Palestinians marked 76 years since the Nakba, the dispossession and displacement faced by generations of Palestinians before and during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war that followed the establishment of Israel. During the initial Nakba, all Arab countries stood united against Israel.

The day is referred to as the “Nakba,” which is the Arabic word for catastrophe.

Over 700,000 Palestinians, comprising much of the pre-war Palestinian population, fled or were driven from their homes by Israeli forces and Jewish terrorist groups.

In the occupied West Bank, Palestinians view the ongoing conflict in Gaza and the expansion of Israeli military presence in their own territory as evidence of a second Nakba.

For many, the reminiscence of the first Arab-Israeli war in 1948 evokes memories of unity and solidarity, where individuals from diverse backgrounds fought and sacrificed for the cause of Palestine. Adeeb Nazzal recalled the participation of Iraqi soldiers who stood shoulder to shoulder with Palestinians against Zionist forces during the historic conflict.

However, Nazzal laments the current lack of unity among Arab armies, observing that self-interests have eclipsed the collective goal of supporting Palestine. Palestinians are compelled to face their struggles largely alone.

As Palestinians observe the Nakba, Israeli military incursions have intensified in the northern town of Jabalia and the southern city of Rafah. Over the past 24 hours alone, Israel has killed at least 82 Palestinians, marking the deadliest day in Gaza in many weeks. The relentless Israeli air and ground assaults have wrought havoc on Gaza, with homes, schools, and hospitals bearing the brunt of the onslaught.

Israeli tanks have advanced deeper into eastern Rafah, encroaching upon residential neighbourhoods near the southern border. The proximity of these military incursions to civilian areas raises grave concerns for the safety of the civlian population, with the most advanced Israeli positions now just 2km from a UN official’s office.

The humanitarian crisis deepens as more than 450,000 Palestinians have been forced to evacuate Rafah city. Another 100,000 have fled the north as the Israeli military ramped up its operations.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) says it has been forced to halt healthcare services at Rafah Indonesian Field Hospital due to systematic attacks against medical staff, facilities and infrastructure.

Since 7 October, Israel has killed at least 35,173 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and wounded 79,061 others in Gaza.

Meanwhile, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is set to hold hearings to discuss South Africa’s request for new emergency measures over the incursion into Rafah. Qatar has pointed to this incursion as a significant impediment to ceasefire efforts. South Africa accuses Israel of violating the genocide convention in Gaza.