the Israeli genocide in Gaza is now reaching new heights of violence. Casualty figures are not coming in, as the attacks are so bad that bodies cannot be recovered, medics cannot travel and there are almost no medical facilities operational now anyway." [2] Craig Murray continued, "We now see that the Western injunctions not to attack Rafah were a smokescreen of lies to mask complicity. The final pocket of Gaza is being ruthlessly ethnically cleansed and its infrastructure will be destroyed like all the rest....The only possible conclusion from all of the above is to reinforce my analysis that the Zionist political and media classes in the West, including Biden, Blinken, Trudeau, Macron, Sunak, Starmer, Scholtz, von der Leyen and all, are active and willing participants in a programme of genocide."

Sunak's speech reflected this outlook of the old world values and not the values of peoples striving for peace, empowerment and the new in the modern world. These warmongering and genocidal values of the Zionists that Sunak tries to cover over are to continue the striving for hegemony of their oligopolies and their war industries in the world. Wars in the pursuit of their interests are causing mass deaths and destruction and displacing millions of people as refugees as they are now doing again in Gaza. This is infamy.

People have rights by virtue of being human

After boasting, "We've proudly taken the generational decision to increase defence spending to a new baseline of 2.5% of GDP, by 2030," Rishi Sunak's speech veered onto another topic, that the "global displacement of a hundred million people is a new and defining challenge of our age". Sunak tries to reduce these massive refugee problems that their warmongering system have contributed to in the world to one where he says, "we can and will protect ourselves against illegal migration." The world the imperialists are imposing is one of global displacement of the peoples by their wars, but yet again they confound this by their lies that migrants and refugees are the problem and label them "illegal".

In this way Sunak tries to justify the illegal Rwanda scheme by trying to dress it up as a humanitarian measure. He says: "That's why we're pioneering the Rwanda scheme. And so, when people see that if they come here illegally, they will be swiftly detained and removed [to Rwanda], they will be deterred from making that perilous journey, stopping the boats and saving thousands of lives." With this outlook, which is contradicted by stark reality, he claims that the "international frameworks on human rights are outdated", not the anti-human laws he shamelessly advocates for Britain. He tries to incite people against human rights by saying "there may be flashpoints ahead with the ECHR [European Court of Human Rights]." [3]

That any Prime Minister can in the modern age make a speech that echoes the values and crimes of the past and tries to put a human face on them for which peoples of the world fought to end during the Second World War against Nazi Germany beggars belief. What it shows is how out of step they are with the requirements of the modern era.

The question facing the working class and peoples' movement emphasises that the struggle on all fronts is between the New and the Old. The burning need of the present and for the security of the people of Britain and the world is for an Anti-War Government, the expression of a modern democratic personality opposed to police powers and executive rule, and the use of force to settle conflicts. It is not the Sunaks of this world that will lead society out of this crisis but the working class becoming worker-politicians themselves. Their aim is for a new situation where decision-making involves all workers, communities, and people as a whole, speaking and acting in their own name and as one, without the political mechanisms of the ruling elite that disempower and block their direct decisions from being realised.

1. PM speech on security: 13 May 2024
2. Shameless - Craig Murray, May 13, 2024
3.The ECHR is part of the Council of Europe-an international organisation focusing on human rights, democracy and the rule of law, headquartered in Strasbourg, France. It oversees the implementation of the European Convention on Human Rights (also often abbreviated as the ECHR), signatories to which agree to abide by the rulings of the court. 46 countries are members of the Council of Europe, including all 27 members of the EU, as well as a number of non-EU members, including the UK, Switzerland, Norway, Turkey and others. All Council of Europe members are signatories to the Convention.
The EU, meanwhile, has its own court system, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), which is based in Luxembourg. The CJEU interprets EU law to ensure it is applied in the same way in all EU countries.

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