YWCA call for action: “Past Due: 65 Years and the Ongoing Nakba”

YWCA call for action: “Past Due: 65 Years and the Ongoing Nakba”

An advocacy alert from the YWCA of Palestine

May 15, 2013 marks the 65th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba [Arabic for “catastrophe”], which resulted in the catastrophic expulsion of the over 750,000 Palestinians from their homes and land in 1948, and creation of the first batch of Palestinian Refugees. Some three-quarters of the Palestinian Arab population or over 750,000 Palestinians were expelled by military assault or threat and over 400 Palestinian cities and towns were destroyed.

The YWCA was one of the first NGOs (nongovernment organizations) to provide services for Palestinian refugees. Before UNRWA was established, the YWCA responded to the emergency needs of the population, and later created women’s training centers and pre-schools in what is now the Aqabet Jaber Refugee Camp Center near Jericho. In 1951 the YWCA of Jordan was formed with branches and centers in the refugee camps on both the East and West Bank of the River Jordan.

Since 1991, and through the Resolutions issued in its World Council Meetings, the YWCA has affirmed all UN Resolutions, including the right of return for all Palestinian refugees and Palestinians living in exile. This is part of the YWCA’s continued commitment to Peace with Justice and the right of all peoples to self-determination, freedom, and dignity. Like all refugees, Palestinian refugees have an internationally
recognized right to repatriation and compensation for their suffering.

UN General Assembly Resolution 194 states that “Refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practical date.”

The YWCA of Palestine believes that 65 years far exceeds “the earliest practical date.” It also believes that the Ongoing Nakba of Israel’s ongoing denial of displaced Palestinians’ right to return as well as the ongoing experience of forced displacement and dispossession is the result of Israeli policies and practices to forcibly transfer Palestinians out of Palestine.

On this 65th anniversary, we urge the YWCA’s around the world, our global partners, and major human rights organizations throughout Palestine and the world to:

  1. Join us in remembering the terrible events of the Nakba. We invite you to pray and organize/join Nakba events in your countries and communities.
  2. Continue to hold Israel accountable to humanitarian and international law.
  3. Urge your governments to call on Israel to respect and implement all UN Resolutions pertaining to Palestine, including the 242, 338 and 194, so the Palestinians can practice their right for self-determination and establish their own state.
  4. And most importantly to continue to advocate for an end to Israel’s continued displacement and dispossession laws, policies, and practices by putting pressure on Israel to comply through morally responsible investment initiatives like Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).

Abla Nasir, National President
Mira Rizeq, National General Secretary

Check out the following sources for information, advocacy and action:

65 Years of Impunity by Saeb Erekat, PLO Executive Member and Chief Palestinian Negotiator’s Op Ed

TEDX Ramallah video with Sam Bahour on Refugees Waiting

Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights.

The YWCA of Palestine has selected 6 of the destroyed or depopulated villages from refugees in Jalozoune Refugee Camp, and will be designing dolls for sale, to support refugee women programs. Each doll comes with in an embroidered dress unique to the village or region, information about the Nakaba, the village, and an oral history. For more information, write to us.