"The wound is still open": The Nakba experience among internally displaced Palestinians in Israel

Sfaa Ghnadre-Naser, Eli Somer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose - While the 1948 Nakba represents the most significant crisis in the history of the Palestinian people, its psychological effects on its survivors in Israel have yet to be explored. The purpose of this paper is to examine the subjective experience and the psychological implications of the Nakba ordeals and the ensuing uprooting among the internally displaced Palestinians living in Israel. Design/methodology/approach - Qualitative semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with ten internally displaced Palestinians who experienced the Nakba as youngsters. The interview transcripts were analyzed thematically in line with accepted practice in phenomenological research in psychology. Findings - Participants had experienced a wide range of traumatic events intertwined with protracted daily struggles and accumulated losses. These experiences resulted in pronounced psychological distress and immense inner pain that was perpetuated throughout their lives, rendering the Nakba an unresolved traumatic experience. Research limitations/implications - This paper describes the psychological outcome of the Nakba among a small sample of elderly survivors. Further urgent research is needed to collect valuable untapped information from this aging and dwindling community. Originality/value - Although more than six decades have elapsed since the tragic events, the current research paper constitutes a pioneering effort to document the subjective experience of the Nakba. The current research findings counterbalance 60 years of public and academic disregard of this tragic period.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-251
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Emerald Group Publishing Limited.


  • Elderly informants
  • Internally displaced persons
  • Nakba
  • Palestine
  • Psychological trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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