The 76th Commemoration of the Ongoing Nakba

May 15, 2024 Statements

By: Niala Mohammad, MPAC Director of Policy and Strategy, and Eshah Murtaza, MPAC Communications Fellow

Today, May 15th marks the 76th anniversary of the ongoing Nakba. The Nakba holds profound significance in the history of the Palestinian people, symbolizing the loss of their homeland and the ongoing struggle for self-determination. This anniversary comes against the backdrop of mass student mobilizations across the country to stop the genocide in Gaza. In recent months we have seen our communities and youth stand up for the cause of justice, and now, more than ever, we must join them in commemoration of the Nakba and the movement for Palestinian freedom.

Here is What You Should Know About the Nakba 

“Nakba Day” marks the day Zionist forces declared the state of Israel, following the expiration of the British Mandate on May 14th,1948, triggering the violent mass displacement and dispossession of Palestinians by Zionist forces. 

The “Nakba,” translated from “The Catastrophe,” refers to the ethnic cleansing and mass displacement of Palestinians that began in December 1947 just months before Israel declared itself a state. The Zionist paramilitary groups violently attacked Palestinian towns and villages to build a Jewish state by forcibly removing Palestinians from their homes, stripping them of their land, possessions, and cultural heritage, and denying them their political, national, and basic human rights. 

On record, at least 15,000 Palestinian Arabs were killed and more than 750,000 Palestinians were forced to flee their homes to neighboring Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria while others were internally displaced in Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem, leading to a humanitarian crisis that continues to impact generations of Palestinians both in and outside of Palestine to this day. During the Nakba, Zionist forces captured approximately 78% of historic Palestine. Those who stayed behind continued to live under an Israeli apartheid state, while those who left were deemed stateless, without the right to return.

The Nakba Never Ended

Since the Nakba, Palestinians have endured ongoing oppression under the Israeli settler colonial state. They face systematic discrimination and harsh limitations on their freedom of movement, hindering their access to employment, education, and healthcare. Palestinians are required to obtain permits from Israeli military authorities for nearly every aspect of their lives, facing militarized violence, arbitrary arrests, and the constant threat of home demolitions and land confiscation by Israeli settlers. 

Even before the October 7th attacks, 2023 had already been declared the deadliest year for Palestinian civilians, particularly for children, by the United Nations and Save the Children. The Israeli government had disrupted every aspect of Palestinian life by launching military operations under the pretext of national security to target and kill hundreds of civilians in the West Bank, including children. Additionally, Israeli settlers were allowed to carry out violent attacks on Palestinian civilians, leading to forced evictions and the destruction of agricultural lands.  

The current and ongoing genocide of Gaza is one of the largest violent escalations against the Palestinians, and as we continue to advocate, we must not forget that this is another installment in 76 years of an ongoing Nakba. More than 36,000 individuals, predominantly women, and children, have been killed by the Israeli military, and over a million Gazans have been displaced just over the past 7 months. There have been mass arbitrary arrests, including minors, in the West Bank, and a concerning rise in settler violence targeting Palestinian civilians. In the last few weeks alone, we have witnessed the discovery of mass graves at hospitals, and horrific aerial attacks on Rafah, the last standing refuge for Gazans.  Zionist extremists have vandalized humanitarian aid trucks and destroyed food packages meant for starving Palestinians in Gaza. Yet, this iteration of Zionist aggression extends beyond Gaza, impacting every facet of Palestinian life, from Gaza to the West Bank and even here in the U.S., where we witness the stripping of First Amendment rights and police brutality against students advocating for an end to genocide. 

Nakba Day Demonstrations: 

This anniversary, student protesters nationwide are mobilizing to raise awareness about the ongoing Nakba. MPAC, in solidarity with our students, is calling for an end to the genocide and the Israeli occupation of Palestine. This pivotal moment in history has galvanized the masses, reshaping the Palestinian cause as a collective responsibility that we must actively engage in and advocate for. By standing up for the Palestinian struggle, we are pushing back against the injustices that have afflicted Palestinians from before the Nakba to the present day– 76 years later. This is why we say, the Nakba continues and it will continue until Palestine is free.

We encourage our community members to advocate for human rights and join students across the nation in raising awareness about the continuing genocide of the Palestinian people and amplify their call to end these atrocities. Search for your local Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) or Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM) chapters to find a Nakba Day demonstration.

You can build a future free from fear and bigotry.

Invest in MPAC’s work to improve public policies and perceptions. We’re changing how America views Islam and Muslims.