Palestinians mark anniversary of the Nakba

Today is Nakba Day or “The Day of Catastrophe”, a Palestinian holiday that laments the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and remembers

Woman holding up the Palestinian flag in Gaza 2019

Photo: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters

Today is Nakba Day or “The Day of Catastrophe”, a Palestinian holiday that laments the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and remembers the displacement of Palestinians worldwide.

This Nakba Day comes shortly after the formation of a unity government between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz. While Gantz has campaigned against a near-term unilateral annexation of the West Bank, Netanyahu’s camp hopes to proceed with a long-desired plan to annex an additional 30% of the occupied territory.

These annexation plans are not likely to proceed in the short-term, with Israeli lawmakers preoccupied with the pandemic and still recovering from the fallout of nearly a year of political gridlock. Moreover, a Wednesday visit by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cautioning against swift action on annexation also indicates a likely delay. Washington is concerned about a medium-term spike in regional violence should annexation proceed too quickly.

However, in the longer-term, particularly after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, Netanyahu is expected to drive annexation forward. The structure of the unity government will facilitate this as Gantz does not have veto power on annexation. Annexation could see an uptick of violence in the disputed region and risks fracturing an already fragile unity government.

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