Palestinians’ Ongoing Nakba A Hijacked Cause – OpEd


By Bakir Oweida

The Palestine Liberation Organization’s mission in Britain and the Council of Arab Ambassadors are hosting an event titled “The Ongoing Nakba” on Wednesday evening near the House of Commons in London. Dr. Husam Zomlot, the Palestinian ambassador to the UK, will deliver the keynote address, continuing his efforts to draw attention to and explain the Palestinian perspective.

Zomlot has earned widespread acclaim for his articulate representation of the Palestinian narrative on British television screens and radio stations since the Al-Aqsa Flood offensive and the start of Benjamin Netanyahu’s war, with the so-called Israel Defense Forces, against the people of the Gaza Strip. This war, which has backfired on Israel itself, has enraged the entire world with its brutality. People have seen with their own eyes and heard with their own ears how one of the world’s most powerful armies has mercilessly annihilated unarmed civilians, who were helpless and lacked any form of defense, continuously displacing them in waves from the north to the south in the beginning, then from Rafah in the south to Al-Mawasi in the center, in what appears to be only the beginning of this unprecedented violence.

The choice to commemorate “The Ongoing Nakba” under that very title, in the English language and at the heart of Westminster — the epicenter of British legislation and decision-making — is a striking one. It places history’s finger squarely on one of the key centers responsible for orchestrating the Nakba in the backrooms of global power-brokering conspiracies. This assertion comes with the assumption that the event organizers themselves may not have intended such symbolism.

Indeed, there is nothing to add, as British governments, across the political spectrum, from before the First World War to the end of the Second World War, bear the greatest share of responsibility for all the resulting misfortunes and catastrophes that have befallen the Middle East in general and Palestine in particular. This includes the wars whose price was dearly paid by innocent people from different races, genders and cultures, simply by the misfortune of inhabiting this specific region — despite never being consulted on any decision of peace or war. Instead, they were forced to follow the dictates of decision-makers without restraint or condition.

Is it any wonder, then, that the Nakba of May 15, which is now 76 years old, is not only ongoing but also being perpetually renewed? It dons a different guise from time to time, discarded by a leader who grew weary of the garment he once wore to publicly flaunt and pander to dreams invoked in the name of Palestine. The true astonishment lies in the fact that the leaders of parties, organizations, states and governments have inherited the legacy of regimes that failed to fulfill the slogans of liberation they proclaimed — promises such as “From the river to the sea.”

Yet, these inheritors continue to peddle this tainted legacy to the masses, who seem willing to accept any delusion, to don any garment regardless of its fabric, and to quench their thirst with even the saltiest of waters. How, then, can the Nakba of the Palestinian people not persist when, for seven decades, their cause has been led by those who have prioritized the interests of their parties and the agendas of their alliances above all else?

It is true that Palestine’s Nakba began before the establishment of the state of Israel, at the First Zionist Congress at Basel in Switzerland in 1897. However, it is also true that the just cause of its people has been hijacked by opportunists of all stripes, both within and outside Palestine. It remains hijacked to this day and shows no signs of abating anytime soon.

  • Bakir Oweida is a Palestinian journalist who pursued a professional career in journalism in Libya in 1968, where he worked at Al-Haqiqa newspaper in Benghazi, then Al-Balagh and Al-Jihad in Tripoli. He has written for several Arab publications in Britain since 1978. He worked at Al-Arab newspaper, Al-Thadamun magazine and the international Arabic newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat. He has also worked as a consultant at Elaph online newspaper.

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