A self-inflicted «catastrophe»

Boosted by Abbas defiant words, Palestinians attacked Israeli Defense Forces in Judea and Samaria, rockets were fired from Gaza and mortars rounds hit the Israeli Golan from Syria. While this was happening, demonstrations and conferences took place worldwide.

May 15th is considered a day of remembrance for those who consider the establishment of a Jewish State in the Land of Israel a catastrophe. College students, media and organizations find in this day the possibility to overtly express their hate toward Israel and the Zionist project.

The current use of the term ‘Nakba day’ is representative of a generation linked to social media and able to have its anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic rhetoric exported worldwide.

In universities and forum alike, the Palestinian ‘catastrophe’ is accepted as a sacred dogma. It is almost no longer possible to question this unilateral vision of history. Any action taken against the Jewish State appears to be implicitly justified by a natural sin of which Israel would have to be held accountable for; a natural sin which can simply be found in the act of existance.

Because in the end, the Nakba day has exactly this meaning: Israel is guilty of existing, the Jewish people are guilty of living on their land, the international community is guilty of letting this happen and the Palestinians are victims.

If it is useless to address the first claims of this blatantly irrational argumentation, the last one is interesting enough to challenge it.

The Palestinians may be victims, and this should not be dismissed as quickly as that by any supporter of Israel because in fact they have suffered a catastrophe.

Nevertheless, the nature of the catastrophe should be reassessed.

It is not the reestablishment of a Jewish State in the Land of Israel that has led hundreds of thousands of Palestinians into refugee camps. It is not the independence speech of Ben Gurion that has led to decades of poverty and war. It is not an international Zionist conspiracy that has kept the Palestinians in conditions well below the standards of their Arab neighbors.

The Palestinians have suffered and keep on suffering a catastrophe due to four factors.

The first element of this ‘Nakba’ is certainly to be found in the fact that Arab regimes have never found their interest in a peaceful resolution of the conflict. Palestinians have been the pawn in a regional chess game opposing competitive Arab states and monarchies. Hatred against Israel through the image of a poor and victimized Palestinian society has been a major internal boost for illegitimate or weakly supported regimes. The concept of boundless Arab fraternity has been tested time and again when Arab military forces have fired against Palestinians, denied them basic rights and forced them to live in sub-human conditions, conditions which have the only objective of maintaining a constant justification for a low intensity overt or rhetorical war against Israel.

The second part of the equation is that the Palestinians as a group of people have repeatedly chosen and followed immoral and dangerous leaders. From the Nazi admirer found in Sheikh Haj Amin Al Huseini, to the terrorist figure of Yasser Arafat and the current mix of mafia-like predators and religious-crazed leaders none of the men supposed to have been leading the Palestinians can be considered a person of positive influences. The genocidal messages sent since the beginning of the twentieth century gave way to policies destroying the economy and the social fiber of what was supposed to be a state for the Palestinians. These leaders have in fact understood that neither democracy nor liberal economy matters. Human rights and justice can be shattered, as long as the people they are supposed to lead are poor and “victim” looking. As long as a “nakba” rhetoric is possible, they can maintain their power grabbing position and fill their pockets with the dollars the international community provides them with.

The International community has to be highlighted as the third reason why the Palestinians have been living in a worse situation than they could aspire to. From the UN to the EU passing through the mass of “pro-Palestinian” organizations, a bureaucracy regrouping millions of employees has been artificially created. These associations and institutions cannot perceive a normalization of relations between Israel and the Palestinians, within reasonable lines, as they live thanks to the present status quo. A structure of financial and political interests have been created around the so called “nakba” which benefits from the suffering of individuals and uses a whole society as a token to further  its views against Israel.

The Palestinian society and its members may have been used in the past and be exploited in the present by criminal leaders, corrupted Arab regimes and international actors, they are nevertheless to be pointed as the fourth reason why they may still be able to sport their “victim” status. The amount of terrorist attacks, ambushes and criminality which has been going on for the last six decade is impressive. The quest for religious martyrdom or politically justified mass killings is ever present in the Palestinian discourse. The so-called “liberation” of Israel never left the mindset of a population who sees peace as a defeat. From Jordan to Lebanon and from the Sinai to Gaza, as long as a portion of Palestinians is left with unchecked freedom, it will use it to stage attacks against the State of Israel and its civilian populations.

For this, it may not be wrong to consider the situation in which the Palestinian are a catastrophe, but one should note that to a large extent it is a self-inflicted and self-entertained situation.

About the Author
Riccardo Dugulin is an independant international affairs analyst. He holds a Master in International Security from the Paris School of International Affairs (Sciences Po) and has worked in leading think tanks in Washington DC, Beirut and Dubai and has held the position of security coordinator for a security assistance firm.