Jerusalem in Danger Seminar

October 29, 2015


Jerusalem in Danger
A seminar on the current situation in Jerusalem
Sunday, November 1 at 7:00 pm
Edmonton Islamic Academy
(14525 127 Street)

Palestine Solidarity Network and the Canada-Palestine Cultural Association are hosting a seminar which will discuss the current Palestinian uprising, especially its implications for occupied East Jerusalem and its citizens.


Dr. Ghada Ageel is a visiting professor at the University of Alberta Political Science Department, an independent scholar, member of PSN and Faculty4Palestine-Alberta, and author of the forthcoming book Apartheid in Palestine: Hard Laws and Harder Experiences.

Mr. Mahdi Qasqas is a Canadian Certified Counsellor, and Provisional Psychologist and President of 3OWN | Muslim Youth and Family Service.

Sheikh Basheer Hasan is a graduate from Boston University’s Faculty of Education, he holds a degree in Islamic Studies and currently works at the MAC Islamic School in Edmonton as a teacher and administrator. He has also worked as an imam at different mosques across Edmonton.

Eoin Murray is an Irish author who lived in Gaza during the Second Intifada.

Everyone is welcome to attend this free event.

Rally in Solidarity With Palestine

October 20, 2015


Rally in Solidarity With Palestine
Sunday, October 25 (1:00 pm)
Edmonton City Hall
1 Sir Winston Churchill Square

Help us spread the word! Invite your friends to the Facebook event.

As Palestinians continue to rise up against the occupation, settlersIsraeli military, and mob violence against Palestinians continues across Gaza, the West Bank, and occupied East Jerusalem.

Join us in Edmonton to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people against the injustice of occupation, and to let our elected officials know that Canadians want peace and justice for the Palestinian people.

For background, you can read a BDS Movement Q&A on the uprisingread an IMEU Q&A on the current uprising in Palestine, Ramzy Baroud’s “Of Course, It is an Intifada: This is What You Must Know“or Ben White’s “Palestinian youth and the ‘force of disobedience’” and “A new intifada? You’re asking the wrong question.”

Conference: The Unfinished Project of the Arab Spring

September 7, 2015


The University of Alberta is hosting a free international conference:

The Unfinished Project of the Arab Spring: Why “Middle East Exceptionalism” is Still Wrong
September 25 – 27
University of Alberta

For full details, visit the conference website.

The conference features a keynote by Tariq Ali (RSVP online) on Friday, September 25 at 7:00 pm and a panel which includes Yasmeen Abu-Laban (Political Science, University of Alberta) and Abigail Bakan (Social Justice Education, University of Toronto) speaking on Israel, Palestine and the Politics of Race: From Exceptionalism to Global Context on Saturday, September 26 at 10:30 am. Check the full schedule for other sessions.

Conference description:

Four years after the recent revolutions/social movements in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), the crisis in the region is evident with the rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, the return of a military regime in Egypt, the breakout of proxy/civil war in Syria and Yemen, and the chaos and collapse of the Libyan polity

Is the Middle East exceptionally immune to democratic movements, values and institutions?

This international conference suggests that contemporary social movements in the Middle East and North Africa are open-ended and unfinished (rather than failed) projects.

Presenters will consider these movements and their aftermath with an eye to the socio-political opportunities and potentials for progressive change they left behind.

Refugees are Welcome in Edmonton!

September 7, 2015


Refugees Are Welcome in Edmonton!
Vigil and Rally
Tuesday, September 8 (6:30 pm)
Front Steps, Alberta Legislature
(10800 97 Avenue NW)

Help spread the word! Invite your friends to the Facebook event.

As part of a the national #refugeeswelcome cross-Canada mobilizations,  a memorial candlelight vigil and rally is being held in Edmonton in solidarity with Syrian refugees and to call for accountability from the Canadian government. This event will be held on Treaty 6 Territory.

“There are almost 60 million displaced people around the globe this year, and over 45,000 people have died crossing borders since 2000 yet the Canadian government only assisted 5,790 refugees to resettle in 2013. Meanwhile the Canadian government deported 117,531 people between 2006 and 2014, including to countries with official moratoriums on deportation, the majority refused refugees.”

For more information on Canada’s immigration system, check out Never Home: Legislating Discrimination in Canadian Immigration.

The Nakba at 67

May 15, 2015


May 15 is the day Palestinians worldwide will mark 67 years since the Nakba (Arabic for “catastrophe”): the dispossession, forced exile, and ethnic cleansing of some 750,000 Palestinians from their land before and during the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.

Read Ghada Ageel’s excellent article, “The Nakba 67 years on: Holding tight to our long postponed dreams.”

Attend the Edmonton commemoration dinner on May 17, hosted by the Canada Palestine Cultural Association.

Visualizing Palestine has created an interactive tool to show Palestine shrinking and Israel expanding since 1948.

For an in-depth history of the Nakba and Plan Dalet, read Ilan Pappé’s The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.

Al Jazeera in 2008 produced an award-winning series on the Nakba, which you can watch for free below.

Parts 1 & 2:

Parts 3 & 4:

Here are some key facts and figures about the Nakba from the Institute for Middle East Understanding:

General Facts & Figures

  • The Palestinian “Nakba” (“catastrophe” in Arabic) refers to the mass expulsion of Palestinian Arabs from British Mandate Palestine during Israel’s creation (1947-49).
  • The Nakba was not an unintended result of war. It was a deliberate and systematic act necessary for the creation of a Jewish majority state in historic Palestine, which was overwhelmingly Arab prior to 1948. Internally, Zionist Jewish leaders used the euphemism “transfer” when discussing plans for what today would be called ethnic cleansing.
  • The Nakba’s roots lay in the emergence of political Zionism in 19th century Europe, when some Jews, influenced by the nationalism then sweeping the continent, concluded that the remedy to centuries of anti-Semitic persecution in Europe and Russia was the creation of a nation state for Jews in Palestine and began emigrating as colonists to the Holy Land, displacing indigenous Palestinians in the process.
  • In November 1947, following the horrors of World War II and the Nazi genocide of European Jewry, the newly-created United Nations approved a plan to partition Mandate Palestine into Jewish and Arab states. It allocated approximately 55% of the land to the proposed Jewish state, although Zionist Jews owned only about 7% of the private land in Palestine and made up only about 33% of the population, a large percentage of whom were recent immigrants from Europe. The Palestinian Arab state was to be created on 42% of Mandate Palestine, with Jerusalem becoming an international city. (See here for map of the partition plan and subsequent 1949 armistice lines.)
  • Almost immediately after the partition plan was passed, violence broke out and large-scale expulsions of Palestinians began, long before the armies of neighboring Arab states became involved. When Zionist forces finished expanding, the new state of Israel comprised 78% of historic Palestine, with the remainder, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza, falling under the control of Jordan and Egypt, respectively. In the 1967 War, Israel occupied the remaining 22% and began colonizing them shortly thereafter.
  • The Nakba did not end in 1948 and continues until today, in the form of Israel’s ongoing theft of Palestinian land for settlements and for Jewish communities inside Israel, its destruction of Palestinian homes and agricultural land, revocation of residency rights , deportations, periodic brutal military assaults that result in mass civilian casualties such as the one that took place in Gaza in the summer of 2014, and the denial of the internationally recognized legal right of return of millions of stateless Palestinian refugees.

The Nakba by the Numbers

  • Between 750,000 and one million: The number of Palestinians expelled and made refugees by Zionist paramilitaries, and subsequently Israeli forces, during Israel’s creation in 1947-49.
  • Between 250,000 and 350,000: The number of Palestinians expelled from their homes by Zionist paramilitaries between the passage of the UN partition plan in November 1947 and Israel’s declaration of independence on May 15, 1948 – prior to the start of the war with neighboring Arab states.
  • Approximately 7.1 million: The number of Palestinian refugees and displaced persons as of 2009, including Nakba survivors and their descendants. They are located mostly in the occupied West Bank and neighboring Arab countries such as Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria, denied their internationally recognized legal right to return to their homeland by Israel, simply because they are not Jewish.
  • Approximately 150,000 : The number of Palestinians who remained inside what became Israel’s borders in 1948, many of them internally displaced. These Palestinians (sometimes called “Israeli Arabs”) were granted Israeli citizenship but stripped of most of their land and placed under martial law until 1966. Today, there are approximately 1.6 million Palestinian citizens of Israel, who live as second-class citizens in their own homeland, subject to more than 50 laws that discriminate against them because they are not Jewish.
  • At least two dozen: The number of massacres of Palestinian civilians by Zionist and Israeli forces, which played a crucial role in spurring the mass flight of Palestinians from their homes.
  • Approximately 100: The number of Palestinian civilians, including women and children, massacred in the town of Deir Yassin on April 9, 1948, by members of the Irgun and Stern Gang, pre-state Zionist terrorist organizations led by future Israeli prime ministers Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, respectively.
  • More than 400: The number of Palestinian cities and towns systematically destroyed by Israeli forces or repopulated with Jews between 1948 and 1950. Most Palestinian population centers, including homes, businesses, houses of worship, and vibrant urban centers, were demolished to prevent the return of their Palestinian owners, now refugees outside of Israel’s pre-1967 borders, or internally displaced inside of them. (See here for interactive map of Palestinian population centers destroyed during Israel’s creation.)
  • Approximately 4,244,776: The number of acres of Palestinian land expropriated by Israel during and immediately following its creation in 1948.
  • Between $100 and $200 billion: The total estimated monetary loss of Palestinians dispossessed during Israel’s creation, in current US dollars.


The Nakba 67 years on: Holding on tight to our long postponed dreams

May 15, 2015


The following article by Ghada Ageel was published on May 13, 2015 in the Middle East Eye:

The Nakba 67 years on: Holding on tight to our long postponed dreams

Sixty-seven years ago, Palestinians woke up to a tragedy that ravaged their hearts and distorted Palestinian life forever. Over 800,000 people, approximately half of the population of then-mandatory Palestine, were evicted from their homes and their ancestors’ lands. The horror was engraved on all of the faces; a language and reality they shared for decades – many to this day.

Scattered all over the Middle East and prevented by Israel from returning home, dignified landowners who overnight had turned into refugees didn’t need to ask about the fate of their home. The broken bodies and spirits of hundreds of thousands forced into exile answered their question. Palestine was no more.

Today, almost seven decades after the ethnic cleansing, some of the Palestinians born in Palestine are still alive and still remember the horror of the 1948 dispossession and those miserable days. The generations who were born after the loss of their homeland – be it under the Israeli military occupation or in exile – and who didn’t witness the tragic experiences lived by parents and grandparents, do still retain the story. In their hearts and minds, the memory of the Nakba (catastrophe) is as strong, present and fresh as for those who witnessed it and so are the hopes and dreams that refuse to fade despite the savage winds of war and time.

Unable to return to their home that became present-day Israel, Palestinian refugees were obliged to live in great uncertainty about their future in the 59 refugee camps established by the United Nations. There, they awaited action by the international community to pressure Israel to implement the right of return. Sitting in their tents winter after winter, the only hope for them back then was the one offered by Article 11 of UN Resolution 194 of 1948, which resolves that “the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date”. Sixty-seven years after that belated date, millions of Palestinian refugees are still barred from returning home and still live a life of perpetual waiting, enduring multiple hardships in their long exile.

A quick glimpse at the situation of Palestinian refugees in Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria, the refugees locked in the Gaza prison, those living behind the apartheid wall in the West Bank, those Palestinians who are currently on the run for their lives in Yemen and those risking their lives in the Mediterranean taking death journeys to escape insecurity and search for safety for their families, tells the same old and new story of continued Nakba, one of constant suffering with no end in sight.

Horrific pictures and catastrophic stories of Palestinian refugees continue to come in different forms and shapes adding more unkind chapters to the devastating mother story of the 1948 disaster. Mohammed Maddi, 36 years old from Gaza, is the latest victim in the ongoing Palestinian Nakba. The young father passed away on 4 May in Abu Yussef al-Najjar hospital in Rafah refugee camp. He had waited in vain for over six months for Gaza’s only border crossing with Egypt to open. When his hopes for the opening of Rafah gate faded away, he applied for a permit to travel through Israel to receive treatment available either in the West Bank or Jordanian hospitals. A piece of paper that granted life or death, hope or despair, called a permit, was never issued despite the seriousness of Mohammed’s condition and the worsening of his health. Doctors in Gaza did all that they could given the hospital’s thin resources, severe shortages of medicines and medical products resulting from the inhumane blockade imposed by the Israeli occupation, the longest in human history. At the end of a nine-month battle with cancer, Mohammed succumbed to a fate he might have avoided had he not lived in Gaza.

Living under the constant fear and despair of possibly losing his son in Gaza – where everything is uncertain and basic life necessities such as electricity, fuel and nowadays water are unavailable for most of the day – Mohammed’s father sent a plea to the world. In an interview with Al-Watan Voice, hours before his son’s death, the father broke into tears asking the interviewer: “My son is dying a hundred times a day, every day. I want him to live for his children. Tell me where to go, please. Borders are closed, doors of life are shut and everything is closed. Can anyone tell me where to go? World, Arabs, this is unfair. Where is humanity?”

Mohammed’s tragic story and the words of his father provide just a single example of what denial and oppression mean to Palestinian refugees. The story summed it all up and exposed the 67 years of open wounds. This is an ongoing Nakba for Palestinians living under the Israeli colonial enterprise, as well as for those Palestinians scattered far away from home, trapped in war zones with a suspended present and no future, no place to go, no papers, no documents, no alternatives and no hope.

On the other hand, the story of Mohammed and the words of his father create the story of a grand nation with a rich culture and history that was abandoned by humanity, yet created a determined people with aspirations and an unshakable belief in their rights and their cause. These refugees are resilient and steadfast despite the horrors to which they have been subjected. They are still able to question, rationalise and look for alternatives. They are still able to shake the silence and make their demands, love for life and anguish heard. Their story is one of Palestinian heroes in and outside Gaza hospitals working day and night on half or no salaries.

The narrative about refugees is always associated with empathy, poverty, backwardness, powerlessness and violence. The story of Palestinian refugees, however, extends far beyond the de-contextualised renderings of that mainstream narrative. Poverty and violence are imposed on Palestinian refugees who, despite the unbearable situation, are still counted among the best educated and hardest working in the Middle East. They still hold on tight to their dreams and demands for rights.

On the 67th anniversary of the Nakba, the new generations are better aware of their rights, and ready to fight to gain them back. Moreover, refugees have started to address publicly the reality that many of them have shared privately: Palestinians are being erased not just by Israel, but also by the powers and systems that endorsed the 1948 tragedy, allowing it to continue unchallenged. They are further harmed by complicit governments’ silence.

When I saw my grandmother following last summer’s barbaric Israeli assault on Gaza, she repeated to me and to my children Tarek, 14, and Aziz, 6, the same words she had said in 2012. She talked about our village, Beit Daras, from which she was expelled in 1948. She talked about its beauty, freshness, water well, land, farms and the sycamore trees that she loved dearly. She also repeated once again that she is no longer worried about the future that she’s wanted for so long. She looked to us and said “For many years, I felt as if I were walking alone. And as you know, walking alone is not a pleasant way to make a journey. Now, because of my age, I cannot walk, but I’m not alone anymore. I can now rest in peace even if I am not yet in Beit Daras. I now know that Beit Daras is in your heart, and I also know that you are not alone in your journey.”

Ghada Ageel is a visiting professor at the University of Alberta Political Science Department (Edmonton, Canada), an independent scholar, and active in the Faculty4Palestine-Alberta. Her new book “Apartheid in Palestine: Hard Laws and harder experiences” is forthcoming with the University of Alberta Press – Canada. 

Nakba Day Commemoration Dinner

May 1, 2015


Nakba Day Commemoration Dinner
Hosted by the Canada Palestine Cultural Association
Sunday, May 17 (Doors at 6:00 pm)
Edmonton Islamic Academy
14525-127 Street
Adults: $35, Children: $20

Help spread the word! Invite your friends to the Facebook event.

The Canada Palestine Cultural Association invites you to its annual Nakba Day Commemoration Dinner. Palestinians generally commemorate the Nakba, otherwise known as “The Catastrophe” on May 15th of each year. The Nakba is every Palestinians calamity, for some it is a homeland they were forced to leave and for others a homeland they never knew. Every year we gather to commemorate the Nakba, we mourn all that was taken, we mourn our loved ones who suffered through an unimaginable tragedy. We mourn our villages and our cities that are now known by names foreign to our tongues. We mourn our stone homes, our mosques and our churches that bore our darkest hour, standing, waiting for our indefinite return. On this day, we come together as Palestinians in the diaspora, as a community, and as a family and we relearn our history, we teach it to our children, and we honor those who came before us.

For Tickets please contact:
Ali Elmustafa: (780) 915-2696
Mousa Qasqas: (587) 337-2313
Hani Househ: (780) 904-8007


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