Don’t forget the Nakba

May 29, 2023
Combination Israel flag and Palestine flag for both countries have politic conflict and military war concept.

With the passing of the 75th remembrance of the Nakba this May, Palestine and its Occupation can often be forgotten from one May to another.

May will come around next year, the Palestinian flag will be waved, Palestinian supporters will rightfully demonstrate in capital cities around the world while the US and UK recommence their hand wringing and feigned grief at the situation. But they do nothing to alleviate the oppression of the Palestinians in Gaza and the Occupied Territories from one May to the next. Even with our best intentions there’s an awareness threshold and it can expire by the end of the last headline; especially if we do not have to live the horror of Occupation or refugee status.

When the voice of one side of an argument is swept under the carpet whilst the vociferous cries from the other are given disproportionate weight and value, there is an injustice heaped upon the ignored. Israel’s cries are usually heard louder and wider throughout media as the Palestinian voice is muffled by disregard.

The two ends on the spectrum of diplomacy and aggression in Palestine-Israel have not solved what is a human problem and we should not forget about this issue from this May to the next. The oft touted ‘complex situation’ of the Middle East makes it sound like it’s utterly impossible to broker peace. Yet it is only humans who created the chaos; humans can fix it. A different narrative is required to prompt action against an Occupation which is anachronistic to our enlightened, modern world and counter to what younger generations strive for.

The United Nations have recognised the Palestinian Nakba (the Catastrophe) after 75 years, marking a decisive moment that corresponds to the desire for self-determination and human rights for all. Why have the UK and the US refused to recognise this? The former is the country which implemented the Balfour Declaration in 1917 and the latter is the country that has aided and abetted in the denial of the rights of the Palestinians. The UK and the US are perhaps the two countries which should unravel the chaos and injustice of the region, since it is they who created it then furnished it with financial, military and economic support. Is their inaction the result of guilt, greed or just atypical war games?

Israel’s declaration of independence states the “natural right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate, like all other nations, in their own sovereign state”, (my italics). Somehow Israel deviated to negate the rights of other nations. They even use the word “catastrophe” in their Declaration to describe the massacre of millions of Jews in Europe, but do not acknowledge the other catastrophe – the Nakba.

The Declaration goes on to read, “We extend our hand to all neighbouring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighbourliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help with the sovereign Jewish people settled in its own land.” There’s a bit of a problem with this statement. Firstly, it wasn’t their land to begin with, and secondly, it’s a bit foggy as to what offers of peace and good neighbourliness they’ve made since they Occupied Palestinians. Were they expecting Jordan, Lebanon and Syria to take the Palestinians they expelled, and then ask those nations to shake hands? And how do they justify ignoring their immediate neighbours, the Palestinians? It would be a hard call to take someone’s land, home and future and then expect goodwill and a handshake and to join in a group chorus of Kumbaya.

We must not forget and look away from one May to the next May. The blatant disparity and cruelty inflicted on people by people who know only too well what it feels like to be stripped of their rights as humans, cannot be ignored for much longer. A call to the hearts of humans for Palestinian justice and safety is the same call that Jews made to the world to give them safe haven after their catastrophe.

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