Middle east

“The most horrible and cruel”… Palestinians experiencing the Nakba mourn their present

Palestinians have endured 76 years of pain and suffering since the Nakba, leading up to the Gaza war and the relentless attacks in the West Bank.

May 15, 1948, “the Nakba” is a day that will never be erased from the memory of Palestinians, the Arab world, and all peace-loving peoples, with the declaration of the establishment of the State of Israel on occupied Palestinian land, resulting in the displacement of about 800,000 Palestinians, amidst massacres, killings, and total destruction of the lives of these people.

But what seems like yesterday, coinciding with the anniversary of the Nakba, Palestinians, especially in Gaza, are experiencing their most difficult periods, more difficult and crueler than the events of 1948 themselves, according to testimonies from those who lived through them.

The elderly Aboulbadah, aged 85, recalled her old memories with pain and sadness, with the displacement of her family from the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, due to Israeli military operations.

In statements to the Turkish Anadolu Agency, she says that the current Israeli war on Gaza is “crueler and more terrible than the Nakba for Palestinians”, but she also asserts her rejection of the policy of displacement and her insistence on her land.

Aboulbadah was born in the city of Yabna in central historic Palestine, and when she was affected by the Nakba in 1948, she was still in her early years, remembering how she left her home and land at the age of six.

She says: “What seems like today was yesterday, our houses were large, and my father worked hard in agriculture, we cultivated our lands with everything necessary to survive, but the Jews came and took everything, even the wells that meant life to us, we were forced to leave them and leave”.

Aboulbadah adds: “The memories of wars and attacks are still alive in my memory, we lived in constant fear, and even now, I still remember those moments with all their details”.

She wonders with consternation: “Where do we go now ?! This is our country and we will not leave or migrate, what do they want from us ?! How will we move from one area to another amidst the great destruction and immense devastation, there is no safe area in the Gaza Strip, and no security for Israel”.

She continues: “Israel killed our young people and our women, and massacred our children, it spared neither the old nor the young, we are tired of wars, every year Israel wages war and before we heal from its pains, it wages another, more cruel war”.

The current Israeli war on Gaza has resulted in the deaths of about 35,000 Palestinians since October 7 last year, and has left hundreds of thousands displaced, and nearly 100,000 injured.

A new Nakba every day

Mohammed Khader, another elderly Palestinian who experienced the Nakba when he was forcibly displaced with many others from the village of Na’ana in the Ramle district in central Palestine, continues to dream of returning to his village, as he lives in the Al-Amari camp in the West Bank.

Khader (84 years old) compares what Palestinians in the West Bank are experiencing today in terms of murder and persecution by settlers to what they suffered 76 years ago at the hands of Israeli gangs, considering that they are living “a new Nakba every day”.

He says that the scenes of the Nakba are still present in his memory as if they happened yesterday, adding: “We left our homes under the pressure of the Israeli gangs, we went first to Ramle, then to Ramallah, and later to the Al-Amari camp”.

He continues: “On the way (during forced displacement), I saw indescribable things, including a (Palestinian) woman slaughtered from vein to vein”, adding: “At that time, too, we were stopped by a patrol of Zionist gangs, they made three young men get off and killed two of them in front of us”.

He elaborates: “We walked without food or drink, we lived through difficult times, we found a child on the roadside whom we took with us to Ramallah, and after a few days his refugee family recognized him”.

A war of extermination

Mustafa Abu Awad, a refugee from the Noor Shams camp near Tulkarem after being forcibly displaced from his village of Sabbarin near Haifa in 1948 and belonging to a family with property, has become a day laborer seeking to make ends meet in factories and workshops, and still wishes to “die and be buried in the soil” of his village.

Despite the horror of what he saw during the days of the Nakba 76 years ago, Abu Awad (88 years old) believes that the Palestinian people are living in 2024 “a new, even more horrible Nakba” than the one they suffered in 1948.

Regarding life in the Noor Shams camp, Abu Awad says: “Life in the camp is miserable, Israel has turned our lives into a nightmare by conducting daily intrusion and killing operations”.

He adds: “What is happening today (at the hands of Israel) is worse than what was committed in the Nakba, as Israel invades refugee camps, destroys everything in them, kills and arrests, and what is happening in Gaza is a war of extermination”.

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