By Zawwar Siddiqui:
After the end of Second World War, the United Nations decided to divide Palestine for the Jewish people, so that they can have their own state and government. This was rather an ancient approach or strategy where foreign powers influence other people’s land and decision making. Therefore, there was no freedom of will and the people of Palestine couldn’t make their own decisions. A major part of the Palestinian land was handed over to the Jews or Zionist entity, although the former were in majority. Hence, Israel declared independence in 1948 after the United Nations judgment on the partition of Palestine.
Since then, a serious conflict is under continuation between the Palestinians (mostly represented by the Palestinian Liberation Organization) and the state of Israel. While many of the Arab countries were also supporting Palestine, 1948 marked the formation of the Arab alliance, who came together to safeguard the interests of the Palestinian people. The war that broke out left many thousands of Palestinians displaced.
What does Nakba mean?
The word ‘Nakba’ which literally means ‘catastrophe’, in context to the 1948 Arab-Israel conflict, Nakba signifies to be the day of the catastrophe where more than half a million Palestinians fled their homeland, because of war. Since most of the Zionist leaders wanted the transfer of a major Palestinian population, therefore, the Zionist lobby used every means possible, to get rid of as many Palestinians as possible.
What is the Nakba Law?
The Nakba Law was passed on March 22, 2011 by Israel in which it’s finance minister clearly stated that “any government funded body who refuses to believe in the existence of Israel and may take part in the Palestinian disaster Nakba, or simply mourns over it may be deprived of the finances allotted by the finance minister to the government funded bodies. This is simply because a specific group is mourning over Israel’s independence”.
Nakba Law being a human rights violation:
The Nakba catastrophe itself was one of the world’s biggest human rights violations of the 20th century, where the atrocities were allegedly carried out by the United Nations, whose key task and objective, since its invention was to bring world peace through cooperation. However, in order to favour a minority Zionist entity, almost an entire nation/state was evacuated or forced to leave and mostly expelled (Palestinians) from their own hometown. And now, Nakba is being celebrated every year to mourn the great loss that was incurred by the Palestinian people. Many Israeli individuals and organizations take part in celebrating Nakba every year because of which the state has declared to withdraw all funds from Israeli organizations celebrating or mourning the establishment of Israel. In doing so, it not only scares the people but rather terrorizes them.
Take example of Zochrot; an organization involved in dealing with the education of Nakba have been fearful in doing so for the Israeli people. Nakba is being banned in Israel where teachers can’t teach and convey the real happenings. Even when a teacher in Israel openly started interviewing people regarding the teachings of Nakba, he soon started receiving threats from the education ministry.
Therefore, organizations like Zochrot have to limit there exposure in training teachers regarding Nakba, to protect them. This is focused in a way that the citizens of Israel should forget about the past by thus not remembering and celebrating it any more. Since one-fifth of the Israeli Population is Palestinian, it basically is forbidding them from remembering their own past. This law is regarded as being a very anti-democratic practice since it’s not only against the freedom of speech, but rather, it is biased and racially offensive that according to Israeli state, a good human being should be celebrating Israeli independence day rather than remembering the true story of what really happened. It’s just like banning the gay parade in Tel Aviv that takes place every year, imagine something happening like this will bring an outcry in the country.
Nakba Law is so strong that its memories have been made to fade away as well as celebrating it within Israel that gives a sense of having justice in some manner. In this manner, the Israelis should even allow the march of the Nakba since its defending the agenda for the internally displaced Palestinians in Israel. It is a memory of the forced occupation, the destroyed villages and towns.
Many Israelis see the celebration of the Nakba as the Independence Day, as quite a provocative act because it’s clearly in opposition of the independence of Israel. Although, the number of Jews who participate in the celebrating the Nakba is increasing annually, the potential numbers are much more than the ones who do come to celebrate.