The 1948 Nakba, or catastrophe, included very important and dangerous developments that affected most categories of Palestinian people and some Arab people, especially those who participated in the war against Jewish settlement activity. Therefore, it was strange that the 1950s witnessed a feverish rush of individuals to affiliate with political and Islamic movements and parties, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, the Baath party and the Communist party, and the Arab national movements. The younger Arab generation believed that they could treat the deep wounds of the Nakba and they could get rid of the colonization by gathering the Arabs round a unified idea. These desires and ambitions were embodied by the successful and unsuccessful coups and revolutions that prevailed in the 1950s. The Palestinian Nakba was the main reason that stood behind them. Later, the new regimes and revolutions became more involved in their local questions and forgot about Palestine and its Nakba.
Different Situations On The Eve Of Nakba
1. The Palestinian People
The struggle against the Jewish settlers increased after the 1947 United Nations resolution regarding the Partition of Palestine No. 181. The struggle reached a peak in mid-May 1948 when the United Kingdom ended its mandate in Palestine. But the Palestinian struggle against the Jews had begun in 1917 following the Balfour Declaration.
The main objective of the British mandate in Palestine, which continued for about 30 years, was to ensure the Jewish immigration from Europe, Russia and the Arab States and to offer them more Palestinian land. The Palestinian land that was owned by the Jews on the eve of the Nakba did not exceed 5.5% of Palestine. Other objectives were to provide military training to the Zionist terrorist groups, namely the Haganah, Irgun and Stern, and to oppress Palestinians and suppress their revolutions. Without the British, the Jews would not have been able to declare their State on 14 May 1948. The British mandate also chased away the Palestinian political leadership, represented by Haj Amin AI Husseini, which left the Palestinian People without a powerful leadership. The Jews, on the contrary, were united round Ben Gurion, and all the Zionist terrorist groups were also united.
2. Arab Situation
The situation of the Arab people and their government were deteriorating. Their governments were formally independent, but in reality, they were subjected to the British and French colonization. Egypt was ruled by King Farouq, who was subject to Britain. The Jordanian army was led by a British officer, who was also assisted by the influential British officers. Syria and Lebanon were newly independent from the French colonization, and their armies were very weak. In Iraq, the pro-Britain Nouri Saed was ruling the country.
3. Jewish Situation
The Jews, assisted by the British, built a military power. A number of Israeli leaders, named President Ezra Weisman and the former President Haim Hertzog, had served in the British army during the Second World War. The British made it easy for the Jews to smuggle weapons and build secret military factories. They also handed over their camps to the Jewish settlers before leaving Palestine. More than 70,000 Jews were carrying weapons against only 20,000 Arabs, including Arab soldiers, Palestinian resistants and the Muslim Brotherhood Mujahideen. Ordered by the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia supplied the Jewish settlers with weapons while most of their funding came from the United States.
Arab Israel War
After 5 May 1948, several Arab armies entered Palestine, most notably the Egyptian, Jordanian, Syrian and Iraqi armies. Before that date, Palestinians had fought the Jewish settlers alone since 29 November 1947. The Jewish settlers conquered a number of Palestinian cities, namely Haifa, Jaffa, Safad and Acre, as well as a large number of Palestinian villages. The Arab armies were distributed over the different fronts, but, unfortunately â€˜ there was no coordination or cooperation among them. They did not back up each other. This tragedy was repeated in the June 1967 war. Although the armies fought bravely, they failed to keep their control on their fronts and were forced to retreat. The Arab armies committed a mistake by accepting the first Hudna (truce) in mid-1948 because the truce enabled the Zionists to bolster their forces with more soldiers and more weapons, including air fighters. They succeeded to break up the siege that was imposed by the Jordanian army and the Muslim Brotherhood Mujahideen on Western Jerusalem, which was about to surrender with 100,000 Jews inside.
Facts And Lessons
The Nakba affected every Palestinian family, the majority of which became homeless and of refugee status. Their villages and houses were removed, and the Zionists controlled 78% of Palestine. There are many lessons to be absorbed from Nakba, some of which are outlined below:
1. While the Jewish settlers fought in Palestine with high religious and national morale, the Arab morale was much less. Only a few of the Arabs were fighting out of their Islamic faith or patriotism. There were many fighters of freedom in Palestine over the past 40 years. At the end of this period, the Islamist fighters seeking martyrdom (Mujahidoun) finally appeared, and they are mentioned in Surah AI-Israâ€™a in the Holy Qurâ€™an.
2. The Arab governments disarmed Palestinians when their armies entered Palestine in May 1948. Palestinians, who knew their land better than the Arab armies and who were more enthusiastic in defending their land, were in need of military training and weapons. Martyr Hasan Al Banna, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, requested permission from the Arab League to send 12,000 Muslim Brotherhood fighters to join their brothers in Palestine, but his request was rejected. One year later, Hasan Al Banna was assassinated, and his followers were imprisoned.
3. The Jewish settlers committed several massacres against Palestinian civilians such as that in Deir Yassin, Dawaymeh, Lud and other places. The news of the massacres spread throughout Palestine, which horrified Palestinians in other areas and forced them to leave their homes. This is exactly what the Zionist leaders such as Ben Gurion, Shamir, Begin and others wanted.
4. There was not a united Arab leadership to confront the united Jewish leadership. Every Arab army led the war alone. There was clear competition and distrust among the Arab leaders.
5. Arab acceptance of the first truce in mid-1948 gave the Jews an opportunity to import weapons and to bring the air fighters and more troops.
6. The Palestinian People, on the eve of UN resolution 181 (the Partition resolution) of 29 November 1947, needed political leadership to lead their fighting and struggle. The only prominent Palestinian leader at the time was Haj Amin Husseini who was abroad. If Haj Amin dared to enter Palestine at that time to be among his people, the Palestinian situation would have been better.
7. A number of Arab governments, namely Morocco, Yemen, Iraq and Egypt, allowed their Jews to immigrate to Palestine where they became soldiers and terrorists fighting the Palestinians.
After exactly 50 years of its establishment, the Israeli State insisted on reminding the Palestinian people and the whole world, by killing more than 9 Palestinian in Gaza and the West Bank last Thursday, that Israel is determined to continue its aggression against the Palestinian people. This is not their first crime. Since its establishment 50 years ago and up till the present, the Israeli State continues to oversee the killing, expulsion and repression of the Palestinian people. That is why this sad occasion is called Al Nakba (the catastrophe). The Nakba is not only about the past and the awful crimes and massacres committed by the Israeli army in the 1948 war, but it is also about the present and future, as consecutive Israeli governments have followed the bloody path that the first Israeli government began 50 years ago. Until today, the Israeli State not only refuses to fix the injustice of the past, but also commits more and more crimes, summarized as follows:
1. More than 4 million Palestinian refugees are forbidden by the Israeli State from entering Palestine, even to Palestinian controlled territories. If we add to them more than 1 million Palestinian refugees on their own land, we will have a total of 5 million refugees that Israel has expelled from their homes 50 years ago, and refuses even to discuss their issue.
2. Israel continues to hold more than 5,000 political Palestinian prisoners and another few hundred prisoners from different Arab countries. Most of them are being tortured in a brutal and systematic way. Israel is not satisfied with all of these prisoners, and continues to pressure the P.A. to arrest more and more Palestinians for political reasons.
3. Israel continues to hide information about hundreds of missing Arab POWs who disappeared in Israel jails; most of them disappeared in the early 1970s.
4. The continuous confiscation and stealing of agricultural land, which thousands of Palestinian families depend upon for their living.
5. The continuous siege on the Palestinian territories that began more than eight years ago, in addition to the humiliating way Israeli soldiers treat Palestinian civilians when crossing the borders to Jordan and Egypt.
6. The current Israel government is comprised of war criminals, especially Sharon and Etan, both of whom were involved directly in the horror committed by the Israeli army during the invasion of Lebanon in 1982. 7. Continuous attempts to attack and destroy Al-Aqsa Mosque and other holy sites. The last attempt was on Wednesday, 13 May, when Jewish terrorists blew up one of the gates of Al-Aqsa Mosque. If we try to list the crimes of the Israeli State, we will never finish. But it is obvious that the Israeli State is following an ethnic cleansing policy since 1948.
We want the whole world to know that unless the Palestinian people retrieve All of their legitimate rights, there will be no justice. When there is no justice, there will not and should not be peace in tea Middle East. The coming explosion will not be stopped unless the whole world stands in front of the racist Israeli government and forces it to stop violating the human and political rights of the Palestinian people. Finally, we want to remind you that fighting occupation and fighting for freedom and justice is a sacred right for every person in the world. So neither Israel and its collaborators, nor the U.S. government has the right to stand in front of those who fight for their people's rights and for ending one ugly chapter of human history.