The Nakba: 69 years of Palestinian catastrophe

Every year on May 15, the Palestinians always reminded of their old wounds that are still gaping until today. Precisely 69 years ago, on May 15, 1948, more than 750,000 residents of a state, must expelled from their own homeland. They no longer hold the status of Palestinian citizens but they referred to as Palestinian refugees, and that status still stays to this day.

Nakba reminded us of the pain experienced by the Palestinian people at the time, they remained silent to see the Zionists demolished their homes, their property deprived, the garden and their fields were destroyed. Even their brothers became the victims of the Israeli occupation. They forced to flee from the land of their ancestral heritage.

Seen from the historical side, the Nakba has brought three big events, firstly, the removal of Palestine word geographically and politically; secondly, the establishment of the state of Israel; and third, began the outbreak of the first Arab-Israeli war

The ‘peak’ of the Palestinian tragedy itself could be said started from the Nakba. Because the Israeli Zionist forces at the year annexed 80% of Palestinian land. Then they arbitrarily declared the establishment of a Jewish state called Israel. Emptied the Palestinian land, forced Palestinians to flee to the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and to neighboring countries such as Jordan, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Actually, this called as a crime of humanity. Even this incident was including as war crimes. Because there were hundreds of thousands Palestinian lives were taken on that bloody day. As many as 67% of Palestinians in 1948 were forced to become refugees, they live inhumanely in refugee camps.

In fact, they have not only lived miserably for decades, their right to return to their homeland was uprooted, their lives were completely destroyed without hope. The world should pay attention to the fate of the Palestinian refugees, their numbers now is about 5,900,000 people, spread to various parts of the world.

There are 5,594,000 Palestinian refugees living in Arab countries, and the rest in non-Arab countries. In Arab countries, most of them fled to Jordan, about 3,000,000 refugees. While outside the Arabian Peninsula most of them fled to Chile, or about 400,000 refugees.

The Nakba cannot be separated from the root of the problem; Balfour declaration. It might be true that Kamel Hawwash, a Palestinian scientist who lives in Britain. He said that this is Britain’s original sin, as being a major supporter of the Balfour declaration in 1917, which was the beginning of a Palestinian ethnic cleansing mission and the forerunner to the establishment of the Zionist state of Israel.

The Balfour Declaration is a letter from the then British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to Walter Rothschild, for transmission to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland. The letter was dated 2 November 1917. The critical part of this short letter said: “His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it is being clearly to understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

In 2015, the British parliament was said to recognize the sovereignty of a Palestinian state. Initially the international world thought that Britain was aware of their guilt against Palestine, and redeemed their sins through this recognition. But lately, some time ago, Britain commemorate 100 years of Balfour declaration. Then firmly refused to apologize for its main role in the tyrannical declaration.

Commemorating the Nakba day should not only weep for the pain of the Palestinian refugees this year even 69 years of expulsion from their country. But how do we participate to fight for their rights, in order to return to live in their homeland, like an independent man.

(Muhammad Syarief)

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