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Israeli independence and Happy Nakba Day!

By Ariel Natan Pasko
web posted May 22, 2006

Many Israeli Jews celebrated Israeli Independence Day (according to the Hebrew calendar) not long ago. Many more Israeli Jews had fun a couple of weeks later, on Lag B'Omer, while thousands of Israel's Arab citizens decried the "Nakba" (The Catastrophe), namely the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 (according to the general calendar) with a day of mourning among Israel's Arab community. That says everything.

So while the Jews were happy and dancing, first on Independence Day, then on the anniversary of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochi's death (over 300,000 near his grave in Meron alone), the Arabs were crying over the tragedies that befell them. Isn't that just the way it should be?

Well, Happy Nakba Day!

For example in Lod, a Jewish city with Arabs living there, over 1,500 Arabs attended a "Nakba Day" rally. So did some Arab Knesset members, such as Azmi Bishara. "This is a day of mourning for the Palestinian people," MK Jamal Zahalka said. "Lod is a special place for us, because it is here that the massacre [?] of 1948 took place at the Great Mosque, and that is why the city has become a symbol for us. Our message is that we will never forget and never forgive for what happened. We have come here to say that the Arab population will remain in Lod forever."

Several major attacks by Arab forces occurred in the Lod area during Israel's War of Independence. Lod and Ramle were counter-attacked by the IDF because they were on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem road and convoys attempting to resupply and reinforce Jerusalem had to travel through the streets of the two towns, routinely under fire. The IDF could not afford to allow Jerusalem to be cut off from the rest of the country.

Yitzhak Rabin, then a commander involved in the operation, later said he agreed with Ben-Gurion's order to expel the Arabs of Ramle and Lod. The Arabs in Lod were "armed and hostile," Rabin said, presenting a danger, and they had to be driven away. Fighting with Arab gunmen took place, but no massacre occurred, the enemy during wartime was dealt a heavy blow.

Lod is a town where till this day; the Arab population has been consistently harassing the Jewish population. See my article, "The Jewish Struggle Against Arabs in Israel".

"This is our memorial day," National Democratic Assembly member Gabi Tanus said in Lod. "It is more important to us than the Holocaust is to the Jewish nation."

Notice the Arabs suffered more than the Jews did from the Holocaust...

Happy Nakba day!

Lag B'Omer by the way, also marks the end of a period of deaths, of thousands of Rabbi Akiva's students. Tradition tells us that 24,000 died during a plague. Rabbi Akiva was an arms smuggler during Bar Kochba's revolt against the Roman occupation of Judea (according to Maimonides). Others surmise, they died in the battles to liberate Judea from the Roman occupation. Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochi (one of Rabbi Akiva's top students), was forced to flee for his life and hide in a cave. There, he and his son studied Torah night and day for 13 years, till the "secrets of creation" were revealed to him. His teachings were later written down as "The Zohar," the Book of Splendor, the "Bible" of Jewish Mysticism.

So just as the Jews of Judea fought and gained independence from the "super-power of their time" the Roman Empire, for 3 and a half years, Modern Israel finally gained independence, over 1,800 years later.

And the Arabs? They sit and weep, just as Jews did for those intervening 1,800 years. The only difference is that the Arabs are a recent settler population, who came to the Land of Israel only in the last hundred years or so, and have no real connection to this place, in spite of their weeping (and terrorism). See my article, "Who is a Palestinian Refugee".

Notice they are not mourning the loss of the 1967 territories, but all of "Palestine". Coming up in a little over a week is Jerusalem Day. Jews the world over will celebrate the liberation of Eastern Jerusalem, with it's Temple Mount and Western Wall. Hebron, Judea, Samaria, and the Golan Heights were all delivered out of the hands of the Arab occupiers and into the hands of their rightful Jewish owners.

Israeli Arabs were never a happy bunch even though they have full civil equality. But in recent years, there has been growing active involvement from their community with "Palestinian" terrorists from the Palestinian Authority. Combined with their recent (since Oslo) vocal repudiation of Israeli Independence Day as their "Catastrophe;" it has been proven to many Israeli Jews, what they always suspected, Israeli Arabs are not trustworthy.

According to the Israel Democracy Institute's recent study, the "2006 Democracy Index," only 14 per cent feel that relations between Jews and Arabs are good in Israel and 62 per cent of Israelis would like to see the government actively encourage Arabs to leave Israel through financial incentives (the poll includes Israeli Arabs, so the figure for Israeli Jews must be even higher).

Professor Asher Arian (who conducted the survey), said he was not surprised by the support expressed for encouraging the Arabs to leave. "This has been a stable sentiment in the Israeli Jewish public for many years," he said. "The public is both cynical and very Zionist." He pointed out that if the survey were carried out right after a terrorist attack, the numbers would have been even higher in support of encouraging Arabs to leave.

The Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research of Tel Aviv University, found in their latest, "Peace Index: March 2006" (conducted on April 3-4, 2006, after the Israeli elections), a clear majority of Jews are against expelling more Jewish "settlers" from their homes. When questioned whether Israel should act unilaterally to set its final borders (Olmert's Convergence/Expulsion Plan) or continue the existing situation (leave the Jewish settlements alone) and wait until conditions are ripe for renewing contacts with the PA, 44 per cent said they were for maintaining the status quo, whereas only 41 per cent favored acting unilaterally to expel Jews from their homes. Don't forget this poll too included about 20 per cent Arab respondents.

Maybe Israel will one day soon, decide to solve its "Arab security and demographic problem," the way most Jews in Israel would it like to, not by expelling Jews from parts of their ancestral homeland, but by removing "the thorns in our side," (Numbers 33:55).

I just want to wish all of Israel's "good Arab citizens," Happy Nakba Day!

Ariel Natan Pasko is an independent analyst & consultant. He has a Master's Degree specializing in International Relations, Political Economy, and Policy Analysis. He also has a degree in Jewish History & Thought. His articles appear regularly on numerous news/views and think-tank websites, in newspapers, and can be read at www.geocities.com/ariel_natan_pasko (c) 2006/5766 Pasko

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