Nakba’s 75-Year Legacy Marks Palestinian Identity

15 May 2024

Reflecting on the Nakba: A Solemn Commemoration

On a day heavy with history, Palestinians across various regions solemnly commemorated the 1948 “Nakba” on Wednesday. The date marks a pivotal moment when hundreds of thousands were dispossessed of their homes amid the conflict that accompanied the establishment of the state of Israel. The Nakba has been a defining experience for Palestinians for more than 75 years, deeply influencing their national identity and continuing to affect their relationship with Israel.

This year’s remembrance was particularly poignant due to the ongoing situation in Gaza. Approximately two million Palestinians find themselves in temporary shelters, a direct result of the Israeli military campaign that followed an attack by Hamas last October. The echoes of displacement resonate strongly, with many fearing the potential of a second Nakba, one that could see them uprooted from Gaza entirely.

For octogenarian Umm Mohammed, a survivor of the original Nakba, the current circumstances are unparalleled in their devastation. “Our homes have gone, our children have gone… nothing is left,” she lamented from her tent in Rafah. The recent Israeli campaign has wrought extensive destruction across Gaza, claiming over 35,000 Palestinian lives and displacing a majority of its inhabitants.

Amidst the rubble, the younger generations grapple with their heritage of loss. Faridah Abu Artema, 58, compares her parents’ tales of the first Nakba with today’s harsh reality. “This is destruction. They’ve destroyed us,” she stated from her tent near Rafah, underscoring the severity of the current crisis.

The annual Nakba day on May 15 traces back to the 1948 war’s onset, which erupted following Israel’s declaration of independence and the subsequent withdrawal of British forces from Palestine. The ensuing conflict led to the creation of refugee camps that have since evolved into urban townships scattered across the Middle East. Today, United Nations figures indicate that over 5.9 million Palestinians are registered as refugees, a testament to the enduring legacy of displacement.

Commemorative events stretched beyond Gaza, with demonstrations in Ramallah and marches in Jordan and Lebanon, where Palestinian flags flew high and signs bore the names of ancestral villages. Tragically, amidst these acts of remembrance, a young student from Bir Zeit University lost his life during a clash with Israeli forces.

As Palestinians marked another year since the Nakba, their resolve to keep the memory alive remains undiminished, even as they confront new challenges and uncertainties in their ongoing quest for identity and homeland.

Palestinians commemorated the 1948 "Nakba" on Wednesday, marking the time when hundreds of thousands were dispossessed of their homes in the war at the birth of the state of Israel

How did Palestinians mark the 1948 Nakba on Wednesday?

Palestinians commemorated the 1948 Nakba with rallies and events, reflecting on the displacement that occurred during the creation of Israel.

Can you explain how Nakba shapes Palestinian identity?

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