Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib took to Twitter to announce that she introducing a House Resolution recognizing the Nakba, which she terms as the catastrophe when Israel demolished 400 Palestinian communities and made refugees out of 700,000 Palestinians. She frames this as an issue of human rights and justice, but in reality it is an issue of ignorance of recent historical events in the region and the anti-Semites that prey upon it for personal gain.
The Resolution was joined by the normal cadre of Israel haters and anti-Semites – Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Betty McCollum, Marie Newman, Jamaal Bowman and Cori Bush. Most, if not all, of these co-sponsors have consistently sided against the State of Israel, endorsed the BDS movement, pushed for the label of Israel as an Apartheid State, and worked to dissolve the strong alliance between Israel and the United States. The Resolution itself is a sophomoric diatribe filled with propaganda of both the Palestinian Authority and anti-Israel Jewish groups like J Street and IfNotNow. It lacks the context of the events preceding and succeeding the 1948 war and squarely places all blame for the subsequent crises of the Palestinian people on their existential enemy – the Jews.
The phrase “Nakba” literally means “catastrophe”, which Tlaib refers to in the Resolution as the “experience of uprooting, dispossession, and refugeedom” by Israel, which is “not only to a historical event but to an ongoing process of Israel’s expropriation of Palestinian land and its dispossession of the Palestinian people that continues to this day.” Examining the real story behind this “catastrophe” will explain why the Palestinians are the only people in the history of the world to still be refugees four generations after they were initially displaced.
Prior to the 1947 U.N. Partition plan, which sought to create two states, anti-Semitic attacks in Europe and Russia forced thousands of Jews to emigrate to their hisotrical homeland which was then known as Palestine. This was not, however, a sovereign state, rather an area of land controlled by a wide variety of empires for two millenia, including the Ottomans and the British. In fact, prior to 1948, the last sovereign state in that land was called Judea, and it maintained its sovereignty for 102 years. From the expulsion of the Jews after the destruction of the Second Temple until May 15th, 1948, the land of Palestine was under the auspices of no less than 9 different ruling factions, none of whom thought much of the ancient Jewish homeland. The word “Palestine” itself was merely the Romans adding insult to injury, renaming Judea after the historical enemies of the Jews; the Philistines.
In the time leading up to the declaration of the State of Israel, the army that would one day become the Israeli Defense Forces prepared themselves for the invasion that they knew was coming. The Arabs living in the area knew it was coming as well, so they did what they were told to do – they got out of the way. The Palestinian refugeee situtation was a crisis of their own making, because they assumed that the Arab armies of Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Egypt would immediately wipe out all the Jews and they would return back to their homes, Jew-free. They were repeatedly told this by their leaders. “We will smash the country with our guns and obliterate every place the Jews seek shelter in,” said Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Saif. “The Arabs should conduct their wives and children to safe areas until the fighting has died down.” The Jordanian newspaper Filastin admitted the same after the cease fire, “”The Arab States encouraged the Palestine Arabs to leave their homes temporarily in order to be out of the way of the Arab invasion armies.” The “catastrophe” is that the Arabs failed in their mission to kill the Jews. All Arabs that remained in Israel became citizens with full rights. Those who fled were left to the tender mercies of their new host countries.
After the war, the Arab refugees went to other Arab nations. 100,000 to Lebanon, 75,000 to Syria, 70,000 to Jordan. 280,000 went to the West Bank, which Jordan annexed, and 190,000 went to the Gaza Strip, which Egypt maintained military control of. Not one of these Arab nations resettled these people. By contrast, Arab nations expelled their Jewish population in droves, without the pretext of war in their lands, just expelled them outright. Morocco expelled 260,000, Iraq 129,000, and so on. This is not to mention the hundreds of thousands of European Jews that were displaced after the Holocaust. None of these people languished in camps and demanded they be returned to the homes that they still had keys to. They made their way to Israel, where a nation in its infancy – and still reeling from an existential war – resettled them and gave them full rights as citizens.
The Arabs kept trying to destroy Israel, telling the refugees in their countries not to worry, once all the Jews are dead, you can go home. All of this was under the watchful eye of the United Nations, which created useless organizations to help facilitate the continued oppression of the Palestinian people by other Arab nations and their own leaders. When Israel won the Six Day War, they did not conquer Palestinian lands in the West Bank and Gaza Strip; they conquered Jordanian and Egyptian lands that contained a Palestinian population that have been languishing in refugee camps for 2 decades at that point. Unlike Jordan and Egypt, they did not annex this land and leave the refugees as second-class citizens. The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) under Yaaser Arafat did not take this opportunity to declare a state and live next to Israel in a peaceful two state solution. Instead they launched decades of terrorism against the Jewish people.
Israel attempted peace with the PLO, and later the Palestinian Authority (PA), many times over the years. When land was offered, it was rejected and terrorist attacks were launched. When land was given in Gaza in 2005, it became a safe harbor for Hamas and thousands of rocket attacks.
The problems the Palestinian people face are numerous indeed. They lack resources, jobs, education, and healthcare. This is not the fault of Israel. This is the fault of the decades of exploitation by Arab nations that used them as political pawns until they realized that Israel wasn’t going anywhere. Now the Arab world is bored with the Palestinian “catastrophe” and is signing peace agreements with Israel to ensure their survival against an emboldened Iran. Israel has become an economic and technological powerhouse with a military envied by nearly every other country in the world. Yet the Palestinians are trapped in the past, blaming the Jews for the problems inflicted upon them by their own leaders.
Tlaib’s parents emigrated to America and clearly infused their daughter with the falsehood that all the problems facing their people were the fault of the Jews. The resolution she filed has nothing to do with facts, history, or correcting injustices. It’s about using her position as a member of Congress to settle a vendetta that she has against the people who didn’t have the courtesy to get pushed into the Mediterranean Sea like they were supposed to. Instead of using her power and position to actually help the people she claims kinship to, she uses it as a weapon against the Jewish State. In doing so, she is as bad – if not worse – than the nations that refused to help her great-grandparents after 1948, and her actions will ensure that the Palestinian people continue to live in abject poverty for generations to come.
Moshe Hill is a political columnist and Senior Fellow at Amariah, an America First Zionist Organization.
Moshe can be found at www.aHillwithaView.com, facebook.com/aHillwithaView, and Twitter.com/HillWithView