While Israelis hail the 75th anniversary of their country’s founding, Palestinians are preparing to mark 75 years of brutal oppression.
The coming month witnesses two very different, albeit intimately linked, 75th anniversaries. This May, Palestinians will solemnly commemorate the Nakba, the catastrophe that befell their society and precipitated the establishment of a Jewish state in a country with a two-thirds Arab majority. Meanwhile, this week, Israeli Jews are celebrating the simultaneous creation of their state, one that by 1949 controlled 78 percent of the former Mandatory Palestine, and that since 1967 has controlled all of it, plus an occupied chunk of Syrian territory.
Palestinian citizens of Israel are expected to cheer Israel’s independence, which left them as second-class citizens of a state with at least 65 laws that discriminate against them, and that expelled 750,000 of their fellow Palestinians in 1948. For the millions of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip who have lived under the draconian control of the Israeli military for nearly three generations, and for the equal numbers of Palestinians living in exile whom Israel bars from returning to their homeland, there is also little to celebrate.