Tomorrow it’s the 15th of May 2012. This day marks the 64th year after what is known as yom an-Nakba among Palestinians. Nakba is Arabic for ‘catastrophe’ and relates to the several hundred of thousands of Palestinians, who had to leave their homes when the war between the Arab alliance and Israel broke out, a war which was the result of Israel’s independence just the day before. It is a day which marks the tragic destiny for more than 700,000 Palestinians, and a day which coincides with a day, which for the majority of the Israelis, is a day of joy, namely the Israeli Independence Day, Yom Ha’Atzmaut.
In Israel Yom Ha’Atzmaut is celebrated all over the nation with barbeques, parties, and concerts. Yom an-Nakba is not, it shouldn’t be, it’s a day of mourning, but it’s not even commemorated. Okay, one could understand that, it’s part of the Palestinian narrative, not the Israeli, but the Israeli Palestinians are not even allowed to commemorate the day. I find it criticizable.
I am a Zionist, a Jew, married to an Israeli, and living in Israel. I do celebrate Yom Ha’Atzmaut, as well as I commemorate the fallen Israeli soldier, who gave their lives protecting the country. I do doubt some versions of what happened during the independence war with the Arab armies, but I know that at least part of the Palestinians leaving their homes were forced to do it by Israeli soldiers, that is – or should be – beyond doubt. There are a lot of discussions surrounding the war. Who were really the evil ones, who did the greatest atrocities, did the Palestinians leave freely, and so on. But those are for the historians to discuss, and while many people choose to be one-sided, only relying on those historians who give the account which fits their narrative, I try to be objective, or at least as objective as I can.
That aside, discussion aside, no matter how big a role Israel played in this, no matter how many Palestinians left of their own will, we still witness the consequences of the war (and the later war in 1967), having millions of Palestinians still living in refugee camps, under terrible conditions. True, some camps are more reminding of cities today, but that doesn’t go for all of them, probably only few of them. I wouldn’t like to live in them, and I bet that most would agree with me that no one deserves to live in them. I don’t blame Israel for this, at least not alone or totally. Many refugee camps are either found in Lebanon, Syria, or Jordan, and while Jordanese Palestinians, I think, have somewhat normal lives, that’s not the situation for the Lebanese or Syrian Palestinians. It actually doesn’t matter much who is to blame, that won’t change their situation.
I can’t do anything personally, besides raise awareness of the situation millions of people are living in. I can do that without blaming people, I can do that in order to change that situation for the better. True, there are people out there who live even worse lives, but the Palestinians are part of my destiny, as a Jew living in Israel. And – again – though I do celebrate the day Israel came into existence, no matter how much or little I might agree or disagree with various Israeli policies, I do mourn the sacrifices which had to be given for this. I do mourn that we, 64 years after the establishment of Israel, still have to live and experience the consequences of war.
I can’t change their situation, but I can raise awareness of it. And I won’t tell Israel to solve it, not alone at least, nor to take blame, not all at least. But at least allow people to mourn. At least that.
 These days rarely fall next after each other today, since Israel is following the Jewish calendar, which is a lunar calendar, whereas the date for the Nakba-day follow the Western solar calendar.