The 71th anniversary of Palestinian Nakba Day
During the 1948 Palestine war, an estimated 700,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled, and hundreds of Palestinian towns and villages were depopulated and destroyed.
These refugees and their descendants number several million people today, divided between Jordan , Lebanon , Syria, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip, with at least another quarter of a million internally displaced Palestinians in Israel. The displacement, dispossession and dispersal of the Palestinian people is known to them as an-Nakba, meaning "catastrophe" or "disaster".
More than 70 years later, Israel still denies Palestinian refugees their right to return to their land and it is a flagrant violation of international law that has fuelled decades of suffering on a mass scale for Palestinian refugees across the region, at the same, these refugees have never received compensation for the loss of their land and property. Many have been forced to live their entire lives in overcrowded camps in dire conditions and are denied access to essential services.
“There can be no lasting solution to the Palestinian refugee crisis until Israel respects Palestinian refugees’ right to return. In the meantime, Lebanese and Jordanian authorities must do everything in their power to minimize the suffering of Palestinian refugees by repealing discriminatory laws and removing obstacles blocking refugees’ access to employment and essential services.” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and the Occupied Palestinian Territories are trapped in a cycle of deprivation and systematic discrimination with no end in sight. For many of them life is full of suffocating restrictions and has become a living hell,”
Amnesty International’s dedicated Nakba website 70+ Years of Suffocation showcases powerful images and testimonies that tell the heartbreaking stories of Palestinian refugees.
A decision by the US authorities in 2018 to cut funding to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), which provides essential services, including health care, education, emergency assistance and jobs, to millions of Palestinian refugees has put further strain on their lives.
“The situation for Palestinian refugees is untenable and grows closer to breaking point with every year that passes. How much longer can Palestinian refugees be expected to be condemned to a life of suffering, deprivation and discrimination simply because of their origin?” said Philip Luther.
According to Aljazeera, Israel continues to imprison millions of Palestinians behind walls in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and keep the Palestinian minority within its borders under an apartheid regime. It also continues to propagate myths and false claims in order to justify flaunting international law and continuing the victimisation of Palestinians.
No one denies that Jews have the right to live in safety, but why should the solution to a tragedy they faced produce a tragedy for another people? The establishing of the "safe haven", the way it was done in 1948 and ever since, has resulted in mass ethnic cleansing and incremental genocide of Palestinians. The Palestinian people have faced one massacre after another over the past seven decades and as a result, they have no "safe haven" of their own. The struggle is against occupation and apartheid, and not for the oppression and ethnic cleansing of Israeli Jews.