The Nakba: 72 years of ongoing catastrophe

By Ted Kelly
May 18, 2020

May 15 is the day commemorating Youm al-Nakba, the Day of Catastrophe, when white European settlers declared war on the people of Palestine in 1948. In the violence that immediately followed the settlers’ so-called “independence” declaration, at least 700,000 Palestinians were forced out of their homes, and hundreds of towns and villages were destroyed.

Solidarity with Palestine in Philadelphia, June 2018. Photo: Joe Piette

While Nakba Day acknowledges the start of this imperialist attack, Palestinians and their supporters around the world know this catastrophe never ended and continues to this day. The Palestinian diaspora now numbers in the millions, with millions more internally displaced and dispossessed within the borders of the so-called state of Israel.

The white-supremacist occupation forces that now control Palestine receive billions of dollars in weaponry and military hardware every year from the U.S. The archconservative lackey of Ronald Reagan, Alexander Haig, once referred to Israel as “the largest American aircraft carrier that cannot be sunk,” and it is indeed the launch zone of many U.S. imperialist crimes across Western Asia. Research done by Palestinian novelist and Workers World Party comrade Susan Abulhawa reveals that Israel is also the most prolific per capita arms trafficker in the world.

Despite Israel’s backing from the most notorious imperialist forces on the planet, Palestinians have engaged in decades of heroic resistance against their colonial oppressors. From the hijackings and high-profile kidnappings of the 1970s to the first and second Intifada and the Great March of Return protests in Gaza ongoing since 2018, Palestinians have fought back to restore their national sovereignty. They have launched an international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign to empower workers to cut off cultural and commercial support for the Zionist entity. Their struggle has won the support of major revolutionary leaders from Fidel Castro to Nelson Mandela.

The International Action Center supports the right of self-defense and national determination of the Palestinian people, as well as the right of return of all Palestinians to their homeland.

As Palestinian poet and author Mahmoud Darwish said in a radio broadcast in 2001, “We are not looking back to dig up the evidence of a past crime, for the Nakba is an extended present that promises to continue in the future.

“We do not need anything to help us remember the human tragedy we have been living for the past 53 years: We continue to live in the here and now. We continue to resist its consequences, here and now, on the land of our homeland, the only homeland we have.” (

From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!