May 15, 2016
Naqba – Part I
‘Naqba’ means ‘catastrophe’, which is how the Palestinians (Israeli Arabs) remember the 1948 War of (Israeli) Independence.
So there I was, only bike, at nearby Tel Aviv University, buying something in one of their stores. This is the view I saw…
Let me set the scene:
The tiny panoramic image, with the finger on the lens, shows, from left to right
Armed police gathering next to the trees (I think all Israeli police are armed)
In the background, a giant wall of images of Palestinians (Israeli Arabs) – let’s call them PIA) who have died during the conflict since 1948.
In front of the wall, black-t-shirted PIA gathering for their day.
In the centre, a police barrier , with a small white part – just seen in images 2 and 4 – in the middle, representing the separation wall (security fence) between Israel and the West Bank
To the right of the barrier, Jewish students gathering.
And around the perimeters, people like me gathering, some with cameras, others just onlookers, with more police arriving here and there.
It’s happening now, while I wrote.
I stopped, pushed my biked up the few steps and started chatting to one of the male students. That went on for perhaps 20 mins. Then Raiah (I hope I have the spelling right) joined.
My opening ‘gambit’ was the suggestion that the signs with ‘Naqba Day’ should either be change to ‘Reconstruction Day’ or at least have that word in brackets – gotta move forward. And why allow a barrier in the middle. Do they WANT confrontation?
They were (are) aged around 19; they have family/-ies across the various border (West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria); they say they have lost family, they have less rights, the wall hinders their lives etc. etc.
And I started discussing this with them –
Jordan should have been Palestine
The Jews stole the Palestinian land
There should only be the 1 state (Palestine) – where Jews, they claimed, could live peacefully
The British helped the Jews establish Israel (Tell that to the those that suffered at the hands of the British).
The UN declaration in 1947 was not fair – “Would you give up half your house to the neighbors?”, she asked. She didn’t believe my “Yes” answer.
They have proper water system in Nazareth-Illit (Jewish neighborhood) and not in Nazareth (I should have asked her about the Christian population’s complaints against the Muslims).
My conversation of not more than 1/2 hour contained decent discussion. They started looking over their shoulders (no, not out of fear, out of lateness) , so I gave them my card, begged them to contact me, told them of my keenness to meet over coffee.
And we parted.
Let’s see if Part II is necessary