Some Democrats in the House are calling on the United States to pass a resolution recognizing the Nakba, the Arabic word for catastrophe, which is used by Palestinian to refer to the establishment of the State of Israel.
U.S. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) – who is of Palestinian descent – introduced the resolution on Monday, a week and a half after Israel celebrated its 74th Independence Day. The resolution is backed by other Democratic members of Congress known collectively as “the Squad.”
“The Nakba is well-documented and continues to play out today,” Tlaib wrote on Twitter. “We must acknowledge that the humanity of Palestinians is being denied when folks refuse to acknowledge the war crimes and human rights violations in apartheid Israel.”
The Nakba is well-documented and continues to play out today. We must acknowledge that the humanity of Palestinians is being denied when folks refuse to acknowledge the war crimes and human rights violations in apartheid Israel. #Nakba74! https://t.co/dLjOALlNKy— Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (@RepRashida) May 16, 2022
Tlaib’s resolution calls for the United States to “commemorate the Nakba through official recognition and remembrance.” It stresses that the Nakba “refers not only to a historical event but to an ongoing process of Israel's expropriation of Palestinian land and its dispossession of the Palestinian people that continues to this day.”
Nakba Day is observed on May 15 by Palestinians who lament the displacement of around 700,000 Arab Palestinians who lived in the territory of British mandatory Palestine. However, the Nakba narrative paints a one-sided picture of the circumstances under which many Palestinians were expelled or fled. After the United Nations voted to partition Israel and Palestine, military coalition of Arab states declared war against the newly founded Jewish state and, along with the Palestinians, invaded Israel on May 15, 1948.
Due to the war, Jews were also expelled from their land including what became known as the West Bank and East Jerusalem and the Old City. In subsequent years, around 900,000 Jews were expelled from Arab countries.
The initiative, led by progressives, claims that Palestinians opposed the UN's partition plan in 1947, which suggested that the territory of British mandatory Palestine be divided into two states – one for Arabs and one for Jews. The resolution states that prior to Israel declaring independence on May 14, 1948, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians had fled their homes, “often after attacks by Zionist militias.” It does not make reference to Arab nations that invaded some of those areas on order to attack Israel.
Tlaib co-sponsored the resolution with fellow progressive members of the House of Representatives, Betty McCollum, Marie Newman, Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Although the resolution is not expected to pass in the House, pro-Palestinian media outlets and advocates highlighted it as a symbolic and historic measure.
The Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU) tweeted about the resolution to recognize Nakba as “the catastrophe that took place 74 years ago and resulted in the murder of thousands of Palestinians, forcing the expulsion of over 700,000 from their homes.”
Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) panned the “anti-Semitism” of his colleagues.
“Israel is our great ally & the continued anti-Semitism from radical socialists in the House is horrific. These are Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi’s Democrat members. Does she agree with them? If not, she must immediately condemn this,” he wrote on Twitter.
Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.