Friday, May 15, 2009

May 15th is Nakba Commemoration Day

The Nakba, or the "catastrophe" in Arabic, refers to the displacement and dispossession of 750,000 Palestinians as a result of the 1948 War. During the war Israel declared its independence from Great Britain and began a policy of expansion by any means possible beyond the borders defined by the 1947 UN Partition Plan.

As a result, several massacres were committed by the Jewish forces, particularly in Tantura and Dier Yassin. Palestinians were forcibly expelled from their homes and marched to neighboring Arab countries. 530 Palestinian towns, villages, and neighborhoods were depopulated. Israel has renamed all of these locations or Hebraized the Arabic names in an attempt to wipe the history of the Palestinians from the land. After the war, new Jewish immigrants moved into the vacant Palestinian homes.

Below was a Palestinian home until the Nakba and has become inhabited by Jewish immigrants from the United States. The village of Sa'sa' is now a kibbutz.

Today, boarded up and neglected mosques and churches stand awkwardly in Israeli towns. Below is a picture of a mosque in Tiberias with the Sheraton in the background.

Read a testimony from the war.

Today, this policy, or the Nakba continues, particularly in East Jerusalem in the neighborhood of Silwan. The Jerusalem municipality has declared this Palestinian neighborhood "green space" and have issued eviction and demolition orders for the Palestinians who have lived in this area prior to Israel's occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967. This area will then be called the "City of David" claiming the land as legitimately Jewish land by means of the name.

Sabeel Young Adults from the West Bank, Jerusalem, and the Galilee travelled to Ma'lul, a village destroyed in 1948, to clean the church and mosque. Today, the village is considered a national park by the Israeli authorities.

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