YESTERDAY marked 76 years since 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly displaced, 80% of their people murdered and 530 of their towns and cities were destroyed to create the state of Israel. Nakba day, or catastrophe in Arabic, refers to May 15, 1948, when the unrelenting campaign of Israeli terror – still ongoing as we speak – against Palestinians began.

Officially inaugurated in 1998 by first president of the Palestinian Authority and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Yasser Arafat, the day has unofficially been marked by protests from as far back as 1949.

After being given the go-ahead by the British government – the Brits of course never more than a stone’s throw away from imperialism – for the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine, Zionist forces sought out to form the state of Israel – by ethnic cleansing Palestinians from their homeland and claiming it as their own.

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Everything I have just written is matter of fact, truth, reality – whatever you want to call it. There is no debate – Israel was created at the expense of Palestine. It was born from the blood, soil and soul of the Palestinian people and does not have a pretty history. Whether you support the Israeli state or not, the truth of how it came to be cannot be rewritten.

More than two thirds (78%) of Palestine was seized during the Nakba, and the remaining 22% was split into the now terrorised Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank. Palestinians have not known peace or freedom on their land since. This is particularly true of the last seven months, in which over 43,000 Palestinians have been murdered at the hands of Benjamin Netanyahu and his unhinged Zionist regime, endorsed and bank-rolled by global powers in the West.

This story started long before October 7, long before Hamas was ever even established. In fact, the very same families that were forcibly displaced to Gaza and the West Bank in 1948 are now being murdered or forcibly displaced from Gaza. Multiple generations of Palestinians have suffered under Israeli occupation, some even wiped from existence entirely. The word for it, if you are wondering, is genocide.

While the Nakba is marked every year, and invites resistance to Israeli occupation and apartheid, it feels especially poignant to speak of it this year. In many ways, because the last seven months are the proof anyone has ever needed that it never ended.

Words fail me that in 76 years, the rest of the world has yet to find its conscience and humanity.

Most people refer to and understand the current genocide as a separate instance, a standalone event in response to a Hamas terror attack on October 7. That is the line we have been fed. But to do justice to the reality of Palestinian suffering, we need to understand that the current genocide is but the latest phase in a programme of ethnic cleansing, dehumanisation and obliteration of identity and culture by the Israelis.

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In the words of Palestinian writer Mariam Barghouti, who studied a Masters in Sociology and Global Change at the University of Edinburgh: “‘The ongoing Nakba’ is not a metaphor, but the assertion of an existing reality. It repudiates the notion the Nakba is a frozen moment in history, rejecting the reduction of the Palestinian experience to a tragic but discrete misfortune.”

It is impossible to understand what is currently happening in Palestine, or to understand Gaza at all, without understanding the significance of the Nakba. Before it, the Gaza Strip as we know it did not exist on its own. In fact, over 70% of Gaza’s population are not from Gaza, they are the children of those forcibly displaced there in 1948.

There are many parallels to be drawn between the current Israeli campaign and that which they undertook back then, because they are two arms of the same operation – to eradicate Palestine from existence, and replace it with Israel.

That’s why Nakba day is not just a day of grief or mourning for the Palestinian people, but a call to action for the rest of the world.

The last seven months has radically shifted my perspective and understanding of war and terror, and challenged my own bias stemming from my own white, western privilege. I have grown up amongst the war on terror, I have had it shoved down my throat that terrorism is the personification of all evil.

While I agree that what I have come to know as terrorists have undertaken unforgivable atrocities, I have been forced to reconsider the western definition of terror, and what the difference is between that and what we endorse or partake in.

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I don’t believe it is really that radical of a thought process to consider that terror breeds terror. That violence inspires violence. That October 7 was actually the direct result of the brutal occupation of Palestine for so many decades.

It takes far less to radicalise a person than your people being buried in mass graves, your entire family lineage being wiped from existence or your home being razed to the ground while the rest of the world does nothing. We sit in the West and abhor terror, while enacting foreign policy that simultaneously ensures the continuation of its existence.

We have been so conditioned to revolt at the broadly accepted definition of terror that we by and large have adopted a mental disconnect between the terror that we know and the so-called wars that we participate in or fund, as a means of defence. There is little to no difference between the two.

If a bomb is dropped on a white Western country, it is terror. If a bomb is dropped on a Middle Eastern country, it is war. It is self-defence, it is the war on terror. It is a specific kind of collective gaslighting we have all participated in for generations, whether to subconsciously ease our own guilt for the role we play in the destabilisation of other countries or because we are so disconnected and privileged we can afford to ignore it.

Israel’s creation was underpinned by the imperialist and racist perspectives of western powers. It benefits from the idea that terror exists in difference forms, that some forms of terror are justifiable when they are not. It was born in violence and displacement.

If we are to understand the geopolitical landscape of the Middle East now, we need to understand how it came to be, and Nakba day is the starkest reminder there is that this is not about a terrorist attack in October 2023, it is – and has always been – about the systematic eradication of Palestine.