In the May 13 article “As Israel marks 63rd birthday, Arabs feel disenfranchised,” JTA reporter Dina Kraft wrote that “Nakba is how Palestinians commonly refer to the events of 1948, which led to Israeli statehood but also to Palestinian dispossession.” This statement, left unchallenged, represents a widely held malignant historical falsehood and the fundamental challenge to any peaceful solution to the conflict. In 1947, United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 called not only for the creation of a Jewish state but for the creation of two states, one Jewish, one Arab, with the lines carefully drawn as determined by local demographics.
Ironically, the Jewish state so created did not even include any portion of Jerusalem whatsoever, and the land designated by the U.N. for the Arab state was much larger than what is now being discussed for a Palestinian state. Resolution 181 was nevertheless accepted by the nascent Jewish state but rejected by the Arab nations of the U.N. and by the Palestinian Arabs. The Arab nations instead chose war and nakba. The number of displaced Jews in that war was at least as large as the number of displaced Arabs. And during 1947 to 1967, the west bank and Gaza were under Jordanian and Egyptian control, respectively, and still no effort to create an independent Palestinian state followed.
After the 1967 war, Israel offered to return the occupied territories in return for peace, and heard the reply, “No Peace, No Recognition, No Negotiation.”
The characterization of Israel’s Independence as Arab dispossession is a historical lie. And if the Palestinians try to declare statehood in the U.N. this fall, won’t it feel like dÃ©jÃ vu?