Real Catastrophe for the Palestinians
Center for Public Affairs
May 15, 2019
year, on May 15, Palestinians commemorate Nakba Day. The Nakba
or “catastrophe” refers to the displacement of Palestinians after Israel’s
independence in 1948. This concept entered into public consciousness with the
conclusion of the Oslo Accords, drawn up with the Palestine Liberation
Organization (PLO), the organization that claimed to represent the refugees. The
PLO’s declared mandate was to secure the Palestinians’ “Right of
Return.” PLO leader Yasser Arafat inaugurated Nakba Day in 1998.
of Israeli Arabs also commemorate the Nakba, led by Israel’s Arab
of the biggest problems of the Palestinians today is the growing feeling in the
Arab world that the Palestinians are ungrateful. The Arab world, wracked by
disasters and wars today, complain that the Palestinians do not display any
sensitivity regarding Arab suffering. The Palestinians demand that the Arab
nations neglect their own crises and focus only on “Palestinian suffering.”
Arabia still remembers and resents the Palestinians’ support for Iraqi tyrant
Saddam Hussein when he invaded Kuwait in 1990 and Saudi Arabia in 1991.
Life of Palestinians in Israel
all measurements, the situation of the Palestinians in the West Bank, and
definitely in Israel, is much better than in any Arab country.
essential fact is that there are Arab Knesset members. The Israeli Knesset is
the only parliament in the world where there is a conspicuous and proud
representation of Palestinian parliamentarians. They do not have such
representation in Jordan or even in Ramallah or Gaza. Only beneath a picture of
Theodore Herzl and the Israeli flag in the Israeli parliament can Palestinian
parliamentarians speak and act freely – some Israelis complain too freely –
and even in defiance.
Israel is the only country in the Middle East that absorbed refugees fully. It
is not well known, but there are Palestinian refugees from the villages that
were abandoned during the war, who were absorbed into other towns and villages
in Israel. Israel has given them full citizenship, and they are citizens with
equal rights who can vote for the Knesset. Jordan also granted Palestinians
citizenship, but not complete. There is no statistical data on this, but most
Jordanian citizens of Palestinian origin are not allowed to vote for the
Jordanian parliament, which is far from representative of the true numbers of
Palestinians among the population.
in these times, a real Nakba is taking place, but not in Israel.
disaster of Syria, including the new Palestinian catastrophe there, is far
greater than the Nakba of 1948. Many thousands of Syrians and
Palestinians have been displaced from the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus,
which once held more than 100,000 residents but was recently razed during the
Syrian civil war. Hundreds of Palestinians and Syrians were killed there in
fighting and barrel-bombings by Syrian forces.
this does not interest the Arab parties in Israel at all. Even the PLO, which is
supposed to represent the refugees of 1948, has completely ignored the
Palestinian disaster going on in Syria. As a result, the refugees do not
consider the PLO as a body that will take care of them and represent them. The
websites of the Palestinian refugees in Syria do not look to the Palestinian
Authority of PLO for help or sympathy.