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Vancouver Commemorates the Nakba, Calls for End to 64 Years of Israeli Ethnic Cleansing

May 4, 2012

A coalition of organizations in the Vancouver area will mark the 64th anniversary of the occupation and ethnic cleansing of Palestine with two commemorative events calling for justice in Palestine and the right of return for Palestinian refugees on May 15th and 19th, 2012.

The Nakba, meaning "catastrophe" in Arabic, describes the process of dispossession, ethnic cleansing and occupation of Palestine in 1948 and is commemorated annually on May 15. "The Nakba is continuing today. More than 7 million Palestinian refugees are denied their rights to return home, while Israel continues its occupation throughout Palestine. Meanwhile, the government of Canada continues to provide unconditional support to Israel. This complicity with ethnic cleansing must end," said Hanna Kawas, chair of the Canada Palestine Association.

The Vancouver Coalition to Commemorate Al-Nakba will hold a community supper on Tues., May 15, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., where Palestinians and indigenous people will share stories of dispossession, genocide and resistance through words, poetry and film. The supper will take place at the Unitarian Church, 949 W. 49th St., Vancouver and is free and open to the public.

The Vancouver commemoration of the Nakba will continue with a march on Sat., May 19, which will launch from Clark Park at 14th and Commercial at 2 p.m. to Grandview Park, where a rally will follow. The march calls for the right of return of Palestinian refugees, and an end to the ongoing ethnic cleansing, occupation, mass imprisonment and apartheid in Palestine. The march will also stand against Canada's own genocide against indigenous people.

"Canada's support for Israel is not accidental. Canada is responsible for a historical and ongoing genocide against indigenous people here. And, just as in Palestine, indigenous resistance to colonialism continues, despite the continued theft of indigenous land and resources, and we celebrate that resistance, from Vancouver to Palestine," said Mike Krebs, an indigenous solidarity Palestine activist and member of the coalition.

May 15, 2012 marks the 64th anniversary of the declaration of the State of Israel, accompanied by the mass dispossession and ethnic cleansing of 800,000 Palestinains from their homes and lands. Displacement and home demolitions continue to the present day; in 2011, 622 Palestinian homes, wells, and farms were demolished and 154 have been demolished in 2012 to date. The Israeli government has announced plans to remove 30,000 Palestinian Bedouins from their ancestral lands. More than 200 Palestinians have been evicted in Jerusalem alone in recent years.

May 15 is commemorated annually by Palestinians, their supporters, and social justice movements around the world as a day to call for Palestinian rights, including the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

The Vancouver Coalition to Commemorate Al-Nakba includes individuals and the Alliance for People's Health, Arab Students Association - UBC, Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign, Canada Palestine Association, CPSHR - Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights, Canadian Boat to Gaza, CanPalNet, Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Independent Jewish Voices, No One Is Illegal - Vancouver Unceded Coast Salish Territories, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, Seriously Free Speech Committee, Simon Fraser Public Interest Research Group (SFPIRG), Solidarity For Palestinian Human Rights-UBC (SPHR-UBC), and SANSAD - South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy.

To join the coalition or for more information please contact

For more information contact:
Hanna Kawas
Canada Palestine Association
Phone: 604-992-4346

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