Nakba Day: Seventy years on, Israel's settler-colonialism continues unabated

Nakba Day: Seventy years on, Israel's settler-colonialism continues unabated
Data from the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics show Israel's ethnic cleansing to create a Jewish state has long continued since 1948.
3 min read
14 May, 2018
Palestinians mark May 15 as a national day of remembrance [Getty]

On May 15, while Israel celebrates its "independence" Palestinians commemorate the Nakba, or catastrophe, when, 70 years ago, 800,000 Palestinians were expelled from their towns and villages by armed Zionist forces.

This year's anniversary carries significant heartache with the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Palestinians want East Jerusalem - which Israel occupied in the 1967 - as the capital of their future state.

On the eve of Nakba Day on Tuesday, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) has released data on Israel's "ethnic cleansing" of historical Palestine, which shows through its subsequent military occupation of Palestinian territories, settlements, confiscation of land and demolitions, that the catastrophe is ongoing.

Israeli expansion

Before the Nakba, the UN partition of Palestine to create Jewish and Arab states gave 55 percent of historic Palestine to Israel. Today Israel controls more than 85 percent, with the remaining areas continually to facing attempts at theft and control.

According to PCBS, Israel has demolished about 100 homes a year since the turn of the century. Between 2000 and 2017, 1,706 Palestinian buildings were torn down. In 2017 alone, 433 Palestinian buildings were demolished by Israel, 46 percent of them in Jerusalem, forcibly displacing 128 households, or 700 people, half of them children.

There were 425 illegal Israeli settlements and military bases in the West Bank by the end of 2016, PCBS said. The total number of Jewish settlers in the West Bank was 636,452 by the end of 2016.

In 2017, Israel intensified settlement expansion in the West Bank ratifying the construction of 16,800 new housing units, a third of which in occupied Jerusalem. 

In the West Bank, there are 21.8 settlers per 100 Palestinians, and in Jerusalem, 68.3 settlers.

Land confiscation

Israel has approved the confiscation of about 2,100 dunams of Palestinian land during 2017, as well as the confiscation of hundreds of dunams to accommodate Israeli roadblocks and military checkpoints to protect settlers.

About 10,000 trees have been razed in 2017, and more than 70,000 Palestinian dunams, most of them cultivated with irrigated crops, were transferred to settlers in the Israeli settlements.

Israeli massacres continue

The number of Palestinians killed between September 29, 2000 and December 31, 2017 was 10,463.

The bloodiest year was 2014 with 2,240 Palestinians killed, 2,181 of them Gazans.

On May 14, 2018, over 40 were killed by Israeli forces during protests against the opening of the US embassy in Israel, marking the bloodiest day in Palestine since the 2014 Israel-Gaza war.

In addition, thousands have been wounded by Israeli live fire, tear gas and sniper bullets.

Palestinians detained

About 1 million Palestinians have been detained since 1967, PCBS said.

Since the beginning of 2018 until the end of April, the Israeli occupation has arrested 2,378 Palestinians, including 459 children and 47 women.

Gaza Strip unliveable

Due to Israel's stifling decade-long blockade on Gaza, the enclave – one of the most densely populated areas in the world, has four times the poverty rate of the West Bank (13.9 percent) with over half of its population classed as poor (53 percent).

The unemployment rate in Gaza stands at 43.9 percent, compared to 17.9 percent in the West Bank.