Jerusalem - between independence and the Nakba
The day we celebrate the reunification of Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty falls this year between the 70th anniversary of the State of Israel, which the Israelis celebrated on April 19 to the "mourning" Nakba that the Palestinians will mark on May 15. The tradition of independence versus the Nakba has continued with us since 1948, despite many changes that include Israel's development into a technological and economic power and the cooperation of part of the Arab state with the state of Israel against the greatest threat in the region - Iran. I remember the Arab Assembly in 1968 in Sudan, when the Arab leaders declared the three "no" to Israel: no recognition, no peace, no normalization. That slogan almost disappeared today. Israel's very public relations with part of the Arab world are no longer a secret, including joint military drills with countries without official diplomatic ties. The status quo on which we have lived for too long, the Palestinians, is the incessant totalitarianism of the Palestinian Authority, which is desperately holding onto power. The Palestinian Authority continues its policy of incitement, educates Palestinian youth in Palestinian Authority and UNRWA schools with an ideology aimed at continuing the conflict, demonizing and not recognizing Israel. The world is now beginning to hold the PA accountable for it's funding and sponsorship of terror and murders of innocent Israelis. UNRWA also played a significant role in the continuation of this status quo by leaving the refugees as hostages for 70 years in the camps, without a solution. Looking at the map of the Middle East and Islamic terrorism, reveals that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is probably the most civilized conflict in the Middle East. Look at what is happening in Libya, Iraq, Syria and Yemen, and compare it to our 70 years of war and the differences are shocking. Israel saves the lives of its Syrian enemies on a daily basis, while Mahmoud Abbas was quoted saying that he prefers that Palestinians living in Syrian refugee camps "die" instead of fleeing the refugee camps, so as not to lose the status of the "right of return" according to UNRWA. Today, the Arabs enjoy Israel when they consider it an enemy. Imagine if the Arabs begin to consider Israel as a friend? We Arabs hold the key to a better life. Our greatest asset can be our proximity to our neighbors who can be our greatest friends, instead of our greatest enemies. I congratulate my Israeli friends on their 70th anniversary and Jerusalem's day, while sending a message of hope and optimism to my Arab brothers and sisters, that a new day will come and leaders and more moderate Arab countries will bring us to three "yes": yes to recognition, yes to normalization and yes to peace with Israel! This is what we are promoting in the organization "Arabs with Israel", which encourages support and identification of the Arab population with the state of Israel.
*Bassem Eid is a member of "Arabs with Israel", a Jerusalem political analyst, a human rights pioneer and an expert commentator on Arabs and Palestinians.
Picture By Dianad23 [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons