The Nakba, or the catastrophe, is the term used by Palestinians to describe the events of 1948, when Zionist forces expelled more than 750,000 Palestinians from their homes and lands, destroyed over 500 villages, and declared the state of Israel on 78% of historic Palestine.
The Nakba is not only a historical event, but also an ongoing process of displacement, dispossession, and erasure of Palestinian identity and culture. Palestinians mark May 15 as Nakba Day every year to commemorate their loss and to demand their right of return to their homeland.
However, some Israeli leaders have recently called for a “Second Nakba” or a “Final Solution” to the Palestinian question, implying the complete elimination of the Palestinian people and their rights.
One of them is Naftali Bennett, the leader of the right-wing Yamina party and a potential prime minister in Israel’s upcoming coalition government. Bennett has openly advocated for the annexation of most of the occupied West Bank, where about 3 million Palestinians live under Israeli military rule. He has also rejected the idea of a Palestinian state or any form of self-determination for the Palestinians.
In 2013, Bennett said: “I will do everything in my power to make sure they never get a state.” He added: “The most important thing in the Land of Israel is to build, build, build. It’s important that there will be an Israeli presence everywhere. Our principal problem is still Israel’s leaders’ unwillingness to say in a simple manner that the Land of Israel belongs to the People of Israel.”
Another Israeli politician who has called for a “Second Nakba” is Bezalel Smotrich, the leader of the far-right Religious Zionism party and a possible minister in the next government. Smotrich has openly expressed his racism and hatred towards Palestinians and other non-Jews. He has supported the expulsion of Palestinians from their lands, the demolition of their homes, and the denial of their basic human rights. He has also endorsed violence against Palestinians and praised Jewish terrorists who killed innocent civilians.
In 2016, Smotrich tweeted: “I very much hope that we will have another opportunity for a second ‘Nakba’ – this time a real one – that will finally solve our problem with our hostile neighbors.” He later deleted the tweet after facing criticism.
In 2019, Smotrich said: “We want to take care of everyone who lives here but there are two preliminary conditions: The first is that they recognize unequivocally that this land belongs exclusively to us … The second condition is that they accept our sovereignty and law without compromise … Those who do not accept these two conditions – we will have to use force against them until they raise a white flag.”
These statements by Bennett and Smotrich reflect a dangerous ideology that denies the existence and rights of the Palestinian people and seeks to erase them from their homeland. They also contradict international law and human rights norms that affirm the right of all peoples to self-determination, dignity, and equality.
The international community should not remain silent or complicit in the face of such threats and incitement by Israeli leaders. It should take concrete actions to hold Israel accountable for its violations of Palestinian rights and to support a just and lasting solution to the conflict based on international law and human rights.