Al Nakba, an Arabic word that means “catastrophe,” refers to the events that resulted to the loss of Palestine in lieu of the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. Leading up to al Nakba, acts of terrorism and the smuggling of countless illegal Jewish immigrants into Palestine were carried out by western-backed Zionist paramilitary organizations. Throughout the year of 1948, about 750,000 Palestinians were expelled or fled from what is called Israel today. The violent events of that year saw massacres, mass expulsions, and rape as part of the Zionist terror campaign aiming to establish a Jewish majority and Jewish statehood. Not only were some 500 Arab villages razed to the ground, but also the Palestinian refugees were permanently barred from returning to their homes and their land.
The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisted, Benny Morris
The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, Ilan Pappe
The Occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza by Israel is the world’s long lasting military occupation. Horrors of the occupation include but not limited to: house demolitions, village demolitions, uprooting of fruit-bearing trees (namely olives), midnight house raids, arrest, torture, and trial of minors as young as 12, checkpoints which prevent travel to education, work, home, urgent medical care, and holy sites and are accompanied by routine humiliation, use of excessive force such high-velocity tear gas canisters and live ammunition at nonviolent protests, an apartheid wall that tears apart lands, towns, and humanity in general. The people of Gaza live in conditions resembling an open-air prison, suffering unemployment rates upward of 60% and the child malnutrition rate about 70%, and have regressed to primitive methods of building homes from earth and tunnel-digging to acquire basic goods from Egypt. East Jerusalem, while its formal annexation to Israel remains unrecognized by the international community, including America, is suffering an intense ethnic cleansing campaign ongoing since 1967 with the razing of the Maghrebi Quarter in the Old City. The city is surrounded by Jewish colonies and under attack from within, as Israeli settlers under police protection take over Palestinian homes, scores of house demolition orders are issued, city planners are pushing to have the entire neighborhood of Silwan demolished to build an amusement park, and Palestinians native to the city who go abroad are subject to having their residency status revoked.
B’tselem: Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories
Israeli Occupation Archive
Palestine Center for Human Rights
US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
Gisha Legal Center for Freedom of Movement
Documentary: The Iron Wall
Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, Charles Smith
Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human Rights and the Israeli-Palestinian Struggle,
Palestinians Citizens of Israel are the descendants of the 1948 Palestinian population of 133,000 remain inside of what is Israel today. Many have been internally displaced. Ninety-nine percent of landowners had their land confiscated under the pretext that they were “present absentees,” and much of the land was taken over by the Jewish National Fund which promotes Jewish-only ownership of land. Palestinians in Israel were under harsh military rule until 1966, but even today they face severe institutionalized and social discrimination. Many Bedouin villages in the Negev desert suffer further because Israel still refuses to recognize these communities, keeping them cut off from basic municipal services. Israel is not a legitimate democracy due to the second-class status of its Palestinian citizens, lacking social, cultural, and political rights; scholars have termed Israel an “ethnic democracy” or “ethnocracy” because those of its citizenry who are not considered ethnically Jewish do not have equal rights.
The Refugee Issue & The Right of Return – The events of 1948 culminate in what is today the world’s oldest and one of the largest refugee problem and population. Refugees of 1948 and later 1967 fled in all directions to camps in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, the West Bank, and Gaza, where about 1.4 million still live today. The right of return for refugees of war is guaranteed by UN Resolutions 194 and 242; those that choose not to return are to be recompensated for their usurped property. The original purpose of establishing these camps was to provide temporary relief until Israel allows for their repatriation. The entire Palestinian refugee population of 4.3 million is still waiting for their right to return to be implemented.
About the Right of Return
BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights
UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East
The right of return and the right of choice, Rifat Odeh Kassis