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Thursday, February 15, 2024

US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib introduces resolution to recognise Nakhba

US Congresswoman calls for recognising the forced expulsion of at least 750,000 Palestinians during Israel's establishment in 1948.

US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib has introduced a resolution to recognise the Palestinian Nakba, a term used to describe the forced displacement of at least 750,000 Palestinians by then Zionist paramilitaries, which led to the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948.

Tlaib said she introduced the resolution in the US House of Representatives on Monday, a day after Palestinians marked the Nakba’s 74th anniversary.

Taking to Twitter, she said, “Today, I introduced a resolution recognising the Nakba (catastrophe in Ararbic), where 400 Palestinian towns and villages were destroyed, over 700,000 Palestinians uprooted from their homes, and made refugees.”

The Palestinian people since the Nakba have been living “under oppression and violent racism,” she said, adding, “Nakba is well-documented and continues to play out today.”

“We must acknowledge that the humanity of Palestinians is being denied when folks refuse to acknowledge the war crimes and human rights violations in apartheid Israel.”

The resolution is co-sponsored by Tlaib’s fellow progressives Betty McCollum, Marie Newman, Ilhan Omar, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

‘Historic’ decision

Although it is unlikely to pass in an overwhelmingly pro-Israel House, Palestinian rights have hailed the measure as “historic.”

The Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU), a think tank that supports Palestinian rights, thanked Tlaib for “giving voice to this reality, and highlighting the pain and injustice Palestinians have suffered.”

“During Israel’s creation, nearly 75% of the Palestinian population was ethnically cleansed from Palestine and more than 400 Palestinian villages destroyed,” IMEU said in a series of tweets. “These actions were deliberately planned and carried out by Zionist militias in order to steal Palestinian land.”

Meanwhile, the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, an advocacy group, hailed the measure, saying, “For far too long, the Palestinian experience has been ignored by Washington, and Palestinians have been gaslit for trying to tell their story.”

“We must shift US foreign policy away from enabling Israel’s ongoing displacement of Palestinians with military funding—and toward accountability.”

Palestinian refugees’ ‘Right to return’

Palestinians and human rights advocates commemorated Nakba Day on Sunday with rallies that emphasised the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

Read more: Israeli forces kill Al Jazeera reporter Shireen

Nakba resulted from the defeat of several Arab countries in the first Arab-Israeli war in 1948. Millions of its survivors and their descendants continue to live in refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza, and neighboring Arab countries.

The Nakba is rarely ever discussed in mainstream US politics, as Israel has enjoyed widespread support from legislators and successive presidents from both major parties for decades.

Israel receives $3.8bn in US military aid annually. This year Washington added another $1bn in assistance to “replenish” Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system after a May 2021 Gaza conflict.