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Al Nakba – The “Catastrophe” Palestine 1948

The 1948 Palestinian exodus, referred to by most Palestinians and Arabs as Al Nakba, meaning the "disaster" or "catastrophe", refers to the expulsion and dispossession of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes and lands during the time of the founding of the State of Israel and the 1967 War [Arab-Israeli War]. In 1948 more than 60 percent of the total Palestinian population was expelled. More than 530 Palestinian villages were depopulated and completely destroyed. There are estimates of between 4 and 6 million Palestinian refugees worldwide, which includes approximately 250,000 internally displaced Palestinians. [Estimates vary because of lack of registration and different manners of registering by the UN, etc.] http://electronicintifada.net/bytopic/171.shtml

The majority of the refugees still live within 100 km of the borders of Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip where their homes of origin are located. More than one and a quarter million Palestinian refugees live in 59 official refugee camps located in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. There are a smaller number of unofficial refugee camps. A large number of Palestinians have remained in camps after more than 50 years of exile due to several factors: family and village support structure in the camp; lack of resources for appropriate accommodations outside the camp; legal, political, and social obstacles; and physical safety. www.badil.org/Refugees/facts&figures.htm

Historians have argued over the causes of the Palestinian exodus. Some “pro-Israel” historians tend to say that the Palestinians left because they were ordered to and deliberately panicked by their own leaders, who wanted the area cleared for the 1948 war. “Pro-Arab and Palestinian” historians charge that the Palestinians were evicted at bayonet-point and deliberately incited to hysteria by the Zionists. Since the 1980s, Israeli "New Historians" have presented another viewpoint suggesting the deliberate displacement of Palestinians was a coordinated plan. [The New Historians are Israeli historians of 1948 Palestine. Much of their primary source material is from declassified Israeli government papers. They include Benny Morris, Ilan Pappe, Avi Shlaim, Tom Segev, and Simha Flapan. Some hold conservative political views, supporting expulsions.]

[For an interview with Benny Morris: www.pij.org/details.php?id=597">http://www.pij.org/details.php?id=597">www.pij.org/details.php?id=597

For a debate on the topic by Benny Morris, Norman Finklestein and Saree Makdisi:

Israelis celebrated 60 years of independence the week of May 8th. They invited foreign dignitaries, including President Bush, who was more than pleased with his warm welcome. Jewish people from across the globe came to celebrate the foundation of the nation of Israel. These visiting Jews were enthusiastically received with signs along the highways inviting them to make their home is Israel/Palestine.

Throughout Palestine, Palestinians remembered Al Nakba on May 15th by demonstrations, dancing, music, and workshops. In several locations, Palestinians flew a total of 21,915 black balloons equal to the days since the Nakba took place. [www.imemc.org/article/54877] One man told the MPTers that because Palestinians were such wonderful welcomers they are no longer welcome in our own country.

MPTers went to two remembrances of Al Nakba in sites in or near Bethlehem. The first was near the wall in the Aida Refugee camp. Here several hundred black balloons were sent up.

The sufferings of the Nakba are lived daily in the crowded refugee camp of Aida.

A few of the 21,915 black balloons flown
[one for each day of the 60 years of Nakba commemorated].

Black balloons float over the huge key near the camp. The key symbolizes the old keys to their homes taken during the Nakba that many Palestinians still have.

Under the hot sun, children dance traditional Palestinian dances.

This vigorous dance keeps hope alive in the hearts of the children and their parents.

The writing on the three-story illegal apartheid wall near the Aida refugee camp brings a strong message for the people of the world.

In the second remembrance, located in Al Khadr, the men prayed nonviolently on the road near the land confiscated from the village and then marched toward the end of the road leading out of Bethlehem where they were met by armed Israeli soldiers and coiled barbed wire.

Armed Israeli soldiers post sentinel on the cliffs overlooking the road on which the prayerful nonviolent protest is held.

About 125 Palestinians, Israeli peace activists, and Internationals were present at the prayer and protest.

Eric, MPTer, [red shirt and cap] sits reflectively behind the praying men.

As the group moves slowly forward, the Israeli soldiers placed a barbed wire coil as a block in the road. [Martha, MPTer, is wearing the straw hat.]

Young demonstrators sat quietly in front of the barb wire coil and the armed Israeli soldiers and jeeps.
Older demonstrators protest the construction of the illegal apartheid wall at the edge of their town which will expropriate more than 5000 acres of land, making life more intolerable for this predominantly agricultural community. [www.israel-academia-monitor.com]

What are the thoughts of these young Israeli soldiers?


Ron said...

Eric thanks for the postings! Thanks for sharing what you are experiencing while being there. May God's Holy Spirit keep you and the team safe.

Ojalanpoika said...

Jeru-salaam, -shalom & -salem,

Could you kindly comment, whether my details are correct in a dissident essay concerning the recent scaling up of production in the Israeli high Tech companies in:
http://www.helsinki.fi/~pjojala/Expelled-Jews-statistics.htm ?

E.g. "...Before the Second Intifada, there were nearly 200 Israeli companies listed in the Nasdaq, at the Intifada the count dropped to 70. (The number is still greater than from all the European countries combined). It is said that the dollars are green since the Americans pull them down from the tree raw and fresh. The start-ups are imported straight from the garage, and scaling up of production in the "conflict hotspot" has been considered impossible. But the new Millennium has brought a change in tide.

As an example, the supranational Intel transferred the mass production of Centricon-processors to Israel, where ~20% of citizens possess university decrees (ranking 3rd in the world) but where the environment respects patents and are not plagiating every item they produce to others like the rocketting China. Intel was also offered an overall tax rate of 10%, which is about three times lower than that of US.

Also, the biggest generic drug factory in the world was recently established in Israel. Generating US$7 billion in annual revenues, Israel's Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (TEVA) is the world's largest generic pharmaceutical company. That is: to cure people with less money. TEVA makes generic versions of brand-name antibiotics, heart drugs, heartburn medications, and more - in all close to 200 global generic products, 700 compounds, and more than 2800 dosage forms and formulations. TEVA's pharmaceuticals are used in some 20% of U.S. generic drug prescriptions. Examples of TEVA's generics include lower-cost equivalents of such blockbusters as anti-depressant Prozac and cholesterol drug Mevacor. Nevertheless, in biotechnology and original drug development, about 400 experimental Israeli drugs have been approved or accepted in clinical phases.

The population of Arabs under the Israeli government increased ten-fold in only 57 years. Palestinian life expectancy increased from 48 to 72 years in 1967-95. The death rate decreased by over 2/3 in 1970-90 and the Israeli medical campaigns decreased the child death rate from a level of 60 per 1000 in 1968 to 15 per 1000 in 2000 at the Westbank. (An analogous figure was 64 in Iraq, 40 in Egypt, 23 in Jordan, and 22 in Syria in 2000). During 1967-88 the amount of comprehensive schoold and second level polytechnic institutes for the Arabs was increased by 35%. During 1970-86 the proportion of Palestinian women at the West Bank and Gaza not having gone to school decreased from 67 % to 32 %. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita in West Bank and Gaza increased in 1968-1991 from 165 US dollars to 1715 dollars (compare with 1630$ in Turkey, 1440$ in Tunis, 1050$ in Jordan, 800$ in Syria, 600$ in Egypt. and 400$ in Yemen)..."

Recovering from hemorrhage in the left hemisphere of the brain,
Pauli.Ojala@gmail.com, evolutionary critic
Biochemist, drop-out (MSci-Master of Sciing)
Helsinki, Finland