Sixty-seven years ago today (15 May 2015) 700,000 people were driven from their land, their villages, their towns. Their expulsion was later sanctioned by United Nations recognition of the new state of Israel. Palestinians were a peaceful people, they comprised different religions including Islam, Christianity and Judaism.
They did not owe any special allegiance to a nation state.
That was for Europeans who resisted invasion and foreign domination by building countries with powerful armies and weapons of mass destruction.
But these people did have connection to the land, they called it Bilad.
In 1948 oranges were grown in a small village 15 kilometres south of Jaffa, it was called al-Jammasin. My friend Khalil lived there with his Mum and Dad, Aunties and Uncles who grew the famous Jaffa oranges on land owned for generations by his family.
They grew citrus long before Jaffa oranges were grown in California and exported in bulk to foreign markets.
What happened to the people who belonged to this ancient place? Why were their villages stolen? Why were they driven out? Who uprooted and burnt their orange and olive trees? The United Nations handed this land over the apartheid state of Israel at a time when national liberation struggles were defeating colonialism. Why?