Накба продължава и днес…
The Nakba continues!
By Ilyas Khuri
It seems today as if there is no solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. The so-called peace process has been in a state of clinical death since the outbreak of the Palestinians’ second – Al-Aqsa – Intifada (uprising) in 2000. All the hopes placed in the US administration and President Obama have already evaporated almost to oblivion. There is no hope waiting just over the horizon, because there is no horizon in the first place: Gaza is besieged by land, air and sea and faces the spectre of starvation; creeping colonial settlement is shattering the West Bank into disconnected enclaves; the escalating Judaisation of Jerusalem is relentless; and the apartheid wall keeps getting bigger and higher as a permanent reminder of the supremacy of the “logic” of hatred and colonial domination.
1948 saw Palestine wiped off the map along with Palestinian place names and, indeed, the very places themselves; whole Palestinian towns and villages – more than 500 of them – have been completely destroyed by the Israelis since that fateful year. Israel gave the Palestinians who remained in their own country the name “Israeli Arabs”. In other words, Israel hid their real name deliberately and tried to cover its tracks with another name, just like the Jewish National Fund (JNF) built forests and parks on the lands of those long-gone Palestinian villages.
If Israeli historiography had to wait for the birth of the “new historians” and the publication of Ilan Pappe’s book on the Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine to acknowledge the crime, Israeli literature managed through its unique voices – and I am referring here to the novel Khirbet Khizeh by the Israeli writer S.Yizhar – to re-write the narrative, albeit in a devious way.
Israel’s Palestinians underwent an uprooting and identity crisis. They were (and still are) refugees in their homeland. The overwhelming Zionist ideology considers Israel to be the homeland of the Jews, and in the process denies one-fifth of the population the right to enjoy fully the benefits of their citizenship.
Nonetheless, a new Palestinian literature sprang up in the early sixties and the cry for an identity that Palestine’s poet Mahmud Darwish yelled in his collection of poems entitled A Lover From Palestine heralded a rebirth for the Palestinian name.
The world refused to recognize that the Palestinians, the victims of the victims – as Edward Said put it so eloquently – have their own stories to tell in their own words. Indeed, we witnessed a deliberate link created between the noble and humanitarian discourse that destroyed savage Nazi racism and a classic colonial discourse propagated by the founders of Zionism and embraced readily by Europe and the USA. So much so, in fact that their colonial state has become the front-line of colonialism far ahead of all similar projects in the Middle east and beyond.
Israel possesses a large nuclear arsenal and occupies increasing amounts of Palestinian land so it can no longer hide its expansionist aims or its continuous defiance of international laws and conventions. It occupied what remained of Palestine during the 1967 war, and continues to settle its colonists thereon to this day; what more proof does the world need that Israel does not really want peace? It prefers occupation and the expansion of its colonies to the establishment of an independent, sovereign and viable Palestinian state.
Journalists and politicians seek to deceive us by talking about the “two-state solution”, ignoring very conveniently the fact that there has been an Israeli state since 1948 and that the would-be Palestinian state is the one that is missing from the equation. At a stroke, the world puts the oppressor and the oppressed on an equal footing, making it easier for us to accept the loss of the victims’ right to exist.
The answer to this question is found in the continuous Nakba (catastrophe) project that has been ongoing for sixty-one years. And when the Nakba becomes a course or a process and not an ephemeral event, the Palestinian people are faced with political genocide. In other words, the occupation state, Israel, seeks – as it has always sought – to weaken the whole Palestinian political infrastructure as a step towards the imposition of what they call a temporary Palestinian state with provisional boundaries, a euphemism for the institutionalization of an Israeli apartheid system that seeks to surpass the discredited South African system which took 150 years of struggle to consign to the dustbin of history.