The History of Palestine: Understanding the Genocide (1948-)

For Palestine, specifically Gaza, the last few weeks have been some of the most difficult and heart wrenching periods for the population since 1948. In the age of social media, we understand the importance of using our platforms to spread awareness of what is happening and share our support to force world leaders to finally do something. However, with this power, it is crucial to understand the history of the genocide to stop misinformation from spreading. From the Nakba of 1948, the Six-Day War of 1967, the First and Second Intifada and the 2021 Occupation of Sheikh Jarrah, it is crucial to know that this was did not start on October 7th, there is a history of crimes preceding it.

The History of the Occupation of Palestine


Why Did Israelis settle in Palestinian Land in the First Place

To understand the Nakba, one must go back to the early 20th century when the British Empire exercised control over Palestine. The Balfour Declaration of 1917, a statement by the British government, expressed support for the establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine. This declaration set the stage for the subsequent influx of Jewish immigrants into the region.

The Nakba of 1948

The term “Nakba” translates to “catastrophe” in Arabic and signifies the mass displacement and dispossession of the Palestinian people during and after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. During the Nakba, Israel controlled 774 towns and villages, destroyed over 500 Palestinian towns and massacred over 15,000 Palestinian people. This period saw hundreds of thousands of Palestinians forced to leave their homes and communities, resulting in a refugee crisis that persists to this day.

Palestinian refugees being forced out of their land in 1948

The Six-Days War of 1967

The Six-Days War is another crucial piece of the history that has been overlooked in recent years despite its pivotal role in the history of the Palestinian genocide. During the 60’s there were lots of issues arising between Israel and other Arab states over the rights to pass through the Suez-Canal and the Red Sea. Palestine was one of the states that fought against Israel’s initial attack on the Suez and gave rise to powerful militancy. However, the war ended with Israel winning control over the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem and the West Bank which led to the displacement of more than half a million Palestinians.

First Intifada in Palestine (1987-1993)

The First Intifada (there is a second actually) was a Palestinian uprising against the Israeli Occupation. It was made up a large series of Palestinian demonstrations, non-violent actions such as mass boycotts and refusal of work in Israel. The First Intifada also included attacks against Israelis after years of violent occupation, however the during this time, Palestinian injuries and fatalities dramatically outpaced Israelis with 1,200 Palestinians killed and almost 3,000 houses were razed to the ground. It marked a significant period of civil disobedience and protests in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, ultimately leading to the Oslo Accords in 1993. The Accords were a series of agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organizations which led to the establishment of Palestinian Authority in parts of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

1987: Demonstrations spreading through Palestine against the blockade and occupation

Second Intifada in Palestine (2000-2005)

The Second Intifada, also known as the Al-Aqsa Intifada, was a continued period of intense violence, with suicide bombings, increased Israeli military occupation and retaliation, and general increased tension. It is called the “Al-Aqsa Intifada” because the spark for this uprising was the storming of then-Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon with over 1,000 heavily armed police, to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in September 2000. This visit was seen by many as a deliberate attempt to assert Israeli control over a holy site that holds significance for both Muslims and Jews. While the Second Intifada is seen as more violent than the first, it started with large, non-violent demonstrations from the Palestinians that were met with violent force from Israeli authorities which led to military incursions into heavily populated Palestinian towns and villages. The Second Intifada registered almost 5,000 fatalities.

Masked Palestinian youths place slogans near pictures of Palestinians who died during violence
“The Israeli violence showed that the Israelis were not interested in a quick end to the conflict,” – Ali Adam, Al Jazeera

Gaza Wars (2008-2009, 2012, 2014)

These conflicts, primarily between Israel and Hamas, resulted in significant casualties and destruction in Gaza. The situation in Gaza remains a critical aspect of the genocide.

2021 Occupation of Sheikh Jarrah

In May 2021, Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah , a neighbourhoods in occupied East Jerusalem that have lived there since 1948, began protesting against Israel’s plan to forcibly evict them from their homes to make way for Jewish settlers. The world protested against this forced displacement that was taking place without any international intervention. During the displacement, over 1,000 houses were destroyed, 53 schools damaged and 17 hospitals and clinics were destroyed.

Protests across the Palestinian Territories

While this overview captures some of the main historical milestones, the last 75 years has filled in all the gaps between the significant events with torment, displacement and violent warcrime. The battle didn’t start on October 7th, and it is more than the events in this article, it is an ongoing genocide that has been allowed to happen for 75 years. And for the last 75 years, the world has turned a blind eye to the genocide of which will be written into history as failure on humanity. The time to change is now: post, protest, educate and donate.

Leave a Reply