The Nakba 70 years on: Exodus and expulsion in Palestine

For the Palestinians 15 May 1948 marked the beginning of the Nakba - the Arabic word for "catastrophe". On this day they traditionally commemorate the flight and expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians driven from their homeland as a result of the war waged by Arab states against the newly founded Israel. Journalists take the opportunity to look back on the past.

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Delo (SI) /

The world gave Israel free rein

Seventy years after the expulsion of the Palestinians Delo takes the following view of the situation:

“Let's be honest: Israel has simply done what countless historical 'role models' allowed it to do all along. Israel invaded territories, stole their natural resources, drove out the original inhabitants and 'ghettoised' them. After the second intifada and 9/11, the Palestinian question was removed from the agenda for good. Back then the Israeli state pushed the Palestinians into a corner and set up an apartheid system with the help of the consciously passive international community and the hypocritical Arab world, which has exploited the suffering of the Palestinians for its own interests for decades. And Israel received plenty of help from the Palestinian political elite in doing so.”

Népszava (HU) /

The tragicomic dispute over Jerusalem

Népszava takes a closer look at Jerusalem's status:

“The dilemma can be attributed to the UN resolution which ended the British Mandate back in 1947. Jerusalem was declared a 'corpus seperatum', a 'separate body'. But the Arabs wasted this option, just like that of dividing the city into two halves, when they attacked the newly proclaimed Jewish state. At least that's how the Israelis see it. Fifty-seven Islamic countries still describe Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine today. Jordan even declared Jerusalem its second capital in 1950. And sometimes things get quite burlesque: Costa Rica and El Salvador have moved their embassies three times: from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, then back to Jerusalem, and then back to Tel Aviv.”

Al-Hayat (SA) /

Victims must receive justice

Writing in the Saudi national newspaper Al-Hayat on the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, the chief Palestinian peace negotiator Saeb Erekat calls on the international community to live up to its political and moral responsibility:

“Under international patronage, on the basis of international law and with a fixed timetable, a political process must get underway which puts an end to the occupation, saves the two-state solution and recognises Palestine as a sovereign state. We Palestinians will continue to seek membership in international organisations. ... We will bring proof of Israel's war crimes and crimes against humanity before the International Court of Justice, so that the Palestinian victims may receive justice.”

The Press Project (GR) /

Palestinians won't give up right to return

There is no sign of peace in the region and the Palestinians have no reason to give up their claims, writes the monthly magazine Zin, which appears on the Press Project website:

“As long as there is no fair solution to the conflict it's an illusion to expect that the Palestinians will renounce their right to return, even after 70 years of struggle. In their view that would be a betrayal that would consummate the fatal mistake made by their forefathers in leaving their cities and villages. That is why Yassir Arafat said no to Ehud Barack's 'generous proposal' in 2000 [in the negotiations on the founding of an independent Palestinian state]. And that is why Mahmoud Abbas, despite his innumerable earlier concessions, today rejects from the outset the 'deal of the century' backed by Donald Trump.”

Le Temps (CH) /

We Jews of Switzerland are worried

Le Temps publishes an open letter signed by several dozen Swiss Jews voicing concern about Israel's treatment of the Palestinians:

“We, the Jews of Switzerland, unconditionally support the existence of the State of Israel, whose legitimacy is sometimes called into question. We are concerned about its future, because a state that is at war with certain neighbours, that lacks internationally recognised borders and has a profoundly divided civil society is a state that is restricting the chances of a peaceful future for its children. A state that occupies Palestinian territories, that digs in its heels there and denies the residents their rights, is a state that is creating a profoundly unjust situation, one that fails to respect human rights and is in conflict with the ideals of our tradition.”