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In a parallel universe where I am a Syrian refugee

Maurice Ebileeni on
A photo of Tarshiha from 1942. (Photo via

Maurice Ebileeni reflects on his family’s history of becoming Palestinian citizens of Israel during the Nakba instead of refugees in Lebanon or Syria. Aylan el-Kurdi tragic death has made him realize how easily he could be a refugee attempting to flee Syria now if his family had only made a different choice decades ago.

On the Road to Tantura: Interview with Hala Gabriel

Stephen Shenfield on
Hala Gabriel on ruin of her family home.

Tantura was a beautiful Palestinian fishing village 15 miles south of Haifa. In the early hours of May 23, 1948 it was attacked and occupied by the Haganah. Over 200 villagers, mostly unarmed young men, were massacred; others were taken prisoner and put to forced labor. The site of the village is now a beach resort. The mass grave in which the victims of the massacre are buried is covered by a parking lot. Stephen Sheinfeld interviews Hala Gabriel, a Palestinian-American filmmaker, about her new film Road to Tantura. Gabriel was born as a refugee to parents who had fled from Tantura (the house left partly standing had belonged to her family). In 2010, Hala managed to enter Israel and visit the site of her ancestral village. She also met relatives who had taken refuge in the nearby village of Fureidis, which had escaped destruction, and interviewed three of the men who had participated in the attack on Tantura.

The burden of remembering

Amer Hussein on
A map of the village Amer Hussein's grandparents came from (Qannir, Haifa).It was drawn in 2006 from memory by one of the village elders and contains the names of the houses of every family as well as other landmarks.

Amer Hussein’s grandmother passed away three days ago, just days before the 67th commemoration of the Nakba, when she was forced from her home in Palestine. He writes, “I was not left with a key to a house like many other Palestinians; my only inheritance is their memories. Memories handpicked like sweet grapes from their vineyard to compose a memory book; our passport for return, and a burden to never forget the 6 olive trees, the jasmines and the water well.”

Memory (on Nakba Day)

Mariam Barghouti on
On 4 January 1948 the Zionist militia Lehi detonated a truck bomb outside the 3-storey 'Serrani', Jaffa's Ottoman built Town Hall, killing 26 and injuring hundreds. (Photo: Wikipedia)

On Nakba Day, Mariam Barghouti writes about her grandfather. She says even when his memory fails, sometimes mixing up his grandchildren, he can still tell you the stories of Palestine in perfect detail. She says such recollection acts as the burden and savior of Palestinians. She writes, “It is within that memory we find pain, and within that memory we implement our existence.”

‘So wait, the Nakba is…?’: Listening to Israelis discuss the Nakba

Yara Dowani on

A new Israeli organization called De-Colonizer produced a video asking Israelis on the street in Tel Aviv about the meaning of the word “Nakba.” The answers range from the nonsensical to the profound. Yara Dowani served as an Arabic translator on the project and responds to what she saw: “Reading the answers gave me a very unpleasant feeling about the ignorance that most of the Israelis are living. Should I blame the Israeli education system for example? Or blame those who don’t know what the meaning is because they don’t look for the truth and search for it?”

‘For Palestinians, history is never behind us’: Family memories on Nakba Day

Sarah Aziza on
Me, Sarah Aziza, and my grandmother, circa 1993

Sarah Aziza shares her family’s story during the Nakba and the importance of Nakba Day as way to remember: “Nakba Day, like all ‘days of remembrance,’ is thus important not simply as an end in itself, but for the difficult and ground-breaking work that faithful reckoning with the past might inspire. May honesty, humility, and imagination lead us forward.”

Searching for my grandmother’s home in Yafa

Tamara Ben-Halim on
Yafa Centre (Photo: Tamara Ben-Halim)

Tamara Ben-Halim writes about visiting Yafa and searching for the house her grandmother’s family was forced out of during the Nakba. She writes, “I stood on the street that my grandmother once stood on nearly 70 years ago. I listened to the sound of the same waves lapping onto the shore. I saw and touched the same beautiful old Arab, unmistakably Arab, buildings that she had walked past hundreds of times. I told myself it didn’t matter whether I found her house or not, but of course I knew that nothing could replace the feeling and the fact of actually knowing that this was her home, this was the place she had grown up in, the setting of all those stories we had been raised on, this was the place from which her and her father and siblings had fled in terror.”

Shaken by the war on Gaza, Palestinians in Israel gather for March of Return

Dan Cohen on
Thousands gathered to commemorate the Nakba. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

Yesterday, an estimated 5,000 Palestinian citizens of Israel and Jerusalemites participated in the March of Return in an open field overlooking the Sea of Galilee and above a valley where ruins of the village of Hadatha are scattered. Organized annually by the Association for the Defense of the Rights of the Displaced People, the March of Return commemorates the ethnic cleansing of Palestine by pre-state Zionist forces in 1947-1948 — what is known as the Nakba.

The Nakba Day denial

Eyal Weizman, Nick Axel, Steffen Kraemer, Lawrence Abu Hamdan and Jacob Burns on

Denial is an important and often underemphasized dimension of Israel’s violence toward Palestinians. The Forensic Architecture team explains how the Nakba day killing of 17-year-old Nadeem Nawara and 16-year-old Mohammad Abu Daher in 2014 is a microcosm of how Israel denies historical crimes and daily incidents equally. The Nakba day massacre was denied, just like the Nakba of 1948 it was commemorating.

Cycle ’48: Remapping the Nakba

Sara Moon, Bella Crowe and Ruth Kappe on
The Cycle '48 bikes

Last week Sara Moon, Bella Crowe and Ruth Kappe left Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem, and joined the Jewish National Fund cycle trail from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv in order to uncover the hidden stories related on its path. Along the way they engage Israelis on their understanding of the Nakba and what it continues to mean today. Their organization, Cycle ’48, is an ongoing project remapping erased histories on two wheels.

Israeli government attempts to shut down Nakba film festival in Tel Aviv

Sarah Levy on
(Image: Facebook)

Any Israeli institution with public funding that mentions, teaches, or mourns the the Nakba (Arabic for “catastrophe”) can be fined, and individuals can be sentenced to prison for their involvement. Recently this law threatened to cause trouble for the Israeli non-profit organization Zochrot as they prepared for their second annual “48 mm—International Film Festival on Nakba and Return” in Tel Aviv.

Ethnic Cleansing by All Means: The real Israeli ‘peace’ policy

Ilan Pappé and Samer Jaber on
Jewish settlement in West Bank (Photo: Reuters)

The policy of ethnic cleansing ever since 1948, and in particular since 1967, is a consensual issue in Israel and thus leaves very little hope for peace and reconciliation. This strategy is marketed differently domestically and externally: It is based on the need to ‘preserve Jewish identity’ to the Israeli public and abroad as ‘Israel’s need for security’. These concepts are used widely across the political spectrum in Israel and provide the ambiguous framework for the Israeli ‘national consensus’. They also underpin the political instruments which deny the rights of the indigenous people of Palestine and to bring about its goal of maintaining a Jewish majority. The problem with Israel thus is not a policy here or there, but its overall strategy that has not changed.

The Palestinian message to Israel: Deal with us justly. Or disappear

Jeff Halper on
Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal (Photo: AP)

Until Operation Protective Edge, most of the “messaging” regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, certainly that which broke through the mainstream media, came from the Israeli side. That now has changed. Hamas not only confronted the Israeli Occupation but has also seized the political initiative from it. In stark contrast to Abbas, who has declared security cooperation with Israel to be “sacred” and who passively allows Israel to maintain its massive matrix of Israeli highways in the occupied territories spelling the end of the two-state solution, Hamas has sent a clear and forceful message to Israel: We won’t submit even if you kill us. Deal with us justly – or disappear.

Death comes to downtown Ramallah

Allison Deger on

A few days ago while in a friend’s car for an hour of gridlock at Qalandia checkpoint in the middle of a clash, she made a joke about a reprieve. “Break!” she yelled out the window. But of course everything carried on. I’ve heard this joke before, when participants in a clash want to get a […]

Mapping what’s been lost

Eitan Bronstein Aparicio on

The Canada Park region has become completely Israeli in at least two ways: 1) It was “annexed” to Israel and “naturalized.”  No signage indicates it’s located beyond the Green Line, there’s almost no trace of the Palestinian villages Israel captured and demolished during the 1967 war and an attractive Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (KKL) forest has been […]

Israeli police arrest three Palestinian youth who returned to the village of Iqrit

Allison Deger on

Sunday morning police and authorities with the Israeli Lands Administration arrested three youth in the village of Iqrit near the border with Lebanon, uprooting trees and confiscating tents and furniture. The youths—Walaa Sbeit, Nidal Khoury and Jeries Khiatt were eating breakfast outside of the village’s church, the only fixed structure in Iqrit, when around 20 officers […]

Some important details: Ben Ehrenreich on the Nakba Day shootings

Ben Ehrenreich on

Last week I published a piece in the Los Angeles Review of Books about the killings of Nadim Nuwara and Mohammad Abu Thaher in Beitunia on May 15. In the aftermath of the boys’ deaths, Israeli officials—from low-ranking military spokespeople to the Minister of Defense and the Ambassador to the United States—have claimed that no live ammunition […]

Interview with Haidar Eid: Resisting 66 years of Israeli Apartheid

Ayah Bashir on

In 2010, this interview was conducted with Dr. Haidar Eid as an activity by the Gaza BDS group and the One Democratic State Group (ODSG), but it has never been published before due to technical reasons. It was edited recently because this interview needs to be publicised since it tackles some of the most recent important and timely issues. Eid presents insightful […]

Crashing the Party: Activists educate pro-Israel festival about the Nakba

Annie Robbins on

Yesterday Students for Justice in Palestine and Students Against Israeli Apartheid from Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia, (DMV-SJP & SAIA; George Washington SJP, American University SJP, George Mason SAIA and Georgetown SJP, University of Maryland SJP) decided to crash a pro-Israel street festival and educate the crowd about the Nakba. The festival took place in the Mosaic District, a new […]

Two Palestinian youths killed by Israeli army live-fire during Nakba Day demonstration

Allison Deger on

Two Palestinians were killed and a third is in critical condition after being shot by the Israeli military outside of Ofer prison in the West Bank at an annual Nakba Day protest. The youths were struck with live-fire and nine others critically wounded, according to hospital staff. The Nakba (literally “catastrophe”) refers to the 1947-49 expulsion […]