#Nakba69: Palestinians remember the day their life was uprooted

#Nakba69: Palestinians remember the day their life was uprooted
2 min read
15 May, 2017
Palestinians marked the 69th anniversary of the Nakba, or 'The Catastrophe', on Monday, recalling the mass displacement and dispossession of Palestinians during the establishment of Israel in 1948.
Over 750,000 Palestinians were displaced in 1948 during the creation of Israel. [Getty]
Palestinians marked the 69th anniversary of the Nakba - or "The Catastrophe" on Monday, recalling the mass displacement of their people and dispossession of their land with the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.

Nakba Day is marked every year on 15 May, the first day after the British Mandate officially ended.

Some 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly expelled from their homes during the creation of the Israeli state and were scattered across refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, and Syria.

Today, Palestinian refugees and their descendants number more than 7 million.

Together with the destruction of the Palestinian nation, the Nakba evokes personal, private stories of loss and trauma, which are passed down from generation to generation.

Sixty-nine years on, the right of return remains at the core of Palestinian identity and collective memory, and is enshrined under UN General Assembly Resolution 194, which calls for the resettlement of refugees or compensation paid to those choosing not to return.  

Israel, however, has consistently rejected the right of return viewing it as an existential threat to the Jewish state while also never recognising its historic role in creating the refugee crisis.

The issue is also an extremely sensitive - and controversial - topic for PLO negotiators, who have conceded to limited numbers of refugees returning to their homes during peace talks. Estimates leaked from the Palestine Papers in 2011 suggested a number as low as 10,000, provoking public outrage.

"Our nation marking 69 years of the Nakba, our national catastrophe, is symbolised in our exile and the systematic denial of our rights. The Nakba means an ongoing journey of pain, loss, and injustice," PLO secretary general Saeb Erekat said in a statement Monday.

The Nakba, however, is not a finite event, with home demolitions, settlement building, and land appropriation continuing to displace and dispossess Palestinians in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza even today.