On Nakba Day, Palestinian refugees' right of return imprescriptible

May 15, 2022

Today marks the 74th anniversary of the Nakba Day of the Palestinian people, which resulted in the displacement of about 750,000 Palestinians from their original cities and towns, out of a total population of 1.9 million, to make way for new Jewish immigrants.

For Palestinians, the Nakba is more than a historical event; it is part of a longer process that began in the 1880s when European Zionist settlers began pouring into Palestine to create the framework for their future state.

This anniversary comes as the Israeli occupation authorities continue their ethnic cleansing and forced displacement of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, and deny their national and human rights, and their right to establish their independent state with Jerusalem as its capital, as well as the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes.

The occupied Palestinian territories have been witnessing soaring tensions between Palestinian citizens and the Israeli occupation authorities against the latter’s schemes of settlement expansion specifically in the city of occupied Jerusalem and the 1948-occupied territories, and its attempt to obliterate the Palestinian Arab identity and distort the Palestinian struggle.

According to the Palestinian Information Center, during the Nakba, the Zionist gangs seized 774 Palestinian villages and cities, 531 of them were destroyed, and their cultural and historical landmarks were obliterated.

The current Israeli occupation government of Naftali Bennett has made plans to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank in the coming months.

Al-Jazeera reported that Palestinian scholar Joseph Massad argues that Palestinians can “regain their homeland by resisting Zionist attempts to erase them from history and have them accept their defeat”.

 

Massad, a professor of modern Arab politics and history at Colombia University in New York, wrote in Resisting the Nakba that Palestinians “have succeeded in foiling the Zionist project of their total expulsion by rejecting the Zionist narrative that the Nakba is something from the past,” Al-Jazeera added.

Colonial occupying forces committed during the Nakba era more than 70 massacres, backed by the British government, for example, the massacres of Deir Yassin and Tantoura, where more than 15,000 Palestinian civilians have been martyred.

Commemorating the Nakba Day, the Islamic resistance movement (Hamas) stated that "the crimes of the Zionist occupation of forced displacement, summary executions, and racial segregation since 1948 to this day will remain engraved in the living memory of our people, and will not be forgiven nor will it be forgotten”.