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‘Nakba’ Concentrates Israeli Minds

The "disaster" refers to Israel's creation, not a "right of return" to Israel's pre-1967 borders.

by
P. David Hornik

Bio

May 16, 2011 - 11:34 am
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An article by another Israeli journalist, Khaled Abu Toameh, makes the reality clearer yet. As he reported on Nakba Day from Ramallah on the West Bank:

Thousands of Palestinians took to the streets…to participate in a rally….

The demonstrators made an oath to continue the struggle to ensure the return of the refugees to their homes and vowed to make sacrifices to achieve their goal.

The demonstrators chanted slogans calling for the “right of return” for all Palestinian refugees to their original homes inside Israel. They also unfurled black flags carrying the words, “There is no alternative to the right of return.”

The article includes this photo of quite-young Palestinian boys taking part in the rally.

They’re carrying symbolic keys — keys to “homes” within pre-1967 Israel. Such keys are used systematically, by both Fatah in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza, to inculcate the idea that Israel itself is the “destination.”

Fortunately, though, there is a side to Nahum Barnea and Israelis like him that is still connected to reality. As he also wrote in his Nakba Day column:

The truth about the right of return should be told not only to the Palestinians, but to the Israelis as well. Revoking the possibility of returning to Israel is the red line that Israelis who endorse the two-state solution won’t cross….

…those who wish to live in the sovereign, Zionist and democratic State of Israel have no other option but to keep telling our cousins: With all due respect, what’s in the past is in the past. We are destined to share: We shall return our settlers to our country; you will absorb your refugees in your country. You will not be returning to Israel.

In other words: “But if you’re really serious about that ‘right of return’ stuff, I will unite with my right-wing brethren –‘settlers’ and all — in resisting it.”

“Nakba,” then, concentrates Israeli minds wonderfully. The moderate left — journalists like Barnea, politicians like opposition leader Tzipi Livni — will continue to speak nonsense, sometimes harmful nonsense, out of one side of their mouth. But Israel as a whole senses the threat and is already coalescing. As Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the Knesset on Monday, “We must stop beating ourselves up and blaming ourselves…. This is not a conflict about 1967, this is a conflict about 1948, about the state of Israel’s very existence.”

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P. David Hornik is a freelance writer and translator living in Beersheva and author of the book Choosing Life in Israel.
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