Sixty years of apartheid Israel

May 17, 2008

"Today Israel celebrates its 60th birthday. Today is anything but a celebration for Palestinians. For them it is the 60th anniversary of The Catastrophe (Al Nakba, in Arabic)", Fay Waddington from the Queensland Palestinian Solidarity Campaign told a speak-out on May 15. The speak-out was organised by the QPSC, Fair Go for Palestine and the Stop the War Collective.

On May 15 in 1948, Israeli troops and militia forcibly seized around 675 villages and towns in historic Palestine in their bid to impose the new state of Israel. A Palestinian population of almost 1.5 million was effectively reduced by an estimated 85%.

"Zionist terror gangs forcibly dispossessed them and Israel ended up with a state which occupies 78% of historic Palestine", Waddington said. "Today, across the West Bank, on land which is supposed to form part of the Palestinian state, illegal Jewish-only settlements continue to be built. Meanwhile in Gaza, because the locals elected the wrong party — Hamas — in January 2006, they were punished by their jailers — Israel."

Other speakers included Dick Buckholz from QPSC and Salam El Meribi from Fair Go for Palestine. Phil Monsour performed a few songs for Palestine and the protest gained considerable interest from passers-by.

In Melbourne 150 people attended a vigil outside the State Library on the same day. The Palestinian Community of Australia (Victoria) commemorated the Palestinian villages that were destroyed during Al Nakba by releasing black balloons and creating a map of Palestine on the ground in front of the State Library. Young Palestinians performed traditional dances, attracting a large crowd. Later in the evening Australians for Palestine and Women for Palestine lit candles.

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