Israeli Cabinet Wants to Ban Nakba Commemoration

The Israeli cabinet has voted yesterday (Sunday, May 24, 2009) in favor of a racist proposal to ban Nakba commemorations.  Many Arab-Palestinians commemorate the proclamation of the state of Israel as Nakba, the Arabic word for disaster.

In the proposal, anyone participating in the commemoration of 15 May 1948 could face a three-year prison sentence.  The proposal has been made by the racist coalition party Yisrael Beitenu.  It still has to go through the Knesset.

The Communist Party of Israel and Hadash (the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality) sharply criticized the proposal, calling it an act of an apartheid regime.  Hadash chairman, MK Mohammed Barakeh said the fact that the cabinet “ratified the delusions and lack of historical and factual knowledge of a single MK shows the stinking sewers to which government discourse has sunk, as is very much to be expected.”  Barakeh said Arabs would continue to commemorate the Nakba, adding that the commemoration was not meant “to threaten the existence of Israel, but to correct a historic wrong to the Palestinian people.”  The proposed bill “is no less severe than the laws enacted by the Third Reich,” added MK Afo Agbaria (Hadash).  “The State of Israel has declared jihad on the Arab population.  Israel is gradually becoming an apartheid state.  I won’t be surprised if in the future the Netanyahu-Lieberman government imposes additional restrictions on Arab citizens, including forbidding the use of the Arabic language.”

The Civil Rights Association also attacked the draft law.  “For the past year we have witnessed a worrying deterioration in Israel of the right to expression and other democratic rights,” association chairman and well know author Sammy Michael said in a statement.  “Commemoration of the Nakba does not threaten Israel at all.  It is a legitimate expression of the feelings of individuals and an entire people,” he said.

Tel-Aviv, May 25, 2009