Israel’s killing of Palestinians a grim reminder that Nakba is not over

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Palestinians carry a demonstrator injured during clashes with Israeli forces near the border between the Gaza strip and Israel east of Gaza City on May 14, 2018, as Palestinians protest over the inauguration of the US embassy following its controversial move to Jerusalem. (AFP / Thomas Coex)
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At least 55 Palestinians were shot by Israeli forces on Monday, while protesting along the Gaza Strip border, a grim reminder that the Nakba is not over. (AFP)
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Tear gas is fired at protesters during clashes with Israeli forces near the border between the Gaza strip and Israel, east of Gaza City on May 14, 2018, following the the controversial move to Jerusalem of the United States embassy. (AFP / THOMAS COEX)
Updated 15 May 2018
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Israel’s killing of Palestinians a grim reminder that Nakba is not over

  • This year, on the eve of the 70th anniversary, the US opened its relocated embassy in Jerusalem, and at least 55 Palestinians were shot by Israeli forces while protesting along the Gaza Strip’s border, a grim reminder that the Nakba is not over.
  • Whether refugees or not, it is hard in the Arab world to find someone whose life wasn’t altered forever by the Nakba.

DUBAI: On May 14, 1948, the creation of the state of Israel was declared, formed out of Palestine, and the next day became known as the day of the “Nakba,” or “catastrophe.” 
More than 700,000 Palestinians ended up as refugees, as they fled or were driven off their land, and the first Arab-Israeli War began.
This year, on the eve of the 70th anniversary, the US opened its relocated embassy in Jerusalem, and at least 55 Palestinians were shot by Israeli forces while protesting along the Gaza Strip’s border, a grim reminder that the Nakba is not over.
“For Palestinians, the Nakba is also a continuing affair that only started in 1948, but continued through 1967 and until today, with Jerusalem,” Ghassan Khatib, a former Palestinian government minister, told Arab News.
“Seven decades have passed since Al-Nakba, the biggest crisis in the history of Palestine,” Basem Abdullah Al-Agha, ambassador of Palestine to Saudi Arabia, told Arab News. 
“The state of Israel was created on the Palestinian people’s home, from which 6 million Palestine refugees continue to suffer from the cruelty of exile and loss of human security, and with ever-expanding Israeli settlements, Palestinians continue to live under occupation.” 
The Nakba is not only about the refugees, according to Khatib. 
“The Nakba is the turning point for all Palestinians. And commemorating the Nakba is about taking a stand for resistance, and in particular for self-determination and statehood.” 
Third-generation Palestinians, who have made a home somewhere else, struggle with national identity and where to call home. “I’m a Palestinian who grew up in Saudi Arabia,” said 28-year old Dania Husseini, whose family hails from Jerusalem. 
“I guess I’m one of those who have an identity crisis. I don’t fit into the typical Palestinian culture or the Saudi or the Western, really. I have a mentality of my own that developed after living in all the environments I lived in and met the people that were part of them.” 
Whether refugees or not, it is not hard in the Arab world to find someone whose life wasn’t altered forever by the Nakba.
Arab News columnist Ramzy Baroud was born and raised in a Gaza camp. His family village, Beit Daras, was erased from the map. 
The father and grandmother of Arab News writer Daoud Kuttab fled Jerusalem’s Musrara neighborhood for the Jordanian city of Zarqa. 
You will find their stories in our eight-page supplement today, which marks Nakba day and the toll it has taken over seven decades.
And in the story of Dr. Bishara A. Bahbah, whose family still holds the deed to their orchard in the Lod-Jaffa area, you will find some hope. As he said: “Even if Israel takes our lands, they can never take away our brainpower and our unshakable will and determination to succeed.”


Iran lawmakers authorize firm action against US ‘terrorist’ acts

Updated 23 April 2019
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Iran lawmakers authorize firm action against US ‘terrorist’ acts

  • President Donald Trump on April 8 designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps a foreign terrorist group
  • Tehran reacted to the designation by naming the US Central Command a terrorist organization

DUBAI: Iran’s parliament passed a bill on Tuesday requiring the government take firm steps to respond to “terrorist actions” by US forces, state TV reported, retaliating against Washington’s blacklisting of the country’s elite Revolutionary Guards.
President Donald Trump on April 8 designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) a foreign terrorist group, in an unprecedented step that drew Iranian condemnation and raised concerns about retaliatory attacks on US forces.
Tehran reacted to the designation, which took effect on April 15, by naming the US Central Command (CENTCOM) a terrorist organization and the US government a sponsor of terrorism.
“The bill authorizes the government to take firm and retaliatory measures against terrorist activities of American forces that endangers Iran’s interests,” TV reported.
“The government should use legal, political and diplomatic measures in response to the American actions.”
Highly loyal to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the IRGC is a powerful force which controls much of the Iranian economy and wields political influence in the country’s faction-ridden clerical establishment.
The semi-official Tasnim news agency said some 168 lawmakers out of 210 present at the parliament voted for the bill.
Tensions have been on the rise between Tehran and Washington since last year, when Trump withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers and reimposed sanctions on the country.
In recent years, there have been periodic confrontations between the IRGC and US military in the Gulf.
The new chief commander of the IRGC Hossein Salami, appointed after the US blacklisting, has warned in the past that Iran could use its cruise and ballistic missiles and drones, mines, speedboats, and missile launchers in the Gulf area to confront the United States.
The Trump administration, which has taken a hard line on Iran, said in a statement on Monday that the president has decided not to reissue waivers in May allowing importers to buy Iranian oil without facing US sanctions.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the heightening economic pressure on Iran showed that Washington was in panic.
“Escalating #EconomicTERRORISM against Iranians exposes panic & desperation of US regime — and chronic failures of its client co-conspirators,” Zarif Tweeted on Tuesday.
A commander of Iran’s IRGC said on Monday that Tehran would block all exports through the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf if Tehran is barred from using the waterway, where a fifth of global oil consumption passes on its way from Middle East producers to major markets.