Israeli-Arabs Plan Mass-Mourning of Israel´s Founding in Lod
By Ezra HaLevi
There is opposition to a plan by Israeli-Arabs to march in the center of the Israeli city of Lod to mourn the "catastrophe" of Israel's creation.
Residents of Lod, in central Israel, filed a request with Lod Police Commander Amichai Eshed to prevent a public observance in the city of Al-Nakba – which is Arabic for "The Catastrophe," a reference to the founding of the State of Israel. The observance is currently planned for May 15, the anniversary of the end of the British Mandate and the founding of the State.
The residents wrote, "Nakba Day testifies more than anything to the disloyalty of Palestinians in Israel to the right of Israel to exist in peace and security, as well as the right of the Jewish nation to an independent state in the Land of Israel. The observance of Nakba Day in Lod represents a dangerous development which began on Land Day."
The Land Day march in Lod featured Hamas flags and fiery speeches calling for the destruction of the Jewish state.
Mendy Safdie, a Yisrael Beiteinu party representative from the city, said of the planned observance, "The precedent-setting rally on Land Day in Lod was a mistake that I expected to have consequences, and today my forecast has been realized. Even more dangerous escalations will take place in the future. This will lead to Lod turning into the first mixed Jewish-Arab city to fall into Arab hands. This is part of the plan of the Islamic Movement to slowly take over mixed cities in particular and Israeli cities in general."
Safdie requested an audience with the local police commander to inform him that it is in his hands "to stand up for the rights of residents of Lod to continue to exist as a Jewish city with an Arab minority living in accordance with Israeli law and with deference to the status quo."
He added, "It is in his hands to preserve the red lines so that Arab and Jew can live together by preserving the feelings of one another. It is inconceivable that Lod residents should live with the knowledge that their neighbors are working toward their extermination and acting with the intention to hurt their national and religious sensitivities. I would hope for coexistence, but when this is already so distant, at least we will struggle for existence."
At a Nakba commemoration on Israel's Independence Day – which took place last week, on the Hebrew anniversary of Israel's declaration of independence – Arab MK Muhammed Barakeh called on the Israeli government to allow 300,000 Israeli Arabs whose families fled their villages during the War of Independence to return to their homes, many of which are now left-wing kibbutzim. The ceremony took place at Moshav Tzippori, formerly the Arab village of Sfuria; before that, it was the Jewish village of Tzippori, which was home to Rabbi Yehuda HaNassi, the compiler of the Mishna almost 2,000 years ago.
According to Barakeh, Israel's objection to accepting millions of Arab who left in 1948 is due to the drastic shift in demographic balance such a move would cause. "But in Israel itself," Barakeh said, "there live 300,000 Palestinian citizens of Israel that were expelled from their homes. Their return to their homes and land will not change the demographic balance at all. The Israeli opposition to restoring their rights is due to the battle over land."
From Artuz 7 - 8 May 2006