The Six Day War did not instigate the Arab-Israeli conflict; it was simply the continuation of the Arab nations’ long-term goal to destroy Israel. Indeed, the 1967 War in the Arab world was called an-Naksah or the “The Setback.” A Cairo radio broadcast proclaimed on May 17, 1967, that “All Egypt is now prepared to plunge into total war which will put an end to Israel,” even before the war broke out a month later in June.
Indeed, the term Nakba itself was first used to refer to Israel’s 1948 War of Independence. It was coined by a Syrian historian at the American University of Beirut, Constantin Zureiq, in his 1948 book called Ma’na al-Nakba (The Meaning of the Disaster). The disaster in Zureiq’s eyes was centered on the fact that seven Arab nations went out to battle with the goal of eliminating Israel and preventing the partition. Instead, they suffered heavy losses and ended up with less territory.
When Ismail Haniya, the Hamas premier of Gaza, declared this past Sunday May 15 that the Hamas movement would not recognize the state of Israel, he was not referring to the Israeli borders of 1967. According to Hamas’s military website, Haniya asked hundreds of worshipers at Gaza city’s main mosque during the dawn prayers, who were there to mark Nakba Day, “to pray for the end of the state of Israel.” He also declared that the “the Zionist project in Palestine must end.”
A very different line from Hamas was said to an American news source, NPR, two days later. Hamas’s Deputy Foreign Minister Ghazi Hamad stated that Hamas had moderated its views, was now seeking a peaceful solution to the conflict that entailed “a two-state solution with ’67 borders.”
What to believe?
You can only believe what you experience. On Nakba Day this year, a terrorist attack in Tel Aviv involving a truck driver from the town of Kfar Qasem wounded 16 people, killing a 29-year-old Israeli man about to be married. The driver, Isa Islam, plowed through southern Tel Aviv, ramming into vehicles and pedestrians, before crashing into a fence outside an elementary school in the morning. Witnesses reported that the man shouted “Allahu Akbar” and “death to the Jews.”
Later in the day, Arab supporters and Palestinian protestors swarmed Israel’s three hostile borders, with hundreds of Syrian protestors storming into northern Israel and staging violent riots that Israeli officials say were orchestrated by Syria and its Iranian-backed Lebanese ally, Hezbollah.
Nakba Day did one thing this year and that was reinforce hate and incitement among the Arab community against Israel, and strengthen a narrative that offers no peaceful solution — or at least a solution that would recognize the Jewish people’s national rights to live in Israel. Denying the history of millions of Israeli Jews who believe Israel to be their national homeland will forever remain a disastrous tactic in any attempt to resolve this Mideast conflict.
Anav Silverman, originally from Maine, works as an educator at Hebrew University’s Secondary School of Education in Jerusalem and as a freelance writer.
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