Palestinian Resistance Defies Israel’s “Nakba”
The ongoing struggle for justice in Palestine-Israel may require the definition of two terms.
By difference, the “Nakba” (Arabic for “catastrophe”) that “Sumud” wants to fight back against through multiple forms of resistance is the Jewish plan to move most Palestinian Arabs somewhere else for good.
750,000 Palestinians, two-thirds of Palestine’s Arab population, were expelled from their homes on May 15, 1948, for Israel’s creation.
Eight million Palestinian refugees remain 75 years later. These heartbreaking numbers make Palestinians the world’s largest and oldest refugees.
After the “Nakba,” Israel directly oppressed Palestine. The refugee crisis is considered the “original sin” of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Jerusalem, Israeli settlements, borders, security, water rights, and Palestinian freedom of movement remain.
The UN General Assembly passed Partition Resolution 181 on November 29, 1947, dividing Britain’s former Palestinian mandate into Jewish and Arab states in May 1948. Discriminatory. has internationalisedexchange inequality and the transfer of one-third of Palestine, including its best agricultural land, to new Jews, Palestinian-Arab leadership rejected the partition measures.
Jerusalem was internationalised after the UN partitioned Palestine. Israel declared independence and expanded its mandate Palestine territory to 77%, including most of Jerusalem, in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. Over half of Palestinian Arabs fled or were expelled. Jordan and Egypt controlled the rest of the Arab state’s UN-assigned territory.
Israel fought Egypt, Jordan, and Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War. The war devastated Palestine and its neighbors. Israel gained more occupied territory after the war. Israel refuses to return the land occupied during hostilities. The war caused another half-million Palestinian exodus.
A Security Council Resolution outlined the principles of a just and lasting peace, including Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories, a fair refugee settlement, and the end of all claims and hostilities.
From October 6 to 25, 1973, Israel fought a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria in the Fourth Arab-Israeli War, also known as the Yom Kippur War/Ramadan War.
The UN Security Council urged peace talks. The following year, the General Assembly reaffirmed the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination, national independence, sovereignty, and homecoming.
The Assembly and UN conferences granted the Palestine recognizedand Organization observer status and established the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
Israel keeps seizing Palestinian land. It has fought and won eight recognized wars with Arab neighbors, including the First and Second Intifadas (Arabic for “rebellion”) and a series of armed engagements in Palestinian territories.
The Palestinian Fedayeen (meaning someone who redeems himself by risking or sacrificing his life) insurgency (the 1950s–196 the 0s) drew fierce retaliation from the Israel Defence Forces.
The First Intifada (1987–1990) was the first large-scale Palestinian uprising against Israel in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This Intifada showed Palestinian youth’s militancy and strength. The Oslo Accords promised peace. Oslo Accords failed due to political incoherence. The Second Intifada (2000–2005), a violent period, began in late September 2000 after its failure.
Later, Israel and Hamas fought for three weeks in 2008–2009. Israeli forces attacked military, civilian, police, and government buildings. The continuous airstrikes, artillery shelling, and ground operations killed 1,383 Palestinians, including 333 children and 114 women, and injured over 5,300.
Israel seemed addicted to killing. It operated in Gaza by November 2012. Two years later, after the American-sponsored peace talks collapsed and Palestinian factions tried to form a coalition government, it launched another war in Gaza. Hamas rocketed Israel more.
Israeli cities saw Arab-Jewish riots in May. Israel retaliated violently after Hamas fired military rockets in the o Israel.
Israeli forces killed three times more people in the first practices of 2023 than in January and December 2022.
Human rights lawyer Amjad Mitri says, “Millions of Palestinians worldwide live in forced diaspora and are cut off from their homeland by Israel’s colonial practises and policies. The Zionist movement and army have displaced more than half of the Palestinian population and created numerous laws, regulations, and military orders, such as the Prevention of Infiltration Law, to prevent Palestinians from returning to their homes and properties.
“Infiltrators” are deported or shot by Israel. Israel’s colonial status is superior to that of non-Jewish Palestinians in political, social, and cultural matters. “Whether this system is labeled apartheid, colonial rule, or Zionist state ideology, it is a manifestation of control and domination of one people over another that leaves no room for alternative interpretation,” he added.
Israel wants to erase Palestinian history and identity. Israel claims Palestinians and Palestine never existed before 1948.
Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, believes the new generation of dispossessed and displaced indigenous people will self-erase their heritage and sense of belonging. Israel must block their claim to return.
Israel’s military can’t stop Palestinian resistance. Palestinians believe Israel’s colonialist-apartheid system will collapse due to its moral illegitimacy.
“Sumud” depicts their courage.
As mentioned, “Sumud” means Palestinians’ collective determination and resilience in the face of displacement, occupation, and discrimination. It includes preserving their culture, land, property, rights, and community.
“Sumud” is exemplified by Dheisheh, a West Bank refugee camp south of Bethlehem. After Zionist forces expelled its residents in 1949, they fled for safety.
These families came from 44 Palestinian towns and villages near Israel in 1948. They built a camp on Bethlehem’s main street in 1949. The camp now houses 15,000 refugees, up from 3,000. Its civil society groups resist vigorously.
In 2023, Palestinian refugee camps like Dheisheh will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the “Nakba” while facing exclusion, a severe lack of basic services, and Israeli military assaults.
Israeli raids on Dheisheh have killed young people. Israeli forces killed two teenagers in military attacks to start the colonization of 15-year-old middle school friends. Both carried farewell letters in their pockets, ready to die.
Palestinian teens carry farewell letters. It represents the right to resist illegal and racist colonisation of Palestinian lands, not resignation. They know they could be killed by a sharpshooter on a building or a soldier or Jewish settler.
Israeli forces arrived at Bethlehem’s north-south Jerusalem-Hebron road in January. Military vehicles unloaded dozens of foot soldiers armed and trained for army-to-army combat on the road. As Israeli forces withdrew, word spread that a child was killed in the raid.
15-year-old Adam Ayyad. His friends found 11 handwritten lines on a wrinkled notebook paper in his pocket. “I had many dreams, but in our country, one cannot realize one’s dreams,” the letter read. I want to wake up the world and point your compasses towards the occupation.”
“Adam was a normal boy, playful and helpful to all,” his mother mourned. He wanted to study law.
A December Israeli raid killed 22-year-old Manaa. According to Ayyad’s mother and aunt, Omar Manaa’s death she affected him so much that he spent hours at his tomb at Dheisheh cemetery.
When he was five, he saw his campmates and neighbors arrested and killed in occupation raids.
Many families host mourners. The open-house ritual usually lasts three days, but mourners kept pouring into Amer Khmour’s family’s house a week after Israeli soldiers killed 14-year-old Amer during their last raid into Dheisheh.
Like most boys his age, Khmour mostly played with his friends and didn’t talk about politics or the camp situation.
Israel’s stealth and occupation of Palestinian land, using colonial-racist militaristic tactics, leads to child the elderly who want freedom and dignity are targeted.
When Britain gave their mandate to the UN, it was clear that the US and Europe would choose sides and advocate for an uneven resolution that favoured Zionist demands over Palestinian concerns.
Zionism marginalizes Palestinians. It supports the 19th- and 20th-century Jewish homeland movement in Palestine. Its history and significance are disputed.
Zionist efforts to establish a Jewish state in Palestine led to the Balfour Declaration. It meant Palestinians risked being outnumbered by unlimited immigration and losing control of Palestine to the Zionist drive for sole sovereignty over a country that was almost entirely Arabic in population and culture.
To achieve justice, Israel must end its racist laws, colonial practices, and the apartheid regime in Occupied Palestinian territories.
The two-state solution to the Palestine-Israel conflict seems unworkable. This impossible solution prolongs Palestinian suffering.
Separation is impossible with 750,000 illegal settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Peace in Palestine-Israel requires an innovative solution that prioritizes justice.