“The Nakba & The Law” project — a joint initiative of Adalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel and the Columbia University Center for Palestine Studies — explores and thinks through the Nakba as an event, a structure, and a process through a critical lens on the law. This blog, The Nakba Files, is the project’s online work and discussion space.

Jaramana refugee camp, Syria, 1949 (credit: Wikimedia)

The consequences of the Nakba – the term commonly given to the exile of over 700,000 Palestinians during and after the 1948 founding of the state of Israel – continue to reverberate, especially in the legal systems of Israel/Palestine. The Nakba remains so potent a presence that in 2011, 63 years after its foundation, the State of Israel legislated against its commemoration.

More than simply a one-time physical act of expulsion, the Nakba required and grounded a new legal infrastructure to legalize the transfer of lands from Palestinians to Jews; to concomitantly denationalize Palestinians while granting automatic citizenship and legal status to Jews; and to consolidate and protect these foundational forms of dispossession. The lingering presence of the Nakba is especially clear in the State of Israel’s ongoing efforts to displace even its own Palestinian citizens to make way for new Jewish settlements, especially against Bedouins in the Negev/Naqab desert.

Aftermath of a demolition in al-‘Araqib, in the Naqab (credit: Active Stills)

This blog will act as a space — part notebook, part case file, part seminar — to explore the various dimensions of how the Nakba and the law come together. We will examine, translate, and read against the grain of legal materials such as cases, statutes, and regulations. We will comment on events of the day when we feel they can help illuminate the questions that interest us. And we will highlight and incubate new scholarship that connects with our interests.

If you are interested in submitting materials to the blog or joining the conversation in other ways, please reach out to us by email, Twitter, or Facebook.

The views expressed on this site reflect the views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Editors or of Adalah or CPS.