Congresswoman Tlaib Introduces House Resolution Commemorating the Nakba

May 16, 2022
U.S. Capitol

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (MI-13) introduced a House Resolution Recognizing the Nakba and Palestinian Refugees’ Rights, in commemoration of the 74th anniversary of the Nakba this past Sunday.

“This Sunday was a day of solemn remembrance of all the lives lost, families displaced, and neighborhoods destroyed during the violent and horror of the Nakba. The scars bourn by the close to 800,000 Palestinians who were forced from their family homes and their communities, and those killed are burned into the souls of the people who lived through the Nakba,” said Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib. “As the assassination of Shireen Abu Akleh last week made all too clear, the violence and war crimes are an ongoing and ever-present assault on the existence and humanity of the Palestinian people. The Israeli apartheid government’s ongoing ethnic cleansing seeks to degrade Palestinian humanity and break the will of the people to be free. Fortunately, as Palestinians and their allies prove time and time again, we will persist no matter the circumstances until peace, freedom, equity and respect for all people are secured and protected.”

As the Institute for Middle East Understanding explains, the Nakba (“catastrophe” in Arabic) refers to the mass expulsion of Palestinian Arabs from British Mandate Palestine during Israel’s creation (1947-49). The Nakba did not end in 1948 and continues to this day in the form of Israel’s ongoing theft of Palestinian land for illegal settlements and segregated communities in the Palestinian West Bank, including East Jerusalem, its destruction of Palestinian homes and agricultural land, revocation of residency rights, deportations, periodic brutal military assaults that result in mass civilian casualties such as the one that took place in Gaza in the summer of 2014 and spring of 2021, and the denial of the internationally-recognized legal right of return of millions of stateless Palestinian refugees.

Congresswoman Tlaib’s resolution commemorates the Nakba and promotes better education about and understanding of the tragedy while rejecting the efforts of Nakba denialists to enlist the U.S. government’s support for their deeply bigoted historical revisionism. The resolution also calls on the United States to continue to support the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which provides social services to a large number of the over 7 million Palestinian refugees, and to support the implementation of Palestinian refugees’ rights as enshrined in United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194 and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Representatives Betty McCollum, Marie Newman, Ocasio-Cortez, and Omar joined Congresswoman Tlaib in supporting this legislation. The resolution is endorsed by Jewish Voice for Peace Action (JVP Action), Americans for Justice in Palestine Action, Project48,  and the United States Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR).

“In order to build a future rooted in justice and freedom for all, we must reckon with the destruction and permanent displacement Palestinians suffered in 1948 in the name of creating the State of Israel. Without addressing the Nakba and the ongoing attempts by the Israeli government to continue displacing Palestinians to this day, there cannot be a truly just and sustainable peace. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib’s historic resolution is a step toward the sacred work of tikkun olam – of repairing the world – so we can all be free.” said Stefanie Fox, Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace Action.

“For more than 74 years, the international community has failed the Palestinian people and denied them their legitimate and inalienable rights. For 74 years, the United States colluded with the Israeli occupation against the Palestinian people, enabling Israel to defy all human, moral and legal values. The time has come for the United States to correct an ongoing historical mistake it committed by recognizing the Palestinian Nakba, and to pressure Israel to respect American values that call for justice, equality and freedom for all. It is no longer acceptable for Israel to continue to defy binding international resolutions and humanitarian values aided and abetted by the U.S. Enough of 74 years of occupation, displacement and double standards. The Palestinian people deserve the right for self-determination, the Israeli apartheid must no longer enjoy impunity and the U.S. must live up to the values it holds dear.” said Dr. Osama Abuirshaid, Executive Director for Americans for Justice in Palestine Action (AJP Action).

“We are proud to endorse Congresswoman Tlaib’s principled Nakba Day resolution,” said Sana Siddiq, Manager of Policy and Advocacy Campaigns for the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR). “To acknowledge the historic and ongoing injustice of Israel’s ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people is a vital first step. By recognizing this history, we can shift U.S. foreign policy toward justice and accountability.”

“With this historic resolution, Rep. Tlaib and her colleagues have given a voice to Palestinian Nakba survivors and their descendants who have been living in exile and denied the right to return to their homes for 74 years”, said Nadia Saah, Director of Project48. “By calling on the U.S. government to commemorate the Nakba and address the historic and ongoing injustice of land theft and the displacement of Palestinian families, they are paving ground towards a durable future rooted in justice, equality and return.”

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