Although May 15, 1948, is the anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, the human tragedy began when terrorist Zionist gangs attacked Palestinian villages and towns to exterminate them or intimidate the residents of neighboring areas to displace them later.
In 1947, the United Nations General Assembly proposed a plan to divide Palestine into two states: Jewish and Arab. At that time, the Jews made up a third of the population, the majority of whom had come from Europe during the few years preceding 1947, and they controlled an area of less than 6% of the historic state of Palestine. However, the plan proposed by the United Nations allocated 55% of the area of the historic State of Palestine to them.
The Palestinians and their Arab allies rejected the proposed plan. For its part, the Zionist movement agreed to the proposed plan, as it legitimized the idea of building a Jewish state on the Arab land of Palestine, but it did not agree to the proposed borders. Therefore, the Zionists launched intensive campaigns to seize more lands of historic Palestine.
At the beginning of 1948, the Zionists took control of dozens of Palestinian towns and villages and expelled their Palestinian residents from their homes by force, all of which were under the supervision of the British Mandate authorities present in the region. In most cases, the Zionists committed mass massacres against the Palestinian people. The Zionists’ message was clear: Either the Palestinians leave their lands, or we will kill them.
Zionist militias destroyed 531 Palestinian villages and committed more than 70 massacres, in which more than 15,000 Palestinians were killed between 1947 and 1949. The Nakba had led to two-thirds of the Palestinian people fleeing during 1948 and thereafter, in addition to the internal displacement of a third of those who remained after the end of the war, as Israel has been denying their right to return to their villages and cities of origin. Nevertheless, the colonial legacy of the Nakba continues to this day.
After 75 years, the Nakba has not left its place in the memory of the Palestinian people. It is a present and continuous reality of Israeli settler colonialism, population transfer, apartheid, dispossession, and unfinished policies that remain entrenched to this day.
The Nakba constituted the largest ethnic cleansing operation in the twentieth century, as more than 950,000 Palestinians were forcibly displaced from their villages and cities by force of arms and threats to the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and neighboring Arab countries, out of 1,400,000 Palestinians who resided in historic Palestine in 1948.
The Israeli occupation took control of more than 85% of the area of historical Palestine, which is about 27 thousand square kilometers.
According to the records of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees “UNRWA”, the number of Palestinian refugee camps has reached 58 camps, distributed as 10 camps in Jordan, 9 camps in Syria, 12 in Lebanon, 19 in the West Bank, and 8 camps in the Gaza Strip.
The Nakba has transformed a safe and stable people in their homeland, into refugees in the camps of misery. Despite all the past decades, Palestinians have not given up the right to return to the homes from which they were expelled by force of arms in 1948, and they are still teaching their children the meaning of the homeland, and their right to return no matter how long it takes the years.
The Nakba of 1948 did not mean the military defeat of the Palestinian people, as a military defeat may happen to any country that enters into a war with another country, but what happened in 1948 was not a war between one state and another, but rather a war between semi-organized armed gangs and a safe and stable people in a land without weapons.
In a recent speech, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that the United Nations will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Nakba of the Palestinian people for the first time, on May 15.
After 75 years, the Nakba has become a symbol of the ongoing oppression of the Palestinian people by the racist and colonial Israeli regime, which is committed through an apartheid system imposed on all Palestinians.