by Staff Reporter
May 13, 2013 (TSR) – Facebook temporarily blocked a page overnight, run by Palestinian activitists, promoting Nakba commemoration events in Jaffa according to a Ma’an report on Monday.
Fatima Huleiwi, an activist with Jaffa Youth, told Ma’an that it was not the first time that Facebook had blocked the group’s user page.
“When we published material urging people to support hunger striking prisoners, our pages were blocked. Last night the invitation to an event commemorating the Nakba anniversary in Jaffa was also blocked on several accounts for hours,” she said.
Sometimes right-wing Israelis report violations on the group’s Facebook pages, Huleiwi says, and as a result Facebook temporarily blocks the site for several hours.
Jaffa Youth has to send a complaint to Facebook before they eventually unblock the page, she added.
Members of Jaffa Youth will commemorate the 65th Nakba anniversary in Jaffa’s Clock Square from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The event will include artistic activities and public discussions about the Nakba, with Dr. Thabet Abu Ras from Adalah, and Eitan Bronstein from Zochrot, or ‘remembering,’ among the participants.
“We will continue to prepare for this event and will try to make it the most prestigious commemoration of the Nakba in the Palestinian territories occupied in 1948,” Mahmoud Abu Arisha, an activist from Jaffa Youth, told Ma’an.
What is Nakba Day or Palestinian Exodus?
The displacement, dispossession and dispersal of the Palestinian people is known to them as an-Nakba, meaning “catastrophe” or “disaster”.
Nakba Day (Arabic: Yawm an-Nakba, meaning “Day of the Catastrophe”) is generally commemorated on 15 May, the day after the Gregorian calendar date for Israeli Independence Day (Yom Ha’atzmaut). In Israel, Nakba Day events have been held by some Arab citizens on Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israel’s Independence Day), which is celebrated in Israel on the Hebrew calendar date (5 Iyar or shortly before or after). Because of the differences between the Hebrew and the Gregorian calendars, Independence Day and the official 15 May date for Nakba Day usually only coincide every 19 years.
For the Palestinians it is an annual day of commemoration of the displacement that preceded and followed the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948.
More than 760,000 Palestinians — estimated today to number 4.8 million with their descendants — were pushed into exile or driven out of their homes in the conflict surrounding Israel’s creation in 1948.
These refugees and their descendants number several million people today, divided between Jordan (2 million), Lebanon (427,057), Syria (477,700), the West Bank (788,108) and the Gaza Strip (1.1 million), with at least another quarter of a million internally displaced Palestinians in Israel.
Around 160,000 Palestinians, who remained in Israel after 1948, now number around 1.36 million people, or 20 percent of the country’s population.
On Nakba Day 2011, Palestinians and other Arabs from the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Lebanon and Syria marched towards their respective borders, or ceasefire lines and checkpoints in Israeli-occupied territories, to mark the event. At least twelve Palestinians and supporters were killed and hundreds wounded as a result of shootings by the Israeli Army. The Israeli army opened fire after thousands of Syrian protesters tried to forcibly enter the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights resulting in what AFP described as one of the worst incidents of violence there since the 1974 truce accord. The IDF said troops “fired selectively” towards “hundreds of Syrian rioters” injuring an unspecified number in response to them crossing onto the Israeli side.According to the BBC, the 2011 Nakba Day demonstrations were given impetus by the Arab Spring.
On 23 March 2011, the Knesset approved, by a vote of 37 to 25, a change to the budget, giving the Israeli Finance Minister the discretion to reduce government funding to any non-governmental organization (NGO) that organizes Nakba commemoration events as per the racist Israeli law targeting Arabs.
During the 2012 commemoration, thousands of Palestinian demonstrators protested in cities and towns across the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Protesters threw stones at Israeli soldiers guarding checkpoints in East Jerusalem who then fired rubber bullets and tear gas in response.