54th Anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba (15 May 2002): Nakba Memorial Events in the 1967 Occupied Palestinian Territories, Jenin Refugee Camp (West Bank) and Gaza Strip Refugee Camps

JENIN REFUGEE CAMP - WEST BANK

The brutal Israeli military attack against the Jenin refugee camp in April 2002, which included Israeli war crimes whose perpetrators will not be held accountable in the near future, led to massive damage and destruction of refugee homes, and caused yet another wave of forced displacement and homelessness. The experience of the Jenin camp in 2002 illustrates in a nutshell the 54 years-old colonial process in which Palestinian peasants and farmers were evicted eastwards and turned into refugees by Israel in 1948, then denied return and international protection and made to suffer additional displacement in their places of exile until today. While international relief and aid efforts are currently focused on rebuilding refugee homes and repairing the damage caused by Israel in 2002, the bombed and bulldozed "ground zero" in the center of the Jenin camp has become yet another symbol of the 1948 Palestinian Nakba and resistance for Palestinian refugees.

15 May 2002:
Launching the Project of a War Crimes Memorial in the Jenin Camp

Palestinians in the West Bank have designated the Jenin camp as the site of their 2002 Nakba memorial. Residents of the camp, the camp-based Emergency Committee for Relief and Reconstruction of the Jenin Camp and UNRWA have agreed in principle that in the framework of camp rehabilitation and reconstruction a public memorial site should be established, in order to commemorate and educate about war crimes and crimes against humanity committed against the Palestinian people and its refugees. Priorities, location and design of this public memorial will be debated and clarified within the next two-three months. The EMERGENCY COMMITTEE-JENIN CAMP INVITES PALESTINIAN, ARAB AND INTERNATIONAL EXPERTS, ARTISTS AND SOLIDARITY GROUPS TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE EFFORT for the creation of a unique memorial site that will both serve to commemorate the victims of war crimes and educate about Palestinian rights and the struggle for freedom.

* Suggestions concerning planning and artistic design as well as future use and promotion of the Jenin memorial locally and world-wide should be directed to the Emergency Committee for Relief and Reconstruction of the Jenin Camp;
* Supporters of the Jenin memorial project are welcome to visit the camp in order to discuss their ideas in detail.

Contact: Emergency Committee for Relief and Reconstruction of the Jenin Camp, Fakhri Turkman, general coordinator; tel/fax: 04-2437163.

GAZA STRIP

2002 Nakba memorials in the Gaza Strip are overshadowed by the ongoing threat of an imminent Israeli military attack which, as many fear, will cause even more loss of life and damage to Palestinian infrastructure and properties than by "Operation Defensive Wall" in the West Bank. Fear of large loss of life and injuries is, among others, caused by the extremely high population density. In the Gaza Strip, where 22 percent of all UNRWA registered refugees reside comprising 78 percent of the population, population density is 4,400 persons per sq. km. Population density on the refugees' lands located just across the fence inside Israel is currently 82 persons per sq. km.

As in the past, 2002 Palestinian Nakba memorials in the Gaza Strip will raise the Palestinian refugees' demand for the right to return and restitution of their lands. Confined into four closed areas created by the Israeli occupation in the course of the last 20 months, Gaza Strip residents will launch right-of-return marches and rallies in the four separated areas on 15 May 2002:

*Northern Gaza Strip - Jabalya Camp (11:00 - 12:00 noon): marchers from all areas of the district will gather at the Al-Awda Square in the center of Jabalya refugee camp.
*Central Area Camps (10:00 - 11:00 a.m.): right-of-return march towards the Nusseirat-Bureij intersection.
*Rafah and Southern Gaza area: marchers will gather at the Star Square in al-Shaboura and march in the direction of the Burqa playground. The right-of-return rally at the playground will start at 12:00 noon.
*Gaza City district: the right-of-return march will lead from the Beach Camp and other areas of the district towards the United Nations building. Marchers will gather in front of the United Nations building at 12:00. fr.natashaescort.com

For additional information about Nakba memorial events in the Gaza Strip contact: the Popular Refugee Committees-Gaza Strip, tel. 08-2874151l; 059-740961

On the occasion of the 54th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, BADIL Resource Center calls upon the international solidarity movement to:

*ORGANIZE Nakba memorials, right-of-return rallies and teach-ins;
*SEND YOUR MESSAGE OF SOLIDARITY AND SUPPORT to the Jenin refugee camp (see contact listed above).