Reconciliation must be based on truth: so say the experts, and so says common sense. It requires a truthful rendering of history. Western history has proved the difficulty of this, despite the valiant efforts of historians like Howard Zinn.
In the case of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, reconciliation must be based on the truth of what happened in 1948. Annually in May, Israelis celebrate the creation of the State. Days later, on May 15th, Palestinians mourn the Nabka, (an Arabic word meaning “catastrophe”) that befell them in 1948 when 700,000 Palestinians fled or were forced into exile by Israeli troops.
When I was younger, the Haggadah we used at Passover had a farcical play in the back, jocularly re-enacting the story of the Exodus from Egypt. We used to perform it every year around the Seder table as our version of telling the story of Passover. There is one line from the play that has stuck with me through all these years, a line my sister and I quote to each other throughout the year, and one that seems particularly relevant as I look back at what I’ve just written:
er in the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank. He was 53 years old. It is unclear who is responsible for his murder, but it is clear that whoever it was felt threatened by his message of peace, freedom and human dignity. Continue reading →