The Nakba has two narratives , one based on facts, the other mere lies By: Tayseer Khaled

As we, the Palestinian people commemorate the 72nd Anniversary of our Nakba i.e. ‘Catastrophe’ that coincides with the establishment of the State of Israel, we have to acknowledge that neither we have succeeded to ban the Israeli version, nor we presented ours as it happened. Accordingly,there are two version of the Nakba: First, Israeli one, which was built on lies and distortion of facts. Second, Palestinian one, which was neglected and missed by the world public opinion due to several considerations of which, was that the world had just emerged from the World War II, and the crimes and horrorsthat were perpetrated by the Nazism.

Israel built its version on historical biblical allegations that adopted myths and sayings, and consistently adhered to the legitimacy of the Zionist project, which calls for a return to the promised land after an alleged forced absence that lasted for thousands of years, and that itcame to save the Jews from anti-Semitism, oppression and extermination camps that took place in Europe, particularly, at the hands of the beast The Nazi. The Israeli version was and still is removing all features that prove the existence of Palestine before the 1948, and it also looted the names of mountains, hills, plains, and names of ancient Canaanite’s cities and villages as well.

In order to influence the Israeli public awareness on the Catastrophe, Israel used various forms in archeology, vegetation, food, education, architecture and tourism, which focuses on a central goal that is absenteeism of the Palestinian history in the country, and erasingthe horrible scenes of the catastrophe in the consciousness of the ordinary Israeli citizen. Israel along with the Zionist Movement used to deny that the Nalba took place, and claimed that the goal of talking about the Nakba is to delegitimize Israel that held responsibility for the mass exodus of Palestinians to the Arab countries, which called them to leave, and to await victory over the Zionist project in Palestine. Moreover, Israel, the Zionist Movement and the Jewish Agency have been rejecting to see the Palestinians as victims of their crimes, and did their utmost to present themselves as victims.

Israel allegedly tried to present the refugee issue as a humanitarian case, holding the Palestinian and Arab leaders’ responsibility on it. At the same time, used textbooks that ignore the humanitarian consequences of the 1948 war, and mobilized its political, security, and media machine to delegitimize the nowadays historians’ narratives, who contradicted the Zionist version on war and refugees. Moreover, it enacted the Nakba Law, which enabled the Israeli Ministry of Education to impose sanctions on educational institutions should they commemorate the Nakba.

In return, we as Palestinians have failed since the Balfour Declaration and the British Mandate Instrument, as well as, the denial of our political rights, including our right to self-determination, to present our version on the Nakba as it occurred. Knowing that the Balfour Declaration, and the British Mandate have tackled the non-Jews civil and religious rights in Palestine. That was many years before the rose of Fascism and Nazism in the European Continent, and the Holocaust. This came in the context of dividing and re-sharing the world between the victorious colonial countries in the World War I, where the Zionist Movement emerged as one of the colonialism tool, and as a natural and logical result of the developed mechanisms of their control over the States of the region after the war ended.

Another significant factor in mispresenting the Palestinian narrative is that the Zionist Movement and its institutions’ policy in Palestine during the British Mandate that was accompanied by the silent ethnic cleansing and displacement of the Palestinian people from their lands, which were used to construct the first settlements, and the policy of the Hebrew work to establish a closed society in Palestine that was planning to practice large-scale ethnic cleansing at the best time. Furthermore, military and paramilitary organizations, including Jewish terrorist organizations were established under the auspices of the British Mandate. And when things were ripe, the British forces left the scene to well-armed and trained Jewish forces that managed to overcome and defeat the Arab Armies, which participated in the 1948’s war.

The “Dalet Plan” for comprehensive ethnic cleansing that was approved by the Zionist’s leadership, and the Jewish Agency in March 1948 was ready, that was entrusted to be carried out in detailed directions by the Jewish forces, which were formed by the Zionist Movement in Palestine, directly assisted by the British Mandate Government.

The plan’s main goal was basically based on ethnic cleansing with detailed ruthless directions to kill Palestinians, inflecting horror among them, besiege their cities and villages, burning their homes and properties and putting mines in the rubble to prevent people from returning to their homes.

On that criminal plan that was disclosed by a number of new historians in Israel, they confirmed that the “Haganah” i.e. the main regular military force and the nucleus of the army after the establishment of the State, and other terrorist organizations committed 28 horrific massacres of which Deir Yassin, and it demolished more than 530 towns and villages, and displaced about 800,000 Palestinians, most of whom became refugees outside their homeland.

Unfortunately, we not only abstractly presented our version on the Catastrophe, but also, we didn’t mention what Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir and other leaders of the Jewish terrorist organizations said on it, particularly about Deir Yassin Massacre, which Menachem Begin said that without Deir Yassin, Israel wouldn’t have been established, while Yitzhak Shamir described the massacre as a humanitarian duty. Begin, who became head of the Irgun terrorist organization sent a message to the leaders, who carried out that crime, in which he said, “The occupation of Deir Yassin is a wonderful achievement. Accept our congrats on the amazing victory, and convey to all soldiers our thanks and proudness of their fighting spirit, and to victory they made in Deir Yassin and other villages, thanks to our Lord, who has chosen us to conquest.” Nevertheless, both of them became premiers for the Israeli Governments.

For his part, Director of Red Cross Operations in Palestine, Mr. Jacques Rennes, who visited the village and inspected the horrific crime, and then presented a chilling report to the United Nations Secretary-General, where he expressed his anger on the barbaric practices of the Jewish forces that attacked children and women in the village.
Unluckily, we were late to recognize how bad we were in presenting our version to the world as it happened, being the criterion between the facts and the lies, and the pure proof of the Zionist crimes. Thud, we indirectly helped the Israeli version to prevail in which they claimed that the Palestinians left their homes under calls from abroad. Additionally, the world was late in hearing our version as much as we were late in presenting our vision and version.

Today, we notice a shift in the position of international public opinionon the Palestinian Nakba, as the situation began to change, first due to the steadfastness of our people in the 1948 areas in facing the aggression and the permanent Israelite maneuver, and fix in their land as a minority that preserved its. Second, due to our people the restoration of our people to their role and rights under the Palestine Liberation Organization’s umbrella, which helped keep the refugees issue alive that will never be outdated as Israel and the American Administration wish. Thus, maintaining the UNRWA, and enabling it to play its role and provide services in the health, educational, social and humanitarian fields, and a witness to the national, individual and collective right that must be adhered to as a fix national stance in facing any attempt that intends to liquidate the most just cause in history of mankind.

Tayseer Khaled,
Member of the PLO’s Executive Committee,
Member of the DFLP’s Political Bureau