World, Middle East

Palestinians mark 73rd anniversary of Nakba amid Israeli attacks

At least 139 people, including 39 children and 22 women, killed, 950 people injured in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza since May 10

Nur Ebu Iyse   | 15.05.2021
Palestinians mark 73rd anniversary of Nakba amid Israeli attacks People attend a funeral ceremony held for 10 Palestinians killed in Israeli attack in Gaza City, Gaza on May 15, 2021. ( Mustafa Hassona - Anadolu Agency )

GAZA, Palestine

It has been 73 years since the Nakba, or The Catastrophe, and Palestinians are marking the day this year amid Israeli attacks on occupied lands.

Observed on May 15 annually, Nakba Day marks the 1948 forced expulsion of nearly 800,000 Palestinians from their homes in historical Palestine.

Seventy-three years ago, hundreds of Palestinians were forced to leave their villages and towns in historical Palestine to neighboring countries like Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

Another part of Palestinians found themselves displaced to the Gaza Strip and West Bank amid rising attacks by Zionist gangs to pave for the way for the creation of the state of Israel.

Despite their decades-long suffering, however, Palestinians still continue to affirm their right to return to their homes and villages in the historical Palestine, coming up with creating ways to make this right achievable.

The Palestine-Israel conflict dates back to 1917 when the British government, in the now-famous Balfour Declaration, called for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people”.

According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), the Nakba resulted in the displacement of nearly 800,000 Palestinians out of 1.4 million Palestinians who lived in historical Palestine in 1948 in 1,300 villages and towns.

On the other hand, Palestinians today are exposed to unprecedented oppression and attacks of Israel in their homeland.

Israeli airstrikes on Gaza since May 10 killed at least 139 people, including 39 children and 22 women, and injured 950 people.

The air raids on Gaza were preceded by days of tensions and Israeli aggression in occupied East Jerusalem, where hundreds of Palestinians were assaulted by Israeli forces and settlers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.

Tensions spread from occupied East Jerusalem to Gaza after Palestinian resistance groups there vowed to retaliate for Israeli assaults if they were not halted.

Palestine’s partition decision and 1948 Arab-Israeli War

The 1948 Arab-Israeli War, which took place at the same time as Israel’s establishment, did not alleviate the suffering of the Palestinians and could not stop the occupation of their lands and expulsion.

The UN General Assembly approved a resolution on Nov. 29, 1947, which required the division of Palestine into a Jewish and a Palestinian state. While Arab countries, especially Palestinians, opposed the decision, the Zionists welcomed it.

The day after the partition decision, the armed Jewish gang Haganah units, founded by the Zionists, took over the areas prepared for the Jewish to reside.

As soon as the British mandate was over in Palestine, armed organizations announced the establishment of Israel by David Ben Gurion on May 14, 1948.

Following the events, the Arab League formed a joint army with forces from various countries under the leadership of a Syrian commander to help the Palestinians against the attacks of armed Zionist gangs.

Despite being weak in terms of weapons and equipment, these troops regained control over the Palestinian territories captured by armed Zionist gangs.

As a result of the clashes, the first cease-fire was reached on June 11, 1948 with the decision of the UN Security Council (UNSC).

The cease-fire decision stipulated that the parties would not go beyond their positions and not increase the number of soldiers and forces fighting.

With this decision, the clashes in the region stopped for four weeks, Palestinians and Arab troops remained tied to the cease-fire.

However, violating the cease-fire, Israel increased its military power during the four-week-truce.

In short, the cease-fire reached over international intervention led to balances in Israel’s favor.

States such as the US and Britain, which ignored Israel’s cease-fire violations, also prevented Arab countries from acquiring weapons and equipment.

Israeli forces captured the cities one by one after the first cease-fire and afterwards, the second cease-fire was declared by the UNSC on July 15, 1948. Despite the cease-fire, Israel continued its attacks.

The UNSC passed a decision on Dec. 29, 1948, ending the war. After this decision, the Arab-Israeli War ended. The Arab countries, which had advanced in the Palestinian territories at first, withdrew from the lands in favor of Israel.

Nakba: Suffering continues for 73 years

The war between the Arab countries and Israel could not prevent the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Israel’s independence declaration in the historic Palestinian territories on May 14, 1948 marked the beginning of a series of disasters for Palestinians for decades.

The most of the Palestinian lands were occupied, thousands of Palestinians were killed in systematic massacres.

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