On Sunday June 21, public property belonging to the people of New York is being handed over to Israel for the day to set up a “Tel Aviv Beach” in Central Park. The Zionist Tourism Commissioner says "Our goal is to enable New Yorkers to experience the fun and lightheartedness of Tel Aviv," but in reality the event is a celebration of ethnic cleansing and genocide.

The Zionist government has already set up a “Tel Aviv Beach” in Vienna, where it has been met with constant protests by outraged Austrians. These beaches, which include an artificial beachfront, with sand, lounge chairs, concession stands, beach paddle-ball, music and food, are designed to mark the 100th anniversary of Tel Aviv’s founding. That founding, and the city’s history since then, is one long story of expulsion of Palestinians, destruction of their homes, refusal of their right to return – and murder carried out against them and their descendants where they fled in Gaza, Lebanon and elsewhere.

Tel Aviv is Israel’s first and most important example of the apartheid-style colonialism which is central to Zionism. As historian Tom Segev wrote, “Segregation led to the establishment of Tel Aviv… by Jews tired of living among Arabs
Zionist leader David Ben-Gurion wrote that “The destruction of Jaffa, the city and the port, will happen and it will be for the best… When Jaffa falls into hell I will not be among the mourners.”

Driving Jaffa “into hell” was required in order to assure Tel Aviv’s dominance. As a result Jaffa, whose orange groves, factories and literary institutions made it the center of Palestinian life, had to be destroyed and its residents driven out. In 1948 Zionist military forces displaced 95% of Jaffa's Palestinians. Historian Ilan Pappe writes that the people of Jaffa were “literally pushed into the sea” to board fishing boats destined for exile as “Jewish troops shot over their heads to hasten their expulsion.” Soon after Zionist forces blew up and bulldozed three-quarters of Jaffa's Arab section.

Out of the 70,000 Palestinians who used to call Jaffa home, only 3,650 were allowed to stay. Many of Jaffa’s Palestinian residents fled to Gaza – which means the families of many of those killed and wounded in this year’s massacres by the Israeli Occupation Forces, as well as those suffering right now from Israel’s genocidal siege, came from Jaffa.

Their homes and property confiscated, the few remaining after 1948 were pushed into a ghetto surrounded by barbed wire patrolled by Israeli soldiers and guard dogs. In 1950 Jaffa was swallowed up by the Tel Aviv municipality.
Some of the Palestinian workers remaining were forced to build the luxury hotels and condos that line Tel Aviv's beaches, but could be imprisoned if they were found in Tel Aviv after 6 p.m.

The ghetto into which the remaining Palestinians were pushed, while by far the poorest neighborhood in the city, is also a coastal neighborhood with some of the highest property value in the city. As a result 3,000 Palestinians face eviction right now so their homes can be torn down to provide exclusive housing for Jews so they can have easier access to the real Tel Aviv beach.

Israel’s foremost institution of higher education, Tel Aviv University, was built on the ruins of a Palestinian village. Tel Aviv is the location of the Zionist government offices which set the policies of starvation, murder and ethnic cleansing on behalf of the corporations of which Tel Aviv is the primary home.

Today the estimated number of Palestinian refugees from Jaffa is around 700,000. We demand the right to return of every one of these 700,000, along with the right to return of every single Palestinian refugee around the world to their original homes!

We encourage allies of the Palestinian people to join us at this protest. The US government is right now carrying out wars which have created millions of refugees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. And it has prevented hundreds of thousands of mostly African-American workers from returning to their homes after Hurricane Katrina was used as an excuse to ethnically cleanse cities in Louisiana and Mississippi on behalf of rich white gentrifiers. We say no to ethnic cleansing, and demand the right to return of ALL refugees!

Join Al-Awda-NY in protesting this celebration of atrocity and expulsion!