Palestinians Mark 76th Anniversary of Nakba Amid Ongoing Displacement

Palestinians mark 76 years since the Nakba, a mass expulsion of 700,000 Palestinians from their homeland in 1948 during Israel's creation. Today, 6 million registered refugees live in camps, and 2 million internally displaced Palestinians face discrimination, with no resolution in sight.

Muthana Al-Najjar
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Palestinians Mark 76th Anniversary of Nakba Amid Ongoing Displacement

Palestinians Mark 76th Anniversary of Nakba Amid Ongoing Displacement

Palestinians are marking the 76th anniversary of the Nakba, commemorating the mass expulsion of 700,000 Palestinians from their homeland in 1948 during the creation of the State of Israel. The Nakba, meaning "catastrophe" in Arabic, resulted in the displacement of 80% of the Palestinian population and the destruction of hundreds of villages.

Why this matters: The ongoing displacement of Palestinians has significant implications for regional stability and global humanitarian efforts, as it perpetuates a cycle of violence and fuels resentment towards Israel and theinternational community. A resolution to this crisis is crucial for achieving lasting peace and security in the Middle East.

Today, there are 6 million registered Palestine refugees living in dozens of camps in the occupied West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. Many of these camps are overcrowded and lack basic necessities, resembling slum-like conditions. An additional 2 million internally displaced Palestinians were granted Israeli citizenship but continue to face discrimination.

The expulsion of Palestinians was facilitated by the British Mandate over Palestine from 1923 to 1948, which aimed to establish "in Palestine a national home for the Jewish people" as pledged in the Balfour Declaration. During this period, the population of European Jews in Palestine increased ten-fold, and Zionist armed groups received training from the British.

In 1947, the UN adopted a partition plan to divide Palestine into two parts, but Palestinians were not consulted. The plan never materialized, and in 1948, Zionist forces implemented Plan Dalet, a military strategy that called for the "destruction of villages" and expulsion of Palestinians beyond the borders of the new state. Tactics included bombing campaigns, massacres, and psychological warfare.

By the end of the 1948 war, Israel had captured 78% of historic Palestine, with the remaining 22%, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, falling under Arab control. However, these areas were occupied by Israel 19 years later in 1967 and remain under Israeli military rule to this day. The international community has long attempted to contain rather than resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has faced great challenges in providing humanitarian aid to Palestinians, especially in Gaza. Damage to its facilities and funding cuts by major donors have threatened its ability to deliver critical services. UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini warned that failing to support the agency would "condemn an entire generation to despair, fueling anger, resentment, and an endless cycle of violence."

As Palestinians mark 76 years of displacement, the Nakba continues to shape the lives of millions who remain stateless and in exile. The refugee camps stand as a stark reminder of a decades-long crisis that has seen little progress toward a just resolution. While the international community pays lip service to a two-state solution, the reality on the ground continues to be one of dispossession and denial of Palestinian rights.

Key Takeaways

  • Palestinians mark 76th anniversary of Nakba, commemorating 1948 mass expulsion.
  • 700,000 Palestinians displaced, 80% of population, with 6 million registered refugees today.
  • British Mandate and Zionist forces facilitated expulsion, with UN partition plan never implemented.
  • Today, refugees face overcrowding, discrimination, and lack of basic necessities in camps.
  • UNRWA faces challenges in providing aid, with funding cuts threatening critical services.