Israel’s killing of Palestinians a grim reminder that Nakba is not over

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Palestinians carry a demonstrator injured during clashes with Israeli forces near the border between the Gaza strip and Israel east of Gaza City on May 14, 2018, as Palestinians protest over the inauguration of the US embassy following its controversial move to Jerusalem. (AFP / Thomas Coex)
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At least 55 Palestinians were shot by Israeli forces on Monday, while protesting along the Gaza Strip border, a grim reminder that the Nakba is not over. (AFP)
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Tear gas is fired at protesters during clashes with Israeli forces near the border between the Gaza strip and Israel, east of Gaza City on May 14, 2018, following the the controversial move to Jerusalem of the United States embassy. (AFP / THOMAS COEX)
Updated 15 May 2018
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Israel’s killing of Palestinians a grim reminder that Nakba is not over

  • This year, on the eve of the 70th anniversary, the US opened its relocated embassy in Jerusalem, and at least 55 Palestinians were shot by Israeli forces while protesting along the Gaza Strip’s border, a grim reminder that the Nakba is not over.
  • Whether refugees or not, it is hard in the Arab world to find someone whose life wasn’t altered forever by the Nakba.

DUBAI: On May 14, 1948, the creation of the state of Israel was declared, formed out of Palestine, and the next day became known as the day of the “Nakba,” or “catastrophe.” 
More than 700,000 Palestinians ended up as refugees, as they fled or were driven off their land, and the first Arab-Israeli War began.
This year, on the eve of the 70th anniversary, the US opened its relocated embassy in Jerusalem, and at least 55 Palestinians were shot by Israeli forces while protesting along the Gaza Strip’s border, a grim reminder that the Nakba is not over.
“For Palestinians, the Nakba is also a continuing affair that only started in 1948, but continued through 1967 and until today, with Jerusalem,” Ghassan Khatib, a former Palestinian government minister, told Arab News.
“Seven decades have passed since Al-Nakba, the biggest crisis in the history of Palestine,” Basem Abdullah Al-Agha, ambassador of Palestine to Saudi Arabia, told Arab News. 
“The state of Israel was created on the Palestinian people’s home, from which 6 million Palestine refugees continue to suffer from the cruelty of exile and loss of human security, and with ever-expanding Israeli settlements, Palestinians continue to live under occupation.” 
The Nakba is not only about the refugees, according to Khatib. 
“The Nakba is the turning point for all Palestinians. And commemorating the Nakba is about taking a stand for resistance, and in particular for self-determination and statehood.” 
Third-generation Palestinians, who have made a home somewhere else, struggle with national identity and where to call home. “I’m a Palestinian who grew up in Saudi Arabia,” said 28-year old Dania Husseini, whose family hails from Jerusalem. 
“I guess I’m one of those who have an identity crisis. I don’t fit into the typical Palestinian culture or the Saudi or the Western, really. I have a mentality of my own that developed after living in all the environments I lived in and met the people that were part of them.” 
Whether refugees or not, it is not hard in the Arab world to find someone whose life wasn’t altered forever by the Nakba.
Arab News columnist Ramzy Baroud was born and raised in a Gaza camp. His family village, Beit Daras, was erased from the map. 
The father and grandmother of Arab News writer Daoud Kuttab fled Jerusalem’s Musrara neighborhood for the Jordanian city of Zarqa. 
You will find their stories in our eight-page supplement today, which marks Nakba day and the toll it has taken over seven decades.
And in the story of Dr. Bishara A. Bahbah, whose family still holds the deed to their orchard in the Lod-Jaffa area, you will find some hope. As he said: “Even if Israel takes our lands, they can never take away our brainpower and our unshakable will and determination to succeed.”


Abadi faces US wrath at U-turn on Iran sanctions

An intended visit to Tehran was canceled and Abadi’s office denied that the visit had even been planned. (REUTERS)
Updated 15 August 2018
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Abadi faces US wrath at U-turn on Iran sanctions

BAGHDAD: Failure by Iraq to comply fully with tough new US economic sanctions against Iran would be insane, analysts told Arab News on Tuesday.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi risked incurring US wrath after contradicting himself in the space of a few hours over whether his country would comply.
Amid diplomatic maneuvers, as he negotiates for a second term in office after divisive and contested elections, Abadi offended both Tehran and Washington with conflicting statements on the US sanctions, which were reimposed last week.
First, the prime minister said that while Iraq disapproved of the new sanctions, it would reluctantly comply. “We don’t support the sanctions because they are a strategic error, but we will comply with them,” he said.
“Our economic situation is also difficult and we sympathize with Iran. But. at the same time, I will not make grand slogans that destroy my people and my country just to make certain people happy.”
His position provoked anger in Iran. An intended visit to Tehran on Tuesday to discuss the issue was canceled, and Abadi’s office denied that the visit had even been planned.
There was also criticism inside Iraq, especially from groups close to Tehran, such as the Asaib Ahl Al-Haq and Badr paramilitary movements.
Within hours, however, Abadi had reversed his position. “I did not say we abide by the sanctions, I said we abide by not using dollars in transactions. We have no other choice,” Abadi told a news conference in Baghdad.
Asked if Baghdad would stop imports of commodities, appliances and equipment by government companies from Iran, he said the matter was still being reviewed. “We honestly have not made any decision regarding this issue until now,” he said.
Michael Knights, the Lafer Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told Arab News: “Iraq can’t afford to be cut off from the dollar-based global financial system, so it makes sense to avoid sanctioned Iranian financial entities. Iraq should also protect its dollar reserves.
“These are the only sane options for a country that desperately needs international investment.”
Iraq is the second-largest purchaser of Iranian non-oil exports, and bought about $6 billion worth of goods in 2017. It also buys Iranian-generated electricity to deal with chronic power cuts that have been a key factor sparking mass protests in recent weeks.
On Tuesday, the British renewable energy investor Quercus became the latest major company to pull out of Iran as a result of the new sanctions.
It halted construction of $570 million solar power plant in Iran, which would have been the sixth-largest in the world.