Today, on 15 May 2019, Palestinians are commemorating the 71st anniversary of the “Nakba” (“catastrophe”), in which we remember the mass displacement and dispossession of Palestinians that followed the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.
The rupture caused by the Nakba is not merely an historical event: it is an ongoing phenomenon that oppresses all Palestinians to this day, whether they are refugees, living under occupation, or second-class citizens of Israel.
One of the Nakba’s most devastating consequences has been its transformation of the indigenous Palestinian people into “foreigners” and “enemies” in their own homeland. As we and our colleagues have reflected in The Nakba Files blog, Israel’s legal system has been a central instrument in perpetuating this process.
It is through the law that Palestinians are stripped of their lands and denied their right to return to their ancestral villages. It is through the law that universities, theaters, and other institutions in Israel risk losing public funding if they host an event commemorating Israel’s establishment as a “national day of mourning”.
It is through the law that thousands of Palestinians are denied family unification with their spouses and children living across the Green Line. And it is through the law that Israel has declared, as a constitutional value, that the right to national self-determination in this land belongs exclusively to the Jewish people.
Yet, just as the law is being used by Israel to consolidate the Nakba, the law is also a tool for Palestinians to challenge and resist it.
Thanks to Adalah’s legal intervention this month, thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel participated in the annual “March of Return” on 9 May on the land of the uprooted Palestinian village of Khubayza.
Through our strategic litigation and advocacy, Adalah is opposing racist and annexation laws promoted by the most right-wing Knesset in Israel’s history, including our petition on behalf of the Palestinian leadership in Israel to cancel the Jewish Nation-State Law.
Alongside our partners, Adalah is fighting the implementation of discriminatory plans that will forcibly transfer and dispossess over 36,000 Bedouin citizens in the Naqab (Negev) desert to make way for Jewish towns, military bases, and industrial mines.
Together with Palestinians and their supporters around the world, Adalah commemorates Nakba Day and commits to continuing the struggle for Palestinians’ human rights, justice, and dignity.