Next week, one of the world’s most important historical anniversaries will be commemorated around the world.
On 15 May, people will remember the violent dispossession and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948.
These events, which took place during the creation of the state of Israel, are known to Palestinians as ‘the catastrophe’ or, in Arabic, the ‘Nakba ’.
They are the events which have led directly to today’s situation, with Palestinians dispossessed, stateless and living under occupation in the West Bank, under occupation and siege in Gaza, or in exile around the world, including millions in refugee camps to this day.
And the Nakba is not over for Palestinians, as the Israeli Government continues to steal their land in the West Bank through illegal settlement building and the construction of the separation wall.
As the 68th anniversary of the Nakba approaches, Palestinians around the world consider what it means for them and what it has meant for their families.
Kamel Hawwash, Vice Chair of Palestine Solidarity Campaign, says: “The Nakba for me has been the dispersal of members of my extended family to all corners of the Earth.
“In particular I have relatives in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon that long to return home, to Palestine, in my case to Jerusalem.
“This painful injustice has gone on for too long but it could end easily if Israel finally came to its senses, ended the occupation and discrimination and allowed the refugees to return home.”
He adds: “When my mother can return to Jerusalem, peace will have come to the Holy land.”
Sara Apps, interim Director of Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said: “In 1948, 750,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes and into exile. A further 13,000 were killed, some of them in massacres of villages at the hands of militias. One of the most heart-breaking aspects of the Nakba is that the refugees have never been allowed to return.
“We ask that they are not forgotten and that the dispossession of the Palestinian people is remembered around the world. This is particularly important as the Nakba – the catastrophe – continues for the Palestinians to this day as Israel continues to occupy and colonise their land illegally. We need these injustices to be addressed – using the framework of international law – to help deliver peace which is what Palestinians and Israelis want to see.”
Nakba Week of Action
Palestine Solidarity Campaign is marking the Nakba with a series of events around the country, including speaker tours, public stalls and commemorative readings.
Events that will take place during Nakba Week of Action are listed here: https://www.palestinecampaign.org/Nakba week/