Salwa Salem-Copty hopes to someday return to live in her family’s village in the north of Israel, but at 70 years old, she thinks it is unlikely. Instead she has one request — she would like to be allowed to visit the grave of her father, who was killed when a bus full of workers traveling to Haifa was attacked in April 1948. Salwa was never allowed to visit her father’s grave. Today, now a grandmother, she is still fighting for that right.
Category Archives: Nakba
Mohammad Arafat writes, “‘Once we heard about the declaration, we knew the future of Palestine and the Palestinians was in danger,’ Um Abed so softy I could barely hear her. She couldn’t say more without crying.”
Rana Askoul writes to British Prime Minister Teresa May: “I hear you will be celebrating the centenary of the Balfour declaration with ‘pride’. I hear you also said that you will be conscious of the sensitivities that some people have about the Balfour declaration and that there is more work to be done. Pride, sensitivities, some people, more work. In my mind, I picture you standing in front of my paternal grandmother, as she walked on her journey out of Palestine to Lebanon in 1948, clutching my father as a baby to her chest. I see you uttering these words to her. Pride, sensitivities, some people, more work. It seems Ms. May, you also have not the slightest clue as to how we Palestinians can move on. It seems Ms. May that you too, like your predecessors have chosen the easier wrong, over the harder right. It seems Ms. May, that you too need a lesson as to why we need to apologize when we have done wrong.”
In its story about a renewed investigation into the murder of Naji al-Ali, this is how the New York Times describes the British occupation and then The Nakba: “He fled his home in the British Mandate of Palestine at the age of 10 during the war that accompanied the creation of Israel.”
Likud minister Tzachi Hanegbi says that Palestinian protests may lead to their “third Nakba”. “This is how a Nakba starts,” Hanegbi said. “I pray that they do not bring a third Nakba on themselves.”
Mersiha Gadzo collects the tales of villagers who were expelled from towns outside of Jerusalem in 1967, where today an Canada Park, popular picnic spot, sit atop the rubble of the destroyed Palestinian houses.
Tikva Honig-Parnass discovers a letter she wrote to her family in October 1948, inked on letterhead she found in a gas station that had belonged to a Palestinians who was likely expelled by her unit. Looking back Honig-Parnass reflects how it came to be that she never considered who owned the gas station, and what happened to him, a skill she developed as a youngster in Israel’s 48 Generation.
Palestinians on Monday commemorated the 69th anniversary of the Nakba, meaning “catastrophe,” during which over 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly displaced from their homes in 1948, as Israel was declared a state. While the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees is generally at the center of all Nakba day commemorations, this year Palestinian prisoners took the front seat.
Nada Elia writes on Nakba Day, 2017: “I’m angry because I want to be normal, yet normalcy evades me, and I want to be post-nationalist, even if Palestine has never been allowed to become a nation. And I’m angry at the fact that, despite the century of abuse, we are one people (yes, a people) never allowed to be angry. This year, I don’t want to be grateful for being a survivor, “nice.” I want the right to be angry.”
I., a European living in Israel, explains why she decided to keep her kindergarten-aged daughter home from school when Israeli schools are mandated teach about the Holocaust to children as young as three years old: “Because of the decision other people made about when and how it is appropriate for our child to learn about genocide, we chose to keep her at home yesterday and today. We want our child to learn about injustice; moral, critical thinking; and courage. We want her to grow up to be strong, fair, kind and safe. And, we think that learning about blurry dangers in a distant past does not teach her that.”
The late Palestinian poet Taha Muhammad Ali is an unlikely dramatic hero. He is the subject of a one man show by Amer Hlehel, premiering on Wednesday at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC.
A Palestinian state is anathema to Zionism – and must therefore be kept in the realms of fiction
Historian Avi Shlaim reveals a shift in his thinking on Israel and Palestine: Zionism was a colonial project well before 1967. And the US and Britain have traded roles as mother country.
Israa Suliman writes from Gaza to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe: “Although we are of different color, religion, culture and place, I have learned, as I read about the protests at Standing Rock, that we have much more in common than differences. When I read your history, I can see myself and my people reflected in yours. I feel in my core that your fight is my fight, and that I am not alone in the battle against injustice.”
Mondoweiss intern Tamara Nassar shares a lyrical and haunting account of her family’s story during the Nakba: “The tragedy of the Nakba is that it perpetually reproduces itself with every refugee born in exile and until the last refugee returns. The Palestinian in diaspora gives birth to Nakba; her children become walking embodiments of abandonment.”
Mohammed Alhammami recalls stories he heard growing up of Jews, Muslims and Christians living alongside each other in historic Palestine as one people, not divided factions. But he wonders what about now? Can Jews and Palestinians (Christians and Muslims alike) really coexist in the Holy Land, after 68 years of Nakba?
Eitan Bronstein Aparicio discusses how the discourse on the Nakba has changed over time in Israel — When did the term appear? When did it decline and what was repressed? And what has caused these changes? Bronstein Aparicio writes, “Today the term Nakba represents the polarization in Israeli society and discourse. In the non-zionist left there is a full understanding of its centrality in the construction of the conflict and its possible solution. On the other hand, there exists a raging battle led by the Israeli regime to repress these discussions as much as possible. Paradoxically these attempts to silence the discourse leaves the Nakba as a burning question that demands answers”
The largest Palestinian city, Jaffa, was emptied of Palestinians during the Nakba 68 years ago. It went from 120,000 Palestinians, many of them landowners, to 4,000. And many left in desperation by sea. A commemoration, by three refugees’ descendants.
Haidar Eid writes, “I tried to explain to my late mother that she had to be expelled from Zarnouqa in 1948, leave her memories and house behind because a crazy bigot had committed a pogrom against Jews in Europe, but she neither wanted to understand (“what does that have to do with us?”) nor accept (why didn’t the Europeans give them a homeland?” until she passed away in a refugee camp, 90 km south of her village. This song is dedicated to all Palestinian mothers who had to endure the unendurable in 1948.”
In the Active Aging House of Burj Barajneh, a Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut, the Nakba is still a vivid memory. Some of the center-goers were in their childhood when, in 1948, the ‘catastrophe’ had befell the Palestinians and more than 750,000 were ousted from their homelands. Around 110,000 took refuge in Lebanon that. Marian, 68 years old, still remembers those keys to her house. Her parents were holding them in their hands while telling her about al Safsaf, the village in Galilee they used to live in before the Nakba.
Thousands of Palestinians, mainly citizens of Israel, participated in the annual “March of Return” for the Nakba commemoration on Thursday, May 12. For the first time the Association for the Defense of the Rights of the Internally Displaced organized the march in the Naqab. The location on the lands of the destroyed village of Wadi Zabala was symbolic, and highlighted the on-going Nakba of the Palestinians.
Several hundred Palestinians marched through Bethlehem on Sunday in commemoration of the 68th anniversary of the Nakba, when an estimated 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly expelled from their homes and hundreds of others are believed to have been killed. The theme of the march this year was the “Train of Return,” and a massive train was made by volunteers from the three refugee camps in Bethlehem city for the march. “The idea behind the train was to show that we will return to our original villages,” Mohammed Abu Srour, one of the volunteers who helped build the train told Mondoweiss. “It is a simulation of our dreams to come back to our land.”
A new infographic from Visualizing Palestine using data from the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics shows how European Zionists began establishing population centers in Palestine in the 1870s, with British imperial support and how from 1967 to present, Israel has continuously engaged with impunity in the construction and expansion of settlements defined as illegal under International Law.
Nada Elia writes, “This year, as we commemorate al Nakba yet one more time, as we remind the world that our catastrophe is ongoing, let us also act upon the belief that merely speaking out against injustice is not enough. ‘Demonstrations’ are not enough. BDS is a means to an end: liberation, the abolition of apartheid, the return of the refugees. We are approaching this end, and must look beyond it.”
This week Palestinians will memorialize the starting point of their plight as a stateless people, observing the Nakba, literally “the catastrophe” in Arabic. The day is a commemoration of the demolition of more than 500 villages during the 1948-war, and the fleeing and expulsion of at least 700,000 people. This year the athletic retailer Reebok has designed a special commemorative sneaker for Israel and its 68th independence celebrated on May 12, 2016, coinciding with the Palestinian Nakba. Typically Israeli streets are lined with flags of the Jewish-state in the weeks before the celebration. The Reebok shoe follows the motif. It is blue and white and says “Israel 68” on the sole.