Monday, March 1, 2010

Oh Naqba, My Naqba!


The Palestinians seem to be in thrall to some force that commands them to relive continuously the most painful moment of their own history; to mire themselves in a swamp of self-pity; to prevent themselves from rising above the lot imposed upon them by the Arab League’s 1947 refusal to countenance the establishment of a Jewish State in their midst and its ill-fated 1948 war against the Jews; and to render themselves susceptible to repeated acts of betrayal by their own brethren. 

Yet, despite the culpability of the Arab League in their misery—whose promises of quick destruction for the Jews and a quick return for them they so willingly swallowed (after they seemed so willingly to have swallowed the anti-Semitic bile spewing from the Nazi-collaborating Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, who spent the years of World War II flitting between Mussolini’s Rome and Hitler’s Berlin importuning the Germans to bomb Tel Aviv, among other things)—the cry of accusation against Israel, Oh naqba, my naqba! Oh, catastrophe, my catastrophe! has remained on their lips—and often enough on those of their Israel-averse supporters in the “human-rights community,” the media, and the U.N., as well—in the decades since.  

Naqba Day, inaugurated by the bloody-handed Yassir Arafat in 1998—in between intifadas—observed by Palestinians the world over every May 15 (closely coinciding almost every year with Israel’s Independence Day) with demonstrations, speeches, even the occasional dancing and balloon-releasing, and considered the most important day of the year for them, will be coming around again in a matter of weeks. And with the trumped-up Palestinian fury simmering still over Israel’s decision to declare the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb Jewish heritage sites—which they indisputably are—it is not inconceivable that the Hamas successors of al-Husseini and Arafat will seize the day, so to speak, and escalate their violence against the Jews.  

The naqba is the siren song of the Palestinians: Their endless listening to it has done incalculable damage to their collective spirit. Their continuing to believe in the return they were duped into believing in so many years ago can only put the nationhood they claim to long for further out of reach. There will be no return—that’s the reality. If they face it, there’s hope for them. If they don’t, there’s only the hell and suffering of their statelessness.

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