Displaying “Returning Palestinian Refugee” documents in the streets of Tel Aviv
Zochrot at The Human Rights March
07/12/2012

The human rights procession in Tel Aviv was held on 7.12.2012, only a few weeks after Israel ceased its recent attack on Gaza.  But the Israeli attacks hadn’t completely ended.  There were Palestinian casualties even after the ceasefire was declared between Israel and Hamas, but the incessant, massive attacks stopped.  The residents no longer had to hear the endless rattle of the unmanned killing machines circling in the skies over Gaza.  But how long would they find relief?

Anger and despair again overflow.  How will we remind ourselves that the violence against Gaza began 64 years ago with the massive wave of Palestinian refugees expelled by Israel from localities near Gaza and from farther away in order to clear the territory on which the Jewish state would be established.

While ceasefires are temporary solutions to the violent state of emergency, a true reconciliation is needed between Israelis and Palestinians - a process of reconciliation which will form the basis for cooperation among all who live here and the Palestinian refugees who choose to return.

The reconciliation which Zochrot envisages requires the return of Palestinian refugees, which demands preparation.  The returning refugees must be issued ID cards.  An example of a Returning Gaza Resident ID was designed by Aviv Gross-Alon from Zochrot, whose activists carried them in the Tel Aviv human rights march in order to remind everyone of the right of return.  This right is established in the 1948 UN Declaration of Human Rights, Par. 13, Section 2:  Every person has the right to leave any country, including their own, and to return to their country.

Fifteen male and female activists, the majority of them Israeli Jews, carried ten IDs measuring one meter in size, each a different color, representing ten Palestinian localities that Israel captured and destroyed during the nakba and whose refugees are in Gaza:  Majdal, Huj, Damra, Samsam, Kukhba, Najd, Isud, Jiya, Barbara, Bureir.  Each document included a small map with the name of the demolished Palestinian village, alongside the names of the Israeli localities built on its lands.  The Returning Gaza Resident ID also specifies the number of people who lived in the Palestinian locality in 1948 and the number of its refugees in Gaza in 2012 – nine times as many.  The ID’s heading is in Arabic, English and Hebrew, and the phrase from the UN Declaration of Human Rights is printed at the bottom.

The colorful show of Returning Gaza Resident IDs attracted a great deal of attention, praise for the effort invested and many photographs.  People asked about Zochrot’s position; no one objected to or rejected Zochrot’s approach.

At the end of the march, when the IDs had been gathered together in a bundle, a young women flipped through them, explaining to her companion, in English, what they were.  “What are you looking for?,” I asked.  “For the Palestinian village that was destroyed in the area of Shoham, where I live,” she said.  “All we have here are villages in the south, near Gaza,” I explained.  “I hope we’ll soon have a nakba map in Hebrew.”  She smiled and thanked us.



נושאות את תעודות השבים של הפליטים הפלסטינים מעזה / Carrying the Returnee Documents of the Palestinian refugees



נושאות את תעודות השבים של הפליטים הפלסטינים מעזה / Carrying the Returnee Documents of the Palestinian refugees



נושאות את תעודות השבים של הפליטים הפלסטינים מעזה / Carrying the Returnee Documents of the Palestinian refugees



נושאות את תעודות השבים של הפליטים הפלסטינים מעזה / Carrying the Returnee Documents of the Palestinian refugees



נושאות את תעודות השבים של הפליטים הפלסטינים מעזה / Carrying the Returnee Documents of the Palestinian refugees



נושאות את תעודות השבים של הפליטים הפלסטינים מעזה / Carrying the Returnee Documents of the Palestinian refugees



תעודת תושב חוזר מעזה / Returnee document from Gaza



תעודת תושב חוזר מעזה / Returnee document from Gaza



תעודת תושב חוזר מעזה / Returnee document from Gaza



תעודת תושב חוזר מעזה / Returnee document from Gaza



תעודת תושב חוזר מעזה / Returnee document from Gaza



תעודת תושב חוזר מעזה / Returnee document from Gaza



תעודת תושב חוזר מעזה / Returnee document from Gaza



תעודת תושב חוזר מעזה / Returnee document from Gaza



תעודת תושב חוזר מעזה / Returnee document from Gaza



תעודת תושב חוזר מעזה / Returnee document from Gaza

Wrote: Eitan Bronstein Aparicio
Photographs: Eleonore Merza
Translation to English: Charles Kamen

Zochrot online