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Nakba commemoration is taking on a new meaning

May 20, 2024 at 9:59 am

Pro-Palestine peoplerallied near the United States Capitol to protest the Zionist policies of Israel in the Gaza strip in commemoration of the 76 anniversary of Nakba in in Washington DC, United States on May 18, 2024. [Celal Güneş – Anadolu Agency]

The anniversary of the 1948 Palestinian Nakba arrived this year with a unique flavour, amidst the humiliation of the Zionist state over the past eight months of the most violent and longest military offensive that Israel has waged against any Arab adversaries since its establishment in the land of Palestine. Its wars were quick, lasting only days during which it would achieve a few fleeting victories and boast about its “invincible” army. However, since last October, legitimate Palestinian resistance in Gaza has been able to destroy the myth of the “most moral army in the world” and expose Israel for what it is: a settler-colonial, genocidal state.

Yes, Palestine was lost from us in May 1948, but the countdown to its recovery began in October 2023. We are witnessing the beginning of the end for the apartheid state, and the beginning of justice for its victims, from the river to the sea.

We must never forget that 15 May, Nakba Day, is when the heart of the Arab people was torn away from us and our land in Palestine was stolen from us before the eyes of the entire world, which blessed the usurper state created specifically to achieve the goals of the major powers after World War Two. Its recognition by the UN Security Council was rushed through. The first state to recognise Israel was the Soviet Union, followed by the US, and not the other way around as many people think. East and West worked together to stab the Arab world using collaborators within the region, without whose treachery the West would not have been able to carry out its conspiracy in Arab Palestine.

Contrary to the ongoing Zionist propaganda claim that the Zionist entity was necessary because of what Jews had endured during the Nazi Holocaust, the state was planned at least fifty years earlier, with the publication of The Jewish State by Theodor Herzl, an atheist Austrian journalist. Zionist lobbying of the colonial states, especially the UK, led to the issue of the infamous Balfour Declaration, a letter — no more — from Britain’s foreign minister promising support on 2 November, 1917 for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people”.

This was basically a promise by a people who did not own or rule the land of Palestine to give it, nevertheless, to a people who didn’t — and don’t — deserve it.

The proviso for this support was that it was “clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”, something which the proponents of the Zionist state have ignored from day one.

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It is a fact that ever since 15 May, 1948 and even before that fateful day, the Palestinians have faced endless torment, with the loss of lives and land at the hands of the Zionist enemies, who have violated every law imaginable since Balfour to establish, maintain and expand their genocidal state. Moreover, for 76 years the Arab rulers have conspired against and betrayed the struggle of the Palestinian people for their rights, including their right to return to their land. The international community has abandoned the struggle for justice and upholding of international law in order to ensure Zionist hegemony in the Middle East. The major powers, led by the US, support the Zionist entity while the Arab rulers are enlisted to defend its borders, as we can see clearly now in the Gaza war. Even the recent summit of shame in Bahrain did not do the Palestinians justice. Instead of tackling the root cause of the issue — the Israeli occupation of Palestine — the head of the Palestinian Authority, for whom security coordination with the occupation state is “sacred”, Mahmoud Abbas, attacked the legitimate resistance and blamed Hamas for the post-October Israeli military offensive and the destruction of Gaza.

76 years on, Palestinians are still living the Nakba - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

76 years on, Palestinians are still living the Nakba – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

All the Arab rulers, without exception, have used the Palestinian cause to rally their people behind them and consolidate their own positions of power. What happens behind the scenes, though, is very different. This came to light in the peace agreements signed with the Zionist enemy by Egypt in 1979, then Jordan in 1994.

In between those two agreements, the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) signed the Oslo Accords with Israel on 13 September, 1993, according to which the Zionist state was recognised and the armed struggle to liberate Palestine from the river to the sea was dropped from the Palestinian national charter. In return, the Palestinian National Authority was established, but it is nothing more than a front to protect the Zionist enemy and subdue the people of occupied Palestine. The independent state of Palestine promised by Oslo has still not materialised, while the land that it is supposed to govern gets smaller by the day. Less than 20 per cent of historic Palestine may, one day, become the so-called “state” that Oslo envisaged.

The so-called 2020 Abraham Accords have seen the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco make peace with Israel (they were never actually at war, of course), as well as Sudan, although the latter has not been ratified.

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The reality is that the cursed Oslo Accords also led to more killings and arrests of the Palestinians who exercise their legitimate right to resist the occupation.

The Aqsa Intifada in 2000 restored the spirit of resistance to the Palestinian people under the late leader Yasser Arafat, who was frustrated at every turn by the US and successive Israeli prime ministers. He came home from a Camp David meeting with US President Bill Clinton and Prime Minister Ehud Barak having finally understood that there was no point in peace agreements with the Zionists; that such agreements were all deceptions to buy the occupation state more time to usurp even more Palestinian land.

Hamas was founded in 1987, during the First Intifada (1987-1993), and never gave up on the belief that resistance by all means was, and is, essential for freedom and justice. The occupation state assassinated its founders and leaders, including Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and Dr Abdel Aziz Al-Rantisi, but others took their place and the movement flourished, to the extent that it won the 2006 Palestinian Legislative Council election, and the current leader of the movement, Ismail Haniyeh, was duly elected as prime minister of the Palestinian Authority. Neither Israel nor its allies accepted the democratic will of the Palestinian people, and imposed a boycott and siege on the Gaza Strip, where Haniyeh was based. That siege was tightened last October, after Hamas fighters broke out of the “prison camp” known as Gaza and carried out an armed incursion against the Zionists. Critics of the incursion overlook the 76 years of Israeli occupation and brutality, as well as the military offensives launched against Gaza by the Zionist state in 2008/9, 2012, 2014 and 2021, as well as numerous armed incursions and killings. During the Great March of Return protests in 2018, for example, Israel killed 200 Palestinians — including journalists and medics — and wounded 6,000 others. The Palestinians have borne burdens that no other nation in the world could bear, and suffered immeasurably for the sake of their freedom, dignity and justice. They have won the hearts and minds and, crucially, the support of conscientious people all over the world with their courage, perseverance and determination to stay in their land.

The early Zionists said that they didn’t need to worry about the Palestinians who had been displaced by the creation of Israel on their land, because “The old will die, and the young will forget.” Yes, the old did die, but the young have not forgotten, and nor will they. Those resisting Israeli occupation today are the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the Palestinians who were ethnically cleansed in 1948. They have been struggling to return ever since, as is their right. Palestine and its cause lives on in their hearts. It is the land that they will never abandon; they will not forget, and nor will their children and grandchildren. The keys of return are still being passed down from generation to generation, and each is taking up the cause of resistance and freedom as their own. The Palestinian people are a people that will not simply roll over and die; they will never be defeated.

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The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.