Category Archives:
Nakba

My family’s Nakba story

Tamara Nassar on
Photo taken in al-Ramle in May 1948. (Photo: Eldan David/GPO/AP)

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.”

A brief history of the ‘Nakba’ in Israel

Eitan Bronstein Aparicio on
Graph Nakba in Hebrew 1999 - 2015

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”

Land of Sad Lemons: A song for the Nakba

Haidar Eid on
An image by Carlos Latuff for Nakba Day in 2013.

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.”

Video: Remembering the Nakba from Burj Barajneh refugee camp

Sonia Grieco on
Remembering the Nakba from Burj Barajneh refugee camp

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.

Video: March of Return commemorates expulsion and fights the ‘continuing Nakba’

Jimmy Hutcheon on
The March of Return

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.

‘Train of Return’ rolls through Bethlehem as refugees commemorate Nakba Day

Sheren Khalel on
“It means a lot to be here to today, because the Nakba means a lot to us,” Abdo said, as the train rolled down Bethlehem’s main street. “I don’t care if we take a train, or a bus or a car or if we have to walk, what we are saying is we will return to our homes.” (Photo by Sheren Khalel)

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.”

The Making of Israel: Zionist settler colonialism in historic Palestine

Visualizing Palestine on
A new infographic from Visualizing Palestine

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.

Palestinians on Nakba Day 2016 — Defiant, Undeterred and Organizing

Nada Elia on
A Palestinian protester holds a Palestinian flag during clashes with Israeli troops at a protest ahead of Nakba day, in the West Bank village of Bilin near Ramallah May 13, 2016. (Photo: Shadi Hatem/ APA Images)

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.”

Reebok backtracks on Israel Independence Day-inspired sneaker (Updated)

Allison Deger on
Israeli Independence Day commemorative sneaker. (Photo: Reebok/Facebook)

This week Palestinians will memorialize the starting point of their plight as a stateless people, observing the Nakba, literally “the catastrophe” in Arabic. This year the athletic retailer Reebok was planning a special commemorative sneaker for Israel and its 68th independence in blue and white with “Israel 68” on the sole. But now Reebok is now distancing itself from the Israel shoe. It said in a statement today the footwear was “prepared by an independent designer and should not be presented as a product by the company’s international brand.”

Palestinians mark 68th anniversary of Deir Yassin massacre

Kate on
Ruins of homes left empty from the Deir Yassin Massacre, 1986. (Photo: deiryassinremembered.org)

Palestinians on Saturday marked the 68th anniversary of the massacre of more than 100 Palestinian civilians carried out by Zionist paramilitary groups in the village of Deir Yassin in 1948 prior to the establishment of Israel. Deir Yassin has long been a symbol of Israeli violence for Palestinians because of the particularly gruesome nature of the slaughter, which targeted men, women, children, and the elderly in the small village west of Jerusalem.

In a parallel universe where I am a Syrian refugee

Maurice Ebileeni on
A photo of Tarshiha from 1942. (Photo via kuffiyeh.wordpress.com)

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
nakbavid

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
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
bdf3d312e89be331147fe30a3b1b7142

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.