What Is Al-Nakba?
"Nakba" means "catastrophe" in Arabic ("al-nakba" means "the catastrophe"). Throughout the Arab world, the word is used to refer to the devastation of Palestinian society and the dispossession of the Palestinian people resulting from the ethnic cleansing conducted by Zionist forces during 1947-48.
What Is Nakba Day?
The most important date on the Palestinian calendar, Nakba Day is observed throughout the world on May 15. This is a time to learn about the history of Palestine and of Palestinians, and to remember the tragedy inflicted on the Palestinian people in 1947-48, which has yet to be rectified.
Nakba Day is also an occasion to celebrate the continued vitality of Palestinian culture in the face of continuing hardships, and to reaffirm Palestinian aspirations for peace and self-determination.
What Happened During Al-Nakba?
During the late 1930s and early 1940s, many among the European Zionist leadership in Palestine openly favored "transfer" of the indigenous Palestinian population to make way for a future Jewish state.
As the colonial British Mandate of Palestine ended in 1947-48, clashes began and Zionist forces attacked Palestinian communities, in most cases driving out their inhabitants.
In other cases, Zionist forces conducted massacres of civilians (e.g. 100 villagers at Deir Yassin, 200 at Tantura) in order to induce the rest of the Palestinian population to flee.
Over 700,000 Palestinians -- 2/3 of the Palestinian population -- fled in panic at the Zionist attacks or were forcibly expelled by Zionist forces.
Zionist forces depopulated over 400 Palestinian towns and villages, many of which were purposefully demolished. The newly established Israeli government confiscated refugees' lands and properties and turned them over to Jewish immigrants.
Israel has since refused to allow Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and has refused to pay them compensation, as required by UN Resolution 194 of 1948.
What Was the Aftermath of Al-Nakba?
Even though before 1948 Jews had owned about 7% of the land in Palestine and made up only 1/3 of the population, following the conquest Israel was established on 78% of Palestine.
What Is the Significance of Al-Nakba?
The Nakba destroyed a thriving and diverse Palestinian society and scattered the Palestinian people into diaspora.
The Nakba is also the source of the still-unresolved Palestinian refugee problem. Today, over 4 million Palestinian refugees are scattered throughout the world. Many of them live in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip in poverty-stricken refugee camps.
* Source: stanford.edu