The right to life and land
Mareeg.com-Seven decades after the Nakba, Palestinians want nothing more than to return to their land and live in dignity, writes Mousa Abu Marzouq
Two million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are slowly being suffocated. Over 40% of Gazans are unemployed; there is virtually no economy; no electricity; the water is undrinkable; and the medical system has collapsed. It is the Israeli occupation that is responsible for the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza due to its 11-year-old siege imposed on the coastal enclave.
Since 2007, following Hamas’s victory in internationally-monitored elections, Israel has retained absolute control over the movement of people and goods via Gaza’s airspace, territorial waters, and land borders. This blockade subjects Gaza’s population to collective punishment, in contravention of international law.
Confronted with such oppression and the world’s silence in response to Israeli war-crimes, Palestinians in Gaza have no other option than to raise their voices in protest. Seventy percent of Gaza’s population are refugees, or descendants of refugees, who were violently expelled from their homeland in 1948 to make way for the Zionist state of Israel. Israelis celebrate this land-grab as “independence” but for Palestinians it is the Nakba (catastrophe).
We, Palestinians have never been allowed to return to our land, despite United Nations Security Council Resolution 194 guaranteeing us this inalienable right. In the Israeli apartheid state, Palestinians are stripped of their humanity; their identity reduced to that of “demographic threat”.
Since March 30, thousands of Palestinians have been participating in the Great Return March (GRM), sending a united message to Israel and the world: We have the right to return to our homeland that was stolen from us in 1948. We have the right to move freely, to have electricity, to travel, to work. Through the GRM movement, Palestinians are not only demanding the right to return – but also the right to live.
The GRM is not Hamas-driven; it is Palestinian-inspired and driven. It is the embodiment of Palestinian popular resistance involving youth, women, and all Palestinians that steadfastly refuse to collaborate with the occupiers, accept Israeli occupation and submit to Zionist apartheid. They are fighting back, armed only with their rights and international law.