President Trump’s US embassy in Israel move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on Monday happened the day before Palestinians commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Nakba – the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. US officials were in Jerusalem celebrating as Israeli forces open fire on Palestinians in Gaza, killing at least 52 and injuring nearly 2,000.
I was two metres away from this elderly man. He was standing by amongst the journalists. He was just standing while Palestinian. Israeli snipers hit him in his foot. Never seen an old man this terrirified. #Gaza #Nakba70 #GreatReturnMarch pic.twitter.com/loTXZOa1CL
— #GreatReturnMarch (@ThisIsGaZa) May 14, 2018
The massacre took place in response to what is known as the ‘Great Return March’ – a popular, peaceful march by millions of Palestinian refugees who were forced out of their lands from which they were displaced in 1948.
On the same day, the California State Assembly decided that it would vote on HR 107 – Relative to the 70th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel, a bill introduced by Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, a Democrat from Glendale representing district 43. Friedman also happens to be one of two members who did not record a vote on a resolution to commemorate Arab American Heritage Month, which passed the Rules Committee on the 10th of May, and is on the full Assembly agenda today.
The bill “commends and congratulates the people of Israel for their remarkable achievements on the occasion of Israel’s 70th anniversary” and describes Israel as “the most successful and politically stable democracy in a Middle East.” It fails to mention the occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza, or the ethnic cleansing that has occurred since the Nakba in 1948.
Full text of the bill:
WHEREAS, 2018 marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the modern State of Israel, which was officially declared an independent nation on May 14, 1948; andWHEREAS, The people of Israel proclaimed the establishment of the sovereign and independent State of Israel, and the United States government established full diplomatic relations after Israel’s first election in 1949; andWHEREAS, The establishment of the modern State of Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people followed the destruction of much of the European Jewry during the Holocaust; andWHEREAS, Israel has much to commemorate and celebrate, most notably that it has established, in its 70 years of existence, the most successful and politically stable democracy in a Middle East that continues to experience great turmoil; andWHEREAS, The people of Israel enjoy a dynamic society with a unique and vital economic, political, cultural, and intellectual life and strive for peace with security and dignity for themselves and their neighbors; andWHEREAS, Israel has developed some of the world’s leading universities; andWHEREAS, Israel has developed an advanced, entrepreneurial economy, is among the world’s leaders of the high-tech industry, and is at the forefront of research and development in the fields of renewable energy sources and medicine; andWHEREAS, Israel regularly sends humanitarian aid, search and rescue teams, mobile hospitals, and other emergency supplies to help victims of disasters around the world; andWHEREAS, Since 2015, California and Israel have had a memorandum of understanding that established a formal relationship between the two parties to foster economic cooperation and economic development, facilitate joint industrial research and development, and enhance business relationships and educational opportunities between all Israeli and California universities to foster job creation and incubate global solutions from joint California-Israeli innovation initiatives; andWHEREAS, California is home to a vibrant Israeli American immigrant community; andWHEREAS, For over 2,000 years, Jews living in other parts of the world have maintained a profound spiritual and emotional connection to the Land of Israel, and there has been continuous Jewish presence in the land comprising the modern State of Israel; andWHEREAS, With the culmination of its 70th anniversary observance in May 2018, Israel will celebrate with events marking the birth and development of the state, the struggle to find peace and security, and its hopes for the future; now, therefore, be itResolved by the Assembly of the State of California, That the California State Assembly hereby commends and congratulates the people of Israel for their remarkable achievements on the occasion of Israel’s 70th anniversary; and be it further; and be it furtherResolved, That the Chief Clerk provide copies of this resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.