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Nakba-Day

BS”D

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.[1]

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.


[1] 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.


8 Comments

  1. Heshke says:

    Did I read that any public commeration of Nakba is illegal in Israel? I thank you for your half open-mindedness (or perhaps a guilty conscious) but perhaps you should speak to Palestinians about what they experienced, the ones who are alive today. And what does it matter how people leave a war zone? Whether they flee or are driven out? Why do Israelis even have that conversation? Does it make them feel better than some people fled? Or some died and their property was just there, ripe for the pickings? Does that justify taking their property? If so, why do the Israelis work SO HARD to get back Jewish property lost/stolen in the Holocaust?! As you know, the Palestinians have no right of return or other recourse to justice. Whatever one believes, how does that apply to present day? To the Zionist theft of Palestinian land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem? Do you read the narrative of how Zionist settlers in the West Bank treat their neighbors? What the excuse today?

    Yadi yada … you’ve heard it all, I’m sure, and I’ve written it all. But get real … you can’t sit on both sides of the fence.

    • qolyehudi says:

      Dear Heshke.

      There are people who, no matter what one does, never will be satisfied, who always will be negative to one. You appear to be one of those people.

      I don’t get you, I really don’t. All this anger and aggression, instead actually take the opportunity to be part of something that could change the situation? What do you expect to get out of your outburst here? That I suddenly stop being a Zionist? That the Palestinians suddenly will be allowed into Israel? Something third?

      I don’t think that you really will achieve what you hope for, rather, what is being achieved by you is a decrease in my respect for you and a growing tiredness from my side, not so much from your disrespectful tone or your aggressiveness, nor so much from your opinions (those I actually would welcome, even if I don’t agree with you), but rather your extreme one-sidedness and insisting on a black and white-approach to everything which has to do with Israel and Zionism. You simply refuse any positive happening or expression from the Israeli side, explaining it as being somewhat manipulative and speculative. In the same way you refuse any understanding or tolerance for anything Zionist or Israeli, not even caring much about the more than 800,000 Jews, who likewise and solely were forced out of their home, and today haven’t even received recognition in that regards, something the Palestinians at least have received, having a whole UN department only taking care of their needs. Of course, the Jewish victims from the Jewish Nakba don’t need that, they were integrated, even if it brought with it some struggle in Israel, then they did eventually manage to become a full part of Israel, and today are represents the majority of Jews in Israel. Of course you will probably just refuse and ignore all this as “Zionist propaganda.”

      You talk about stolen property, something which Israel never have denied having to pay or recompense (of course that is just manipulation in your eye, right?), though the property stolen from Jews expelled from Arab countries never will be recompensed, even if it is worth far more than what the Palestinians lost. You don’t care about that though.

      You also tell me to talk with Palestinians, and what is ironic here is that I most likely talk with way more Palestinians than you. You pretend to know life here better than me, even though I am the one living here. You pretend to know how all settlers are (that is how you present it again and again), even though I live with them and know how repulsed most of them are to the fanatics and extremists among us. Of course you would agree and admit that there also are extremists among the Palestinians, but here you would state that they are a small minority, but that is not a fairness you wish to give the settlers, they are Israeli and Zionists, therefore they are all evil.

      Besides Palestinians I also talk with Jews living here. And among those Jew quite many have either parents or grandparents who had to flee from their homes, as well as some of our close friends had to flee themselves. They tell me how it is to be forced out of their home, not even having their tragedy being acknowledged but rather ignored.

      I’m nor relating to you, Heshke, I’m relating to those people living here in Israel/Palestine, those who form the society and lives here. You’re neither a Jew or Palestinian, and you don’t know how it is to live in fear. Even Jews in Europe know better than you how it is to live in fear, not from accounts of the Holocaust, but from their actual lives today. I am one of those Jews, Heshke. I have been attacked physical for being a Jew. Not a Zionist, a Jew. I have been spit on, haven things thrown at me, and being yelled at, not for being a Zionist, but for being a Jew. Yet I don’t encourage hate, on the contrary. I want to create something, build something, encourage people to see the human being in the other person living among them or near them. I want to create a society where Jews and Palestinians can live and dream together. You don’t, that much is obvious from your statement about sitting on both sides of the fence.

      I’m sorry to come out hard, Heshke, but I’m growing tired of your attitude and your feeling of moral superiority. You don’t know how it is to walk in our shoes, so don’t pretend to know how we should deal with things. You have time and time again being explained and corrected in your hateful attacks against Zionists and Zionism, as well as settlers and Israelis in general. Yet you keep on enforcing and agitating for those errors, something I can’t see as lack of knowledge anymore.

      Take care.

  2. Elon says:

    Celebrating Nakba is legal, I think. At least, it used to be until recently.

    • qolyehudi says:

      Hi Elon:o)

      There has been some arrangements around, so I think it’s allowed in private environments, but being prohibited publicly. Let me check it out.

  3. Elon says:

    But I do know the pain of being kicked out of your home, as my relatives were also kicked out of their previous home of 2,000 years and settled in West Jerusalem, which according to the UN at the time, was officially Palestinian. They are still banned from the now democratic country of Iraq to this day. And were Israel and the US not willing to take in my family, I too might be a refugee. Course, I personally am only a quarter Iraqi, but many of the people stuck in refugee camps are only a quarter Palestinian.

    I think the best solution would be to find the refugees homes somewhere. Returning to Israel is not a practical option. The country does not want to take in a population of people, greater than the number living there now, who want to see Israel destroyed. Even if the refugees actually just want their homes back, their compatriots living in the West Bank and Gaza have certainly expressed the hope that the refugees will go home and destroy Israel. So the right of return is not realistic. I don’t think any diplomat seriously thinks that the Palestinian refugees will be able to go back home any more than that my Iraqi relatives will be able to go home.

    That leaves the West Bank, which is probably too small anyway, and which refused to grant their compatriots citizenship. The surrounding Arab countries seem unable to integrate the refugees, so the problem will continue for the foreseeable future.

  4. Heshke says:

    You can say what you want about me and what you think you know about me. However, I was a Jew and a Zionist up until 1998 when I converted to Islaam. I was also raised Jewish, and have Holocaust survivors in my family, as well as Jewish families members that had to flee Poland and Russia. I am the first generation in my Jewish family born in America. I, too, know the experience of being spit on and called names because I was a Jew. and I now know that same experience for being a Muslim in the US where Islamophobia is rampant. It was Palestinian refugees here in the US who gave me dawah and helped me to come to Islaam. My closest acquaintances are Palestinian and I listen to their narrative. But, YOU, living in Israel, tell me that you talk to more Palestinians than I do. Perhaps so. I think it is a talking point to say that just because one doesn’t live in Israel, they don’t know what they’re talking about. That suggests that all these Palestinian refugees are lying and don’t know what they are talking about either. My friends still have family who live in the West Bank. What you see as “anger, agression, outbursts,” and other adjectives you used are legitimate feelings not to be minimized by you. If they shoe were on the other foot, I think you’d feel the same way. The Holy Land belongs to all of us who believe in the One G-d – Christians, Jews, and Muslims. THAT is my position. And since you don’t know me and don’t read my blog, I’m sure, or my FB posts, apparently you don’t see the videos and articles I post to educate Muslims about the Jewish Nakba. Believe me, I am not popular for trying to educate Muslims about Jews and Jewish nakba. My family is Jewish and I have no problem with Jews – but yes, I have problems with Zionists and the Israeli Occupation of Palestine. So, how presumptive of you to judge me. You are right: I don’t want to be a part of what you are apparently trying to sell. I have enjoyed your writings and thought you were open to different POVs and opinions. But now I see that they are received as negativity. Don’t be presumptious to assume my motives. I thought we had mutual respect and you were opinion to me. But, I see now that you are not. It’s all good my friend, go in shalom/salam. Since you are sick of me, I’ll save you the aggravation and won’t be back here to read you. This way, you can be happy with all the positive, non angry folks who leave you comments here🙂

    • qolyehudi says:

      Dear Heshke

      At least try to read and understand what I am writing, then maybe you would understand what I’m reacting against. I have to go through your post here, in order to show you where you are dead-wrong:

      You:

      “You can say what you want about me and what you think you know about me.”

      I base my opinion about you on what I read from your hand. If you have problems with how I view you, some opinions or thoughts you feel I give you without reason, then you are more than welcome to tell me or react, then the least I can do is to explain why, as I have attempted to do every time I have reacted to your statements.

      “However, I was a Jew and a Zionist up until 1998 when I converted to Islaam. I was also raised Jewish, and have Holocaust survivors in my family, as well as Jewish families members that had to flee Poland and Russia. I am the first generation in my Jewish family born in America. I, too, know the experience of being spit on and called names because I was a Jew.”

      I’m not talking about being born to Holocaust-survivors, though that is bad enough, I’m talking about what Jews in Europe do experience right now, in our days. You ignore this, when you attack Jews who believe in the thought of a Jewish homeland, where we can be Jews without fear (and yes, I do see the irony that even in Israel there are fear based on one’s Jewishness). I am talking about the threat of being physical attacked, of having to fear being killed, of being told that you have no right to exist, alone because you’re a Jew.

      “But, YOU, living in Israel, tell me that you talk to more Palestinians than I do.”

      Yes, I do tell you that, because it is most likely so. Apparently you have an idea of Israel being totally emptied of Palestinians? Or that we don’t deal with each other here? That we ignore each other’s presence?

      ” I think it is a talking point to say that just because one doesn’t live in Israel, they don’t know what they’re talking about.”

      No, I actually don’t think that you know what you’re talking about, not so much because you’re not living here, but based on your representations of the “evil zionist” or the “extremist settler,” again and again denying what we have told and shown you of how settler ALSO are like. Nobody has denied that there are extremists here, or that Palestinians have to suffer, or that Israeli policies when it comes to the Palestinians are unjust, yet you claim that we say that, maybe not directly, but you surely insinuate it.

      Take for example your following statement:

      “That suggests that all these Palestinian refugees are lying and don’t know what they are talking about either. My friends still have family who live in the West Bank.”

      No one has claimed that, on the contrary. I have time and time again said that Palestinians suffer, read my post you’re commenting here for crying out loud. I write, among other things: “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.” Tell me, how is that suggesting that Palestinians are lying?

      “What you see as “anger, agression, outbursts,” and other adjectives you used are legitimate feelings not to be minimized by you.”

      Feelings is one thing, how you express them is another. Don’t even imagine that you have any right to make me feel sorry for being who I am or living where I live. You don’t. The way you come out is like you have the sole right to tell others how to feel, as if we should beg for your approval. We don’t have to.

      ” If they shoe were on the other foot, I think you’d feel the same way.”

      You just don’t get, do you? The shoe is ALSO on the other foot, Jews, Israeli, are as much victims as the Palestinians, maybe not in the same extent or the same context, but take the Jewish Nakba, which you apparently do acknowledge. Do you have more right to be pissed at me and all Zionists, than I have to be on behalf of the Jews being forced out of their homes? What gives you the right to talk to me, the way you do? Or to any other person, who doesn’t agree with you?

      ” And since you don’t know me and don’t read my blog, I’m sure, or my FB posts, apparently you don’t see the videos and articles I post to educate Muslims about the Jewish Nakba.”

      You’re right, I haven’t seen any of the mentioned posts, what I have seen from you are totally one-sided attacks on and refusals of Israeli positions. That’s what I have seen, nothing else, and as I stated, my view on you is purely based on what I have read from your hand. It is not my responsibility to hunt down each and everything you have written in your live, only to relate to you as you relate to me, our understanding of each other happens in the dialogue, right here, right now. I’m happy to hear that you apparently have another side to you, I just haven’t experienced, so of course I can’t relate to it.

      And now we come to the core:

      “So, how presumptive of you to judge me.”

      Dear Heshke, you have constantly judged people you have never met yourself. Let’s just bring the case of the settlers, who are all – in your representation of them – extremists, who attack innocent Palestinians. Or when you write “I thought we had mutual respect and you were opinion to me,” and tell me where that “mutual respect” is shown in statements like “I thank you for your half open-mindedness (or perhaps a guilty conscious)”? Or is it respect to state “I have enjoyed your writings and thought you were open to different POVs and opinions. But now I see that they are received as negativity,” when I wrote that ” what is being achieved by you is a decrease in my respect for you and a growing tiredness from my side, not so much from your disrespectful tone or your aggressiveness, nor so much from your opinions (those I actually would welcome, even if I don’t agree with you), but rather your extreme one-sidedness and insisting on a black and white-approach to everything which has to do with Israel and Zionism.” I explicitly express that I welcome your opinion, even when I don’t agree with you, but yet here you are, presenting it as if I’m not interesting in differing opinions. But the worst is probably when you present as if I state that I’m “sick” of you, something I haven’t mentioned at all, I haven’t even written the word “sick.” What I did write, on the contrary, is that I am tired of your attitude, something completely different from being “sick of you.”

      Very rarely do I react to people the way I react to you, but I demand a proper tone on my blog, no matter the opinion. I have only once told one not to post here, if he couldn’t deal with other people respectfully. I haven’t asked you to leave, I gave you a reaction to how you approached me, don’t mistake the two things. If I can’t even react to you on my own blogs, then where? Should I not react, only allowing you to behave in this manner?

    • qolyehudi says:

      To make it clear:

      My immediate problem with you is not your opinions, I do welcome differing opinions, otherwise I would have reacted a long time ago. My problem is how you express them and your refusal to relate to “the other side.” For me to see you have a harder time relating to differing opinions than I have, but that is just my POV.

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