The Nakba - Introduction
May 15, 1948, is known worldwide as day the state of Israel was created. But that date is commemorated by the Palestinians as the beginning of al-Nakba, or “the Catastrophe,” a process that would result in the loss of many Palestinian lives and homes.
The day upon which Israelis and Jews around the world celebrate the creation of a ‘national homeland’ is the day Palestinians and their supporters honor the victims of the Nakba - including those who died in any number of massacres at the hands of Zionist terrorist and those who were forced into permanent exile.
The United Nations, through Resolution 181 that divided Palestine between the Arabs and the Jews in 1947, paved the way for the subsequent depopulation of more than 500 Palestinian villages.
At the time of the partition in 1947, there were 1.2 million Arabs and 608,000 Jews living in Palestine. The plan gave 54 percent of Palestine to the Jews, disregarding the 500,000 Palestinians who already lived in that area. Neither the Arabs nor the Jews found the UN’s partition plan acceptable, but the Zionists accepted it and then immediately began working against it. By accepting the plan, the Zionists gained international recognition of their right to a Jewish state and claimed that its borders “will be determined by force and not by the partition resolution.”
This statement, made by Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, still plays a role today as Israel’s borders have never been set.
After the declaration of the birth of the state of Israel in May of 1948, Israel set out to forcibly overtake the land that the Palestinians vowed to protect- and this began the brutal Nakba campaign.
The massacre of Deir Yasin, while not the first of its kind, is made notable for the collective fear and panic it created within the Palestinian populace. Under the cloak of night, Jewish terrorists of the Stern Gang and Irgun stole into the tiny village and slaughtered up to 200 men, women and children in their beds. They rounded up the remaining residents and deported them to camps elsewhere within Palestine. Many of the young men were shot; most were never heard from again.
The Nakba echoed the goals of Zionism; it was a process whose sole purpose was to rid Palestine of the Palestinians and to install an immigrant Jewish population in its place.
“The concept of ‘transferring’ European Jews to Palestine and ‘transferring’ the Palestinian people out is central to Zionism,” Ben-Gurion was quoted as saying in 1944.
Yet Israel insisted that the Palestinians were urged to leave by their own leaders. Historian Walid Khalidi, the author of “All That Remains: The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated by Israel in 1948,” writes that there had been no evacuation order issued by Palestinian leaders. In fact, Palestinian radio stations had urged Palestinians to stay put while Jewish radio stations encouraged the Palestinians to leave.
In the year that followed Israel’s birth, 13,000 Palestinians were killed, 750,000 were forced to leave their homes, and more than 500 villages and towns were destroyed by Israeli terrorist groups, such as the Haganah, Irgun, and Stern groups. By 1949, Israel had conquered 78 percent of Palestine.
Although an armistice agreement was signed in January 1949 ending the fighting, the concept of ethnic cleansing that had begun with the Nakba was still in effect through the Six Day War in 1967, the attack on Gaza in December of 2008, and is still in contention today.
~ American Muslims for Palestine, 2012