George Bisharat; 7/5/10
Every May 15 since 1948, Palestinians across the globe have marked another anniversary of the Nakba (“catastrophe” in English), the term designating the destruction of Palestinian society attendant with the establishment of Israel. Beginning in late 1947, about 780,000 Palestinian Arabs were forced from their homes and homeland or fled in fear because of a deliberate campaign by Jewish troops of ethnic cleansing. The majority Arab population of Palestine was, by its physical presence and predominant ownership of land, a major obstacle to the foundation of a state with a Jewish majority. The expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, therefore, was no accident of war. Indeed, close to half of the Palestinians forced or terrorised into exile had fled before Israel declared its independence, and thus before any Arab state intervened in the conflict. A notorious massacre by Jewish troops of Palestinian citizens occurred in Deir Yassin on April 9, 1948, five weeks before Israel was founded.