(JNS-Israel Hayom) Bassem Eid - "Nakba Day," which occurs every year on May 15, was established in 1998 by former Palestinian Authority leader - and international terrorist mastermind - Yasser Arafat to turn Israel's Independence Day into a festival of grievance. The very fact of Israel's existence was branded a "catastrophe" - nakba in Arabic - but not the displacement that affected both sides in the subsequent war, which included the ethnic cleansing of all Jews from the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem. And during and after Israel's War of Independence in 1948, hundreds of thousands of Jews were expelled from Arab lands. In all, more than 850,000 Jews were forced to flee Arab countries for Israel, followed by more than 70,000 Jews from Iran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. 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 8 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, which made me a refugee. 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. Israel has three times offered Palestinians peace, dignity and independence. The fetishization of Israel's very existence as a catastrophe is a distortion that wounds our children and leads them to war and suicide bombing. The Palestinian leadership should reverse course on the incitement against Israel and Jews. Instead, Palestinian schoolchildren and citizens should learn the history, the joys and the traumas of our neighbors the Israelis, with whom we have a great deal in common. The writer is a Jerusalem-based Palestinian political analyst and human rights pioneer.

2022-05-16 00:00:00

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