Amsterdam 64th Nakba commemoration Speech on May 12, 2012 By: Abbas Hamideh
Assalamualaikum. Hello everyone. It is quite an honor and joy to be here as a representative of Al-Awda, The Palestine Right To Return Coalition an organization fully dedicated to the Palestinian Refugees Right to Return to their ancestral homeland Palestine.
Special thanks to the energetic organizers for having me here at this 64th Amsterdam Nakba Commemoration Sadika Arab, Imane Mahi, Rachid Aznedan and of course my fellow Palestinian Doc Jazz and everyone else involved in putting this event together.
I would like to acknowledge and make mention of the Palestinian hunger strikers before going on any further who some have been on their 74 days of hunger strike in Israeli prisons. This would not be a Palestinian event otherwise if we didn’t pay our respects to them. It is important to acknowledge their courageous sacrifice at this event!
The Moroccan love of Palestine and enormous support is evident here at this gathering! There is a deep connection between the people of Morocco and the Palestinian people and be sure that the Palestinian people are taking notice of this phenomenal solidarity! And I know that many of you do not consider this work as simply a solidarity measure but consider it your cause and your duty! The Palestinians are grateful for this as we all know Palestine is part and parcel of the Arab World therefore in fact an Arab cause and that is clearly reflected on our national flag. Our Palestinian flag represents Arab Nationalism we take pride in that and the very reason it was adopted as our national symbol. Palestine was always Arab and will remain proudly Arab no matter what others call it in their delusional minds.
The Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe) was well orchestrated long before it occurred in 1948 which caused the dispossession and ethnic cleansing of many Palestinians from their beloved ancestral villages in order to make way for a so called Jewish homeland. The story often fantasized by zionists is that Palestine was a “land without a people for a people without a land.” The fantasy does not explain the theft, massacres, mass forced expulsion of the original inhabitants of the land (The Palestinians) who were unquestionably the indigenous people of the land.
One well known example that ignited the Nakba was the village of Deir Yassin in which I am a direct descendant of. My father and grandparents were survivors of the massacre at Deir Yassin that occurred on April 9, 1948.
My father, Fakhri Quasim Hamideh was a survivor of the massacre at Deir Yassin on April 9th 1948. Like most Palestinian refugees, his greatest wish since his forced expulsion in 1948 was to one day be able to return to his village in Palestine. Unfortunately 53 years later, on February 7, 2001, while driving himself to his regular doctor visit, he passed away at an Israeli check point in Ramallah. My Father was receiving kidney dialysis treatment on a regular basis at the Ramallah Hospital. Due to the delay at the Israeli check point that day he could not get through in time. He went into cardiac arrest and passed away inside his vehicle despite all efforts trying to get through the check point. There were witnesses who explained this to the family including the Palestinian ambulance medics and hospital officials in Ramallah. We flew to Palestine the next day for burial procedures and met with the hospital administration. My Dad was laid to rest in Ramallah away from his village of Deir Yassin. His dream to Return was now passed on to his children, the descendants of his beloved village of Deir Yassin!
Brief History of Deir Yassin before the massacre:
For centuries the village of Deir Yassin (3-miles West of Jerusalem) was a peaceful place in Palestine. The Arabic word Deir means monastery. In the early 18th century around 1742 a nomadic Arab Bedouin and his family settled in this village. His name was Al-Sheikh Muhammad Al-Yassin. The village was named after Sheikh Muhammad Al-Yassin and known ever since as Deir Yassin.
The Massacre at Deir Yassin, April 9, 1948:
In 1948, Zionist preparations for the massacre at Deir Yassin had begun. The Terrorist Zionist/Jewish Stern Gang put forward a proposal to massacre the residents of the village in order to show the Arabs what happens when the Irgun and Stern Gangs unite in their operations. One of the aims of the attack was to “break Arab morale” and create panic throughout Palestine. Deir Yassin overlooks Jerusalem from it’s high mountain point. Taking Deir Yassin was militarily strategic to Zionist plans to empty Palestine of its indigenous inhabitants.
In the early morning of April 9, 1948, the peaceful village of Deir Yassin was attacked and its inhabitants massacred by the Terrorist Zionist Irgun and Stern Gangs led by Manachem Begin and Benzion Cohen, respectively. The Irgun and Stern gangs butchered everyone in their way, men, women (and some were pregnant), and children, to empty the entire village. The massacre was designed to terrify Arabs beyond the village of Deir Yassin so that they would run away and thus be driven out of their homes. This explains why the Zionist/Jewish death squads did not bury the men, women and children they killed. They left the dead bodies to be seen and frighten other Palestinian Arabs. Those who were still alive were taken by the Zionist Terrorist gangs and loaded into trucks with their hands tied and eyes blindfolded. They were paraded through the streets of Jerusalem while other Zionist/Jews applauded and celebrated the dehumanization of Palestinian Arabs.
After our people’s humiliation through the streets of Jerusalem, they were taken back to Deir Yassin and lined-up against a wall and systematically sprayed with gunfire and killed. Fifty three orphaned children were literally dumped along the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem where they were found by Hind Husseini. She took them to her home, which is located behind the current American Colony Hotel, and they became the first class of “Dar-al-Tifl-al-Arabi” orphanage.
A few weeks later “Israel” declared itself a state and was recognized almost immediately as such by American President Harry Truman. With the exception of a few, the graves of the martyrs of Deir Yassin will not be known because they were bulldozed by the “State of Israel” apparently to make way for new Jewish settlers. The terrorist criminals who perpetrated the Deir Yassin massacre were never punished or brought to justice. Instead, they were rewarded and one former leader of the Irgun, Menachem Begin, became Prime Minister soon after. Later, the renowned war criminal Ariel Sharon continued to carry out the slow genocide set in motion by the European/US Zionist project against Arab countries that continues until this day. Morton A. Klein of the Zionist Organization of America published a report entitled Deir Yassin “History of a Lie” that claims that there was no massacre at Deir Yassin. To deny Deir Yassin, is like denying the Nazi Judeocide in Europe during World War II. The massacre at Deir Yassin is as true as the Nazi holocaust in Europe.
The village of Deir Yassin was only one of many massacres perpetrated by the Zionists and “Israelis” to terrorize the indigenous people of Palestine. Other Palestinian towns and villages where massacres occurred include Ein Karem, Kakoun, Tantura, Yaffa, Safad, Sufsaf (115 people massacred at the wall of Sufsaf Mosque), Haifa, Tiret Haifa, Jibsu and many more. The Sufsaf residents witnessed their second massacre in Shatila refugee camp in Lebanon 34 years later in 1982. The war criminal Ariel Sharon was directly responsible for that massacre.
Contrary to the Zionist myth that “the old will die and the young will forget,” 64 years later some of our elders may have died but the young still remember! The descendants of Deir Yassin, the Palestinian refugees and people on the ground at home and elsewhere continue to struggle for the time when we can claim our absolute, sacred, individual and collective Right to Return to our original homes and lands.
UN Resolution 194 affirmed the right of Palestinians to return to their homes and lands. This resolution was further clarified by UN General Assembly Resolution 3236 which reaffirmed in Subsection 2: “the inalienable right of Palestinians to return to their homes and property from which they have been displaced and uprooted, and calls for their return.” The Palestinian “right to return” is specifically to their original homes and lands and not simply what maybe designated as a Palestinian State in the future.
Working towards the Right of Return of Palestinian Refugees:
Palestinians around the world like us here today are not just commemorating the 64th Nakba of the Palestinian people but are also simultaneously celebrating 64 years of resistance and perseverance. Our mission is not to just commemorate and remember what happened to our people during the Palestinian catastrophe but to work towards rightfully returning home to Palestine. We remember but we still fight and endure towards our inalienable right to return.
From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free!