There is a forty-four year old skeleton living in Israel’s closet. It is not hidden — even the United States acknowledges its existence — but it continues to decay in the rotten conditions set forth by the occupation.
It first emerged on June 5, 1967 — the Naksa, or the setback, as we call it — during which over 300,000 Palestinians were forcefully evicted from their homes in ways that mimicked the 1947-48 evictions in Palestine, the 1939 evictions in Warsaw, the late-1920s evictions in China’s Tibetan Prefecture. Self-preservation is the claim the skeleton made, but self-preservation never justifiably entail the mass removal of entire groups of people.
Just another stain in Israel’s claimed moral dedication to introducing justice to the region, that’s all.
Every year, on the anniversary of the Naksa, the skeleton makes an appearance. As millions of people worldwide gather in commemoration of those who lost their homes, their families, and their individual agencies, the skeleton scoffs at the world and defends the consequences of its soldiers’ actions.
This year, the skeleton made its expected appearance, but it came heavy with arms. The Israeli military opened fire on hundreds of Syrian nationals and Palestinian refugees protesting the perpetuation of the Naksa, leaving up to 20 dead and 325 wounded, sources say. The skeleton defended its actions, citing the group of protesters as intent on breaching Israel’s borders.
But the skeleton has put itself an unforgiving imbroglio. Questions must be asked.
Where exactly are Israel’s borders? Especially toward the north, Israel’s borders become dynamic swaths of no-man’s-land. Do the checkpoints and fortified steel fences serve as the physical border or do the territories surrounding them fall under occupation as well?
And better yet, whatever happened to the crowd control tactics the army was preparing to utilize? Days before the skeleton’s planned appearance, Israeli government authorities felt they found a solution to the inevitable protests expected to occur all along Israel’s borders. Military units skilled at maintaining order were deployed in all hot zones along with tanks that have reportedly been patrolling the Syrian border for over two weeks now. How did this strategy fail? And what does this say about the Middle East’s most powerful military?
Thousands were killed during the Naksa of 1967; thousands more in the aftermath. To that list, we must add the names of twenty or so individuals armed with nothing more than passion, polyester flags, and a functional moral compass.
May this be the skeleton’s final appearance.