Ben Dror Yemini: The double Nakba

Reconciliation will
only be achieved when the Arab world stops deceiving itself and takes
responsibility for the double Nakba  – both the Arab one and the Jewish
one, argues Ben Dror Yemini in Ynet News:

 The train of Return – in the West Bank

Sunday was the day the
Arab world commemorated the Nakba. One can and should participate in
the sorrow of those who became refugees and remained so to this very
day. They lost their homes and property. They were denied basic human
rights. And many of them, because of what is happening in Syria, have
become victims once again. Moreover, one must look bravely at history.

In the first half of the 20th century, with the fall of the empires,
nation states began to take shape. The Ottoman Empire, which became
Turkey, began the process of expelling minorities. It started with the
expulsion of the Armenians that turned into a genocide. It continued
with a huge wave of population exchanges in Europe and Asia. At least 52
million people went through that experience. That was the norm. Even
the Permanent Court of International Justice, the highest international
jurisdiction in those years, ruled that it was a proper arrangement.
Until the adoption of the Geneva Convention. What was until then
considered the norm had suddenly become a war crime.


Calls supporting transfer were also heard from the Zionist
movement, but they were fewer compared to those coming from Europe. In
any case, Arab opposition to the UN partition plan of November 1947,
declarations of destruction and the invasion of Israel immediately after
its independence was declared, led to 711,000 Arabs – at the time they
were not called Palestinians – becoming refugees. Most of them fled.
Some were deported.

Jews also became refugees. Many leaders in the Arab world spoke
menacingly of the imminent destruction awaiting the Jews of Palestine
and Arab countries if the partition plan was approved. The Arab League
passed a resolution that, in practice, turned the Jews into hostages. A
series of pogroms against Jews in Arab countries have made it clear that
a chapter in history had come to an end. The Jewish minority in the
Arab countries, which numbered one million people, was mostly forced to
flee. It was the Jewish Nakba.

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