The Nakba ceremony

On May 15th we held Combatants for Peace’s fifth Joint Palestinian-Israeli Nakba Remembrance Ceremony to commemorate the displacement and erasure of hundreds of Palestinian communities, which started in 1948 and continues to the present. Together, we recall the pain of the Palestinian community in the year 1948 when more than 700,000 Palestinians became refugees. Families were expelled from their homes, their villages and cities destroyed. The Joint Nakba Remembrance Ceremony expresses our belief that peace and reconciliation involves a sincere and honest reckoning with history. Combatants for Peace (CfP) understands that for Israelis and Palestinians to end the occupation and find a solution to the conflict, we must acknowledge the truth of history, listen earnestly to each other’s stories, and compassionately behold each other’s humanity.

The Nakba Memorial is CfP’s sister event to the Israeli-Palestinian Joint Memorial Ceremony. As shared by CfP activists, “The two ceremonies aim to liberate us from the mental cage of the current situation. We are locked in and imprisoned by a drawn-out limbo of oppression and violence which seems to have always been here and seems will never end. We aim to present this reality of bereavement and dispossession not as a natural and inevitable fact, but as a result of human choices. Seeing these choices for what they are and then choosing differently will allow us to break out of the present and shape a better future.”

Acknowledging and honoring the Palestinian experience and history is the only path to healing our collective trauma and forging a peaceful future with true equality, freedom and dignity for all – and just like with the Joint Memorial Ceremony, we do it together – Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals.

CFP was born out of the personal experiences of its founders and activists who were either involved in the violent oppression of the Palestinians or in the violent resistance to Israeli occupation. They share, “We do not seek to deny our violent past but rather work with it, process it, and turn it from a site of conflict into a basis for joint, constructive action. This is how we perceive the history of this land and of the two peoples who coinhabit it. Our ceremonies are intended to carry the audience—Israelis, Palestinians, and internationals—to past traumas and their lingering legacies, then to the present, in order to build a just, peaceful, and equitable future.”

This year, we centered the ceremony around the theme of “liberation” – how do we liberate ourselves from occupation, oppression and violence? What does liberation look like and how do we begin to heal from our past and present trauma? 

NAkba Ceremony, 2024