On its anniversary, Steven Katsineris reminds readers of Al Nakba - The Catastrophe that befell Palestinians at the hands of the Zionist terror machine. Steven Katsineris is Melbourne based writer and activist.
For Palestinians living under Israeli occupation and others throughout the world May 15, marks what Palestinians call Al Nakba. The words Al Nakba mean The Catastrophe in Arabic; it is used to describe the destruction and depopulation of the Palestinian cities, towns and villages during the creation of Israel on the historic land of Palestine in 1948.
May, 15 is the day that started the forced displacement by Zionist paramilitaries of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes and lands and destroyed their villages, killed and injured thousands of Palestinians in order to establish the colonial settler state of Israel in the historic land of Palestine in 1948.
During the period 1947-1949, Zionist terror militias and Israeli military forces ethnically cleansed large areas of Palestine, dispossessed more than 750,000 Palestinians, destroyed or depopulated more than 450 towns and villages and committed at least 24 massacres. About half of the displaced Palestinians were forcibly uprooted from their homeland due to direct military assaults. Others fled their homes after appalling massacres were carried out by Zionist terror gangs at Dier Yassin and Tantura.
Today, there are more than 7 million Palestinian refugees globally. These Palestinian refugees are still waiting to return to their homeland, while living in very difficult conditions in dozens of refugee camps in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and the Arab world.
Each year Palestinian Arab cities, towns, villages and refugee camps in Palestine and elsewhere hold a general-strike, closing their stores, workshops and schools, to launch massive marches, rallies, protest actions and other Nakba events.
On December 11, 1948, the United Nations General Assembly, issued resolution number 194 calling of the Right of Return of all refugees. It also called, among various issue, for compensating the refugees for their losses and for their “economic and social rehabilitation.” Millions of refugees are still displaced in various refugee camps as Israel continues to deny their internationally-guaranteed Right of Return to their homeland.
Other UN resolutions have demanded Israel’s withdrawal from Arab and Palestinian territories, but consecutive Israeli government continued to ignore the legitimate national and other basic rights of the Palestinian people.
Israel has been trying hard to stop Palestinians from marking the Nakba day. In 2001, the Israeli parliament passed the “Nakba Law” in an attempt to prevent Palestinians from marking the Nakba day by cutting, withholding, or reducing funding to government institutions that mark the Nakba Day.
Despite the harsh Israeli repression in order to crush the Palestinian peoples struggle, the Palestinians continue to tenaciously resist the ongoing dispossession and brutal military occupation in their fight for human and civil rights, justice, freedom and return.