Letter to the Editor
To say that the occupation of Palestine started in 1948 is to state part of the truth, for what happened then was a lot worse than just an occupation. Palestinians call the events of 1948 – that included the establishment of the state of Israel on the ruins of Palestinian society – An-Nakba (Arabic for “The Catastrophe”). That was the year when more than 750,000 Palestinians were ethnically cleansed from Palestine to facilitate the establishment of the state of Israel with a Jewish majority. To Palestinians, denying An-Nakba is the same as denying the Holocaust to Jews.
The Ottawa Citizen ought to know that after 1948, the remaining Palestinians (then less than 150,000) were given a form of second-class citizenship in the then new state where they were described as the non-Jews. Palestinian-Israelis are considered citizens of the state but not part of the nation, and accordingly they are granted some of the rights of citizenship and are denied all of the rights enjoyed by those who constitute the Jewish nation. Beside the five million of Palestinian refugees, Palestinian-Israelis are described as a demographic threat to the “Jewish character” of the state of Israel, and the birth of every Palestinian baby is regarded as a demographic bomb. This is nothing but a hint of some remnants of An-Nakba from which the Palestinian people continue to suffer to this very day; indeed since 1948.
Denying Jewish claim to be in Palestine is not the issue; it is denying Palestinian claim to be in Palestine that is. The Palestinian leadership has accepted the Arab Peace Initiative to divide the land of Palestine into two states along the armistice line of 1949, giving the state of Israel 78% and the Palestinian state 22% of the land. The Israeli leadership refuses to share; refuses to divide; wants to substitute peace process for peace; and seems to have decided that continuous war is the only way forward.
Hope is the stuff from which life is made!