There can not be a celebration of Israeli Independence Day without an Arab Palestinian commemoration of Naqba Day, the day of catastrophe. Taking the most cursory look these two days will always have to be observed on the same day but have completely separate views of the events from the day Israel declared their existence and what actually occurred. Israelis celebrating Independence Day are joyously remembering the declaration by David ben Gurion signifying the resurrection of an ancient land birthing its new incarnation for the modern day that would celebrate, honor, and reconstruct the ancient customs and traditions of the Jewish nations from two thousand to three and a half thousand years in history while incorporating those items from antiquity into a modern state where technology, scientific developments at the cutting edge of modern research also exist, ancient farming mixed with modern discoveries in order to produce the highest quality crops possible, and a blend between all that was with the hopes for what can be. The celebration of the declaration of this new and brave mix of challenges with promises of renewed hopes while fulfilling the prophesies of antiquity making a blend which melds items which should clash over anachronisms yet are smelted together forming something new and wonderful. Israeli Independence Day is the celebration of the realization of a people of their collective dream which has waited almost two-thousand-years to come to fruition.
The commemoration by the Arabs of Naqba Day are mourning not only the coming into existence of the Jewish State but also the inability of the invading Arab armies allied with the Palestinian Arabs to squash the nascent Jewish state and commit a genocidal massacre of the Jews while destroying their hopes. The Armies from Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon combined with the organized militias under the Mufti of Jerusalem with additional units coming from as near as Saudi Arabia all the way to as far as Yemen and Algeria in an all-out military push to utterly destroy every vestige of the new state of Israel. The war to extinguish the nascent state of Israel continued through cease-fires for over a year before the fighting was finally permanently halted with the front-lines as of the exact hour the cease-fire order passed became the 1949 Armistice Lines also known as the Green Line. The Naqba commemorates the simple truth which had sent shockwaves throughout the Arab and Muslim worlds; the little Jewish state of Israel had managed to resist the onslaught by these combined Arab forces against all the odds and stood defiantly holding more land at the close of the conflict than they held at the onset. The catastrophe was that despite massive odds and facing overwhelming military superiority of those forces gathered against them, the newly declared Israelis managed to initially hold out and eventually to push back and by the end of the conflict was routing the combined Arab forces. This impossible loss and the fact that Israel survived and the Israeli Jews remained and were not vanquished in a glorious slaughter reminiscent of Mohammed’s slaughter of the Jews of the Banu Qurayzah Tribe in the year 627 was the reason for the catastrophe, the Naqba, in the eyes of the Arabs, particularly the native Arab populations who had been promised all the wealth, possessions, lands, properties and all else that belonged to the Jews once they had been completely vanquished.
Another misconception concerning the reasons behind the whole concept of the Naqba was the Jews had pushed the Arabs from their towns, farms, homes and properties forcing them into refugee camps where they and their descendants continue to languish today. Some have gone as far as to claim that the Jews when declaring the state of Israel call upon their fellow Jews to rise and expel the Arabs and all other non-Jews from their midst and this was the impetus which caused the combined Arab armies to arrive to rescue the native Arabs from the planned Jewish slaughter. There was no organized extermination of Arabs conducted by the Jewish forces defending the nascent state of Israel. There is some truth to the claims that Jewish forces pushed Arabs from their lands, homes and possessions but most were usually committed due to security purposes. When Israeli units passed by Arab towns they originally attempted to bypass them and not interact. Should the residents attack the Jewish units then these towns were cleared in order to prevent an enemy force to gather behind the front lines of the Jewish forces. After having some towns attempt to allow these Jewish units to pass and then use a tactic of following them and engaging them from behind once the troops became engaged with the Arab front lines. This resulted in great danger and difficulties and resulted in the Jewish troops finding it necessary to at the least remove the fighting age males from any Arab town in order to keep a secure rear area free of antagonists. Even with this added situation, these removals proved to be fairly minor in scope with the vast majority of refugee Arabs resulting from the Arab population’s response to the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem making a request for all Muslim Arabs to pick-up their families and move them to safety behind the attacking Arab forces. This was requested so that the advancing Arab forces could concentrate on simply shooting everybody they would meet simply assuming that all the Arabs had fled as told. In return for clearing the area so the Arab armies could have free-fire zones the Arabs were promised a generous share in the spoils of the conquest to come. The defeat of the Arab armies meant that these Arabs were cut-off from their homes and properties when the fighting ended. Despite an invitation to return to their property had they chosen to do so being extended by the Jewish ruling body, the Arabs were prevented from returning to their towns, farms, homes and belongings and were instead forced by their own brother in arms from the Arab armies into refugee camps where they became political pawns in a campaign of lies and distortions in order to work to destroy Israel.
So, the Naqba is less a result of action by the Jews and Israel unless you were to find fault in the Israelis defending themselves. What the Arab demonstrators commemorating the Naqba within Israel will never bother to tell the world is that their forbearers were among the Arabs who did not take up arms against their fellow Israelis just because they were Jews. Their parents, grandparents or great-grandparents remained on their farms or in their homes or possibly even fought alongside their Jewish neighbors helping to save the nascent state of Israel and remained within Israel with full rights and privileges as a citizen of Israel. Their main complaint concerning the Naqba was likely their regret that friends, family and acquaintances that fled at the request of the Mufti of Jerusalem were betrayed by their fellow Arabs and ended up being forced into refugee camps in the surrounding Arab lands. The vast majority of the Arabs incarcerated into the refugee camps found themselves in Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, and other Arab countries but there were no Arab refugees within the borders of Israel at the end of the fighting. No Arab refugee was denied citizenship in Israel, was denied decent housing in Israel, was refused a decent education by Israel, or was imprisoned behind barbed wire by Israel. These conditions were imposed by their brother Arabs who refused to allow them to return to their residences inside Israel despite the invitation which was initially extended by the Israelis. It was not until after time had passed and the Arab expatriation of their Jewish populations which within ten years of the founding of Israel had caused the immigration of over three-quarters of a million Jewish refugees entering and being absorbed by Israel. This is the reason that today there are no camps with Jewish refugees in Israel and the Israeli population consists of Sephardic Jews in near even numbers as there are European Ashkenazi Jews. Meanwhile the unfortunate Arab generations which have grown-up inside permanent refugee camps have served their purpose of extending the fiction of the Naqba caused by the Jews while suffering an Arab imposed catastrophe. Oddly enough, there are Arab refugee camps which exist today in Area A of the West Bank and within Gaza who are within areas under the complete political, security and physical control of Palestinian leadership, one group under the rule and restrictions by the Palestinian Authority while the other are under the rule and restrictions by Hamas. If either of these presumed defenders of the Palestinian Arab people would commit a simple act of decency by granting these refugees citizenship, they could relieve these tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of Palestinian refugee’s sufferings. Since the refugee camps consist of cement block apartments, all that would be required is granting them citizenship for these Palestinian refugees in their respective Palestinian societies which are already ruled by Palestinian leaders and their refugee status and demeaned lives would be transformed immediately to free citizens within an area of Palestinian autonomy. Now their condition being perpetrated any longer qualifies as a true Naqba.
Beyond the Cusp