Nakba to Nakba, Palestinian life 76 years post-catastrophe is worse than 75

On the 76th commemoration of the Nakba, Al Jazeera looks at the difference the last year has made to the Palestinians.

protest to mark the 76th anniversary of the Nakba
Palestinians around the world mark the Nakba, or 'catastrophe', on May 15, remembering the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948 [Emilio Morenatti/AP Photo]

Palestinians say the Nakba – the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians to clear the way for the formation of Israel in 1948 – never ended. Instead, they believe it is still in motion, continuing to displace and kill Palestinians from their homes, their communities, and their lands.

Last May marked the 75th commemoration of the Nakba. In the year since then, there has been a staggering rise in the number of Palestinians killed, detained and displaced, much of it having occurred against the backdrop of Israel’s ongoing war on Gaza.

And so, as Palestinians marked 76 years since the Nakba on May 15, Al Jazeera takes a closer look at how Palestinians’ lives have changed in the last year.

Deaths

The last seven months of conflict have brought about an intensification of Israeli violence towards Palestinians, leading to displacement and death.

In the year leading up to May 15, 2023, 234 Palestinians had been killed by Israeli forces or settlers in the occupied West Bank and 89 in Gaza, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

In the year since May 15, 2023, 589 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces or individuals in the occupied West Bank, including more than 124 children, and 35,173 in Gaza, including more than 14,500 children, reports OCHA.

INTERACTIVE Nakba to Nakba Palestinians killed-1715839182
(Al Jazeera)

Palestinians taken captive

In the year leading up to May 15, 2023, 4,900 Palestinians were held captive in Israeli prisons, according to estimates from Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, a rights group based in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah. Approximately 1,000 people, Addameer reported, were held under “administrative detention”, a policy Israel created to allow the indefinite holding of individuals without charge, sharing evidence or due process. There were also 160 child prisoners at that time, according to the rights group.

In the year since May 15, 2023, 9,300 Palestinians have been held captive in Israeli prisons, Addameer estimates. Approximately 3,400 people have been held under administrative detention, while there are 250 child prisoners, the group reports.

Al Jazeera has documented countless testimonies of torture, medical neglect, starvation and sexual violence being committed by Israeli forces against captive Palestinians.

There have been 17 documented deaths within prison walls since October 7, an indication of the regular torture the prisoners are facing.

INTERACTIVE Nakba to Nakba Palestinians arrested-1715839176
(Al Jazeera)

Destruction

Before October 7, 2023, the demolition of Palestinian homes and buildings in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem proceeded steadily against the backdrop of international condemnation.

In the year leading up to May 15, 2023, 1,046 structures were destroyed there, according to OCHA. In the year since May 15, 2023, an additional 1,274 structures were destroyed, the UN agency reports.

Using legal justifications, including destroying houses built without a permit – when permits are nearly impossible for Palestinians to secure – Israeli authorities have demolished countless homes.

INTERACTIVE Nakba to Nakba Palestinian homes demolished-1715839171
(Al Jazeera)

Denunciations from international actors, including the United States, have done little to prevent the destruction of entire Palestinian villages, which were emptied of their residents either through official demolitions or relentless settler attacks that caused people to flee.

In fact, 2023 was the most violent year on record in the West Bank since OCHA started recording casualties there in 2005.

Since October 7, mass destruction has been ongoing in Gaza as well.

Nearly three-quarters of the structures in the besieged enclave have been partially or completely destroyed.

Since the war began, and as of May 12, 60 percent of residential buildings have been destroyed while 80 percent of commercial facilities have been damaged, according to OCHA.

INTERACTIVE Gaza buried in 37 million tonnes of debris destruction 14 years rebuild-1714454208
(Al Jazeera)

In addition, 73 percent of school buildings have been damaged, 83 percent of groundwater wells are no longer functional, 267 places of worship have been destroyed, and only 12 out of 36 hospitals in Gaza are partially functional.

UN agencies also estimate that the war has buried the strip in some 37.5 million tonnes of debris, which could take 14 years to clear.

Source: Al Jazeera