A Pales­tin­ian pro­tester uses a sling to hurl stones at Israeli troops dur­ing clashes out­side Ofer prison near Ramal­lah on “Nakba”, May 15, 2012.

There’s some­thing to be said for civ­i­liza­tions that rise above adver­sity and vio­lence and focus on progress and pros­per­ity. Israel is not only con­sid­ered the Sil­i­con Val­ley of the Mid­dle East for its wel­ter of tech­no­log­i­cal star­tups and con­tri­bu­tions, it’s also feed­ing hun­gry bel­lies in devel­op­ing coun­tries via its break­throughs with drip irri­ga­tion and other agri­cul­tural advances. Even the Nige­ria, Sudan and India are get­ting in on the action.

It’s hard to believe that one of the small­est nations in the world has accom­plished so much given the volatile neigh­bors that sur­round the Jew­ish state. Many of these “neigh­bors” still can’t get over the UN’s vote on Novem­ber, 29, 1947 to divide the land they termed “Palestine” into a Jew­ish state, Israel and an Arab state, Jor­dan. Though, you have to admit it’s rather inter­est­ing that Pales­tini­ans have no ill will over the cre­ation of Jor­dan (which by the way is much larger than Israel). How much larger?

Jor­dan is approx­i­mately 34,495 sq miles (89,342 km²),
while Israel is about 8,019 sq miles (20,770 km²)

Instead, Pales­tini­ans only reserve their ill will for Israel. No one could be more dis­grun­tled with this his­tor­i­cal moment (when it relates to Israel) than Arabs who claim they are descen­dants of Pales­tini­ans. “Nakba” is the Pales­tini­ans term for “cat­a­stro­phe” over Israel’s mod­ern inde­pen­dence. Pales­tini­ans com­mem­o­rate “Nakba” by storm­ing Israel’s bor­ders, lob­bing rocks, and throw­ing Molo­tov cocktails.

We all know acts of war like these would be met with a bar­rage of bul­lets at the doorstep of any Arab coun­try yet luck­ily today only about a dozen Pales­tin­ian pro­tes­tors were injured in clashes. Last year, out-of-control pro-Palestinian riot­ers from Syria were not so lucky.  The Syr­ian Reform Party reported at the time that they paid these border-jumpers a $1,000 dol­lars a pop. Why? Obvi­ously, to take pres­sure off Syria’s human rights abuses that are still ratch­et­ing up under the bru­tal “lead­er­ship” of Syr­ian Pres­i­dent Bashar al-Assad.

“Nakba” again begs the ques­tion: Have Pales­tin­ian even read the Oslo Accords? It specif­i­cally states that protest­ing can only occur for peace­ful pur­poses. Ok, so let’s exam­ine what “Nakba” accom­plishes. Did it gain Pales­tini­ans a state? No. Did it help Pales­tini­ans pros­per? No. Well, it cer­tainly cranked up the Pales­tin­ian PR machine and got the atten­tion of the IDF, Israeli bor­der police and pro-Israel blog­gers like myself to notice yet another unnec­es­sary act of vio­lence. It did cause slight injuries to three bor­der police and one IDF sol­dier around the Kalandiya check­point near Jerusalem, and also at Beitu­nia near the Ofer Prison. Oh, and it did accom­plish one other thing: riot­ers were met with tear gas, rub­ber bul­lets and other crowd dis­per­sal tools thanks to fast-acting IDF and police forces.

Sixty-four years later, accom­plish­ments can be eas­ily weighed with only one over­rid­ing con­clu­sion: the con­flict is not about land; it’s about the refusal to accept thy Jew­ish neighbor.

Photo credit: REUTERS/Darren Whiteside
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