The Naksa or “the day of the setback” refers to the annual observance of the 1967 war in which Israel invaded Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, resulting in the displacement of thousands of Palestinians from their homes.
Palestinians are marking the 53rd anniversary of Naksa or “the day of the setback”, the day tens of thousands of them were displaced from their homelands at the end of the Six-Day War in 1967.
The Six-Day War
Also known as the June War, the Six-Day War ended in Israel’s defeat for Egypt, Jordan, and Syria’s armies.
Israel took control of the Palestinian-populated West Bank, Gaza Strip, Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and Syria’s Golan Heights.
The first displacement of Palestinians had taken place in May 1948 soon after the establishment of the Jewish state.
The second large scale displacement happened in 1967.
Many UN resolutions asking for Israel’s withdrawal from these territories failed. Israel continues to occupy all except the Sinai Peninsula where it withdrew from in 1982, following a peace treaty with Egypt.
Fighting began with an Israeli surprise air attack on the Egyptian air force bases in Sinai on June 5, 1967.
The war, which lasted for six days left almost 20,000 Arabs dead (soldiers and civilians). Israel also lost 800 soldiers and civilians.
It is believed 70 to 80 percent of military equipment of the Arab armies was destroyed while Israel lost only 2-5 percent of their military arsenal.
Around 300,000 Palestinians were displaced from Gaza and the West Bank, most of them escaped to Jordan.
Israel still occupies 85 percent of historic Palestine (27,000 sq km).
Just 15 percent of the land is left for Palestinians, most of which is also under Israeli occupation.
In November 1967, the UN Security Council in resolution number 242 urged Israel to withdraw from the territories it had occupied in the 1967 war.
But Israel refused to withdraw from Syria’s Golan Heights and from other territories as mentioned in the UN resolution.
It annexed Golan Heights in 1981 through legislation adopted by the Israeli Knesset (parliament).
The international community has not recognised Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights.
In December 1981, the UN Security Council issued resolution number 497 against Israel’s annexation.
On March 25, 2019, US President Donald Trump signed an official proclamation declaring the Golan Heights territory of Israel.
The US declaration was rejected by all Arab states and most of the international stakeholders. The UN also stressed that it still regards the Golan Heights as Syrian territories under Israeli occupation.
Israel’s direct occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip continued until the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1993 following the signing of the Oslo Accords between Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel.
According to the Oslo Accords, a Palestinian state was supposed to be announced in May 1999.
But Israel repudiated its commitments, and instead, it strengthened its settlement construction activity in occupied West Bank.
The peace efforts also suffered another setback after Trump’s plan, which further reduces Palestinian rights.
‘Deal of the century’
The US’ so-called “deal of the century” was announced on January 28, 2020, where it refers to Jerusalem as “Israel’s undivided capital” and recognises Israeli sovereignty over large parts of the occupied West Bank.
The plan calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state in the form of an archipelago connected by bridges and tunnels under Israel’s security control.
Palestinians widely rejected the US plan, under which, Palestinian officials say, Israel would annex 30–40 percent of the West Bank, and all of East Jerusalem.