Nakba signifies injustice, Turkey says in solidarity with Palestinians

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Nakba, which translates as the “great catastrophe” that the Palestinian nation was exposed to, signifies the 72-year-long occupation, unlawfulness, oppression, and injustice, Turkey voiced on Saturday in solidarity with Palestinian people.

In a statement marking the day, Turkish presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalın said 70% of Palestine’s population has been displaced, and almost 6 million Palestinians are currently living in different countries as refugees, a reminder that despite United Nations’ decisions and international rulings, illegal Jewish settlements are ongoing in east Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Palestinian families are pushed out of their homes, he said.

Roughly 650,000 Israeli Jews currently live in around 164 settlements and 116 settlement posts built in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem.

International law views both the West Bank and east Jerusalem as occupied territories and considers all Jewish settlement-building activity in the area illegal.

The war that broke out in 1948 when Israel declared statehood and neighboring Arab states invaded is remembered every year on May 15 by Palestinians as Nakba Day. Nakba means catastrophe in Arabic.

A Palestinian refugee elderly woman, who witnessed the 1948 Nakba, looks out of her house’s entrance door at Al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza City, May 15, 2020. (AFP)

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were expelled from their villages during the war.

Nearly seven decades later, their number has swelled to more than 5.3 million registered refugees, who live in U.N.-run camps scattered throughout the region – 27 in the West Bank and Gaza, 12 in Lebanon, 10 in Jordan and nine in Syria.

Israel rejects the return of all refugees and their descendants to its own territory. Instead, it wants a future Palestinian state to absorb the vast majority. However, nearly all refugees are adamant that they will not accept compensation for their homes.

“The occupation policy, which has continued systematically for tens of years, is desired to be extended and deepened with annexation plans,” Kalın said.

The spokesperson stressed that on the basis of 1967 borders and several U.N. decisions, the formation of a Palestine state of which the capital is Jerusalem and which is independent, sovereign, and has geographical integrity, is the “historical and legitimate right” of the Palestinian nation.

“It is not possible to establish regional and global peace before the Palestinian nation gets their rights,” he expressed.

Kalın warned that every move attempting to change the legal, religious and historical status of Jerusalem is “playing with fire.”

Jerusalem is our red line, he underlined, referring to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s previous remarks on the issue.

He also called on everyone “who has the sense of law, conscience and justice” to take a stand against Israel’s “vandalism.”

“There is no legitimacy for any plan that ignores the existence and will of the Palestinian people and any attempt to benefit from Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories,” he said.

“As Turkey, we will continue to stand with the Palestinian nation in their rightful cause,” Kalın added.

Since its establishment, Israel’s wars have resulted in a strikingly unequal loss of lives on either side of the conflict. After the decision was made to migrate to Palestinian lands in the first Zionist Congress in 1897, Jews gradually moved to Palestine. After World War I and World War II, the number of Jews migrating to Palestine increased dramatically. In 1948, Israel started an independence war against Arab countries, which was called “Nakba” by Palestinians, as more than 1 million Arabs were displaced.

In 1948, Israel killed nearly 20,000 Palestinians and several thousand Arab soldiers, while it lost about 4,000 soldiers and 2,000 civilians. In the second Israeli-Arab conflict in 1956-1957, Israel lost 231 soldiers, while 1,650 Egyptian soldiers were killed, and there were hundreds of civilian casualties.

In one of the biggest Israeli-Arab wars in 1973, a total of 776 Israeli soldiers were killed, but the death toll on the Arab side was much higher, as 15,000 Egyptians, 6,000 Jordanians and 1,000 Syrians were killed, and more than 500,000 Palestinians were displaced. In 1978, Israel lost 18 soldiers, while 1,200 Lebanese and Palestinians were killed.

The war in Lebanon in 1982 was another catastrophe for Muslim Arabs. While the civil war was continuing in the country, Israel and pro-Israel rightists and Christian factions massacred 17,825 Arabs under the leadership of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who was famous for saying, “When I see dead Palestinians, while I am on the tank, I feel so happy.” For three days, Muslim Arabs were murdered, raped and brutally executed. During the brutal attacks, 670 Israeli soldiers died. The massacres, which happened in the Shatila refugee camp and Sabra area, have been marked as some of the bloodiest in recent history.

In 1996, Israel killed 175 Arabs. In 2006, Israel killed 1,200 civilians and 118 Hezbollah soldiers, and in 2009, 1,440 Palestinians were murdered in just two days of intensive attacks. The total death toll of Israeli soldiers in 2006 and 2009 was 176. In 2012, during Operation Pillar of Defense, 177 Palestinians were killed and six Israeli soldiers died.

Source: Dailysabah


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