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May/June 2008 Postcard

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DEAR SENATOR:

This year will mark the 60th anniversary of the Arab-Israeli conflict—the perpetuation of which is one of the major sources of instability in the world. Israel’s anniversary on May 15, 2008 also marks the Palestinians’ catastrophe.

Out of respect for history, I call on you to initiate the drafting of a resolution officially recognizing May 15 as the 60th anniversary of the Nakba. If Arabs and Israelis are ever to move forward in understanding and reconciliation, we must recognize the past, for it is how we arrived at the present. Please remember the Nakba and the proud and steadfast commitment of all Palestinians to preserve their identity.

Formal acknowledgment by the U.S. government of the historical roots of Palestinian suffering will be a major step toward reconciliation. 


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A Palestinian Costa Rican, whose country formally recognized Palestine on Feb. 5, 2008. (AFP photo/Orlando Sierra).
   

May 15 marks the 60th anniversary of the birth of Israel, which will be celebrated by many of its citizens and friends.

May 15 also marks the Nakba, the 1948 mass expulsion and flight of more than 750,000 Palestinians, which will be mourned by Palestinians and their supporters. There will be nothing to celebrate for Palestinians living in Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, nor in refugee camps in Lebanon and Jordan. Diaspora Palestinians scattered across every continent of the world will mourn the loss of their homeland. No one can forget the massacres of civilians, and the razing to the ground of 400 Palestinian villages.

The gain of one people came at the unbearable loss of another. In the 60 years since this tragedy, those who fled have been denied the right to return to their homeland. They and their descendants now number 4.4 million people—the largest refugee population in the world.

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