'Nakba' Concentrates Israeli Minds

“Nakba” is in the air. An Arabic word meaning “disaster,” it’s become a tag — among Israeli Arabs, Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, and Arabs outside of Israel — for Israel’s creation on May 15, 1948. On Sunday “Nakba Day” was marked for the first time by the attempted breach by Arab civilians of Israel’s Golan (successfully), Galilee, and Gaza (unsuccessfully) borders, as well as a terror attack by a lone Israeli Arab civilian in Tel Aviv.

Israelis are getting the message. “Nakba” refers to Israel’s creation, its existence, not to its conquest of additional territories in 1967. The only “solution” to this “disaster” is Israel’s destruction, not its return to the 1967 borders as believed by the votaries of “peace process” and “two-state solution.”

Lest there be any doubt, as part of Sunday’s festivities Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh advised Palestinians to “pray for an end to Israel,” saying: “Palestinians mark the Nakba with great hope of bringing to an end the Zionist project in Palestine.” Since Hamas is by and large regarded as a bad guy, that may not have seemed so notable.

But Haniyeh’s partner in newly declared Fatah-Hamas unity, West Bank Fatah leader and alleged moderate Mahmoud Abbas, wasn’t much better. A day earlier he said Palestinians would never give up the “right of return,” and that every Palestinian “has the right to see Palestine and return to the homeland because the homeland is our final destination” -- a slightly oblique way of saying the same thing Haniyeh said, since the “return” of millions of descendants of refugees living in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, the West Bank, and Gaza would spell Israel’s demographic demise.

Even so, veteran left-of-center commentator Nahum Barnea, known as the dean of Israeli columnists, tried to deny and deflect the clear import of Abbas’s words. Writing in Israel’s largest daily Yediot Aharonot, he claimed that Abbas,

like every politician…is attentive to his constituency’s mood. At times, the words that come out of his mouth are stronger than him; he gets carried away.

On the eve of Nakba Day he promised his people that no Palestinian leader will renounce the right of return…. Abbas refrained from clarifying the question of how and where this right will be realized, whether through monetary compensation or physical return, whether in the future Palestinian state or in Israel too; anyone could make what he wanted out of the Palestinian leader’s words.

Not really; “return to the homeland because the homeland is our final destination” does not mean “monetary compensation,” and thanks to comprehensive indoctrination, what “homeland” evokes for every last Palestinian Arab is pre-1967 Israel.