Abolish Nakba Day

Yesterday, Palestinians and their sympathizers commemorated “Nakba Day,” whose name—the Arabic word for “catastrophe”—refers to the creation of the state of Israel. But if 1948 was a catastrophe for Palestinian Arabs expelled from their homes, asks Bassam Eid, was it not also a catastrophe for the Jews expelled from Jerusalem and the West Bank—not to mention those expelled from Arab lands? Eid urges Palestinians to abandon these annual commemorations:

The Arab world has seen more displacement than almost any other region, as modern refugee populations from Iraq and Syria can attest. Although my family is Muslim, I was born in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, then under Jordanian control. In 1966, when I was eight years old, the Jordanian government moved my family north of Jerusalem to the Shuafat refugee camp. It was the government of Jordan, not the government of Israel, that made me a refugee.

The difference between a Palestinian culture taught to celebrate grievance and an Israeli culture that idealizes freedom is stark. The Christian minority population, for example, has plummeted in Palestinian Authority-controlled territory. In Bethlehem, it has dropped from 84 percent to 22 percent in the last decade alone. Meanwhile, a party with Islamic foundations has a critical role in Israel’s current government, and Israel’s Supreme Court recently appointed its first Muslim justice, Khaled Kabub.

Palestinians should celebrate our rich heritage and, like our Jewish cousins, grieve our losses. But now is the time for negotiated reconciliation, not the perpetuation of generation-old victimhood. Nakba Day is part of the victimhood problem, not part of the forward-looking solution. Reconciliation happens only when both sides take a step back and acknowledge joint suffering. Nakba Day does the reverse. Whereas Israel has three times offered Palestinians peace, dignity and independence, Yasir Arafat launched—and Mahmoud Abbas has failed to contain—the violent public culture of the 2000-2005 second intifada, for which the 1998 establishment of Nakba Day can be understood as a build-up.

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Read more at JNS

More about: Israeli War of Independence, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Mahmoud Abbas, Second Intifada, Yasir Arafat

 

The New Iran Deal Will Reward Terrorism, Help Russia, and Get Nothing in Return

After many months of negotiations, Washington and Tehran—thanks to Russian mediation—appear close to renewing the 2015 agreement concerning the Iranian nuclear program. Richard Goldberg comments:

Under a new deal, Iran would receive $275 billion of sanctions relief in the first year and $1 trillion by 2030. [Moreover], Tehran would face no changes in the old deal’s sunset clauses—that is, expiration dates on key restrictions—and would be allowed to keep its newly deployed arsenal of advanced uranium centrifuges in storage, guaranteeing the regime the ability to cross the nuclear threshold at any time of its choosing. . . . And worst of all, Iran would win all these concessions while actively plotting to assassinate former U.S. officials like John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, and [his] adviser Brian Hook, and trying to kidnap and kill the Iranian-American journalist Masih Alinejad on U.S. soil.

Moscow, meanwhile, would receive billions of dollars to construct additional nuclear power plants in Iran, and potentially more for storage of nuclear material. . . . Following a visit by the Russian president Vladimir Putin to Tehran last month, Iran reportedly started transferring armed drones for Russian use against Ukraine. On Tuesday, Putin launched an Iranian satellite into orbit reportedly on the condition that Moscow can task it to support Russian operations in Ukraine.

With American and European sanctions on Russia escalating, particularly with respect to Russian energy sales, Putin may finally see net value in the U.S. lifting of sanctions on Iran’s financial and commercial sectors. While the return of Iranian crude to the global market could lead to a modest reduction in oil prices, thereby reducing Putin’s revenue, Russia may be able to head off U.S. secondary sanctions by routing key transactions through Tehran. After all, what would the Biden administration do if Iran allowed Russia to use its major banks and companies to bypass Western sanctions?

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Read more at Dispatch

More about: Iran nuclear deal, Russia, U.S. Foreign policy