Monday, May 15, 2017

Nakba Day, May 15 (Arabic: يوم النكبة Yawm an-Nakba, meaning ‘Day of the Catastrophe’)


“By the end of the wars of 1947-49, an estimated 750,000 Palestinians had either fled Palestine or been expelled from their homes by the Haganah. Palestinians … call this seminal happening the Nakba, or the Great Catastrophe. [The events of this period are commemorated by Palestinians in both the Palestinian territories and elsewhere on May 15th, Nakba Day.] Over 90 percent of the Palestinian inhabitants of Haifa, Tiberias, Beit She’an, Jaffa, and Acre had vanished. Expulsions from towns and villages were common along the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem road in the eastern Galilee. Palestinians in Nazareth and the southern Galilee for the most part stayed, and today these areas form the core of the Palestinian Israeli population. Altogether, roughly 15 percent of Palestinians remained behind and became Israeli citizens, some staying where they lived, other moving to other parts of the country, all losing their property to expropriation.
In the course of the wars [and ethnic cleansing], ‘531 villages had been destroyed, and 11 urban neighborhoods had been emptied of their inhabitants.’ When the guns fell silent, the Israelis controlled 78 percent of Palestine, a far cry from the 55 percent mandated under the UN partition plan. UN Resolution 194, passed on December 11, 1948, affirmed the right of Palestinians to return to their homes once hostilities had ended. That resolution has been reaffirmed every year since then under international law. [Shelly Fried is quoted in a note by O’Malley: ‘Archival sources now available show that Israel never had any intention of implementing this proposal’ to allow the 65-70,000 refugees to return.]
[While it was once a matter of impassioned debate as to whether Palestinians fled their homelands or were expelled, the preponderance of evidence now available has come] down on the side of expulsion. [….] … Israel’s position has remained unequivocal: Under no circumstances will Palestinian refugees be allowed back to their homes or land under the rubric of the Right of Return. The number of Palestinians who remained in their homeland in the 1948 territory after the Nakba was estimated at 154,000 persons, and at 1.4 million on the sixty-fifth anniversary of the Nakba in May 2014.”
The Colonial-Settler project of Zionism
“When Jews constituted less than 5 percent of the population living on that land, there is now available compelling evidence that the Zionists’ objective from the beginning, in the late nineteenth century, was the creation of a Jewish state in all of Palestine. Even David Ben-Gurion came to Palestine in 1906 not to escape persecution but to fulfill Hertzl’s dream of a national Jewish home in Eretz Israel and in the years to come he was unambiguous regarding the boundaries of that nation. On January 7, 1937, in evidence before the Peel Commission, he stated, ‘I say on behalf of the Jews, that the Bible is our Mandate, the Bible which was written by us, in our language, in Hebrew, in this very country [Palestine]. This is our Mandate, it was only the recognition of this right which was expressed in the Balfour Declaration.’ The Zionists—worldly, pragmatic men—meticulously planned the new state from within Palestine and from safe havens far beyond. In the first half of the twentieth century, they deployed sophisticated diplomacy in Western capitals, adroitly courting their leaders. They understood that achieving their ultimate objective required the backing of a great power, and they successfully attached themselves to the greatest power at the time, Great Britain. When Britain turned from aid to obstacle, they turned on Britain and, following World War II, hitched themselves to the new greatest power, the United States.” — Padraig O’Malley, The Two-State Delusion: Israel and Palestine—A Tale of Two Narratives (New York: Penguin Books, 2015): 170-172.
Recommended Reading:
  • Beit-Hallahmi, Benny. Original Sins: Reflections on the History of Zionism and Israel. Oliver Branch Press. Brooklyn, NY: Olive Branch Press, 1993.
  • Benvenisti, Meron (Maxine Kaufman-Lacusta, tr.) Sacred Landscape: The Buried History of the Holy Land since 1948. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2000.
  • Finkelstein, Norman G. Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict. London: Verso, 2nd ed., 2003.
  • Fischbach, Michael R. Records of Dispossession: Palestinian Refugee Property and the Arab -Israeli Conflict. New York: Columbia University Press, 2003.
  • Flapan, Simha. The Birth of Israel: Myths and Realities. New York: Pantheon, 1987.
  • Kattan, Victor. From Coexistence to Conquest: International Law and the Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 1891-1949. London: Pluto Press, 2009.
  • Kattan, Victor, ed. The Palestine Question in International Law. London: British Institute of International and Comparative Law, 2008.
  • Maoz, Zeev. Defending the Holy Land: A Critical Analysis of Israel’s Security and Foreign Policy. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2006. 
  • Masalha, Nur. The Expulsion of Palestinians: The Concept of “Transfer” in Zionist Political Thought, 1882-1948. Washington, DC: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1992. 
  • Masalha, Nur. A Land Without People: Israel, Transfer and the Palestinians. London: Faber and Faber, 1997. 
  • Masalha, Nur. Imperial Israel and the Palestinians: The Politics of Expansion, 1967-2000. London: Pluto Press, 2000. 
  • Masalha, Nur. The Politics of Denial: Israel and the Palestinian Refugee Problem. London: Pluto, 2003.
  • Masalha, Nur. The Bible and Zionism: Invented Traditions, Archaeology, and Post-Colonialism in Israel-Palestine. London: Zed Books, 2007. 
  • Masalha, Nur, ed. Catastrophe Remembered: Palestine, Israel and the Internal Refugees. London: Zed Books, 2005. 
  • Pappé, Ilan. The Making of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 1947-1951. London: I.B. Tauris, 1994. 
  • Pappé, Ilan. The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. Oxford, UK: Oneworld, 2006. 
  • Pappé, Ilan. The Idea of Israel: A History of Power and Knowledge. London: Verso, 2014. 
  • Quigley, John. The Case for Palestine: An International Law Perspective. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2005.
  • Quigley, John. The Statehood of Palestine: International Law in the Middle East Conflict. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010.
  • Rodinson, Maxime. Israel: A Colonial-Settler State? New York: Anchor Foundation/Pathfinder, 1973/
  • Rogan, Eugene L. and Avi Shlaim, eds. The War for Palestine: Rewriting the History of 1948. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001.
  • Said, Edward W. and Christopher Hitchens, eds. Blaming the Victims: Spurious Scholarship and the Palestinian Question. London: Verso, 1988.
  • Sand, Shlomo. Invention of the Jewish People. London: Verso, 2010.
  • Sand, Shlomo. The Invention of the Land of Israel: From Holy Land to Homeland. London: Verso, 2012.
  • Tilley, Virginia, ed. Beyond Occupation: Apartheid, Colonialism and International Law in the Occupied Territories. London: Pluto Press, 2012.
  • Yiftachel, Oren. Ethnocracy: Land and Identity Politics in Israel/Palestine. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006.
Further Reading & Research:

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