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On the 64th Anniversary of the Nakba Badil Releases Issue #49 of al-Majdal (Spring-Summer 2012)

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17 May 2012 - The Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights has released the Spring-Summer double issue of al-Majdal (issue #49), titled “Forced Population Transfer Persists… The Struggle for Return Continues.” This Nakba-64 special issue of al-Majdal, includes a double feature.

The first section examines the ongoing nature of the Nakba through Israel’s continued transfer of Palestinians on both sides of the “Green Line.”

The second section includes preliminary visions for the implementation of Palestinian refugees’ right to return emerging from discussions held by Badil and Zochrot during a study visit to the South African city of Cape Town. In their commentaries, Rich Wiles and Nidal Azza discuss the creative ways in which Palestinians have resisted the ongoing Nakba. Noura Erakat and Rania Madi relate the achievement of an unprecedentedly coordinated effort by Palestinian human rights organizations in provoking the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination’s recognition, and condemnation, of Israeli apartheid on both sides of the green line.

In the first feature of this issue the focus is on the crime of population transfer; a central aspect of the ongoing nature of the Nakba. Joseph Schechla offers an overview of population transfer, focusing on the development of international law criminalizing this practice since the 1930s, and Israel’s place as one of the leading state perpetrators of this crime.

The following articles offer case studies of Israel’s policies and practices of population transfer. Salman Abu Sitta examines Israeli authorities’ use of Ottoman law, specifically of the mewat classification of land, as cover for stripping Palestinian Bedouin of their property in the Naqab; while Mercedes Melon describes the ways in which Israeli policies and practices in the occupied Jordan Valley have continued the forced transfer of Palestinians from, or within, that area.

Amjad Alqasis ends the section with an analysis of the ways in which Zionism and, specifically, the legal use of the concept of Jewish nationality have constituted root causes of the population transfer of Palestinians.

In the second section we publish the discussion documents from the February 2012 joint Badil-Zochrot study visit to Cape Town. One of the goals of the visit was for participants to see, hear and learn about population transfer under the South African Apartheid regime, how the struggle for return was waged, and how displaced South Africans experienced return as part of liberation after the fall of political Apartheid in 1994.

In the last days of the visit, the participants from Badil and Zochrot discussed the ways in which their experiences could be incorporated into a vision of Palestinian refugee and IDP return. Out of these discussions emerged three documents: one on working towards return, another on reparations and a third on visions for a new state. The purpose of these documents is to stimulate broader discussion on visions and practicalities of return in the Palestinian case. This issue also include a BDS Update (January-May 2012)