Palestinians in the West Bank mark 76 years of dispossession and fear an even larger ‘Nakba’

(14 May 2024)

Nur Shams refugee camp, West Bank – recent
1. Various of damaged buildings
2. Various of Mustafa Abu Awad, 88, resident of Nur Shams refugee camp
3. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Mustafa Abu Awad, resident:
"They (the Israeli army in 1948) would attack villages that were far from populated areas, killing and leaving the village. We had no training in weaponry or combat. The Arab propaganda was saying at that time that people will be leaving for a period of a month to forty days and after that they would return to their homes. So, we took a portion of our belongings, not everything, and moved to the Jenin area. When we realized that the duration was prolonged, we thought of returning to gather the rest of our belongings. However, when we returned, we found the town besieged. Some of the residents had been martyred, and others were still present, but we were forcibly deported."
4. Awad with family members
5. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Mustafa Abu Awad, resident:
“We left the village of Sabbarin on May 12, 1948, and we came to the Jenin area because our village was close to Jenin. We stayed in Jenin for approximately two years in the Janzour refugee camp, which is located near the cemetery of the Iraqi martyrs of the Battle of Jenin. When it snowed, they transferred us to the Nur Shams refugee camp, where we lived in tents for six years. After that, they built small houses for us that could accommodate two or four people, and we continued to live in the Nur Shams camp until today.”
6. Close of wooden key hung on wall reading (Arabic): "We are returning"
7. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Mustafa Abu Awad, resident:
"This is revenge. This destruction is for the purpose of forced displacement, either to Egypt, where I believe (Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-)Sissi welcomes it, or to Jordan. They want to deport us to Jordan or Egypt to fulfil their long-standing goal of "Greater Israel" from the Euphrates to the Nile. The Euphrates is in Iraq, and the Nile is in Egypt. The so-called Great Israel is their dream."
8. Various of destruction
9. Nehayah al Jundi, head of Nur Shams Society for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled and a resident of the camp
10. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Nehayah al Jundi, head of Nur Shams Society for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled and a resident of Nur Shams camp:
"The level of destruction in the Nur Shams camp is extremely difficult. It is a deliberate and organized policy by the Israeli occupation. The objective is to displace and destroy the camps, as well as undermine the economic and social life within the camp. The overall political objective is well-known, which is the displacement of the camp’s residents. However, we, the people of the camp, remain resilient because we have endured the first catastrophe (referring to the Nakba) and have heard about it from our ancestors and parents. Therefore, the people of the camp are currently steadfast and unwavering, despite the destruction, pain, loss, and everything happening within the camp, because it is their right and shelter."
11. Car driving into camp
12. Various of camp skyline
Palestinians on Wednesday will mark the 76th year of their mass expulsion from what is now Israel, an event that is at the core of their national struggle.

Palestinians refer to it as the “Nakba,” Arabic for “catastrophe.”

Some 700,000 Palestinians — a majority of the prewar population — fled or were driven from their homes before and during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war that followed Israel’s establishment.

AP Video shot by Aref Tufaha

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