Driving past the Tel Aviv Cinematheque on Sunday evening, I witnessed the kind of scene which, though no longer new to me, never fails to sicken me anew: on this occasion, a demonstration by around a hundred keffiyeh-wearing Israelis to mark Yawm al-Nakba, or Day of the Catastrophe, on which Palestinians mourn the birth of Israel, in 1948.
Last week, meanwhile, on Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day), this country remembered its 22,867 fallen soldiers and 3,971 victims of Palestinian terror. And immediately following the thought that most of the crusty-leftie protesters looked like they could do with a good bath . . . alright, and the fleeting one, too, of plowing my Focus into the shameless bastards, I couldn’t help but ask myself: “Allah, whose Nakba?!”
I have no inclination to regurgitate here the details of our two Peoples’ claims to this Land. We are, however, two Peoples. And with two claims. And they both have their merits.
But the Palestinian “catastrophe” as I see it, and it predates 1948, is that neither the Palestinians nor their leaders have – conversely to the attitude of the large majority of Israelis towards them – never truly accepted any aspect of the Zionist narrative, or that there is even another party with a legitimate claim to, at least a share of, this Land.
This explains how the ‘moderate’ Palestinian leadership in the West Bank could sign an agreement, two weeks ago, with the Islamofascists in Gaza, the leader of whom had, a mere two days earlier, condemned the killing of Osama “the holy warrior.” And it is why even Israelis (like me) who favour a two-state solution do not believe that the 1967 borders represent the true extent of the vast majority of Palestinians’ claims and aspirations.
The reason that there will never be peace in this Land, therefore, is not our minority of nutters . . . but their majority of them.
Indeed, we Israelis, if we were so inclined, could commemorate our own “catastrophe”: that, in addition to our almost 27,000 fallen soldiers and murdered civilians, we have been cursed with neighbours – Palestinian and Arab – who are, at worst, capable of slaughtering babies in cold blood and, at best, completely backward-looking and incapable of moving on . . . as evidenced by their endlessly self-pitying, all-consuming, fixation with the Nakba and the past.
Israel’s present government has certainly not covered itself in glory: Bibi’s ‘leadership’ has been characterised only by mind-boggling inaction, making the country – at a time when its international image was already at an all-time low – appear completely uninterested in even attempting to resolve this horrible, tragic mess. Indeed, over the last two years, it has almost been as if Israel hasn’t even had a government.
But, even ignoring its appalling crime figures, one only has to roam the streets of Jaffa to witness the Arab aversion to progress: decrepit buildings without communal electricity (cut-off for failure to pay bills) and surrounded by garbage (usually discarded by residents’ children). Then, for contrast, walk a matter of minutes to the beautiful tayelet (beachfront promenade) recently developed by the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality through Ajami, one of Jaffa’s most crime-ridden areas.
Of course, the same folk who have always criticised Israel’s supposed neglect of Arab neighbourhoods are now claiming that the tayelet is part of a strategic Judaization, even ethnic cleansing, of them. Though there is no pleasing the Jew/self-hater.
“The Arabs,” Abba Eban famously once said, “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” And, whilst some may currently be enjoying a Spring, others – including the Palestinians and their leadership (now, officially, semi-Islamofascist at least) – are still stuck in deepest, darkest Winter.