June 5th marks Naksa Day, otherwise known as ‘the setback’. This day marks the defeat of Arab nations during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War and the beginning of the military occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. It has been 53 years since Palestinians suffered this setback and Israel’s military occupation is now one of the longest occupations in modern history. The Naksa saw over 300,000 Palestinians expelled from their homes, further exacerbating the Palestinian refugee crisis.
The Naksa, like the Nakba is not just some distant historical event. Palestinians have suffered countless catastrophes and setbacks in their struggle for freedom and their human rights. The Palestinian cause only came to the world’s attention during the First Intifada, when the injustice faced by Palestinians led to grassroots protests and civil disobedience. However, the years in between had seen the occupation displacing families, stealing land and resources and causing trauma to further generations. The annexation of East Jerusalem demoralised Palestinians and set in place a culture of brutality and dehumanisation in Israel society that was actioned through its military and legal system.
Today, these systems of repression have been entrenched and strengthened through the occupation. The Wall, checkpoints and settlements make everyday life difficult and dangerous for Palestinians. The siege of Gaza has cut if off from the West Bank, and the attempts to re-imagine Jerusalem without Palestinian roots has cased families to live in fear and be targeted through discriminatory civil and legal practices.
The Naksa was not only a setback for Palestinians, it caused huge changes and shifts across the Middle East. It is an event that further disenfranchised the Palestinians and learning about it is necessary to understand the Palestinian struggle and what an occupation really is.