The evolution of a founding myth: The Nakba and its fluctuating meaning

Esther Webman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

5 Scopus citations


When Israel celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in 1998, the Arab world, and especially the Palestinians in the Palestinian territories and abroad, marked the commemoration of what is perceived as a parallel event in Palestinian history-namely, the Nakba (the catastrophe). In the Palestinian national narrative, the establishment of the State of Israel indicates the moment of defeat and displacement of the Palestinian people. Whereas the events of 1947 and 1948-the partition and the War of Independence, respectively-indicate a national rebirth after the Holocaust and a cause for national celebration for Israeli Jews, for Palestinians "the same events are seen as an unmitigated disaster and are the focus of national mourning."1 "What has been a success for one party has been a failure for the other party," explains Ibrahim Dakkak, a leading PLO activist from Jerusalem.2.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPalestinian Collective Memory and National Identity
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9780230621633
ISBN (Print)9780230613065
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2009


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