Nakba, and beyond
Meron Benvenisti, who acknowledges it as much as anyone could, urges Palestinian Israelis to
move on, stop morning and instead celebrate their achievment.
The number of Israelis willing to confront the Nakba is growing steadily. In percentiles, Israelis are probably second only to the Palestinians in commemorating the Nakba. But we need national, institutional recognition.
Last week, Bassam and I talked about how Palestinians (at least those in Palestine) know more about the Holocaust and respect the sentiments it provokes, yet most Israelis are still afraid of the word Nakba.
Palestinians learn about the Holocaust because they understand that is has direct implications on their every day life. In that sense, it is part of their history. Israelis know that the Nakba is part of their history, but they are afraid of the implications admitting it – even to themselves – will have on their lives. For a Palestinian, the image of an old woman holding a rusty key is a symbol for the pain, the humiliation, the yearning. For most Israelis, it is a direct threat.
Acknowledging the Palestinian narrative does not imply accepting their most naive and uncompromising dreams. We need to learn to face each others pains, dreams and desires, while at the same time maintaining the principle that the living have precedence over the dead. Respect the past but commit to the future.
One day we will note the Nakba and Independence day together.