Richard Melson

May 2006

Arab Association

Arab Association for Human Rights (HRA)

P.O. Box 215, Nazareth 16101, Israel

Tel: 972-4-6561923 , Fax: 972-4-6564934



Weekly Review of Human Rights Violations of the

Palestinian Arab Minority in Israel

No. 272 / April 28 – May 5, 2006

Also available at:

Commemoration of the Nakba after 58 years:

A march back to the village of Umm al-Zinat

Hundreds of Arab citizens in Israel commemorated 58 years of the Nakba on May 3 with a march to the uprooted village of Umm al-Zinat. The Nakba, which in English translates to 'catastrophe', was when thousands of Palestinians were expelled and uprooted from their lands in 1948. The march began on the main road leading to Daliat al-Carmel, and was decorated with Palestinian flags and signs that bore the names of the approximately 400 destroyed Palestinian villages. The march concluded in Umm al-Zinat with a number of speeches. [1]

As is done every year, Palestinian citizens returned to their uprooted villages on the day, including those of Mi'ar, al-Birweh, al-Damoun, and Miskah. In Mi'ar, the uprooted residents told stories of their village and of its history, together with their families. They also related the events of the Nakba and the expulsion. Al-Hajjah Samihah Mustafa Taha made a prayer in the area where the mosque previously stood. Al-Hajja Samihah says, "God-willing the day will come when each person will return to his hometown. And if not in our lifetime, then in those of my children and grandchildren. In Mi'ar I remember everything – the strawberry tree by the mosque, the village well, the streets and the homes. In the name of God, if they give me a hut to live in Mi'ar, that would be better than all the castles of the world put together".

In al-Birweh, al-Hajj Mustafa Mohammad Khalid al-Suhri, 71, who visited his village with wife, kids and grandkids, accompanied by a large number of al-Birweh villagers, said, "I was expelled from al-Birweh when I was 12. I remember that it happened after the Jews occupied 'Akka and the surrounding villages of al-Maker, al-Jdeideh, and Tamra at the start of the harvesting season. The Jews were shooting at whoever tried to care for the land. We were terrified of the Jewish Haganah gangs who forced al-Birweh villagers to camp overnight in the mountains and neighbouring villages and return back home only in daylight, for fear of being attacked in the dark. I remember also that the Haganah gangs killed a young woman, Fatmeh Mahmood al-Hawash, 17, when she was in the fields for harvest. This was days before we were expelled. I remember how the expulsion coincided with the flowers in bloom".

In the village of al-Damoun, which neighbours al-Birweh, al-Hajjah Fatmeh Mahawish al-Zeidani, 81, told her story. "After occupying our village, I was expelled with my husband and family to Lebanon when I was 27 years old. I was carrying my child Mohammad, who at the time was just a day old. We lived in the refugee camp of Lubna for 9 months. One night we secretly made an attempt to return to our country in the hope of going back to our hometown; until today, I still live with this hope. After 58 years of al-Nakba, I still remember everything in the village – the location of the mosque, the church, the well, and the neighbourhoods. I hope they will let me live in a hut in al-Damoun. I visit the village always and recommend that all the families from the village continue visiting to keep alive the memory so as to tell their children and grandchildren the village's story until the return".[2]

MK Avigdor Lieberman calls for the death of all Arab MKs

MK Avigdor Lieberman, chairman of Yisrael Beitenu, the radical right-wing party, made an attack on Arab MKs – calling to prosecute and pass the death sentence on them similar to as was done in the Nuremberg rulings following the Second World War.

Lieberman said, in his first speech at the opening of the new Knesset on May 4, "We must find punishment for the Arab MKs that collaborate with the enemy and meet the Hamas leadership. Even after WWII, the court in Nuremberg ruled for the death penalty not only for the criminals, but also for the collaborators. I hope that this will be the fate of those collaborators found doing the same in the Knesset.

"We requested that the government, through writing so in the coalition agreement, punish the inciters and collaborators of terror that sit in this house – those that meet Hamas and Hezbollah and travel to Lebanon, as well as those that rose the black flags on the independence day of Israel and considered it their Nakba day; they must be prosecuted like terror should be prosecuted".[3]

It should be noted that these racist statements are not the first of its kind for Lieberman. Lieberman has a colourful history of discrimination, hatred, and inciting to racism of the Arab Palestinian community in Israel. He is also one of the principal supporters of transfer of the minority. On January 22, 2006, MK Lieberman drew similarities between MK Azmi Bishara and Iranian President, Ahmadinejad on the claim that MK Bishara denies the existence of the State of Israel and calls for expelling the Jews from it. On March 9, 2004, in a speech before the Knesset plenum, Lieberman made the following interjection, directed at Arab Members of Knesset: "You are like [Hamas commander] Mohammed Deif, you want to destroy the state, just by different tactics. In another country your place would be in the prisons." In May 2004 Lieberman presented the prime minister with a plan for solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Among other ideas, the plan advocated the expulsion of 90 percent of the Palestinian minority to the Palestinian state to be established in the Occupied Territories.[4] According to Lieberman, the main problem facing the State of Israel is not the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, but the Palestinian minority inside the state.[5] Lieberman also presented the plan to the representative of the Russian President Vladimir Putin to the Quartet, Alexander Glukin, at a meeting also attended by the Russian ambassador in Israel, Gennady Tarasov.[6] And in an interview for the Arabic-language newspaper Kul al-`Arab, he made the following comments:

"I certainly still believe that we should prepare a plan for expelling the Arabs who live in the State of Israel – those who do not recognize their obligations. Transfer also applies to those who do not recognize the state as a Jewish and Zionist state and do not recognize Hatikva as their national anthem – we don’t need them and we should expel them. Those who do recognize this – then there is no difference between them and I in terms of rights. It also depends on meeting all the obligations, including joining the Israeli army. My [Knesset] faction recently tabled the proposed Compulsory Recruitment Law relating to the Israeli Arabs, and we will do everything we can to implement this law. People who want all the rights have to meet the obligations."[7]

All these statements represent obvious incitement to racism, which the HRA fears will transpire physical attacks on the Palestinian minority, and even murder. One such violent attack took place when an Israeli soldier, Eden Nathan-Zadeh, a newly-observant Jew who was serving in the IDF and lived in the settlement of Tapuach in the West Bank, killed in cold blood four Arab citizens in the city of Shefa'amr because he was opposed to the disengagement from Gaza ('Shefa'amr Massacre').[8]

Israeli criminal legislation takes a strong stand against incitement to racism, and convicts those that commit racist activities – including racist statements.[9] Therefore the HRA calls upon the Attorney General to open proceedings against MK Avigdor Lieberman for breaking the Penal Code.[10]

Al-Sunara, May 5, 2006, PP. 72-73; Kull al-Arab, May 5, 2006, P. 15; Panorama, May 5, 2006, P. 15; Sawt al-Haq wal-Huriyya, P. 11.

[2] Hadith al-Nas, May 5, 2006, P. 21.

[3] Fasl al-Maqal, May 5, 2006, P. 2.

[4] Panorama, May 28, 2004; Sawt al-Haq wal-Hurriyah, May 28, 2005.

[5] Kul al-`Arab, November 5, 2004.

[6] Ha’aretz (Hebrew edition), May 31, 2004.

[7] Kul al-`Arab, May 28, 2004.

[8] For more information on racism against the Palestinian minority in Israel, please refer to the HRA Report, One Gunman, Many to Blame: Israel's culture of racism prior to the Shefa'amr massacre and the role of the Attorney General (October 2005).

[9] Article 144B of the Penal Code, 5737-1977

[10] For more information regarding the policy of the Attorney General towards racist statements from Israeli officials that incite to racism against the Palestinian minority, please refer to the HRA Report, One Gunman, Many to Blame (supra note 8).

[11], May 3, 2006; Al-Sunara, May 5, 2006, P. 70.

[12] Kull al-Arab, May 5, 2006, P. 42.

[13] Al-Sunara, May 5, 2006, P. 30; Hadith al-Nas, May 5, 2006, P. 11; Kull al-Arab, May 5, 2006, P. 24; Panorama, May 5, 2006, P. 25.

[14] See HRA report Sanctity Denied: The Destruction and Abuse of Muslim and Christian Holy Places in Israel (December 2004).

[15] Al-Sunara, May 5, 2006, P. 71; Hadith al-Nas, May 5, 2006, P. 22.

[16] Sawt al-Haq wal-Huriyya, May 5, 2006, P. 1.

[17] Please refer to Weekly HR Review, No. 234.

[18] For further information regarding this Law, please refer to the HRA Report, One Gunman, Many to Blame, (supra note 8), PP. 32-34.

[19] Kull al-Arab, May 5, 2006, P. 30; Panorama, May 5, 2006, P. 4

Board Members:

Khalid Zuabi (Chairperson), An advocate with private practice in Nazareth. One of HRA's founders. Responsible for representing the HRA before local organisations, working with the Director to ensure the implementation of HRA's programmes and follow up on board decisions, and coordinating relations between staff and board.

Salim Wakeem, One of HRA's founders. Advocate in the field of human rights, specialising in land and planning cases and representing political prisoners. Private practice in Nahariya

Ibtisam Mualim, Pharmacist and Advocate. Community activist in Nazareth.

Aubead Zuabi, One of HRA's founders. He is an Advocate.

Tarek Saleh, Started as a facilitator, now he is an Advocate.

Muanes Khouri, An advocate

"Arab Association For Human Rights (HRA)"

Weekly Review of Human Rights Violations

of the Palestinian Arab Minority in Israel, No. 272

Arab Association For Human Rights (HRA)

Thursday, May 11, 2006