May 15, 2023
The International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) calls for justice for the Palestinian people on the 75th anniversary of the 1948 Nakba (catastrophe). The Nakba drove an estimated 750,000 Palestinians from their homes, displacing the vast majority of the population, turning them into refugees. The figure represents approximately 75% of indigenous Palestinians who had previously resided within what became Israel’s armistice lines in 1949.
ICHRP works hard to uphold the human rights of the Filipino Peoples, against a culture of impunity which is tacitly supported by the international community, a painful situation which the Palestinian people endure every day. Our work is built on the sense of justice and struggle of ordinary people in many countries, who are able to press their governments to take action from time to time, including at the United Nations and the International Criminal Court. This is also the basis of our solidarity with the Palestinian People.
The Nakba involved the depopulation and destruction of over 500 Palestinian villages and the subsequent geographical erasure of Palestine. This occurred through Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestine, its exiling of Palestinians and forcing them to be refugees, its dispossession of Palestinian property, its destruction of Palestinian cities, towns, and villages, and its attempt to erase the existence of the Palestinian from what is Palestine.
Having secured the support of the occupying British government and the recently established United Nations for the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine on May 14, 1948, when the British Mandate expired, the provisional government backed by its militia forces declared the establishment of the State of Israel. This triggered the first Arab-Israeli war.
In the period after this 1947-49 war, a large number of Palestinians attempted to return to their homes and between 2,700 and 5,000 Palestinians were killed by the state of Israel.
During the 1947-49 war, Zionist military forces attacked major Palestinian cities and destroyed some 530 villages. About 15,000 Palestinians were killed in a series of incidents of mass atrocities, including dozens of massacres.
On April 9, 1948, Zionist forces committed one of the most infamous massacres of the war in the village of Deir Yassin on the western edge of Jerusalem. More than 110 men, women and children were killed by members of the Irgun and Stern Gang, which were right-wing Zionist militias. The Deir Yassin massacre took place despite the villagers having earlier agreed to a peace pact with the neighbouring community of Givat Shaul.
Many villagers who were taken prisoner were paraded through Jerusalem’s Old City by the militias in order to widely publicise their “victory” in Deir Yassin. In several other Palestinian villages, Nakba survivors reportedly displaced and fled after hearing about the massacre in Deir Yassin, fearing similar violence. News of the killings sparked terror among Palestinians across the country, frightening them and forced to flee their homes in the face of Zionist troop advances.
There remain some 6 million registered Palestinian refugees living in at least 58 camps located throughout Palestine and neighbouring countries. There are at least 2.3 million Palestinian refugees in Jordan, 1.5 million refugees in Gaza, 870,000 refugees in the occupied West Bank, 438,000 refugees in Syria, 480,000 refugees in Lebanon, 120,000 Palestinian refugees displaced from Syria to Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt and increasingly, to Europe.
According to international law, refugees have the right to return to their homes and property from which they have been displaced. Many Palestinians still hope to return to Palestine.
The Nakba Continues
Some 750,000 Israeli settlers currently live in roughly 250 settlements in the occupied West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem. These Israeli settlements are illegal under international law.
Every year, Israel demolishes hundreds of Palestinian homes. Between 2009 and 2022, at least 8,413 Palestinian-owned structures were demolished by Israeli forces, displacing at least 12,491 people. Settler attacks against Palestinians and their property are a regular occurrence in the Occupied West Bank and Occupied East Jerusalem, home to some three million Palestinians.
The Nakba is a continuing process of displacement that has never stopped. The Israeli government has openly funded and built settlements for Israeli Jews to live in, offering incentives and subsidised housing. The population of Israeli settlers in the Occupied West Bank and Occupied East Jerusalem is now growing faster than the Israeli population of Israel.
ICHRP stands in solidarity with the Palestinian people on the 75th anniversary of the start of the Nakba.
ICHRP calls for an end to the Israeli repression of the Palestinian people, an end to the occupation and the unwinding of all illegal settlements and the return of all properties taken from Palestinians since 1947.
From the river to the sea, Palestine must be free!
Further comment: Peter Murphy, ICHRP Chairperson, +61418312301