Reasons Why Palestinians Can Be Hopeful on Nakba Day, 2013

More voices by international activists are being raised in solidarity with Palestinians.

By Rima Najjar Merriman

“Calamity either destroys a people or makes it stronger. In the past half century Palestinians have transformed catastrophe into strength. They have done so through education and through their exposure to the world. They have done so by rebuilding their shattered lives in exile, by recovering their history, folklore, customs and costumes.”

1) More and more voices by international activists are being raised in solidarity with Palestinians, and these voices are knifing through the Israeli hasbara that is increasingly becoming a laughing stock around the world – bringing the conflict back to its roots, the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948 by Jewish colonialists and projecting that narrative into an understanding of the present. These voices are giving Palestinians hope, despite the incredibly bleak and apparently blind international political scene.

2) Palestinian voices upholding the principles of self-determination, freedom, justice, and equality have gained momentum. Al Shabaka, the Palestinian policy network, has been steadily producing commentary that address strategic issues in areas of interest to the Palestinian people, with reference to international law and principles of universal human rights.

3) The 2005 Palestinian civil society call for a campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) is being answered by a rapidly growing global movement. The furor following Stephen Hawking’s decision to support the academic boycott of Israel, in a highly principled stand, caused globally gnashing of teeth and reflection.

“The BDS places Palestinian national interest above any self-interest, attaining unprecedented victories against the Zionist propaganda machine that used to reign supreme all over the world. With dedicated and selfless efforts of its members, the movement has become a serious threat to the colonial/apartheid Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.”

4) More and more people (see, for example, the Jaffa Group for One Democratic State and The Popular Movement Project for One Democratic state in Historic Palestine organized by senior Fateh officials) are promoting the solution of one democratic state in historic Palestine between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, not as a utopia, but as a necessary solution to pressing problems.

5) Activists are calling out media bias and the big lies that have long shaped Palestine-Israel media coverage and even scholarly analysis (see James Turner 2009) and getting some results.

“The BBC has admitted that a report it broadcast in January implying that only part of the West Bank is under occupation was inaccurate.”

6) The will and courage of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike, most notably Samer Essawi, who held on for more than eight months, have inspired people around the globe and mark a “turning point” in the fight against Israel’s deportations, a war crime.
“These strong positions never happened suddenly. People should sacrifice themselves and should fight [to reach] a new stage in their fight.”

– Rima Najjar Merriman teaches at Al Quds University in the West Bank. She contributed this article to

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