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

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.”


Cairo turns to Tokyo for a lesson on education

Updated 22 August 2019

Cairo turns to Tokyo for a lesson on education

  • The Japanese education system is recognized as one of the top five worldwide

CAIRO: Egypt is seeking Japan’s help to improve its education system, which has fallen to 130th place in international rankings.

The Japanese education system is recognized as one of the top five worldwide, and Cairo is hoping to apply key aspects of Japan’s approach to the Egyptian curriculum.

Education has played a major role in transforming Japan from a feudal state receiving aid following World War II to a modern economic powerhouse. 

During a visit to Japan in 2016, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi discussed political and economic development with Japanese officials, and was also briefed on the Japanese education system.

The Egyptian leader visited Japanese schools and called on Japan to help Egypt introduce a similar system in its schools.  

As part of Egyptian-Japanese cooperation, Japan’s embassy established cultural cooperation as well as technical and professional education links between the two countries. Collaboration has been strengthened from kindergarten to post-university, with Japanese experts contributing in various education fields.

Japanese experts have held seminars in schools across the country, focusing on basic education. 

During one seminar, Japan highlighted the importance of enhancing education by playing games during kindergarten and primary school, encouraging children’s ability and desire to explore.  

Education expert Ola El-Hazeq told Arab News that the Japanese system focuses on developing students’ sense of collective worth and responsibility toward society. This starts with their surrounding environment by taking care of school buildings, educational equipment and school furniture, for example.

“Japanese schools are known for being clean,” El-Hazeq said. “The first thing that surprises a school visitor is finding sneakers placed neatly in a locker or on wooden shelves at the school entrance. Each sneaker has its owner’s name on it. This is a habit picked up at most primary and intermediate schools as well as in many high schools.”

Japanese students also clean their classrooms, collect leaves that have fallen in the playground and take out the garbage. In many cases, teachers join students to clean up schools and also public gardens and beaches during the summer holidays.

El-Hazeq added that neither the teachers nor the students find it beneath their dignity to carry out such chores.

The academic year in Japan continues for almost 11 months, different from most other countries, with the Japanese academic year starting on April 1 and ending on March 31 the following year.

Japan’s school days and hours are relatively longer in comparison with other countries. Usually the school day is from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Teachers normally work until 5 p.m. but sometimes up to 7 p.m. Holidays are shorter than in other countries. Spring and winter holidays are no longer than 10 days, and the summer holiday ranges from 40 to 45 days.