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.

Read more at JNS

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

Planning for the Day after the War in the Gaza Strip

At the center of much political debate in Israel during the past week, as well as, reportedly, of disagreement between Jerusalem and Washington, is the problem of how Gaza should be governed if not by Hamas. Thus far, the IDF has only held on to small parts of the Strip from which it has cleared out the terrorists. Michael Oren lays out the parameters of this debate over what he has previous called Israel’s unsolvable problem, and sets forth ten principles that any plan should adhere to. Herewith, the first five:

  1. Israel retains total security control in Gaza, including control of all borders and crossings, until Hamas is demonstrably defeated. Operations continue in Rafah and elsewhere following effective civilian evacuations. Military and diplomatic efforts to secure the hostages’ release continue unabated.
  2. Civil affairs, including health services and aid distribution, are administered by Gazans unaffiliated with Hamas. The model will be Area B of Judea and Samaria, where Israel is in charge of security and Palestinians are responsible for the civil administration.
  3. The civil administration is supervised by the Palestinian Authority once it is “revitalized.” The PA first meets benchmarks for ending corruption and establishing transparent institutions. The designation and fulfillment of the benchmarks is carried out in coordination with Israel.
  4. The United States sends a greatly expanded and improved version of the Dayton Mission that trained PA police forces in Gaza after Israel’s disengagement.
  5. Abraham Accords countries launch a major inter-Arab initiative to rebuild and modernize Gaza.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza Strip, Gaza War 2023, Israeli Security, U.S.-Israel relationship