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.
Category Archives: Nakba
Vacy Vlazna writes, “The spirit of Dr Abu Sitta’s ‘Mapping My Return: A Palestinian Memoir’ mirrors precisely the dynamic quintessence and will of it’s creator – in a word- sumoud – a compelling steadfastness to his homeland Palestine and to the right of return of every Palestinian.”
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.
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.
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.
Author Naomi Wolf asks whether the system that Germany, Austria and other countries used to compensate Jews and their descendants for the Holocaust could be used as a model for reparations for the Nakba.
Due to years of activist support for the threatened village of Susiya in the occupied Hebron Hills, the New York Times, the State Department, and the European Union have told Israel to leave the Palestinians alone. Will demolition plans move forward?
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.”
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.”
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?”
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.”
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.”
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.
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 equally denies historical crimes and daily incidents. The Nakba day massacre was denied, just like the Nakba of 1948 it was commemorating.
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.
“Orders came to evacuate one village, to destroy another village. We were told that we had to expel them, the Palestinians. Expel them to Gaza. To leave no one… We didn’t let them come back. Those were the orders from our command. We did some really ugly things… War is ugly.”
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.
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 Gaza onslaught represents the end of the Israeli rationale for violence. 110 years of ethnic cleansing and assassinations and Palestinian resistance will not disappear. Israel must come to terms with its indigenous population, or it will itself disappear, Jeff Halper writes at Mondo
Allison Deger offers a diary from Ramallah. Weeks after Nadime Nuwara and Mohammed Salame were killed during a Nakba day protest, Ramallah is still in gloom. This wasn’t a clash. It was an indiscriminate spray of bullets. And one took a boy from deep inside the Ramallah enclave: Nadime attended St. George Orthodox School in an upscale neighborhood with restaurants priced around twice that of any other West Bank city.
Eitan Bronstein of Zochrot explains the challenges of mapping the land of Israel/Palestine without minimizing or hiding its history.
Sunday morning police and authorities with the Israeli Lands Administration arrested three youth in the village of Iqrit near the border with Lebanon. When 20 youth took up residence in the village’s church two years ago it marked the only example of descendants of Palestinians expelled during 1948 being able to return to their family’s original village.
American JNF board members travels to Israel to plant 1,000 trees honoring his dead dogs, on the land of a destroyed Palestinian village.
Ben Ehrenreich explains covering the funeral of the two Palestinian youths killed on Nabka Day, the Israeli military has taken to suggesting the teens are not dead, or if they are, that they weren’t struck with live-fire.
Video of a 2010 interview with Dr. Haidar Eid in Gaza on the peace process, BDS and the one state solution.