Each year, on May 15th, the Muslim world commemorate a day known as Nakba Day, or “Catastrophe” Day. Nakba Day commemorates the “catastrophe” that the establishment of the modern State of Israel was to the Muslim world in 1948. Nakba Day represents, according to the popular and developing western narrative, the biggest crisis of modern Palestinianism to date; the establishment of the modern State of Israel.
This day, inaugurated by Yasser Arafat in 1988 as a day of solemn remembrance, mourning and protest, is the day in 1948, one day after Jewish Independence was declared, when Egypt, Syria, Transjordan and Iraq collectively invaded the fledgling Jewish State with the intention of wiping her from the map.
The Arab world was determined to carry out a “war of extermination” and follow through with the threatened “momentous massacre” declared for the newborn Israeli State by then Arab League Secretary General, Azzam Pasha. In this attack, the Arab Muslim world had nothing short of another Jewish Genocide on their minds.
In the war that immediately followed, and despite being horrendously outnumbered and outgunned, the tiny Jewish State managed to push the invaders back and establish the countries provisional boundaries. This came at quite some cost. 6,373 Israelis were killed in the act of defending their new country, the equivalent of about 1 percent of the Jewish state’s population at that time. This would be the equivalent of about 3 million American dead today.
Israel had decisively won its first major war for survival; but it would be the first of many. It was in this first war with Israel that the Arab Muslim world learnt something important. These Jewish men and women, many who had limped lame, bent double, starving and lice ridden from Dachau, Treblinka, Bergen-Belsen and Auschwitz just two years before, were not the same broken men and women in 1948 that they were in 1945. They were united by a single desire and goal, one summed up in two short words, “never again.”
They had meant it.
Since that first fateful war in 1948, Israel’s existence has been one of almost continual war, battle or asymmetric conflict. To date, Israel have been dragged into no less than thirteen significant conflicts or wars, all against implacable enemies whose only motivation is her utter destruction.
Each war that Israel faces is a war of annihilation; if Israel lose just once, they will lose everything for all time. There would be no magnanimity shown to Israel in defeat, only wrath and destruction.
None of us, in 2017, should be under any illusion about the threats Israel face. The wars and conflicts Israel finds itself frequently contesting, the barrage of condemnation Israel continuously fields from the United Nations and its various organizations within, the harsh unending criticism Israel absorbs day after day from the mainstream media, and the vilification of groups like BDS; they are but for one reason only, these groups and organizations want Israel to be no more.
The perceived end game these groups have in mind for Israel is not to carve out a Palestinian state from Israeli land, it is to carve Israel out from the face of the Middle East.
After the 1948 Israeli War of Independence, Israel was quickly plunged into war once again in the Sinai War of 1956 with Egypt. This war resulted in the demilitarization of the Sinai, thus enhancing the fledgling Israel’s southern border and creating a buffer zone between Israel and Egypt.
Eleven years later Israel was to face another existential threat to its existence in the Six Days War of 1967. This war pitted Israel, standing all alone, against the full forces of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon. The result of this war was nothing short of miraculous. By its conclusion, Israel had gained full control of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, the remainder of the Sinai and the Golan Heights.
Crucially, Israel once again, after two thousand years, had gained control over Jerusalem, her ancient capital city. God was blessing Israel and despite being completely surrounded, without help and grossly outnumbered, they were expanding and solidifying their territory.
This war led to the four year War of Attrition (1967 – 1970), which saw the rise of the infamous Black September group who were responsible, amongst other atrocities for the Munich Olympics Massacre of Jewish athletes in 1972.
The Yom Kippur War, just three years later in 1973, represented perhaps Israel’s biggest threat to date and was without question the closest Israel has come to losing a major fixed war in the modern era. Catching Israel completely by surprise, on the Holiest Day of Judaism – Yom Kippur, a coalition of eight nations simultaneously attacked Israel. Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Algeria, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Cuba all moved at once with the singular intent of bringing the Jews to their knees and removing Israel from the Middle East.
In the 1982 First Lebanon War, Israel faced for the first time a combination of nation states and transnational terrorist entities within the context of the same broad war. They faced attack from Syria and the terrorist groups Hezbollah, the PLO, the Lebanese National Resistance front and the Amal Movement of Lebanon.
This war continued for many years and eventually drew to an official close in or about 2000. It was during this time that Israel also had to face both the First Intifada (1987-1993) and the Second Intifada (2000 – 2005). Both these Intifada’s saw intense uprising and violence through general and wide scale Palestinian violence and homicide bombings.
In very recent times, between 2008 and the present day Israel have been involved three wars, all against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Operation Cast Lead, (2008-2009), Operation Pillar of Defense, (2012) and Operative Protective Edge, (2014). All were victories for Israel, but at a cost of international vilification for Israel.
Israel has never enjoyed real or lasting peace. Since the very first moments of her existence, Israel has been fighting for her life. That Israel has simply survived the past seventy years is miraculous.
Yet, surprisingly, contesting war for her survival has not been Israel’s biggest challenge to date. Israel’s biggest threat today is posed by one simple, baseless and false lie, one which Nakba Day seeks to promote. This lie has been so successful that it threatens the legitimization of Israel itself. It is one that we hear repeated often, especially on the anniversary of Nakba Day, or Catastrophe Day.
It is the ever so subtle lie that the reason the Palestinian people still do not have a state of their own, and therefore why there is no peace in the Middle East more generally, is not because of their own intransigence, or the blatant corruption and violence of their own leaders, but because of Israel.
It is a lie from the pit of hell itself and next time, in the week commemorating the birth of the modern state of Israel, we will examine the facts of the matter, and see where the blame for the lack of peace really lays.
We will try to answer the question that has baffled all comers to date as to why, in 2017, do the Palestinians still not have a state of their own in my follow-up article.