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There Won't Be Peace Until Israel Accepts Responsibility for the Nakba

Peace is not going to come before Israelis know about and understand how it all began.
The government of Israel confirms once again: War crimes were committed in 1947-1948; there were acts of slaughter, there was expulsion, there was ethnic cleansing – there was a Nakba, a Catastrophe as the Palestinians call their experience in those years. How do we know?
The government is about to extend the confidentiality of one of the major files in the Israel Defense Forces Archive that deals with the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem. Sixty-eight years have gone by and Israel is concealing the archival truth from itself – could there be any clearer proof that it has something to hide? A senior official explained to Haaretz diplomatic correspondent Barak Ravid (“Panel led by Shaked likely to keep ‘Nakba file’ in IDF archive sealed,” September 20): “When peace comes, it will be possible to open those materials to public viewing.”
Peace is not going to come before the Israelis know about and understand how it all began. Peace is not going to come before Israel accepts responsibility, apologizes and compensates. There is no peace without this. Perhaps there could be truth and reconciliation commissions like in South Africa, or a bended knee and reparations like in Germany. This could be the expression of an apology to the Palestinian people, partial return and partial compensation for the property stolen in 1948 and ever since. Just not denial and shirking of responsibility.
Peace is not going to be prevented because the Palestinians are insisting on the right of return. It will be prevented mainly because Israel is not prepared to internalize the historical starting point: A people without a country came to a country with a people, and that people experienced a terrible tragedy that continues to this day.
That people does not forget. And Israel will not be able to make them forget. Israel despises Holocaust deniers – and rightly so. In many countries it is a crime. In Israel people are angry at Poland, which has prohibited by law mention of its part in the eradication of its Jews. Austria, which has never properly confronted its past, is also deserving of condemnation.
And has Israel confronted its past? Never. The Jewish world demands compensation for the property it left behind in Eastern Europe and the Arab countries. Jews are allowed to return to Jewish property in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Confronting our past is just not something we do. Different laws apply to us, laws of the chosen people and the double standard. From the hump on our back – the one that is hidden in archives and rises high from every refugee camp and ruined village – we look away.
It is possible in advance to dispense with the ire at the comparison to the Holocaust: There is no comparison. But there are national disasters that aren’t a holocaust and nevertheless are disasters. A terrible disaster happened to the Palestinian people and Israel denies that disaster and its responsibility for it. Its extent is far from that of the Holocaust, but it is a terrible disaster. The denials can be compared: Nakba denial beats denial of the Holocaust.
What happened to the Palestinian people in 1948 and continued after the establishment of the state, cannot be repressed forever. If Israel is certain it is right, open the archives and prove it. Indeed, one of the documents Israel is concealing is a study David Ben-Gurion commissioned aimed at proving that the Arabs fled. If everything was moral, just and legal, why aren’t they publishing it?
It is enough to look at the photograph that accompanied the report in Haaretz in Hebrew to refute the Zionist propaganda: Two Arabs push a cart filled with bits of possessions, rugs and household goods, an old man with a cane lags behind them and three Haganah men accompany them with threatening rifles. Haifa, May 12, 1948. This is the appearance of the “voluntary flight” of which the Arabs are guilty of having chosen. And this of course is not the most shocking picture of the expulsion.
The guilt lies heavy. It will not ease. For the expulsion, and even more so for having prevented a return to the homes when the fighting ceased. Absolute justice will not prevail here and the blame lies not only on Israel’s shoulders. But the denial must stop. Convinced of our rightness and strong in our state, the time has come to gaze squarely at the truth and come to the obvious conclusion: Israel overloaded the cauldron of suffering it causes the Palestinian people a long time ago. A long time ago.

Gideon Levy
Haaretz Correspondent

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.743532

Schermata 2016 09 22 alle 14.51.42

Schermata 2016 09 22 alle 14.53.45

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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