The violent creation of Israel took place 70 years ago, but for the Palestinian people the ‘catastrophe’ continues
Today is Nakba day. Nakba is an Arabic word that can be translated as “catastrophe”. It is used by Palestinians to describe the events of 1948 that led to their ethnic cleansing. This year will mark the 70th anniversary of the forced displacement of the Palestinians caused by the violent creation of Israel, when 750,000 Palestinians became refugees virtually overnight. Their descendants number 7 million today. They owned 93% of the land in 1948 and lost 78% of it, over 4m acres. About 400 villages were destroyed.
Today is also the day after the US moved its embassy to Jerusalem, and the day after Israeli troops fired live bullets on unarmed demonstrators, slaughtering over 50 at the Gaza border. The surreal celebratory spectacle in Jerusalem, with the messianic evangelical pastor blessing proceedings that had been boycotted by local Christian and Muslim leaders, was an alternative universe to the scenes at the Gaza border, where Palestinians were declaring that they exist as a people and have a right to return to their land as enshrined in UN resolutions. They spoke, as all subalterns do, with their bodies and their blood. This is what Donald Trump’s “deal of the century” has come to.