A new law in Israel makes it a crime to commemorate what Palestinians call the “Nakba”, the “catastrophe” of their dispossession by the creation of the Zionist state in 1948. The Knesset, Israel’s parliament, has passed “The Nakba Draft Law” after just one reading. Penalties will be imposed on anyone showing signs of sadness and mourning within the (undefined) borders of Israel on 15 May; Palestinians remember on that day the creation of the refugee crisis that remains after 62 years.
Hebrew radio reported this week that the law is intended to stop people mourning on what is Israeli Independence Day; commemorative acts are, it is claimed, tantamount to “denying the Jewish character of Israel [and] insulting the symbols of the state”. The radio noted that the fines might amount up to three times the expenditure of commemorative programmes.
According to one commentator, it is ironic that this law has been passed at a time when Israel is complaining about attempts to “de-legitimise” the Zionist state. Here is an example of Israel’s own “de-legitimisation” of the Palestinians, their land and their culture, he said.