Nakba Day Commemorates the Day the Arabs Failed to Vanquish and Exterminate the Jews of Palestine

Jock L. Falkson

Jonathan Rosen’s ‘Nakba Lessons’ (Jerusalem Post May 17, 2012) is a plea to Israelis to be more empathetic to the present day plight of the Palestinians who lost so much 64 years ago when Israel emerged victorious over its aggressive neighbors in 1948.

Rosen writes: “. . . it should not be difficult for Jews to sympathize with those Palestinians’ feelings of displacement and loss, as well as their gnawing sense that their lives would have been completely different and far better had it not been for the fateful turn of events that occurred 64 years ago.”

Missing from the reasonable tone of Rosen’s article however, is any reference to the determination of the five main Arab/Islamic nations who proclaimed their horrific intention to annihilate Israel’s Jews and to plunder their wealth and property.

Here’s what Azzam Pasha, the Secretary General of the Arab League, declared on behalf of the member nations of the Arab League on the day Israel became an independent nation. (May 15, 1948)

“This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades”.

Nakba Day commemorates the catastrophe (as the Palestinians have chosen to call it) when five Arab nations (Egypt, Trans Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Yemen) attacked outnumbered and outweaponed Israel on its first day of independence. Yet amazingly, and against all odds, the poorly armed Jewish Haganah emerged victorious. The aggressors were defeated and retreated to where they came from.

Israel lost 6,373 of its people in this war, about 1% of its population – 4,000 soldiers and 2,373 civilians. Arab losses were estimated at something above 10,000. However, some 750,000 Palestinian Arabs had fled of their own accord – a small number of whom had been expelled from villages which the Haganah believed were militarily essential to remain in Israel’s hands.

The world was surprised to see that in contrast to the Jews who fought courageously for their historic homeland, it was the Arabs who fled to neighboring Arab speaking countries – and thus became refugees.

These days the Palestinians moan that their refugees and their progeny are entitled to return of the land they once lived on. Of course, had the Arabs been the victors, there would have been no Jews to consider a similar claim. In fulfillment of their Nazi intentions the Arabs/Muslims would have been gloriously happy to carry out their prime war aim – the extinction of the Jews.

The Arab claim on Israel for the return of land they lost may be likened to the gambler who loses his pay check and lots more, then begs for his money back on the grounds that his loss has been catastrophic. Ye gods and little fishes!

One thing is certain – no one will give the losers’ money back. Nor should Israel return land won from an enemy which had been determined to kill every one of us. We fought and won against impossible odds. We have every right to retain what we won in that heroic war of self preservation.

The Arabs are fond of emphasizing that they have lived in Palestine since time immemorial. However that is not the truth according to Dr. Rivka Shpak Lissak, a widely respected historian who has spent many years researching the history of this land and its peoples. Dr. Lissak refers to a British census which was carried out in Palestine in 1931 and which revealed that more than 50 different languages were spoken by the Muslim and Arab population.

According to Dr. Lissak most of the latter were immigrants from Arabic and Muslim countries. How likely is it that inhabitants who had been in the country for many hundreds of years would have spoken so many languages?

Surely this says something about the Arab claim to have been in Palestine “from time immemorial”. It also begs the question “why did the Arabs flee – why didn’t the Jews”? The short answer is surely that the Jews were defending their country –that the Arabs were not as attached to “their” country as we were to ours.

[Information mainly sourced from historian Dr. Rivka Shpak Lissak’s article “Are Palestinians the Indigenous People of Palestine?”]

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