“ May 15, the day when we commemorate the Nakba, is a very symbolic day for us Palestinians: it is the day when we remember what happened to our people, to our grandparents in 1948,” said Sabreen Taha, a Palestinian journalist from East Jerusalem.
“ Normally, there are protests in different places on this day. They often end up in confrontations with the Israeli military. Palestinians throw stones, and the military respond with grenades and rubber bullets. The next day its usually calmer again. But now that there have been so many violent acts for a week, I dont know what to expect,” says Taha.
“ This day means a lot to us,” says Ashraf Al-Nabali. He now lives in Ramallah on the West Bank, but his family originally came from a small village near Ramla, where they are no longer allowed to live. “I am a refugee myself and it is important to me that we continue to remember our history. I also feel it as a responsibility to keep my grandfather and grandmothers stories about the Nakba and the time for it alive. “, says Al-Nabali
many years, many fled Palestinians kept their house keys, hoping they could return to their homes. But the temporary sanctuaries became for many a permanent residence. And the key became the symbol for the Nakba. Al-Nabalis grandfather also has his house keys: “All this time he kept them, for it remains his dream and hope that one day he can return to his house.”
According to Al-Nabali, it shows why the situation in Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem is so sensitive. Tensions in that neighbourhood increased considerably last week because Palestinian families would be expelled from their homes. The Israeli judge must give way to Jewish settlers. “This is really a big deal for us. We Palestinians had to leave all our homes in 1948, and we never got them back. We cannot let that happen again,” says Al-Nabali.
That the land would have been owned by Jews before 1948, and that Palestinian families should leave, Taha cannot understand: “If we go to see which land belonged to whom was before 1948, what about us? We existed before 1948 and lived here. So then Palestinians must also get their homes and land back. But thats not happening.”
According to Taha, the people in Sheikh Jarrah experience a kind of new Nakba: “They had to flee from the places they originally came from in 1948. Eventually they were able to settle in East Jerusalem. And now they are being evicted again.”
For Al-Nabali, recent developments are an extra push to keep telling the story of the Nakba: “They thought the younger generations would forget the past at some point. But this is not the case because of events like this. It reminds us of what has happened and what can happen again.”