The Center for Political and Development Studies, Gaza, Palestine
Palestinians in Palestine and in the Diaspora mark the annual anniversary of the Catastrophe, also known as the Nakba, on May 15th every year as a result of the massive ethnic cleansing carried out by Zionists gangs in 1947-1948 which resulted in the displacement of almost 750,000 Palestinians from their villages and cities.
The plans of the Zionist leaders would not have been successful without the implementation of Plan Dalet (also referred to as Plan D) whose goal was the mass expulsion of Palestinians from wide areas of the historic British Mandate. The Plan was designed in the fall of 1947 and implemented in April 1948, however it was meant to be implemented after the withdrawal of the British forces from Palestine on May 15, 1948. It aimed at destroying and occupying Palestinian villages located along the highway connecting Jerusalem with Tel Alrabee (today’s Tel Aviv).
The plan included many military operations such as Nachshon, Harel, Bi’ur Hametz, Yevusi, Hametz, Yiftach, Matateh, Maccabi, Gideon, Barak, Ben’Ami, Kilshon and Shfifon.
“Languages haven’t come up with a term that can precisely describe it. What happened to a whole nation because of Zionist planning and the dirty trick of Israel enhanced with the weakness and cold blood of Arabs is a shame on humanity. The demons of the world never understand. No one understands it except for those who experienced its bitterness. If you wish to have a clue, spend a couple of hours with one of them,” explained Wafaa Abu Rahma, a refugee living in the Gaza Strip.
According to Benny Morris, a Zionist historian, the Plan’s execution lasted about eight weeks, beginning on April 2, 1948. During these weeks, the Yishuv’s position (the term used to describe armed Jewish migrants in Palestine before 1948) changed dramatically. Many Arab leaders left the country and local leadership collapsed. Zionist attacks and offensives precipitated a mass exodus of 250,000–300,000 people. According to Benny Morris this “massive demographic upheaval … propelled the Arab states closer to an invasion about which they were largely unenthusiastic”.
Many Israeli historians share the same point of view, including military historian David Tal who writes, “The plan did provide the conditions for the destruction of Palestinian villages and the deportation of the dwellers.”
“Return is the dream of generations. It’s my dream, the dream of my family, people and country. We must be united to make it true,” said Dalia Abu Aker, a 16-year old descendant of a refugee from Ras Abu Amar village, to the west of Jerusalem, who resides with her family in the West Bank refugee camp of Aldihishi.
“The refugee camp reminds me everyday that I am a refugee and I will not stay here forever,” she added.
Time never succeeded in making Palestinian refugees and their descendants give up their right of return to their homeland. David Ben Gurion was wrong. The old might die, but the young will never forget.
“That’s my dream,” said Abbas Alshaer, a refugee from the ethnically cleansed village of Aqer when asked about return. Alshaer was 12 years old when he was expelled along with his family from their village.
The case is no different for Um Shafiq Taha from the village of Raya. “What shall I tell you about Palestine? It’s the best thing. Our blood, soul and land are for Palestine.”
The glimpse of hope that the old and the young generations alike still have for return is solid evidence that injustice will not last long and return will become a reality someday.