Every year, Palestinians mark the Nakba – “catastrophe” in English – when, in 1948, around one million Palestinians were forcibly expelled from their homes during the creation of the state of Israel.
More than 500 villages were destroyed, and their inhabitants were never allowed to return. Zionist groups, who later became the “Israel Defense Forces” (IDF), committed massacres in dozens of Palestinian villages and communities.
The Nakba came in 1948, just 30 years after the British Foreign Minister Arthur Balfour pledged support for a Jewish state in Palestine. At that time, Palestinians constituted 94% of the population.
The Nakba continues to shape Palestinians’ lives today. Palestinian society was all but destroyed, with millions of refugees scattered around neighbouring states and across the world, with many having been made refugees two or more times.
Denial of rights
Israel continues to deny Palestinians their fundamental rights, including, crucially, the right to return to their homes and land from which they were expelled. At the same time, Israel’s Law of Return entitles automatic citizenship to Jewish people born anywhere in the world.
Palestinian citizens of Israel (the minority who remained following the displacement in 1948) are today subjected to dozens of discriminatory laws and other forms of systematic racism. Israel continues to deny the historical facts of the Nakba through every legal, cultural, and political means possible.