AL NAKBA (The Catastrophe)
THE MASS EXPULSION OF THE PALESTINIANS
BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER THE FOUNDATION OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL IN 1948
No other state which defines itself as a Western democracy bases its laws on ethnic-religious differences; no other such state determines ethnic quotas to keep a 70%-30% Jewish/Arab relationship for Jerusalem, “Judaizes” Galilea, or rejects the policy that it should be a “state for all of its citizens”.*
“Palestinian refugees have become the forgotten survivors of the world. Their experiences in exile have been deliberately ignored and their voices repeatedly silenced over the course of a forced and ongoing odyssey that started over 65 (now 70) years ago. The majority of the refugees exist, unseen and unheard, in the margins of marginalized communities.” John Halaka, (visual artist, documentary film maker, Professor of Visual Arts at the University of San Diego).
On 14 May 1948 the last British troops withdrew from Palestine and the State of Israel was founded. Between December 1947 and December 1948 approximately 750,000 Palestinians were driven out of their homeland by the Israeli army into neighbouring countries and became refugees. They did not leave their land voluntarily as the Israeli propaganda alleges, but were largely forced to flee in fear, suffering under threats, terror, rapes, killings and massacres. In Deir Yassin, Dawaymeh, and Tantura over 70 massacres were committed by the Zionist army and 15,000 Palestinians were killed. As the Palestinians fled, leaving their possessions and fields behind, the Zionist army destroyed their villages and confiscated their lands.
For many years Israel tried to erase the Nakba from public memory, but in 1978 a new generation of Israeli and Palestinian historians uncovered sources which revealed the real truth of the events of that time. To suppress the commemoration of this event, the Israeli Parliament passed a law In March 2011 threatening to withdraw public funds to all institutions (schools, etc.) which commemorate the Nakba publicly and the 15th of May as a “Day of Mourning”.
The idea of a “resettlement” or a “transfer” of the Arab population of Palestine in favour of a massive Jewish colonisation and a state with a Jewish majority lay in the intentions of Zionism from the end of the 19th century. This is confirmed by numerous declarations of Zionist leaders from Theodor Herzl, the founder to David Ben Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel.
The Nakba did not end with the year 1948. Since the so-called Six Day War of June 1967, which ended with another expulsion of approximately 350,000 Palestinians, half of whom were refugees from 1948, Al Naksa and the occupation of new territories continues on a daily basis with the construction of the Wall within Palestinian territory and the on-going confiscation of land and water in the Occupied Territories and in East Jerusalem to serve the Jewish settlers. According to reports more than 140,000 Palestinians have had their residence revoked since 1967.
The roots of the actual tragedy in Gaza as well as its direct cause are to be found in the expulsion of the Palestinians by Israel in 1948. There has never been an apology made by Israel, never any restitution for damages and theft committed by Israel.
The current 6 week-long non-violent demonstrations (“The Great March of Return”), which started on 30 March, the “Land Day”, organised by Gaza-citizens and different local organisations, and not by Hamas, are the expression of the desperate, hopeless, encaged people of Gaza, who have nothing to lose anymore. They demonstrate the Palestinians’ unbroken power and their wish to live in justice and freedom in their homeland.
Israel’s government and military answers with brutal violence and by the 27th April had killed 40 and wounded more than 2,000Palestinians. (Source: Palestinian Health Ministry)
Links to Al Nakba:
Book: „The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine“by Ilan Pappe, Oneworld Publications, Oxford, 2006
Some links about the situation in Gaza:
*Source:theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/may/15/Palestinians-nakba-uk-balfour-declaration-dispossession (Ahmad Samih Khalidi, The Guardian).