Justice advocates remembered the forced displacement of nearly one million Palestinians from their homeland by European Jews taking territory for a Jewish homeland, under a racist political ideology of the 19th Century called Zionism. The move happened 75 years ago; however, its aftermath of bloodshed and generations of turmoil lingers. Remembering the atrocity, every year Palestinians acknowledge May 15 as Nakba Day.
Nakba means “catastrophe” in English. For Palestinians and supporters, it is a day to say never forget, continue fighting and raising global awareness that European Zionists, facilitated by the international community, implemented a strategy of ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in May 1948. Activists say the struggle for the Palestinian right to return and self-determination against Jewish settler-colonialism continues.
“We say the Nakba is ongoing, that it didn’t just happen in 1948 and then end,” said Muhammad Sankari, an organizer with the U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN), a Palestinian and Arab community-based organization in Chicago.
“It’s to this very day, the continued encroachment by the Israelis on more and more Palestinian land, expansion of settlement, the continued ethnic cleansing. This is all the ongoing Nakba,” he explained.
The catastrophe happened under the watchful eye and implicit support of the United Nations and its earlier iteration, the League of Nations, led primarily by Britain and the United States. To the band of international culprits, aiding and abetting European Zionists to usurp Palestinian land was political play. But for deposed Palestinians who suffered years of marginalization and repression afterward, it was nothing less than an organized and calculated massacre.
A new generation picks up the mantle
Multiple generations have passed since the ethnic cleansing of 800,000 people in an ongoing process that this generation is also living through as well, Mr. Sankari told The Final Call. That’s one level of it, he explained. However, more deeply, the time length shows the resilience and success of Palestinians to keep the story of the Nakba, and the desire of return, alive amongst the new generation. “And this new generation has picked up that mantle,” said Mr. Sankari.
Young Palestinians living in refugee camps around the world, but especially in the West Bank and Gaza, are saying: “Maybe my grandparents” and “great grandparents were forced out, but my generation is going to be the one that returns.”
The Chicago-based activist expressed confidence about the ultimate victory for the oppressed. Understanding the history and what resistance fighters are up against, and although settler colonial states can take over 100 years to collapse—they do collapse.
“Knowing that, it’s not simply an issue of one generation or the next generation succeeding or failing, it’s about continuing the mantle of struggle until we achieve liberation and return,” he explained. “That’s the context in which young people in Palestine are being activated,” added Mr. Sankari.
“Every generation must discover its mission and decide to fulfill it or betray it,” he said, quoting Frantz Fanon, the Afro-Caribbean psychiatrist and political philosopher.
The mission of this generation of Palestinians is to understand how, under difficult circumstances, to continue fighting for liberation, with what many see as a compromised Palestinian Authority, and right-wing extremism of the Israeli settler project, in an increasingly reactionary region. “I think that they’ve discovered what their job is and now they’re fulfilling it,” noted Mr. Sankari.
Others pointed out that for Palestinians, Nakba Day is not a celebration or some distant event for the history books.
“I grew up as a refugee,” said Wafic Faour, member of Vermonters for Justice in Palestine, in a telephone interview with The Final Call. “Both my father and my mother, they became refugees in 1948,” he said. Nakba Day is “not a commemoration” for him nor his family still living in a refugee camp in Lebanon.
“It is every day,” agreed Mr. Faour. “Every day in the Palestinian life is a Nakba,” he added.
While many look at 75 years ago, which also brought in Israel as a state, the worsening enmity between the occupiers and the occupied in the last 75 weeks tells the story.
Israeli forces killed 151 Palestinians in the West Bank, including 35 children, in 2022, according to United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, more than in any other year since the UN began systematically recording fatalities in 2005. Israeli forces routinely use excessive or unnecessary lethal force against Palestinian civilians and are rarely held accountable.
Just between the dates of May 9-13, the UN verified 33 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip. At least 12 were civilians, including four girls, two boys, four women and two men. The UN said Israeli and Palestinian sources said three were killed by short-falling rockets. The Ministry of Health in Gaza reported 190 Palestinians were injured within the coastal enclave, including 64 children and 38 women.
In Israel, one Israeli woman and a Palestinian worker died in rocket fire. At least 40 physical injuries were reported by Israeli medical sources. The same period saw 688 Palestinians, including 72 children, injured by Israeli forces across the West Bank and 54 shot with live ammunition. Of the injuries, 516 were reported during nine search-and-arrest and other operations of Israeli forces.
That’s only a snapshot. Before the advent of European Jews and the Zionist agenda of boosting land and ethnic cleansing, Palestinians, Christians, Muslims, and Jews lived in relative peace. But since 1948, the name Palestinian has become synonymous with “refugee” or “under occupation” in one way or another, said Mr. Faour.
‘No difference between White supremacy and Jewish Zionist supremacy’
An endorsement was given to Nakba Day in 2023 from the halls of the UN for the first time, which held a “High-Level Special Meeting” on May 15 with a keynote message by Mahmoud Abbas, president of the State of Palestine. The UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) commemorated the 75th anniversary of the Nakba at UN headquarters in New York.
Mr. Abbas said the tragedy constitutes a scar on humanity and Israel and the nations involved should bear responsibility. “The main step that the Israeli government should take is to acknowledge, with its partners its responsibility for this Nakba … for the killing … the displacement … the destruction,” Mr. Abbas said.
“We demand today officially, in accordance with international law and international resolutions, to make sure that Israel respects these resolutions or suspend Israel’s membership of the UN,” he said, referring to UN resolutions over the years that Palestinians view as guaranteeing their rights.
“We will be sending thousands and thousands of complaints to the International Criminal Court,” warned Mr. Abbas, if Israel and its partners, decline accountability for the Nakba. With worldwide observances the “Palestinian narrative is only now starting to find its way into the consciousness of countries by countering the false Israeli narrative,” he stated.
Many countries acknowledged the Nakba, notwithstanding efforts by Israel to thwart participation and advising nations not to participate, including the U.S., which yielded. Despite an occasional wrist-slapping of Israel, America’s “look the other way” posture remained with their unwavering financial, diplomatic, and military support. Also missing was the United Kingdom and Germany. The U.S. and the UK were among 30 countries that voted against a UN General Assembly resolution in December to adopt this year’s commemoration.
In a May 15 statement, Israel’s UN ambassador, Gilad Erdan, called the UN recognition “shameful” and harms efforts for a peaceful solution to the Palestine/Israel problem.
“Attending this despicable event means destroying any chance of peace by adopting the Palestinian narrative calling the establishment of the state of Israel a disaster while ignoring Palestinian hate, incitement, terror, and refusal to accept the legitimacy of a Jewish state,” he said.
For Israel, recognizing Nakba means delegitimizing Israel. But “for us … denial of the Nakba (is) no different than the denial of the Holocaust for them,” argued Mr. Faour.
Anybody who denies the Jewish holocaust is branded anti-Semitic and anti-Jewish. Israelis deny that Nakba, where land was appropriated by aggression, and Palestinians were made refugees had happened. “It’s unbelievable,” said Mr. Faour.
Analysts say it’s Zionism 101 where any criticism of Jewish misbehavior or Israel’s human rights atrocities, attack dogs of Jewish organizations scream “anti-Semitism” and jerks the bells and whistles for censoring the critic. The modus operandi of the Zionist State has been to treat Palestinians as nonexistent and to continue expulsion, say observers. Historically they howled about Arabs pushing them to the sea, while they violently pushed Palestinians to the desert.
“There is no difference between White supremacy and Jewish Zionist supremacy,” Mr. Faour previously told The Final Call.
Peace rests on the question of justice
People must speak straight, not fearing the weaponization of “anti-Semitism” as a false charge against the truth, said the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam, who has been falsely labeled anti-Semitic.
Truth-tellers like Minister Farrakhan have warned nations that supported Zionists implanting themselves in another people’s land and the disastrous consequences of ongoing injustices rooted in lies and thievery. Minister Farrakhan and his teacher, the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, cautioned from scripture that every nation will be judged out of their own books and recorded deeds.
Both their good and evil actions will be weighed on the scale of justice ultimately by the God of justice. Peace rests on the question of justice. Since the arrival of the European Jews, they have been disagreeable to live with in peace, they have warned. “Some of your own scholars say you are not even connected to the land called Palestine,” said Minister Farrakhan in Part 19 of a yearlong lecture series called, “The Time and What Must Be Done” in 2013.
“That you, the Ashkenazi Jewish people are Europeans; and the ‘Ashkenazi’ name comes from the Hebrew language, which roots back to German. You didn’t speak Hebrew! You spoke Yiddish—a dialect of German!”
The Minister was answering the false charges of anti-Semitism hurled at him. Minister Farrakhan explained these were Europeans from Khazaria—in southern Russia—who converted to Judaism. “Now look at your behavior since you have taken land from the Palestinians who have been there,” Minister Farrakhan said. “They’ve been there for centuries. They’re the real Semites … look at how you’ve treated them.”
In his illuminating book, “The Fall of America,” the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, wrote about the dreadful results of imposing Israel on Palestine. “America and England deposited their little brother, Israel, on foreign soil, Palestine, which is Arab land. They deprived the Arabs of their own land and sent them into exile,” wrote Mr. Muhammad.
“This injustice against the Arabs is now costing America the power and authority that she once exercised in the East. She is on her way out of the Near East. This means bloodshed and plenty of it.”
The escalation of violence in the region is proof positive that Minister Farrakhan and the Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s warning is spot on. Their words speak to the present actions and future outcomes for the region, America, and White World rule.
“In the Near East, there stand navies which are neither American nor British,” said Elijah Muhammad, to drive America out. The skies over there are beginning to thicken with foreign planes, carrying deadly weapons, guns, and bombs.
“They will not be satisfied as long as Israel is in Palestine. The boil has come to a bursting point. We are in a troubled world. We are in a world that is now erupting,” Elijah Muhammad reasoned.
Pro-Palestinian voices of justice expressed determination to see the struggle to the end. They say the “winds of change are slowly blowing” and opposition is growing against U.S. support for Israeli apartheid and settler-colonialism, military funding, and diplomatic protection.
“We will not grow weary or silent so long as Palestinians continue to endure Israeli apartheid,” said a statement from American Muslims for Palestine.