6. The Nakba  النكبة

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Nakba definition

Learn more about the Nakba

• Background

Click here to go to IMEU's Quick Facts: The Palestinian Nakba Click here to go to IMEU's FAQ on the Right of Return & Palestinian Refugees

Click here to go to Jewish Voice for Peace's educational resources: “Facing the Nakba.” 


"A detail from a 1942 British Mandate map of Haifa, now a city in Israel. Courtesy of Palestine Open Maps” — "Mapping Palestine Before Israel" 

• Websites

PalestineRemembered.com was created “to preserve the memories and the experiences of the Palestinian people around the world, especially the 726,000 Palestinians refugees who were ethnically cleansed from their homes, farms, and businesses as a result of the 1948 war.”
Click here
to go to PalestineRemembered.com. Click here to go to Palestine Remembered’s Oral History Project [النسخة العربية].

Zochrot [“Remembering” in Hebrew] is a group of Israeli citizens working to raise awareness of the Nakba. Click here to go to Zochrot's website. Zochrot hosts tours of Palestinian places destroyed in 1947-1949. For most tours Zochrot produces a commemorative booklet; these booklets can be downloaded here for free. Zochrot's Nakba map [in Hebrew], which includes localities in the country which were destroyed between the Zionist colonization and the 1967 war, can be viewed and downloaded here. Zochrot’s study guide, “How Do We Say Nakba in Hebrew,” is both summarized in English, and is downloadable in its entirety [in Hebrew] here.

Nakba Archive is an oral history collective which has “recorded over 650 video interviews with first generation Palestinian refugees . . .  These eyewitness narratives, with refugees from more than 150 Palestinian villages and towns, recall social and cultural life in Palestine before 1948, relations with neighboring Jewish communities and the British Mandate, the 1948 expulsion, and the early years of exile. The aim has been to document this critical period through the voices and experiences of those who lived through it, and to bear witness in a way shaped not by political symbolism but rather by the rhythms of personal memory.
Click here to go to Nakba Archive.

UNRWA photo and film archive for Palestine refugees is a newly digitized collection of images and films taken by UNRWA photographers (and their predecessors) which “includes iconic images of Palestinians having to leave their homes, in 1948; the establishment of refugee camps, in the 1950s; the second flight, in 1967; the hostilities in Lebanon; and the unrest from the second half of the 1980s to the early twenty-first century. The lives of Palestine refugees are central to the archive, often in the context of UNRWA work, but its portraits of important public figures and scenes of turbulent political events serve as a reminder of the troubled context that has become part of the community's collective memory over the past six decades.” Click here to go to UNRWA photo and film archive for Palestine refugees. Also see UNRWA’s photo essay "‘The Long Journey of Palestine Refugees: A Chronology of Palestinian Displacement and Dispossession,’ May 15, 2015.

Palestine Land Society has assembled a valueable collection of resources focusing on the history of Palestine; it includes numerous maps of Palestine. Founded by Dr. Salman Abu Sitta, PLS builds upon his seminal work. Click here to go to the website for Palestine Land Society.

AlNakba.org was created by the Khalil Sakini Cultural Center as a visual rememberance of the events of the Nakba. 
Click here to go to Alnakba.org

The Discriminatory Laws in Israel Database, created by Adalah [The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel], collects text, analyses, and legal action for present and proposed discriminatory laws in Israel and the OPT. As noted by the US Campaign: “Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have now lived under a brutal military occupation for nearly forty six years [2013], and Palestinians in Israel live under apartheid—more than fifty laws enshrine their status as second class citizens based on their ethnic and religious identity. This resource from Adalah documents, explores, and analyzes the ongoing Nakba. Click here to go to The Discriminatory Laws in Israel Database [last update: 2017].

Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residence and Refugee Rights, an independent human rights NGO committed to protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons, has created a detailed FAQ about the Nakba and Palestinian refugees. Topics in the FAQ include: “Palestinian Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons: Demographics of Displacement,” Forced Displacement; Ongoing Nakba,” “Legal status of refugees and internally displaced persons,” Practicality of Return,” and So what can we do?” 

NakbaSurvivor.coma multi-media initiative of the Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU), features short, personal testimonials of refugees and their direct descendants. Palestinians all over the world are asked to upload video testimonials or contribute their stories on Twitter, using #NakbaSurvivor as the hashtag. The tweets show up in a live feed on the website. [ei] Click here to go to Nakbasurvivor.com.

Palestinian Return Centre is "an organisation in Consultative Status
with the UN Economic and Social Council since 2015. The organisation
focuses on the historical, political and legal aspects of the Palestinian
Refugees. The organisation offers expert advice to various actors and
agencies on the question of Palestinian Refugees within the context  of
the Nakba - the catastrophe following the forced displacement  of
Palestinians in 1948 - and serves as an information repository  on
other related aspects of the Palestine question and the Palestinian
Israeli conflict. It specialises in the research, analysis, and
monitoring of issues pertaining to the dispersed Palestinians and
their internationally recognised legal right to return.”


The Nakba and the Law, “a joint initiative of Adalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel and the Columbia University Center for Palestine Studies — explores and thinks through the Nakba as an event, a structure, and a process through a critical lens on the law. [The] blog, The Nakba Files, is the project’s online work and discussion space.” Click here to go to The Nakba and the Law.

The Nakba - In the Words of Palestinians is a series of articles posted online by the Institute for Palestine Studies, articles which "highlight our archival collection of articles on the personal experiences of the Nakba. Rather than tracing the arc of history with its attendant figures, facts, and dates; where the individual experience is consumed by the collective narration, these articles remind us that the grand narrative is drawn by countless stories of individual struggle and loss." Click here to go to The Nakba - In the Words of Palestinians.

Al-Nakba: 1948 Palestinian Exodus is a "guide which was created in support of The Palestinian Oral History Archives Project at AUB Libraries. The guide focuses on the various aspects of historiography of 1948 Palestinian Nakba and highlights selective library resources, projects and websites.” Click here to go to Al-Nakba: 1948 Palestinian Exodus.

Palestine Shrinking / Expanding Israel is an interactive website created by Visualizing Palestine. Click here to go to Palestine Shrinking / Expanding Israel.

Palestinian Journeys is "a project of the Palestinian Museum, in collaboration with the Institute for Palestine Studies and Visualizing Palestine….The online platform is currently divided into two parts: the “Timeline,” and the “Stories.” The Timeline content is an original creation of the Institute for Palestine Studies, while the Stories are original creations of the Palestinian Museum.” Click here to go to Palestinian Journeys.

Facing the Nakba, a web gallery developed and presented by Jewish Voice for Peace Artist Council, “offers educational resources to U.S. Jews and a general U.S. audience about the history of the Nakba … and its implications in Palestine/Israel today…. Based upon the study guide published by Israeli NGO Zochrot, entitled “How do you say Nakba in Hebrew? Facing the Nakba has developed a curriculum and teaching guide about the Nakba for use in workshops and classrooms across the U.S.” Click here to go to Facing the Nakba. Click here to download signs of all villages occupied between May 9-16, 1948.

Palestine Open Maps is a "new open-source project [which] uses British historical maps to reveal what Palestine looked like before 1948…. —and [allows one] to search for villages and towns from that era to find out whether they remain, were depopulated, or were built over.” Click here to go to Palestine Open Maps; click here to go to the article “Mapping Palestine Before Israel” which provides more background about Palestine Open Maps.

About the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Click here to learn about the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights.

Colored by Belal Khaled

Colored by Belal Khaled [Palestinian
photographer, senior videographer
@trtarabi, former photographer
@anadoluajansi …]

• Multimedia


Click on the book cover below to view the
first part of a four part
lecture by
Dr. Ilan Pappe
: The Ethnic Cleansing
of Palestine [2006; total time of all parts
combined: 39:18]. Dr. Pappe, Israeli
historian, is a graduate of Hebrew
University and of Oxford University.
Currently a professor at the University
of Exeter [UK], he was formerly the
chair of the Emil Touma Institute for
Palestinian and Israeli Studies in Haifa.
 Part 1  /  Part 2  /  Part 3  /  Part 4 ]

Cover of the book Ethnic Cleansing by Ilam Pappe

Click on the image below to view former
Palmach fighter Amnon Neuman
recounting the Nakba in 1948. The video
was produced by the Israeli organization

, and was posted to Mondoweiss.
A.N.: This happened everywhere. In
the South as well as the North.
Everywhere. This is the most important
point. The land was not empty as I was
told as a child. As children we were
told all sorts of stories. The land was
never empty….It was done by
given orders.

Click on the image below to view the BBC
In Search of Palestine ­­­‑
Edward Said
’s Return Home”  [50:13,
BBC: "For Palestinian expatriate
Edward Said, the return to his homeland
amounted to a painful inquiry into his
past. This program captures the
interconnection between Said
’s personal
recollections and the shared memory of
the Palestinian people. Far from ignoring
the contemporary realities of the Middle
East, Said’s perspective relates the ruins
of history to the complacent and
destructive policies of present-day
governments, and delivers a powerful
articulation of the weaknesses of
the Oslo accords.”


Click on the image below to view Sands
of Sorrow,
 [28:33, 1950] a newsreel-
style documentary about the Palestinain
refugees, introduced and closed by the
American journalist Dorothy Thompson. 

Click on the image below to view 
This land is our child,” [5:43; 2020]
with "Khadra Muhammad Hasan
al-Zuwaidi, 85, […] born in the
Palestinian village of Dimra….In
the video, al-Zuwaidi can see her
land across the boundaries of the
Gaza Strip, but cannot go there. 
we attempt to go now, we’d get
shot.” Al-Zuwaidi said villagers
mourn the land “the same way we
mourn a child in a grave.”

Click on the image below to view
Palestinian Village Histories:
Geographies of the Displaced,

[18:57, 2012] an interview with
Rochelle Davis, author and
Associate Professor of Cultural
Anthropology at Georgetown
University [Palestine Studies TV]. 

Click on the image below to
From Al-Araquib to Susiya,
a short film produced to mark Nakba
Day [15:00, 2013]. Produced by Adalah
(The Legal Center for Arab Minority
Rights in Israel) it 
“captures the stories
of two Palestinian villages, Al-Araqib
and Susiya — one in Israel, one in the
West Bank — that share a single story
of struggle against forced displacement.

Click on the image below to view
another lecture by Dr. Ilan 
The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine,
[59:58, Vancouver, 2008].

Click on the image below to view the video
Zochrot: Remembering the Nakba,
[9:30, 2008]. 
Zochrot is an organization
focuses on documenting and
commemorating the Nakba and realizing
the return of Palestinian refugees. The
name means “remembering” but its
meaning goes deeper than that. It is the
plural female form of remembering, which
is fitting because this, and many other
peace-focused organizations, is mainly
staffed by women.” — Zochrot

Click on the image below to view
the video 
“Remembering the Nakba
from Burj Barajneh refugee camp”
[4:22, 2016]. 
"In the Active Aging
House of Burj Barajneh, a Palestinian
refugee camp in Beirut, the Nakba
is still a vivid memory. Some of the
center-goers were in their childhood
when, in 1948, the ‘catastrophe’ had
befell the Palestinians and more than
750,000 were ousted from their homelands.
Around 110,000 took refuge in Lebanon
that. Marian, 68 years old, still
remembers those keys to her house.
Her parents were holding them in their
hands while telling her about al Safsaf,
the village in Galilee they used to live
in before the Nakba.” For more information
about this video follow
this link to an
article in Mondoweiss.

Click on the image below to view
the video 
“The Palestinian villages
buried under Galilee's tourist sites”
[26:03, 2015]. "In November 2015,
a group of Canadians spent a day
with journalist Jonathan Cook,
exploring the region of Galilee in
Israel.” ["A group of Canadians
travelled around the Galilee
in northern Israel visiting well
known tourist spots. Under each
one they found remains of destroyed
Palestinian villages.”] Click here for
more information about this tour.

Click on the image below to
watch the video "Palestinian Villages
Destroyed and Depopulated During
the Nakba” [9:16, 2010, music: Marcel
Khalife - The Bridge].

Click on the image below to watch
ei’s video “Another Nakba” [10:08,
2018]. “Our parents and grandparents
lived through it and now I am supposed
to live through it again,” said Atallah
Jahalin, a resident of Jabal al-Baba.
“We keep moving from Nakba to Nakba.” 

Click on the image below to watch
Rashid Khalidi’s lecture "The Hundred
Year War in Palestine” [1:43:13 /
the Centre for Palestine Studies
at SOAS University of London,
March 11, 2016]. Dr. Khalidi is
Edward Said Professor of Arab
Studies and Chairman of the
Department of History at
Columbia University.

Click on the image below to
view "Testimonies of Israelis
of the second and third generation
about the Nakba" [20:07]. [“Six
video testimonies taken by mobile
phone, 20 minutes. Israelis, from
the second and third generation
after the Nakba, describe events
from 1948 as told them first
generation Israelis. The
testimonies are photographed
by mobile phone in order to
demonstrate how everyone can
act as a witness to those events,
and take responsibility for
expanding our knowledge about it.
Anyone who wishes to give testimony
may write to: eitan@zochrot.org”;
Prod. Eitan Bronstein, Zochrot, 2012]

Click on the image below to watch
BADIL Resource Center's video
“Introduction to Practicalities of Return”
[2013]. “The right of return for Palestinian
refugees is a fundamental issue in the
realization of Palestinian rights, yet it is
always labeled as an unrealistic ‘obstacle’
by Israel and within the international
community. As a ‘right’ in both legal
and moral terms, the right of return
is undeniable, but what actually is
needed for its 
implementation? This
short documentary introduces some
of the questions around the issue
and presents some ideas for possible
solutions.” For further information see
Turning the Palestinian right of return
into a practical reality - video
,” by
Ali Abunimah, Electronic Intifada,
October 25, 2013.

Ilan Pappè: "History is Relevant:
The Israeli New History and its
Legacy,” September 13, 2018
Presented by: CWRU
Department of History and Social
Justice Institute.


"The Great Book Robbery" [Zochrot: "Was the appropriation
of Palestinian books and manuscripts in 1948 a case of
cultural theft or preservation?
”] The Great Book Robbery.
Dir. Benny Brunner; Arabic and Hebrew with English
2012; 47:59] 

Click on the image below to
view Al Jazeera 
World's 2013
revision to English of Lost Cities
of Palestine [47:06]. [Dir. Ramez
Kazmouz, Prod. Nizar Younes, 2011]

Click on the image below to
view Looted and Hidden:
Palestinian Archives in Israel [46:10].
[Dir. Rona Sela, 2017.] For more information
about this film see "Rona Sela on exposing
hidden Palestinian history. A researcher
of visual history, Sela uncovers records
of Palestinian existence and culture
hidden in Israeli archives,” Al Jazeera,
August 11, 2017. Excerpt: “Sela’s
research uncovered a different kind
of hidden history, one that tells of
Palestinian existence long before the
creation of Israel. Her new documentary
Looted and Hidden: Palestinian Archives
in Israel includes never-before-seen
visual images of Palestinian history
that the Israeli army looted from
archives in Beirut.” [If there is any
difficulty in viewing this film from my
 website, the film can easily be viewed
on Vimeo by following this link:

https://vimeo.com/213851191 ]

Interactive Map

Click on the image below to access Palestinain Oral History Map, “a means to navigate the POHA oral history platform, which contains over one thousand hours of oral testimonies from Palestinians who lived through the Nakba, describing everyday life and culture in Palestine before 1948, as well as their experiences of displacement and exile. The interactive map allows you to explore the testimonies based on the historic landmarks that they describe—from schools, hospitals and factories to rivers, valleys and mountains—and to see these in the context of detailed historic maps from the 1940s that Visualizing Palestine helped to make available through Palestine Open Maps (POM).” Click here to view a short [40”] video tour of Palestinian Oral History Map. 

iNakba App

Produced by Zochrot, “iNakba is a trilingual mobile
app (Arabic, Hebrew and English) based on GPS
Navigation technology. This app allows users to
locate and learn about Palestinian localities
destroyed during, and as a result of, the Nakba
since 1948.

The application provides coordinates and maps
of Palestinian localities that were completely
ruined, destroyed, obliterated after their capture,
partially demolished, or remained standing but
were depopulated and their residents expelled.
The app also provides historical information
and includes video clips and photographs of
these localities. The app is interactive; it allows
users to add pictures of the destroyed localities,
as well as share their comments and follow
updates about selected localities.”


Created by VisualizingPalestine in
May of 2013, the infographic below,
“An Ongoing Displacement: The
Forced Exile of the Palestinians,” 
visually commemorates and
“quantitatively catalogues the
multiple dimensions of
Palestinian displacement and loss
of land.” Click the image below for
a larger image to print and share.

Created by VisualizingPalestine in
May of 2015, the interractive
infographic linked to the image below,
Palestine Shrinking/Expanding Israel,
describes key stages in the
gradual transformation of historic
Palestine into 'Greater' Israel,
and maps the extent of the
territory now in the direct
possession of the Israeli state
and linked institutions*, on
which Palestinians -- even those
holding Israeli citizenship -- are
now largely excluded from living.”
Click here or on the image
below to view a larger,
interactive version of the visual.


*The map includes Israeli-defined
'state land' and land holdings of
the quasi-state Jewish National
Fund (JNF), all of which fall under
the control of the central Israel
Land Administration.

Palestine Shrinking

Click on the image above to view a larger,
interactive version of “Palestine Shrinking/
Expanding Israel.



Residency Revocation: Israel’s Forcible Transfer of Palestinians from Jerusalem [July 3, 2017] ● "Under international law, East Jerusalem is considered an occupied territory and the de facto annexation of the city by the Israeli government is considered illegal. Throughout its occupation, Israel has enacted discriminatory laws and policies to diminish the presence of the Palestinian population in East Jerusalem. By granting Palestinians a “permanent” residency status to live in Jerusalem, entry into and residency in Jerusalem becomes a revocable privilege, instead of an inherent right.

[This] infographic focuses on the unlawful Israeli policy of residency revocation targeting Palestinians from Jerusalem.  The revocation of permanent residency status is the most direct tool used to forcibly transfer Palestinians from occupied East Jerusalem, so that a Jewish-Israeli majority can be maintained in the city. Since 1967, Israel created and consistently expanded the criteria for revoking the residency status of Palestinians, leading to the revocation of the residency rights of more than 14,500 Palestinians from Jerusalem to date.

The policy was developed in three main phases:

1967-1995: A Palestinian can lose his or her residency status by “living outside Israel” (and East Jerusalem) for a period of seven years, or by receiving the status of resident or citizen in another country.

1995-ongoing: The aforementioned criteria were broadened so that Palestinians may lose their residency status by moving their “center of life” outside of Israel or East Jerusalem, even if they were residing abroad for less than seven years and did not obtain residency status or citizenship from a foreign country. If individuals reside in the West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip, Israel considers it as though they are “residing abroad” and can revoke their Jerusalem residency status. Since the implementation of this policy in 1995, Israel has revoked more than 11,500 residency statuses.

2006-ongoing: In addition to the center of life policy, the Israeli Minister of Interior also began punitively revoking the residency status of Palestinians on the basis of a “breach of allegiance.” Consequently, Palestinians who have never left Jerusalem become vulnerable to residency revocation.

Residency revocations, including punitive revocations, flagrantly violate international humanitarian law and international human rights law. Revocation of residency leads to forcible transfer, a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention. As the revocation forms part of a widespread and systematic policy to transfer the protected Palestinian population, it may also amount to a crime against humanity."

End the Nakba Now

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