Nakba Now

Protesting against the new Israeli settlement planned for our twin town of Abu Dis.

We decided to hold a demonstration because the Israeli government has given the go-ahead to a big new (and illegal) Israeli settlement in the Palestinian twin town of Abu Dis. But when we spoke to our friends there, we found they were worrying about more than a new settlement. They are feeling more generally under threat than they have done for years, though they have been feeling under threat for the whole of their lives. 

We have just had commemorations for the Palestinian Nakba that took place in 1948. But to our friends, their Nakba (disaster) is continuing and the threats of further dispossession are real and strengthening.

Our demonstration became a protest against all facets of the Nakba Now.  This page explains the banner captions. CADFA – June 2023.

Nakba Now 

Unfortunately the Palestinian Nakba is not just a historic fact: the dispossession of Palestinians has continued, and at the moment (writing in 2023), the threats and pressure on Palestinians are increasing again. The situation is appalling, moving and changing for the worse – though we have to notice the small things, the big picture is of nakba happening still/again and now.

It is not just 1948 Nakba

Nakba (Nakbeh) translates to “disaster.” It is often used to refer to the major ethnic cleansing of 1948 when the majority of Palestinians- were pushed from their homes and hundreds of thousands were pushed right out of their country as the British left after the end of the British Mandate and the State of Israel was declared across 78% of the land. At this time there were massacres in many towns and villages and many other murders.  The result has been that there are more Palestinians living outside Palestine than inside Palestine. Although there were immediated UN resolutions and the Declaration of Human Rights, both of which should have meant that refugees could return, they have not been allowed to return.

However (see below) it was not just 1948.  Immediately there were Palestinians who wanted to return, or to tend their crops before returning. Many many of them were killed when they came back.  In 1967 another 750-800 000 Palestinians were pushed out or not allowed to return when Israel took over the West Bank and Gaza. Israel has deported people as a punishment adding to the number of refugees. And increasingly there are pressures on ordinary Palestinians to move as the situation in Palestine becomes harder and harder for them.

It’s not just occupation

In 1967, Israel occupied the remaining parts of Palestine (East Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza) and has maintained a fierce military occupation ever since. The international community has often spoken as if the problem is the military occupation, but it is more than this.

The Israelis are building and extending settlements (colonial towns) all over the West Bank. They have moved seven or eight hundred thousand settlers to live in the West Bank – blatantly against international law. They have maintained a seige on Gaza and waged fierce war on its inhabitants many times. They have changed the status of Jerusalem by annexing it in 1967, but they have not given its Palestinian inhabitants equal rights with Israeli citizens and has cut it off from its hinterland through Walls, checkpoints and ID laws.

It is not just military violence

Since the takeover of the West Bank and Gaza, Israel has controlled the Palestinian population through emergency military laws – though this has continued for decades and affected the daily lives of every Palestinian.  This has led to daily human rights violations of many sorts, affecting all Palestinians.  There are many arrests, and around 5000 Palestinians are in prison at most times and very family includes people who have been in prison for some period.  Over 40% of boys and men have spent some time in Israeli jail.

The number of Palestinians wounded by the Zionist takeover of Palestine is in the millions, and the beating, wounding and killing continues daily. Children are included, journalists have often been killed.

The school experience of many young people includes stoppages for Israeli army tear gas and sometimes invasions into classrooms.

It’s not just breaking international law

Israel has been clearly told to change its behaviour in relation to the Palestinians. It has been breaking international law in relation to the Palestinians since it began. Importantly,it has not allowed the return of refugees although specifically asked to.  It has built towns and changed the infrastructure across the West Bank. It has ignored the human rights of Palestinians on most levels.

When the international community has tried to change the situation using UN resolutions, international law or inquiries into particular episodes, Israel has either ignored the advice (example: the 2004 ICJ judgement saying that the apartheid wall should come down) or browbeaten or attacked the messenger (example the Goldstone Enquiry into the attacks on Gaza 2014)

It’s not just apartheid

It seemed a huge step when respected human rights organisations told the world that this situation was apartheid. Palestinians and also Black South Africans had been telling the world this for many years already, but the careful reports of B’tselem, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty in the early 2020s showed that a crime against humanity is being committed despite the good press that Israel is given in the West.

However the issue is not just apartheid. Black South Africans who grew up under South African apartheid have pointed out that their own situation had been very bad, the racism extremely deep and the differences between their lives and white South Africans huge – but they were wanted for their labour. In the case of Palestinians, Israel does not want them; the pressures are to make life impossible to the level at which they will also leave.

The situation NOW is that an even  more right-wing Israeli government includes leaders from the settler movement.  There are elements that are not only hugely racist and colonial but openly fascist.  This includes people who openly call for the eviction of Palestinians from their land.

In the past few years we have seen an increase in the number of Palestinians killed so last year around 270 Palestinians were killed (with impunity) by Israeli soldiers and settlers – and this year (writing in early June 2023) around the same number in five months.

We have seen an increase in the numbers of people pushed from their homes and their land. In 2022, nearly three hundred Palestinian homes were destroyed by the Israeli army. This year a number of schools have been demolished and pressure on people to leave their land has led to a whole village in the Jordan Valley having to leave.

It’s all about human rights

The situation is appalling, moving and changing for the worse – though we have to notice the small things, the big picture is of Nakba happening still/again and now.

  • Stop Evictions from Land
  • Stop Demolition of Homes
  • Stop Raw Racist Violence
  • Stop Murder with Impunity
  • Stop Colonial Settlements

Find out more from the Resources pages here.

Join CADFA to call for human rights in Palestine – see the get involved page here.



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