Arabs across Israel spent this weekend protesting the “nakba” – catastrophe, in Arabic – of the re-establishment of the State of Israel, the 63rd anniversary of which is May 15. Israel celebrates the event on its Hebrew date, which this year was early last week.
Nevertheless, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon issued a statement Sunday calling on the public to remember what he called the “real nakba” – that of Jewish refugees from Arab lands.
“Today, as the Palestinians and their supporters commemorate their so-called 'Nakba' it is imperative that the catastrophe that befell the Jews from Arab lands be remembered and recognized,” Ayalon said.
“While the Arabs in 1948 were involved in hostilities against the Jews, the Jews of the Middle East and North Africa were not present in any theatre of war, yet overnight their citizenship was revoked, their assets stolen and they were expelled or forced to flee,” he noted.
Ayalon said he is making the issue a central point within the Foreign Ministry and believes it should be added to any future negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.
“In any future agreement with the Palestinians, the issue of the Jewish refugees should be recognized and those who fled, and their descendants, ought to receive redress,” Ayalon said.
“This issue has been recognized by United Nations resolutions, peace agreements with our neighbors, in the U.S. Congress and the Knesset. The Palestinian refugee narrative has been allowed to stand uncontested, too few people know about the real “Nakba” that saw the dispossession of almost a million Jews – and it is about time for this to change.”