Nakba is an Arabic word, translating to “Catastrophe”. It refers to the begin of the occupation of Palestine in 1948 and “Nakba Day” commemorates that event every year.
Earlier today I joined a demonstration that had been organised by the local Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) chapter and a couple of other groups. The participants gathered on Richardplatz, surrounded by heavy police presence.
A handful of counter-protesters showed their blue-white apartheid colours, but stayed behind when the march started.
The whole rally counted something like 300-400 participants (plus as many police) from all kinds of backgrounds. German leftists demanded a socialist and equal state in the Middle East, “Jews for Palestinian Right of Return” showed that not everybody who speaks Hebrew hates Arabs, and local refugees proclaimed “From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will Be Free”.
Moving through Neukölln’s side streets and all the way up Sonnenallee, the demonstration was received extremely well. Not too surprising, given that this part of Berlin is dominated by a population with Levantine roots.
During a stop at Hermannplatz, various speakers named their hopes and demands, reminding people that today, thanks to Israel, 6.5 Million Palestinians are refugees.
The event ended after about three hours at Kotti. All-in-all quite an interesting Saturday afternoon.
In pretty much every country on earth, security forces are being attacked by members of the general public. Usually the assailant is brought under control, disarmed and arrested. In rare cases, the assailant is shot in self defence.
In Palestine, it goes the other way around. In rare cases (alleged) attackers survive the encounter with the Israeli military, while most are killed on the spot. The numbers alone should give a good idea of how little Israel values Palestinian/Muslim/Non-Jewish life. In addition, heavy surveillance by international groups and media regularly shows how people are being shot well after they are disarmed and under control. That’s what’s called extrajudicial execution but for some weird reason, Israel is still seen by the west as the shining example of human rights in the Middle East.
Israeli soldiers seem to have gotten a bit bored of killing males only and have switched to shooting girls as well. I wonder if anybody finds it implausible that a group of trained soldiers on high alert have no other way of reacting to a 17-year-old girl than to shoot her dead.
Left/liberal German newspaper sueddeutsche.de has reported on the Palestine issues in the past days and their language says a lot about their point of view. “Soldiers kill attackers” – whatever Israel reports, German media prints. Other media have the common sense to write about “alleged attackers”. But enough of frustration about Germany and its widespread support of human rights violations in the Middle East.
Part of me feels sad about having left so early. It feels like a failure, an abandonment. However the weeks of travelling after the sailing trip took a lot of energy and my tanks were pretty much empty. It didn’t take much to knock me out. And objectively it’s not the worst idea to leave an area where civilians are being killed in the streets on a daily base.
Will see how I feel in a couple of days. Looking forward to a quiet week or two with friends and family. No idea what’s up after that.
Preparing for my departure from Ben Gurion now. Deleting Palestinian numbers from my phone, pictures from my camera. Throwing everything away that has Arabic writing on it – SOP. Hope all goes well – departing Tel Aviv airport makes me more nervous than tear gas and gunshots.
It’s 18:30 last night and the clashes have subsided. We head out to meet others for dinner in the city. A few metres down the road our eyes are watering and the noses are burning from tear gas that is drifting over from the 500m away conflict area.
We jump into the next taxi and tell the driver to take a detour around the affected Ras Al Jour area. No no he says, is fine, and rolls up the windows and stops the ventilation. Driving past the scene we see the road covered in rubble and rubbish with fires burning on the sides.
Israeli forces have used their usual arsenal of rubber bullets, tear gas and live ammunition, leaving one dead and more than 60 others injured. During the aftermath, people sit around, drink coffee and watch garbage men clean up the mess. After decades of Israeli occupation, people have pretty much seen it all.
This morning an Israeli settler shot and killed a Palestinian teenager in the streets and two hours later another was killed in Jerusalem. Presumably the killers will walk free, as have all the others in the past. Absolutely disgusting – every Auschwitz victim would turn in their graves if they knew what Israel is doing today.
Escalation in the area seems likely. Left Hebron this morning, booked a flight to Berlin for tomorrow.