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The Nakba, or "day of catastrophe," remains the central issue of struggle for the Palestinian people. Commemorated each May 15th, the Nakba began in May 1948 when the State of Israel was founded on Palestinian lands, leading to the forcible expulsion of 75% of the indigenous population. Today, over 5 million Palestinian refugees remain in refugee camps in countries around the world, unable to return to their land and homes. They are the oldest and largest refugee population in the world.
With the announcement, just one day before the Nakba, that Israel has settled with hundreds of Palestinian political prisoners on hunger strike, we reflect on 64 years of Israeli occupation—and Palestinian resistance—with a survey of Verso's responses to this struggle.
Writing in the Independent, Avi Shlaim, author of Israel and Palestine, argues that Barack Obama must stand up to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Nayanyahu, not only to save the fragile stability of the Middle East, but to protect the interests of the United States, and his own credibility as leader of the free world.
Shlaim describes Netanyahu's government as the most "aggressively right-wing, diplomatically intransigent, and overtly racist" in Israel's history, and Netanyahu himself as "a bellicose, right-wing Israeli nationalist, a rejectionist on the subject of Palestinian national rights, and a reactionary who is deeply wedded to the status quo."