Kamel Hawwash is Vice-Chair of Palestine Solidarity Campaign. His family originates from Jerusalem. Here, Kamel talks about how the violent dispossession and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their homeland in 1948, as Israel was created, impacted on his family and continues to impact to this day.
They say an Englishman’s home is his castle.
Imagine then if 700,000 Englishmen were driven out of their homes, through terror, to make way for the establishment of a homeland for a group of people that had decided to migrate to England against the will of the English people.
That is exactly what happened to my people, the Palestinians in 1948 ( a period known as the Nakba) and then more were ejected in 1967 (the Naksa) in what is called the Six Day War.
This devastation haunts Palestinians to this day, some living as refugees in other parts of historic Palestine and others in neighbouring countries or in the wider diaspora.
Those remaining in what became Israel face daily discrimination, while those in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, face a daily brutal illegal occupation that has gone on for far too long.
Palestinian refugees in Gaza, and those who have always lived there, have been under Israeli siege for almost ten years.
The result of the Nakba and the Naksa for me has been the dispersal of members of my extended family to all corners of the Earth.
In particular I have relatives in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon who long to return home, to Palestine – in my case, to Jerusalem.
This painful injustice has gone on for too long but it could end easily if Israel finally came to its senses, ended the occupation and discrimination and allowed the refugees to return home.
When my mother can return to Jerusalem, peace will have come to the Holy land.