We spoke to two Nakba survivors, who shared their memories, feelings, ideas and hopes for the future.
“I was 8 years old during the Nakba, Catastrophe, of 1948. I was there through the Naks (setback) of 1967) and the subsequent occupation of the Gaza Strip. I was a young man, at the time and I remember the occupation carrying out horrific massacres during both wars. However, the ongoing war on Gaza has revealed the brutality of the Israeli occupation like never before,” Abdul Rahman Yassin told The Palestine Chronicle.
“I moved with my family from the occupied village of Al-Joura in 1948 and settled with them in the Nuseirat refugee camp in the middle of the Gaza Strip,” Yassin continued.
“I am now 83 years old and, like all Palestinians, I have endured numerous chapters of continuous suffering, injustice, and pain,” he told us, adding:
“My son was killed, along with many members of my family, and the occupation bombed the house of my eldest son.”
“I am one of the few elderly individuals who lived through the Nakba in 1948 and are still alive. Most of my generation has either died, or the occupation killed them. The first eight years of my life in the town of Al-Joura were very beautiful. But the following 75 years have been marked by the Israeli occupation of Palestine, which brought so much pain and sorrow. The occupation did not leave us any room for joy or relief,” Yassin said.
“During the first intifada in 1987, my eldest son Alaa was seriously injured in the head. He had to stay at a hospital in Israel for a long time. I was told that he had been killed, so I dug his grave and set up a mourning tent for him. However, the following day, I was informed that he was still alive. Communications were extremely difficult in 1987.”
He continued, “My son Alaa received treatment at the time, but he still suffers from the injury to this day. He struggled to obtain his bachelor’s degree. It took him ten 10 years instead of the usual 4.”
“During the major Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip in 2014, my son Rashad was killed by an Israeli airstrike. He had just married, and God had blessed him with a beautiful daughter who was only a few months old at the time.” Yassin told us.
“On the first day of this war, on October 7, I lost my only nephew Hussein. Israel also bombed the house of my son Alaa, and completely destroyed it.”
“I have lived through all the massacres committed by the occupation. I am older than the state of Israel, and all its wars are painful and atrocious. However, the massacres committed by the occupation in this war are unprecedented. Israel does not want to displace the people of Gaza; it wants to eliminate us entirely,” Yassin said.
We Shall Return
Ramadan Emad, another elderly resident of Nuseirat, told The Palestine Chronicle: “I was working as a policeman during the Nakba in 1948, and I was just under 20 years old. At the time, we all fought side by side with the Arab armies to defend Palestine and respond to the Zionist aggression. But today, we stand alone in defending Gaza.”
“This war reminds me of the Nakba, but we did not experience this brutal bombardment and these deliberate large-scale massacres, at the time,” Emad stated.
“For all my life, I thought I would die without returning to Palestine, to my beloved town of Julis. Today, however, I feel hopeful. I am optimistic that soon, I will return with my grandchildren to liberate Julis and all the occupied Palestinian cities and villages.”