Monday, May 16, 2016

They Mourn Israel's Creation

By Micah Halpern

I've Been Thinking:

Yesterday, May 15, the Palestinians commemorated Israel's 1948 creation in what they called the catastrophe, or, the Nakba. It is a yearly tradition.

They mourned the creation of the State of Israel which took place 68 years ago. In Palestinian eyes, Israel's creation was their destruction.

In Palestinian cities and villages throughout the West Bank a siren rang for 68 seconds. One second for every year of Israel.

Palestinians stood still in mourning, mimicking the siren that Israel sounds for Holocaust Memorial Day and for the day that memorializes Israel's fallen soldier heroes and victims of terror.

They created a model train out of cardboard, put it on wheels and had it run from Dheisha, a refugee camp just south of Bethlehem, to Rachel's tomb in northern Bethlehem.

It was an effective use of a near life size model train which they called "The Train of Return." Only one or two people were on the train but they used large model keys symbolizing the keys to their family homes that they still hang on to and hand down to younger generations. The idea is to use these keys to return home.

Of course there were riots.

The creation of Israel displaced many people - including millions of Jews across the Arab world who had to escape the Arab world and run to Israel for refuge.

Palestinians tell just part of the story. Yes, Arabs living in Israel left their homes. But one of the major forces telling them to leave was Arab leadership which told them to clear out while they destroyed the Jews and forced them into the sea.

The saddest part about the Nakba is that it places all the blame on Israel. It does not consider the Arab role. Israel won the war - that was not part of their consideration at the time. That was a tragedy.

The other tragedy is the incongruity - this day bemoans the creation of Israel in 1948. It does not focus on the territories. Dhesisha and Bethlehem and the entire West Bank were part of Jordan after 1948, all the way up until 1967.

Palestinian sadness is real. But Israel is only partially responsible. Only after they realize this will there be a possibility of living together. Otherwise, Palestinians will continue to wish and work for the disappearance and destruction of Israel.

And that is not going to happen. 

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