Thursday, May 15, 2014

Nakba Day 2014

Today is the 66th anniversary of the 1948 Palestinian Nakba ('Catastrophe').

As this lucid extract from the preface to Before Their Diaspora: A Photographic History of the Palestinians 1876-1948 (1984), by Palestinian historian, Walid Khalidi, shows, the Nakba was no aberration, but rather an inevitable by-product of the Zionist settler-colonial project in Palestine. The Palestinians themselves could see it coming from the earliest days of Zionist colonization, and anyone who takes the time and trouble to familiarise himself with the real history of modern Palestine, as opposed to the false Zionist narrative, knows that this crime against humanity continues to this very day:

"From the beginning of their colonization of Palestine, the architects of the Zionist 'dream' excluded from consideration its potential consequences for the Palestinians. The reality of Zionism as translated on the ground was rarely perceived as diverging from the dream, which was (and still is) regarded as pristine; any divergence between the reality and the dream was only a momentary aberration from the dream. Thus the ineluctable link between Zionist action and Palestinian reaction was banished from Zionist consciousness. Since 1948, with the exception of a small Israeli peace movement, the Israelis have succumbed to an emotional and intellectual condition (to which an oppressor is prone) that complements the Palestinians' obsession with the past. This condition is characterized by an acute aversion to a scrutiny, with all its moral implications, of Zionism's historical record in Palestine since the 1880s. So great has their aversion been (and so compelling the apparent psychological need for it) that, with the help of historical revisionism and rationalization, the Israelis have convinced themselves and their supporters either that the Palestinians did not exist at all before 1948, or - if they did - that the Palestinians were the initiators of the conflict and the tormentors of Zion. The Israelis' final refinement of this line of reasoning has been to categorize their Palestinian victims under such rubrics as 'fanatics' and 'terrorists', the sources of whose behaviour must be sought in specious, atavistic fountainheads. Thus have the motives behind Palestinian resistance to Zionism and Israel been traced comfortably away from the context of the conflict itself, and equally from those of Israeli introspection and moral responsibility.

"If 1948 had marked the end of the impingement of Zionism and Israel on Palestinian rights, Time would still have had a formidable task to heal the wounds already inflicted on the Palestinians.

"In fact, throughout the two decades between 1948 and 1967 Israel adamantly refrained from any alleviating gesture of redress or reconciliation, whether in the form of repatriation, reparation, or territorial adjustment. It proceeded, instead, to 'legalize' its expropriation of the abandoned movable and immovable properties of the Palestinian refugees and to transfer these properties to Jewish ownership. It imposed military rule on the terrorized Palestinian minority left in its midst. It carried out, in the name of retaliation for the slightest border violations, grossly disproportionate military operations against Palestinian border villages on the Jordanian-controlled West Bank and in the Egyptian-controlled Gaza Strip, villages whose best farmland it had already seized in 1948. It annexed the demilitarized zones and no man's lands on the West Bank. It unilaterally diverted the waters of the Jordan River for its own purposes. It repeatedly flaunted its might by holding military parades in Western Jerusalem. During the same two decades, the Palestine problem evolved into the conflict between Israel and the neighboring Arab countries. And in the 1960s Palestinian despair found expression in the concept of armed struggle under the aegis of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

"In 1967 Israel went further still. Having wrested the greater part of Palestine in 1948, it was now bent on wresting what land remained in Palestinian hands. Between June and September 1967, it expelled across the Jordan River some 250,000 inmates of the refugee camps located on the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip. It proceeded to apply to the newly occupied territories the very policy of systematic colonization, pursued by the Zionists in Palestine from the 1880s until 1948, that had created the Palestine problem in the first place." (p 14)


Anonymous said...

Walid Khalidi puts it very well... see, it is not so "complex" after all!

guy said...

I have a question, what does the writer mean when he says:
"In 1967 Israel went further still. Having wrested the greater part of Palestine in 1948, it was now bent on wresting what land remained in Palestinian hands"

Who were these 'Palestinian hands' - I can't seem to find any reference of them.

MERC said...

No problem, Guy. I'm more than happy to explain this 'mystery'. That's what I'm here for after all!

The 'Palestinian hands' were simply the hands of the Palestinians (as opposed to say Thais or Zulus) who were living there before the criminal hordes of thugs, thieves, fanatics, and other riff raff, aka the Israeli army/settlers, who took over the West Bank and the Gaza Strip after June 1967.

guy said...

I must say I have mixed feelings about this claim.

I always thought it was Jordanian territory since it was under Jordanian rule and kind Abdallah even proclaimed himself king of Jerusalem and the west bank, giving all the Arabs living there Jordanian citizenship.

And I think the same goes to Gaza that was under military Egyptian rule.

MERC said...

Still don't get it?

Rulers, whether Jordan's Hashemites, or Egypt's Nasser, or Israel's worse-than-apartheid regime, come and go. The land belongs to those who live on it, and have always lived on it - in this case the Palestinians.

Now how hard is that?

Vacy said...

Bravo Merc, it IS that simple. Same as the Brits wresting land from Aboriginal hands. And we still have a long way to go to ensure genuine justice and land rights for our First Peoples.