Mondoweiss / May 24, 2022
Israel Katz warns Palestinians who fly the Palestinian flag to ask their parents about “your Nakba” — and warns, “If you don’t calm down, we’ll teach you a lesson that won’t be forgotten”.
A member of the Israeli parliament, Israel Katz, warned Palestinians of another “Nakba” if they fly the Palestinian flag. The Likud lawmaker put up a video on his twitter this morning featuring him speaking at the parliament, with the message:
Yesterday I warned the Arab students, who are flying Palestine flags at universities: Remember 48. Remember our independence war and your Nakba, don’t stretch the rope too much. […] If you don’t calm down we’ll teach you a lesson that won’t be forgotten.
His actual speech elaborates a bit more:
Ask your elders, your grandfathers and grandmothers, and they will explain to you that in the end, the Jews awaken, they know to defend themselves and the idea of the Jewish state. Don’t stretch the rope too much.
The plenum seems to be quite empty, but Palestinian Israeli lawmaker Aida Touma-Sliman from the Joint List of Palestinian parties is there, and at this point she counters him: “Are you threatening?”
Katz answers, “Listen, listen, this is also meant for you.” He then tells her how Arabs in Israel have it better than in any Arab country, with welfare and democracy, and chides Touma-Sliman for being a Communist, who joins “the worst of Israel’s enemies – they speak of coexistence, while supporting the enemies of Israel… we will bring this to an end”.
Then he comes with that final sentence: “If you don’t calm down, we’ll teach you a lesson that won’t be forgotten”.
Touma-Sliman responds with a “Wow”.
Well it is wow, isn’t it? Katz is a former minister of finance, foreign affairs, and intelligence under Netanyahu– he is from the heart of the Israeli political establishment. But it’s not a very new occurrence, that Israeli lawmakers come up with warnings of another Nakba.
In May 2018, Likud lawmaker Avi Dichter (former head of Shin Bet) warned that the Great March of Return in Gaza would turn into “the great Nakba”. This is where Israel took the liberty to target unarmed civilians who posed no danger with live ammunition, targeting also journalists and humanitarian workers. The carnage resulted in over 200 dead and 33,000 wounded, many maimed for life, over those 86 weeks. As Israeli journalist Orly Noy says, “the IDF has done little more than whitewash its own violence”.
One really has to ask oneself why there is so much discontent among Israeli apologists, when Rep. Rashida Tlaib sponsored a resolution to recognize the Nakba. I mean, the Israeli fascists use the term regularly! And they deliberately taunt Palestinians with it. They threaten Palestinians with it.
It’s not like this is a novel and exclusive Palestinian narrative – Israelis know exactly what it’s about, and they use the term as a weapon.
This points to the fact that the Nakba is not merely an historic event, but rather an ongoing reality, just as Tlaib said:
The Israeli apartheid government’s ongoing ethnic cleansing seeks to degrade Palestinian humanity and break the will of the people to be free. Fortunately, as Palestinians and their allies prove time and time again, we will persist no matter the circumstances until peace, freedom, equity and respect for all people are secured and protected.
So let’s not just recognize and commemorate the Nakba – let’s oppose it as it keeps unfolding.
Jonathan Ofir is an Israeli musician, conductor and blogger/writer based in Denmark