The 44th anniversary of Al Naksa, or the Six-Day War, was marred by Israeli atrocities when at least 20 Palestinian and Syrian protesters were shot dead by the Israeli army near the occupied Golan Heights. The reasoning? Israel was "left with no choice but to open fire" at the protesters who simply wished to draw attention to an ongoing tragedy. Once again, protesters whose sole aim from this exercise was to create awareness of Israel's unjust occupation not just of Palestinian territories but also of Golan Heights have had to pay the price.
Palestinians inside the West Bank and Gaza also took to the streets in an attempt to highlight this painful anniversary when Israel carved up Palestinian land including occupied east Jerusalem and further aggravated the Palestinian refugee problem. Forty-four years of occupation, humiliation, border control, and Israel still struggles to bring itself to talk peace and comply with international law and treaties.
Instead, the Israeli propaganda machine was busy in the last few days making the case that these demonstrations were one way for the Syrian government to distract from the unrest inside Syria — as if the demonstrators didn't have a valid cause. Those demonstrators had a solid message and to belittle their cause is ridiculous. Israel showed its true colours when it fired at them killing many and injuring dozens.
Al Naksa, coupled with last month's anniversary of Al Nakba, or the 1948 catastrophe when Israel was created and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were expelled, is a tough reminder for Palestinians of their reality that is dominated by Israeli occupation. And the latest Israeli tricks of Judaising occupied Jerusalem have added to their woes. Israel ought to be reminded of its obligations to end the occupation and once and for all commit to peace talks with the aim of ending, not prolonging, this conflict.