Josef Olmert
4 min readMay 16, 2020


15 MAY is memorialized in many places in the world, particularly outside of the middle East, as nakbah day-the day of the beginning of the alleged Palestinian catastrophe in 1948-the last day of the British Mandate over Palestine. The historic fact is, that the British Mandate expired in the Jewish Sabbath, so the Jews declared the establishment of the State of Israel in Friday, 14 May 1948. The only historic event which occurred in 15 May , was the barbaric, unlawful invasion of the armies of five Arab states to Israel in order to obliterate the new state. So, first important historic fact to remember-the declaration of independent Israel was in accordance with international law and the UN partition plan resolution from 29 november 1947.The Arab invasion was a blatant violation of both international law and the UN resolution. An act of naked aggression.

Prior to this invasion, the representative body of the Arab world, as well as the Palestinian Arabs themselves, the arab league, clearly stated the goal of the would be invasion. No other than Abdul Rahman al Azzam , the general secretary of the league, the official representative voice of the arab world said the following;’’It will be a war of EXTERMINATION and momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the MONGOLIAN MASSACRE and the CRUSADES’’.[ 11 october 1947]. In simple terms, the Arab world wanted to commit a genocide against 650,000 Jews living in their historic homeland. Another genocide against the Jews, less than three years after the end of WW2, and the almost complete success of the Final Solution of the Nazi regime against Europe Jews. Not coincidentally, Adolph Hitler, the spiritual mentor of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, used the same words about the war which he planned against the Soviet Union. He specifically ordered his criminal generals to wage ‘’A war of extermination’’. Also of importance to note another important historic fact-from late 1944, until November 1947, these were Jews who conducted an heroic struggle of national liberation against the occupying British army, and it was this struggle which led to the British decision to terminate the Mandate as well as to the UN Partition resolution. The Palestinian Arabs did not lift a finger during this period, and it was only after November 1947, when they started hostilities against the Jews ,encouraged by the Arab states promise to prevent by force the establishment of a Jewish state.

So, Azzam talked about ‘’war of extermination’’ and here is who followed suit and actually conducted it-no other than the Hashimite King of Jordan, King Abdallah the First. ON 13 May, two days before the overall illegal Arab invasion, his troops , commanded by a British officer[Glubb Pasha]occupied the Jewish -populated Gush Etzion area, and in Kfar Etzion, 129 non-combatant Jewish civilians, men, women, children were massacred, in what was the beginning of the expected ‘’war of extermination’’.Then his army moved to Jerusalem and occupied the Old City with the Jewish Quarter in it.On 28 May 1948, the quarter surrendered , and all its Jewish residents were forced out, as well as the Jewish population of villages occupied by the Jordanians, such as Neve Ya’acov, Beit Haarava and Atarot. The Jewish quarter was destroyed with 58 synagogues raised to the ground, and the space in front of the HOLY Western Wall became the grazing area of animals. This was the Jordanian form of cultural extermination. That is to say, that the bloody history of the 1948–9 war started with unprovoked expulsions and massacres by the Arabs. As we all know, the Arab aggression failed to achieve its goal-no follow up to the Nazi Final Solution-no end of Israel-rather a resounding defeat for the aggressors.A defeat of this kind is not a black and white matter. Yes, victors -the Jews -on occasions forced Arabs out, and yes, there were cases in which killing of Arab civilians took place. Many more Arabs though left because their leaders called upon them to do so, and in few cases, they left despite concrete requests from the Jews not to do so, like in Haifa. And sure enough, Jews were forced out of Arab lands and countries, a process which started in the immediate aftermath of the UN partition resolution, before the war of 1948 even started. Altogether, MORE Jews than Arabs were forced out of their homes before, during and after the war of 1948–9. It is called population exchange, a very familiar phenomenon in the history of the Twentieth Century. Look at India-Pakistan, Turkey-Greece, Poland and Czechoslovakia-Germany. Difference is, that in all these cases it was SO clear, which side was the aggressor, and which one the victim of aggression.

Memory of a national loss, memory of individual loss as a result of war is SO humane. Yes, I understand the Arab and Palestinian pain. To do so, is NOT to question the historic justice of the results of the war of 1948–9. No war in the Twentieth Century ended in a more justified way, than the war of attempted Arab extermination of the Jews. Yet, feeling pain and sadness of others is a basic human value. Also, the adherence to conflicting historic narratives of the same events is so understandable. So, what is my problem with this Nakbah Day memorization . It is that simple-Nakbah Day the way it is performed, is intended to justify another attempt to destroy Israel, and finally commit the genocide which failed in 1948. Unlike similar events in other countries, this is all a celebration of hatred, a cry for revenge, a total distortion of historic facts, and more dangerously of all, an expression of a desire to perpetuate the conflict indefinitely. An inevitable part of the campaign to delegitimize Israel along the road leading to its destruction.

Interestingly enough, this day is mentioned much more outside of the Middle East than in it. It may be, that those who really suffer from the consequences of the conflict in the first place, both Jews and Arabs, understand better the merits of a search for reconciliation and compromise, rather than genocidal hatred .