Second topic - Different perspective about the the Nakba and right of return

Dear all,

We are opening the the second topic, and I would like to start by telling my own story.
My parents fled to Israel right after WWII, and were inhabited by the newly established government in Jerusalem, in a neighborhood called Baka (Arab name used till today), I grew up in a house I knew belonged to Arab who left/fled during the war of 1948, but as a child I did not pay attention to it.

Right after 67 war, the original residents of the house came to see the place (all I remember is that they lived in the old city and had a coffee shop there), the meeting was strange, both sides were not sure how to behave, they went in, had a look and left, probably very sad about what they have lost, but again we did not pay a lot of attention, the issue of Nakba was strange to us, as all Israelis we grew up on the myth that most of the Palestinian fled, because they were promised by their own leaders to be able to come back later, after the promised victory, and of course the other part of the myth was that the Arabs have 22 countries, so it is up to those countries to 'absorb' the poor refugees, as my parents were 'absorbed' by the Israeli state, when they escaped Europe.

Few years ago I went with mother to Romania to visit the village were she was born, we of course had no intention to go back and live there, and reclaim the house that was left behind, but when we talked to the current residents, we felt that they are suspicious about our intention, and I suddenly realized that now I am on the other side, and that is how the people who lived in my house felt when they visited us.

Since then I my understanding matured, I want to learn more, and I acknowledge the narrative of the other people with which we fight and negotiate, and that is the Nakba, and it is clear to me that there will be no peace unless this issue is discussed and resolved somehow, I do not think the solution is letting everyone come back, but I am sure the solution is not ignoring it, and leaving it as 'their problem' as it is clearly not, it is ours.

We as Jews have our own narrative, and that is based on the holocaust, Palestinians need to understand it, so they will know why the Jews insist on having their own state, as a shelter to all Jews, I am truly very sad it came on expense of another people, but history cannot be changed, we should care about the future, not all Israelis share this way of thinking, I think most of them prefer ignoring the topic.

I'd like to suggest we dicuss this issue, I suggest we ignore the basic question whose blame it is, it is from my point of view an irrelevant question, the issues I'd like to suggest we dicuss are quite different.

Recently I made the connection with organization called Zochrot, I went with them to a tour in one of the destroyed villages near Jerusalem (Ajjur), I saw the reaction of the police and other authorities when they waited for us there, I heard what my friends tell me about making an issue of event in history, which is not our issue, and better be left alone, but yet I think it is important to discuss.

Ranin Geries (Palestinian from Haifa) from Zochrot, volunteered to lead this discussion, she will join this group next week, she will also be able to support Palestinian participants, as she does speak the three languages, and I am sure it will be interesting discussion, but I am also certain it is important one.

The questions Ranin and myself thought will be good to start with are
1. Why is it important to discuss the Nakba, is it not just history? Is it related to our future and how?
2. What is the connection between the Nakba and what is happening today between Arab and Jews?
3. Will the resolution of the Nakba problem also support the resolution of the conflict between Arab and Jews?

I hope you join and I hope we have good debate

Zochrot site

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yes....agreement......we should be communicating....but:

I am once again tiring of this recent most just spew forth their tired positions. Most have been relatively polite.....but most show that they have tightly held positions about 'the other'.....whomever that is. The pattern is to dump out one's attitudes......label it 'fact' or 'truth'.....and demand validation.

Then the psychological triangles emerge.....with most joining their 'choir' on one or the other positions on the triangle. Then we're doomed to play out the same old dialog......which is no more productive than what our leaders do.

I propose we drop all this archaic bullshit and be creative. Tough to do....isn't it? I challenge you all to come to the discussion table without all of our collective needs and fears. Brandishing these elements is what keeps us apart.........and awash in the sea of useless words. A good beginning is for most of you to stop explaining to the others just what you think they don't know or understand.

If we are creative, what you suggest as as human being to do? Me, Mohammed, Yoav. What can we do to support the process?

And I disagree with you about this useless thread, everyone who is exposed to such discussion learn more about himself and his people, and about the other side, and that was the initial question for this thread.
Not who is to blame but should we discuss the Nakba, will we benefit for this discussion
....simple: what I suggest is to CREATIVELY find ways to discuss the issues......NOT the same old well-worn paths which lead to the SAME rabbit holes. Inevitably, the old paths lead to nowhere and the results are likely to be that people are repelled....or finally see that the paths go no where. When people see that their energy is wasted.....they often believe that the situation is hopeless. We should be smart enough to KNOW what does not work.....and to seek NEW ways.

Most of us truly care about these issues....but we often allow people, who have personal agendas (perhaps even hidden from themselves)..... to divert the discussions.

There is the likely danger that my recent post will stimulate a diversion from the topic. Let's not let that happen.
Hi Kathleen,

I don't agree with stating that "it is the only sustainable outcome". Every problem has many ways to solve, and I don't want to be limited to one solution. You may believe strongly in your solution, but still it is not the only one.
And by the way, as a 3rd generation Israeli I do have strong connection to this land - this is my home, the place I was raised in since I was born. By saying "my home" I do not say that it's not anybody else's home - I'm just saying it is my home as well.
I'll return to the issue of creating a "non-racist" country - as you called it. By focusing on the "racism" of the definition of Israel, you ignore the reason that brought us to do close our borders to non-jews. And by ignoring the reasons it will be hard (if not impossible) to solve the problem.
Every jew family here in Israel has a history of being persecuted. Some of us in the Holocaust, some in Russian pogroms, some in the spanish inquisition - you probably know that the Zionist dream was born in France during Dreyfus affair - where a jew was prosecuted because of his religion. You need to understand the mentality that causes us to close ourselves to the world. Not because we hate others, but because we mistrust others, like a man that was beaten as a child and finds himself growing with no feeling of security.
You can't stop that by anger, nor by demands. The only way I think of stopping this is by taking care of the fear, of the feeling of mistrust. It's not easy - many Israelis (including me) see the anger on Israel and connect that to the Jewish persecutions. We see the world hate us - and dig ourselves deeper in this territory. Can you really blame us? Would you like to open your borders to a world that disappointed you so hundreds of years?
All this was to explain the background, not to say we did the right things. We didn't. But I need you to understand it because we need all the help we can get to overcome the fear of our fellow Israelis in order to open our borders. It is not an easy task.
The plan was and is for Ranin to join and help Palestinians express themselves, so hopefully she does as she is back

As for your comment to Yoav, true it is not on our school curriculum, as it never existed, all that is mentioned is that manly people left, majority by their own will..... amazing how states hide the unpleasant chapters in their past, and Israel is not the only case.

this might be out of topic: In terms of dialog on we are developing an open source "World Social Dialog SW"; Known large groups dialog methods like open space, peace cafe, etc. should be digitized in one application, so that >1000 persons can hold a dialog-project. We are discussing which format should the dialog out-comes have (new standards), so that these can be re-used or flow in "value-channels" to further develop "Large Scale picture" of our systematic integral interconnectivity (Global Brain).

Especially Phyton, Java, Ruby on Rails, C .. experts are wanted. But any other kind of support is welcome.
We are working on new version of project description; once the official call for action is ready it will be announced.
Jay – I’m not sure what exactly is tiring you, but so far I have also difficulties to understand what you suggest… anyway – you may find my followings tiring as well…

Katlheen – if you may – a short response on what you say (yes – Yoav had said some things similar to what I have to say, but we don’t say the same):
Different countries are based on some common ground. Of course – it doesn’t mean there aren’t subcategories in their population, & it would certainly be true to say so about Israel, but then again – why won’t we unite Germany & France? In other words, what I’m trying to say is that there is a lot of logic in my opinion to divide our land in two. It doesn’t mean that there will be no Arab minority in Israel, or maybe a Jewish minority in the Palestinian state, but we have to remember that we do speak here about two different nations, with different languages, different culture, & - different nations that at the moment – don’t like each other very much. Therefore, I think a division should be the solution. Having said that, I would like to emphasis that my personal dream is a world without borders, but I do not think it’s realistic. & not just in Israel case…
About the racist aspect of it – sure – it exists, & we should overcome it, but as I wrote above – it’s not the main cause.
About the hatred part of it – well – it is a very human instinct to dislike whoever hurts you, & many Palestinians were hurt by Israelis & vice versa. Again – the way for peace is long. I’m sure you’re aware that there are many Frenchman that still don’t like Germans…
Anyhow – it seems to me very inappropriate to intertwine together the holocaust & the Nakba. In the holocaust the Germans, as far as I know, didn’t have a battle with the Jews. The Jews weren’t threatening them & were not trying to annihilate them. Israel on the other hand was, & still is, under attack. It doesn’t make Israel a saint – I do think Israel had committed, & still is, many evils – but it does mean that Israelis are in serious existential danger, & are, largely, defending themselves. The Nakba was caused in a chain of events that had occur when the Jews tried to save their country & their life from a severe Arab aggression caused by the fact that Arabs (major & meaningful part of both of their leaders as well as the simple people – i.e. – states in many cases) were not prepared to accept Israel & Jews in this region. Many of them still don’t accept our legitimacy here, & many of them are still striving to demolish us, or at least dream at that. & yes – I’m quite aware of the fact that there are Israelis with similar wishes upon the Arabs.
Last but not least – there is also a question of who has “rights” on this land. That could stretch to the far past, & that can stretch just a few decades ago, & I know of many arguments that doesn’t have to do with god & the bible, but most important is the present situation. Israel has today about six millions Jews who consider it as their authentic home. If you brought the example of your husband, (which by the way – I hope that would be able to return to Gaza) I can give you my example: I was born in Israel. My parents were born in Israel. My grandparents were born in Poland. Most of their families were murdered in the holocaust. I’m at least 2nd & a half generation of authentic Israelis; Culture wise, language wise etc.
So – that’s why I say we have to consider history in a fair manner, & also to think what is possible, & what is accepted in similar cases around the world so we could figure out guidelines to solve the problem – after all – we do want peace, & there is a major problem with the refugees – there are millions of them, who in many cases live in poor shape & have strong feelings that we should answer. As a consequence, & in relation to the original question, I think it is important for both populations to know of the situation, & if possible – to know it objectively.

Hope I managed to establish the background to my previous post & make it a little clearer.
I hope that you do see that I understand the situation of the refugees as well.
I hope you see I want to solve the issue, & see that I understand why this issue is a major part of the conflict, but also see the reasoning of my path of thinking towards a better future, & that is while considering also the wider historic aspect & not just the narratives of both sides – something I think is important for everyone to do, & something by the way that I’m trying to do better still…
ADI....... your narrative was not at all tiring, but rather illuminating......what I referred to is the usual path discussions like ours take. There seems to be a usual (and I dare say predictable) pattern which creates more heat than light. We need the light.....creative light. There is always some benefit to dialog....but those benefits are often outweighed when the participants leave feeling hopeless. What I suggest is to find creative means....not follow the same well-worn paths. This is very no one seems to do this very well. We are set upon creating tikkun.....where little exists. This is perhaps the most difficult, troublesome and deadly regional conflict of the past century. We must dedicate ourselves to seeking something really new.
Jay – thanks for the complement.
Let me not agree with you however in some points: 1st of all – I think some of the worn out paths are actually quite reasonable paths for solving the problems. Therefore we should try & focus in convincing.
Secondly – although this conflict is blooding, & for me it is also important to solve personally because I live here, as far as I understand – this conflict is far from being the most difficult, troublesome and deadly regional conflict of the last century. Here is an example article about Arab & Muslim conflicts which helped me to come to this saying. It is also touching the problem of world focus: . Of course - there are other conflicts as well. Of curse – that is not by any means an excuse for me for not trying hard to solve ours.
Hi all,

Here is my input to this discussion:
My aunt became a refugee in 1936 along with the other Jews that lived between Jaffa and Tel Aviv, in Manshiia. Who cares? Who cared? She and her parents and brother and sister lost their home, after an Arab crowd (it's always "a crowd" - no names...) stormed their neighborhood, shouting "itbakh el yahood". This is not a myth. It really happened. But who dares talk about it. They lived in synagogues and other people's homes until the Jewish community built them a home on the sands that have become the city of Holon. It took 6 months, and that chapter in her history is a distant memory, not more.

But the refugees of 1948 have become a tool in the struggle of the rich that wouldn't like to help them really, but wanted to be powerful against the Jewish people here. I know more and more descendents of refugees that understand this and admit this today.

But saying that, here, is totally politically incorrect. It is bad politics. And it would probably attract very harsh critique. So I'm stupid to even raise the issue.

Who remembers the refugees from the 1929 massacres around Palestine and especially in Hebron?
Who remembers other cases of Jews terrorized out of their homes prior to 1948?
Who thinks about all the attempts of terrorizing Jews out of their homes even after 1948?

The problem is that many of the Arab attempts have failed. Those that have were successful were before 1948. And those who were expelled (including in 1948) were helped by their fellows of their nation and built new homes.

With the Palestinians, the problem is that the refugees were not and are not accepted by fellow Palestinians, fellow Arabs. It is much to do with Arab culture, loss of face, loss of respect, etc. Old stereotypes that are politically incorrect to mention, but are true.

Perhaps some Palestinians could shed some light about this behavior beyond the expected outrage. I doubt that such online talks, with the speakers easily identified, could allow for more brave truths that counter taboos in Palestinian society to come out.

Having said all this, I am in pain from the Nakba, and wish to help descendents of refugees to find new homes. If their grandparents' leaders accepted compromise of peace, they wouldn't have become descendents of refugees.

There are no other people in the world that are called "refugees" after 3 generations of live in homes in the same place. There is a lot of politics that abuse the people leaving in what was refugee camps and have become crowded neighborhoods. There is enough place to build comfortable houses to the Palestinians living in refugee camps.

Just a few days ago I heard an 80+ Israeli telling me his story: he was born in Haifa. Arab woman helped in their home. Her husband worked in the post office despite being illiterate. His (Jewish) father was a Mukhtar of the Carmel Moutains. He was a pharmacists who helped many Arab patients who had nothing to pay with. In 1948 the couple wanted to flee, but his parents told them they could stay with them and not fear. They fled anyway and got to Jordan. After the war his parents located the couple and offered them to come back. The couple agreed, but their children would not accept it and preferred to stay in refugee camp in Jordan. And the rest is history.

So, when we talk about solving the problems of the descendents of the 1948 refugees, we should also consider that Palestinian and Arab leaders took decisions that lead to the result of so many refugees. No place where Arabs reached in that damn war had Jews been allowed to stay. They have all become refugees or prisoners or dead. Palestinians since suffer from bad decisions of their leaders, or leaders that were not theirs, but have lead them and manipulated them.

Another example: I heard from Palestinians that they now realize that the 1948 war was won when it just started: the radio and rumors after the Deer Yasin massacre have exaggerated, blown-up the reports about the number of people who died in the massacre, which causes so many Palestinians to flee from their homes!!! Not myth! Hurting truth that Palestinians should cope with and not do just the easy thing of blaming others.

Similar thing happened more recently in 2002 in Jenin. No massacre! Ask Palestinians who have been there. I have. And heard enough from Palestinians to know that nobody was executed there. Many died - yes. But no massacre. Yet the rumors became a truth that deionized the Israelis so much, and now, tell me, who can make peace with a demon?

Well, I hope that this input could be helpful beyond just drawing fire. It is not my intent just to draw fire. It is working very much against me. But I believe it is the truth that should be dealt with on our way to finding understanding and then, hopefully, some peaceful solution to the damn conflict, refugees problems, hate, fear, mistrust, violence etc.

Inshalla, we'll over come the hatred and find new homes, new futures, and I, personally, am ready to make Israel much smaller as long as it is accepted by Palestinians as brining a just end to the conflict and Jews are recognized as belonging to here not less then Palestinians, having had become refugees for many many generations and returned to their old and only homeland in massive waves after 2000 years.
Thank you Gadi, and all, and especially Roni for creating this venue. All truths regarding this conflict are hard truths to swallow - for somebody. There is no shortage of discussion and awareness of the Naqba - among Palestinians. Just like there is no shortage of awareness of the blood libels, expulsions, pogroms, and Shoah (translation: Naqba) - among Jews. But plentiful awareness is no help when it takes the form of a myth of innocent victimhood that serves as psychological armor for nationalist identity. So what is needed in a conversation such as this, it seems to me is precisely the combination of opportunities for each side 1) to hear the story of the Other that has been barred from crossing the separation barrier of national consciousness, and 2) to poke holes that can begin to deflate the Other's ballooning myth of innocence. The two opposing narratives are like rough sheets of sandpaper that need to grind each other smoother and softer - and that requires something rare and precious: communities of trust, such as the one we are (I hope) creating here through our willingness to listen.
I'll post my own substantive thoughts on the topic in a separate comment.
Hi all, I close this discusion now, please carry on in the new one Raneen just started, let's hear her view as Palestinian from Haifa who is involved in this topic daily


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