Learn About the Nakba

The year 2008 marks the 60th anniversary of the Nakba ("the catastrophe"): the expulsion and dispossession of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes and land in 1948.

In May 1948, Israel was declared a “Jewish state” despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of the indigenous population consisted of Palestinian Arabs, and the Jewish population was composed primarily of new immigrants. Shortly before the creation of the state of Israel, Zionist leader David Ben Gurion instituted "Plan Dalet" in order to change the demographic make-up of historic Palestine and secure physical control over the territory. As a result, thousands of Palestinians were massacred and approximately 75% of the total Palestinian population, over 800,000 people, was expelled. More than 530 Palestinian villages were depopulated and/or completely destroyed.

To date, and in violation of the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194, and the forth Geneva Human Rights Convention, Israel has prevented the return of approximately six million Palestinian refugees, who have either been expelled or displaced. Approximately 250,000 internally displaced Palestinian second-class citizens of Israel are prevented from returning to their homes and villages. Meanwhile, Israel grants citizenship and the right to “return” to Israel to any person of Jewish ancestry worldwide. This catastrophic event and continuing historic struggle for the Palestinians’ right of return is today commemorated as the Nakba.

Links and Resources on the Nakba: 

  • Project: The Nakba Archive - Video testimonies of Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon about the events of 1948.

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