Tomorrow is Nakba Day, which commemorates the mass dispossession of Palestinians that accompanied the foundation of the State of Israel. Read “The more Israel represses the Nakba, the stronger the memories” by Gideon Levy in Haaretz. Use the printer-friendly or Google cache version to bypass the paywall.
“But the truth is that there is no greater proof of Israel’s insecurity about the justness of its cause than the battle waged to forbid marking the Nakba. A people confident in its path would respect the feelings of the minority, and not try to trample on its heritage and memories. A people that knows something terrible is burning under its feet sees every reference to what happened as an existential threat.”
Electronic Intifada‘s Benjamin Doherty shared a video from “Nakba”-awareness group Zochrot – “Remembering” – of a former Palmach fighter who participated in the expulsion of unarmed Palestinian Arabs from their villages in Southern Israel. Amnon Neumann casually describes that he helped kill people, burn their villages, and chase off women and children. He regrets his actions but notes he is one of the few to admit his crimes; even so, he is loath to talk about the details of the atrocities.
In one grimace-inducing moment, Neumann talks of the Palestinians who didn’t quite realize they wouldn’t be coming back, who sneaked out of Gaza refugee camps at night to tend their villages’ grapevines. There, says Neumann, they were gunned down.
As late as the 50s, he notes, Arab villages were being evicted wholesale and forced to Gaza. The desert was made to bloom, it seems, only after its villages were ploughed under.
The reason for the Nakba, said Neumann, was “the Zionist ideology.” Like all ultranationalist movements, Zionism requires the murder and expulsion of a people and the destruction of all evidence of their existence. Those not destroyed must be permanently subjugated by the ethnicity in charge. It seems that for many, the tragedy of the Holocaust was that it happened to Jews. That the Nakba happened to Arabs means it’s not worth our attention — or worse, they are revised as aggressors.
“This is very clear. We came to inherit the land. Who do you inherit from? If the land is empty you inherit it from no one. The land was not empty when we inherited it.”