Saturday, May 14, 2011

And a happy Naqba Day to you, too

I never heard of it until a few years ago, but the Naqba thing is definitely growing. Naqba (in Arabic) means tragedy. It is the day that Israel received Independence, our Yom Ha'atzmaut that the Palestinians commemorate their Naqba Day. For them it is a day of mourning the destruction and occupation of their land.

I'm sure I've said this somewhere or other on this blog, but I'll say it again.

A bit of history:

There has always been a Jewish and an Arab presence on this land. But until the late 19th/early 20th century, it was mostly unpopulated; the land was desert and undeveloped. At that time Jews started arriving en masse from Europe. And they started to work the land, to bring the desert to life if you will. By this time the land was under British rule. Tensions between the Arabs and Jews intensified until the UN granted Israel independence.

In November, 1947 the United Nations partitioned the British mandate to look like this. The Jews were to be granted what appears on the map in blue. Over 75% of the land allocated to the Jews was desert. We accepted the plan; the arabs didn't. After Israel declared independence in May, 1948, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria attacked Israel, vowing to destroy us.

They attacked us. We were willing to accept partition. We were willing to share; they were not. Note that Jerusalem was given to the Arabs--and we were okay with that. Well, maybe not okay, maybe we were heartbroken, but we were willing to accept that partition in order to live peacefully with our neighbors. They were not. They attacked us.

They attacked us!

People who just have vague knowledge of the Arab-Israeli conflict don't know this. THEY DECLARED WAR ON US! THEY ATTACKED US! In commemorating their Naqba day they conveniently forget this fact.

It was war, people. Five countries attacked us, vowing to drive us into the sea. We had a right to defend ourselves. To defend our borders.

We still do.

Today Hamas and Fatah are friends again, in what I am sure is a marriage of convenience, not true love. Hamas has stated that they are willing to return to the 1967 borders, but they will never recognize the right of Israel to exist.

How in the world will we ever have peace with people who don't recognize our legitimate right to exist??

1 comment:

Simona said...

Dear Baila,
If you wish to get replies to all your questions, please read One Palestine, Complete, by the Israeli historian Tom Segev. It reads like a good novel. The Hebrew original is called Yemey Hakalaniyot (that is the version I read). The beginning of the conflict - described in detail in this excellent book - is where the answers lie.

If you do, you will learn that things seem so puzzling because the story we were told was full of holes!