Seventy-Five Years of Continued Devastation and Expansion
Verily, as for those who persecute believing men and believing women and thereafter do not repent, hell’s suffering awaits them: they will have the chastisement of the burning fire… truly strong is the grip of your Lord. (85:10-12)
Every year on May 15, people around the world mark the Nakbah, meaning “catastrophe” referring to the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948. Israel declared its independence on the eve of May 14 1948. The International Day of Nakbah is thus commemorated every year on the 15th May. This year the occupation of Palestine enters its 75th year.
The Day of Nakbah is meant to keep the memory of Israeli brutality and oppression alive, which has helped in passing the torch of the struggle from one generation to another. This catastrophe resulted in the dispossession of an estimated 750,000 refugees from historic Palestine, and the uprooting of two-thirds of the Palestinian Arab population and their society in the process of the creation of the State of Israel. During the Nakbah, 530 Palestinian villages were ethnically cleansed, thousands were killed, and 75% of the Palestinian population fled.
These 750 000 people became instant refugees – their homes, properties and entire villages were razed to the ground. One of the survivors of the massacre described the horrific scene in the following words: “…there were corpses of women lying in houses with their skirts torn up to their waists and their legs wide apart; children with their throats cut open, rows of young men shot in the back after being lined up at an execution wall. There were even bodies of babies. Moreover some had vivid crimson or black scars down the left side of their throats. One of the women held a tiny baby against her body; the bullet had passed through her breast and killed the baby. Someone had split open her stomach, cutting sideways and then upwards, perhaps trying to kill her unborn child. Her eyes were wide open, her face frozen in horror.”
While the Nakbah is sometimes marked as a historical event, the reality is that the Nakbah continues with absolute impunity. More than half a million Israelis live in more than 200 settlements built on Palestinian land considered illegal under international laws.
Too often we are inclined to think that al -Aqsa is a Palestinian problem rather than the responsibility of the entire ummah. The liberation of the holy land is a duty binding on the whole Ummah. This is the bases on which all Muslims have to approach the problem. The land of Palestine has been an Islamic Waqf throughout the generations and will remain so until the Day of Resurrection. No one can renounce it or abandon it.
The persecution of believers is a phenomenon not restricted to this age or time; it is ever recurring in varying degrees of intensity throughout recorded history! “Do men think that they will be spared by merely saying “We believe” and that they will not be tested” (29:2) We must not forget that the respite the oppressors enjoy is but the completion of Allah’s argument against them! Allah’s grip is strong, His power irresistible, His wisdom unquestionable. The grand plan of Allah will certainly come to pass even though the tyrants detest it.