As we commemorate 74 years of ongoing Nakba targeting the Palestinian people, inside all of occupied Palestine and everywhere in exile and diaspora, we also recall and celebrate 74 years of ongoing Palestinian resistance, revolution and struggle to liberate Palestine and confront imperialism, Zionism and reaction. In homes, community centers and the streets of cities, towns, villages and refugee camps in Palestine, in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, and in the cities of the world, we remember the ongoing theft of Palestinian land, massacres of Palestinians, and the mass dispossession of the Palestinian people. And yet, Palestinians continue to fight back for liberation and return, for the vision, reality and implementation of liberated Palestine, from the river to the sea.
That the Nakba is not a historical event but an ongoing reality facing the Palestinian people is just as clear as it has ever been. Thousands of Palestinians in Masafer Yatta are confronting a new series of expulsions, “legitimized” by the occupation court regime, while Palestinians from Jerusalem to the Naqab continue to fight back against land confiscations and home demolitions. Just days before the commemoration of the Nakba, occupation forces assassinated Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh, a beloved voice known in the homes of Palestinians and Arabs everywhere, shooting her in the head as she covered their invasion of the Jenin refugee camp, home to those who remain displaced by the ongoing Nakba.
The Zionist project of ethnic cleaning and expulsions was mostly completed by 15 May 1948, throughout 78% of historic Palestine, built atop decades of British colonization, military escalation and repression, Zionist-imperialist collaboration and the Balfour declaration. Today, we not only see the ongoing flow of arms and diplomatic, political and economic support provided by the imperialist and settler colonial powers to the Zionist project, we also witness the ongoing efforts to impose normalization regimes on the Arab people, a project that did not end with the Trump presidency in the U.S. but continues to the present day. Despite all of these efforts, the Arab people continue to fix their compass on Palestinian liberation rather than buying into the normalization programs marketed by imperialism and its agents. On the anniversary of the Nakba, we are committed to confront the racist, imperialist ideology of Zionism, which forms the basis for the colonial project in Palestine.
As imperialist states support colonialism inside Palestine, they also are escalating their repression of Palestinians in exile struggling for their return. In Berlin, Germany, home to the largest Palestinian community in Europe, Berlin police banned all public commemorations of the Nakba, including two marches, two awareness tents, a cultural commemoration — and even, later, a vigil in memory of Shireen Abu Aqleh. Just today, when around 100 people came into the streets in Berlin in a spontaneous show of support for Palestine, they were surrounded by police and the demonstration suppressed by the force of the state. This comes only weeks after the Palestine movement experienced a victory in courts in France, with the French government’s attempt to ban the Collectif Palestine Vaincra and other Palestine support organizations suspended by the courts. This repression is not separate from Germany and France’s alliance with the United States, involvement in NATO and ongoing political support for the colonization of Palestine.
The commemoration of the Nakba is a day of mourning and of outrage, but it is also a day of resistance and the fight for liberation. 15 May is historically commemorated as the Day of Palestinian Struggle. As noted by the Masar Badil, the Palestinian Alternative Revolutionary Path Movement, “May 15 was a day of Arab revolutionary struggle and international solidarity with the Palestinian people and their liberation movement, and a day when the democratic and progressive forces of the world affirmed their support for the legitimate, inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. In the Masar Badil, the Palestinian Alternative Revolutionary Path Movement, we must reclaim this name and the slogan, to reconsider and reaffirm the essence and meaning of May 15, the commemoration of the Palestinian Nakba, as a Palestinian, Arab and international day of struggle for return and liberation.”
On this Day of Palestinian Struggle, we struggle together against imperialism and to break the siege on Gaza, along with the imperialist blockades on Cuba, Venezuela, Iran and many other nations, that attempt to starve and isolate the resistance of the peoples of the world. We also struggle together against settler colonial imperialist powers, and we salute the struggles of Indigenous peoples fighting back for land, self-determination and liberation, the Black liberation movement and all liberation movements, from Yemen to the Philippines to Ireland, struggling for justice, liberation and end to imperialist domination and exploitation.
The Nakba reflected a series of crimes against the Palestinian people, displacement, massacres, rape, expulsion — and also mass imprisonment and forced labor. Today, there are nearly 4,500 Palestinian political prisoners in the jails of the occupation, imprisoned because they represent the Palestinian people, their resistance and their true leadership that has never been defeated over 74 years of Nakba and over 100 years of colonialism. Palestinian prisoners are struggling with their bodies and lives, including hunger strikers like Khalil Awawdeh and Raed Rayan and the 600 administrative detainees boycotting the military courts since January 1. Despite severe torture under interrogation, denial of medical care and ongoing indefinite arbitrary imprisonment, Palestinian prisoners continue to fight back.
To stand with the Palestinian prisoners is to stand with the Palestinian resistance, as with the prisoners for Palestine jailed in Arab reactionary regime and imperialist prisons, from Fusako Shigenobu in Japan, scheduled to be released at the end of this month; to the Holy Land Foundation Five in U.S. jails; to Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, the Lebanese revolutionary and struggler for Palestine, jailed for nearly 38 years in France.
As the prisoners, the resistance, the visionaries and freedom fighters of Palestine, lead us, they point our movement in the necessary direction — that is, of resistance toward victory, return and liberation. In intifada after intifada, battle after battle, on the one-year anniversary of the Unity Intifada and Seif al-Quds, the Palestinian people continue to rise up and build a revolutionary movement to liberate Palestine and defeat and dismantle the colonial project occupying their land. Palestinians have the right to resist occupation and oppression by any means necessary.
For the past three decades, the so-called “peace process” of Oslo and Madrid has been an attempt to impose defeat upon the Palestinian people through the creation of a “Palestinian Authority” acting as a subcontractor to the occupation, linked to Arab reactionary regimes engaged in normalization, and charged with repressing the Palestinian resistance through “security coordination.” However, it is more clear than ever that the resistance has never been defeated and is perhaps stronger than it has ever been, envisioning and fighting for victory in Palestine. In fact, the crumbling, temporary nature of the colonial project, despite its prisons, billions of dollars in military gear and untrammeled imperialist support, is apparent for all to see. The resistance in Palestine, in the region and globally, is on the rise, and a liberated Palestine is in sight, and we must work to achieve that goal through action.
On the Day of Palestinian Struggle, it is the popular classes of Palestine who continue to lead the revolution: the workers, farmers and refugees in the camps; the fishers and farmers of Gaza producing despite vicious siege; the Bedouins of the Naqab holding to their land despite state-backed JNF terror; the farmers confronting settlers to defend Palestine; the women’s movement of Palestine, on the front lines of struggle for over 74 years; the students and youth facing down colonial weaponry, organizing on campus and fighting back behind prison bars. They propel the revolution forward — generation after generation, until full return and total liberation.
Despite 74 years of Nakba, Palestinian refugees, struggling in the camps amid poverty, siege and devastation, fighting back and organizing everywhere in the world, hold fast to their keys to their homes and to the promise of victory and return, marching and organizing, preserving their steadfastness and determination to return to their homes, lands and properties in Palestine. Palestinians in exile and diaspora are reclaiming their confiscated voice in the future of Palestine and political decision-making: centering return and liberation, rising up hand in hand with Palestine from the river to the sea.
Everywhere that people struggle against imperialism and colonialism, Palestine is there. Every victory that is obtained for people’s movements is a victory for Palestine, and every victory for Palestine empowers the global liberation struggle. The right to return for Palestinian refugees and the defeat of imperialism are keys to the liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea. Everywhere in Palestine — in occupied Palestine ’48, in Jerusalem, in the West Bank, in the Gaza Strip — and in exile and diaspora, from the refugee camps to the cities of the world — the struggle for victory, return and liberation is on the rise.
The brutality of declining colonial powers is vicious and evident. From the assassination of Shireen Abu Aqleh — part of a long line of assassinations targeting truth-tellers of Palestine — to the beating of mourners at her funeral, to the daily news of martyrs’ lives taken in the struggle for liberation, the human cost to Palestinians has been devastating and overwhelming. Yet, despite all, the Palestinian people have never been defeated. Palestine lives, the resistance lives and builds its power, and a liberated Palestine is on the horizon, to bring an end to the ongoing Nakba and defeat, overcome and dismantle the Zionist colonial project. This vision must compel us all, now more than ever, to organize, mobilize and act for freedom for the prisoners, freedom for Palestine, and return and liberation, from the river to the sea.
1. Boycott Israel! On your campus, in your labor organization and in your community, you can work to isolate and materially affect the Israeli occupation. From campaigning against “Study Abroad in Israel” to partnerships with corporate occupation profiteers like HP, CAF, G4S, PUMA, Pillsbury and many others, organize to put an end to deals with the occupation state and with these corporations, with comprehensive economic, military, academic and cultural boycott. The efforts of Palestine Action to take direct action to fight back against war profiteers like Elbit Systems are opening new doors for the movement to extract a meaningful cost from arms dealers peddling weapons sold by being “battle-tested” on Palestinians.
2. Take to the Streets! Once again, people everywhere are taking to the streets to support Palestinian resistance, defend Jerusalem, and uphold the right to return. Organize a mass rally, hold a stand for Palestine or hold a vigil for Palestine. Let us make Palestine visible everywhere in our communities. From the Defund Racism campaign to expose Zionist “charities” fundraising for illegal colonial settlements and the occupation military, to mass rallies in Palestinian communities, it is time to come to the streets for liberation for Palestine.
3. Fight Back against Repression! From Berlin to Toulouse, from Vienna to Canada and the U.S., Palestinians and supporters of Palestine are fighting back against state repression. These attacks are part and parcel of the criminalization of the Palestinian liberation movement inside and outside Palestine. They aim to spread fear in the community and divide our movement. We must keep our eyes on the prize — on a liberated Palestine — while resisting and exposing repression, by taking to the offensive: demand that Palestinian organizations and other liberation movements are removed from so-called “terrorist” lists and fight for the freedom of political prisoners, from the Holy Land Foundation 5 to Georges Abdallah. We will not leave those targeted alone — instead, we will rally even more to defend our comrades from repression and state violence.
4. Join Samidoun, the Masar Badil or a Group near You! We need organization and mobilization to make our movement stronger. We invite you to join Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network or a chapter and affiliate near you. We also encourage you to get involved with the Masar Badil, the Palestinian Alternative Revolutionary Path Movement, including the effort of the Masar Students to escalate the Palestinian student movement. There are many amazing organizations working everywhere for justice and liberation in Palestine, and all of us are stronger when we organize collectively. Please join Samidoun or an organization near you to build our movement together. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about how you can get involved.