Sat 22-June-2024

The Nakba is an ongoing crime against humanity

Friday 17-May-2024

By Sayid Marcos Tenório

As we remember the 1948 Nakba today, 15 May, I want to reiterate yet again that events in the late 1940s, which have never really ended, are the root cause of what happened on 7 October last year. The Nakba — “Catastrophe” — describes the ethnic cleansing of Palestine by Zionist terrorists before and after the “declaration of independence” of the occupation state of Israel on 14 May, 1948. Those terrorists gangs formed the nucleus of the so-called Israel Defense Forces.

After the UN approved the illegal and unjust Partition Plan in November 1947, the Jewish state was allocated approximately 55 per cent of the best land in historic Palestine, even though Jews owned less than six per cent of the private land in the country. Jews living in Palestine represented about 33 per cent of the population, with a large percentage of them being immigrants who had arrived from Europe in waves since the beginning of the 20th century, especially immediately after the Second World War.

The Nakba saw Palestinian villages occupied, destroyed and looted, their residents expelled or killed by the well-armed Jewish forces — many of them British-trained, ironically — after an agreement between the Zionist representative in New York, Moshe Sherlak, and the Soviet Union’s Andrei Gromyko. This deal allowed modern weapons to be sent to Zionist militias by Czechoslovakia, which was under occupation by the Soviet army.

What was seen from that process was the destruction of more than 500 Palestinian towns and villages and the expulsion of 800,000 Palestinians, more than the entire Jewish population in Palestine at that time. They lost their homes and their property, and while some were displaced within their own land, others became refugees in neighboring countries. Palestine was subjected to a process of land annexation, ethnic cleansing, racial discrimination and the Judaization of Jerusalem, as well as the theft of national resources and assets.

The colonization of the land began immediately, and has not stopped. The goal is the complete destruction of Palestine and uprooting of its people. When the first phase of the Nakba was completed by Zionist forces, the “Jewish State” comprised 78 per cent of historic Palestine (much more than the 55 per cent envisaged by the UN Partition Plan), leaving only the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, which were under the control of Jordan and Egypt respectively.

By brutally attacking the indigenous people through ethnic cleansing, murder, displacement, and siege for the past 76 years, Israel seeks to impose a fait accompli in the face of international law and UN resolutions, and in blatant defiance of world opinion. Occupation is, by default, an aggressive act. Throughout this apparently permanent aggression, the Palestinian people not only have the right, but also have little option but to resist Israel’s occupation by any means, “including armed struggle”, and its attacks on Palestinian land, people, resources and holy places.

The Nakba is the prime cause of the evil that is affecting the Palestinians to this day.

Israel continues to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity, including the crime of apartheid. It should have been no surprise to anyone with a conscience, therefore, when the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, and other Palestinian resistance forces launched Operation Al-Aqsa Flood last October. They broke out of what has been described as a “prison camp”, having been under an Israeli-led siege and blockade since 2006.

That was a watershed moment which has triggered an outpouring of solidarity around the world in disgust at the criminal Israeli genocide that we have witnessed in real time since 7 October. This solidarity has also helped to expose the Zionist-friendly regimes in the US, Europe and the Middle East who are complicit in the genocide, not least the Arab collaborators.

The symmetry between the events of 1948 with what we are currently witnessing in Gaza and the West Bank is obvious. The terrorists behind the state of Israel massacring Palestinians and destroying civilian infrastructure are looking to “finish the job” started by David Ben Gurion and his fellow criminals and eradicate the indigenous people, seizing the rest of their land for the expansion of the colonial project and absolute Jewish supremacy in Palestine.

The settler-colonialists are not having things all their own way, though. Despite the high price paid in lives and destruction, the Palestinian resistance has been fierce and determined in shattering the myth of the invincibility (and “morality”) of the Zionist occupation forces. With justice and international law on their side, the resistance groups have shamed those behind the genocidal war against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, not least its backers in the US, the UK, Europe and the Arab world.

The international political order has been shaken to its core, not only by the steadfast Palestinian resistance, but also by the solidarity of so many people of all backgrounds around the world.

The student protests and mass demonstrations in universities and cities on every continent are clear that this is a movement against Zionism. They reject attempts to conflate legitimate criticism and condemnation of the Zionist state with criminal anti-Semitism. It is indeed a historic moment in time.

The protesters standing up for international law and justice know that Zionism is not Judaism; that not all Jews are Zionists, and not all Zionists are Jews; and that the Zionist state is a colonial entity in an era when colonialism is supposed to have been an aberration of the past. They also know that Jews and Judaism are used to shield Zionist crimes against humanity.

Racist Nazism which, incredibly, has inspired some Zionists, was defeated by Western armies and resistance groups in Europe. The dark years of racist apartheid in South Africa were ended by the selfless resistance struggle of its people. So too will Zionism and its racist supremacism be defeated in occupied Palestine by resistance on all levels. The Palestinians cannot be the perennial victims of a nefarious model of colonialism, oppression and extermination of an indigenous people.

The Nakba is an ongoing crime against humanity. It is imperative for humanity to bring it to an end.

-Sayid Marcos Tenório is a historian and specialist in international relations. He is vice president of the Brazil-Palestine Institute (Ibraspal) and author of the book Palestina: do mito da terra prometida à terra da resistência (Palestine: the myth of the promised land to the land of resistance). His article appeared in MEMO.

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