Video by Daniel K Eisenbud
Israel’s two-fold answer to the Palestinians commemoration of Nakba Day is to continue building and developing the country, including Jerusalem, and to pass a basic law defining Israel as the nation-state of the Jews, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Thursday.
Netanyahu’s comments came soon after returning from a four-day visit to Japan, while he was touring a sports complex under construction in Jerusalem.
“Not far from here, in the Palestinian Authority, they are commemorating what they call the Nakba Day,” the prime minister said. “They are standing silent to mark the tragedy of the establishment of Israel, the state of the Jewish people.”
Palestinians were educating their children with “endless propaganda” calling for the disappearance of Israel, Netanyahu said.
“We have many answers to that,” he said. “The first is that we continue to build our country, and our united capital of Jerusalem. And we will also give an additional answer to ‘The Nakba’ – we will pass the Nationality Law that demonstrates clearly to the world that Israel is the state of the Jewish people.”
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, chairman of Bayit Yehudi, spoke out against expressions of Palestinian nationalism within Israel, saying, “We need not tolerate Israeli Arabs who promote Nakba Day.”
Nakba Day, which was held on Thursday, is an annual commemoration when Palestinians lament the establishment of the Jewish state.
“I do not support any event or organization which promotes the establishment of a national Palestinian agenda in Israel,” Army Radio quoted Bennett as saying. “This will not be tolerated.”
He stressed that the government believes all of Israel’s Arab citizens are entitled to full equality under Israeli law. However, those who promote Palestinian nationalism within the state will not be tolerated, Bennett said.
Palestinians and their supporters throughout the world posted comments and pictures on social media.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei posted pictures on his Facebook page of Palestinians suffering, one of whom seemed to be an elderly women holding a key of her old home.
The text underneath reads: “Israel was initially established through oppression and massacre, upon lies and deception.”
Twitter was full of comments and pictures, many claiming all kinds of Zionist atrocities and ethnic cleansing.
MK Jamal Zahalka, the head of the Balad party, told The Jerusalem Post in an interview on Sunday: “We want to remember the Palestinian Nakba. It is not possible to uproot people from their land and cause a catastrophe and silence our voice... At least we have the right to shout.”
Israeli Arabs held Nakba Day protests at Tel Aviv University on Sunday.
The demonstrators were met by a smaller counterprotest of students holding Israeli flags, led by the Zionist organization Im Tirtzu (“If You Will It”). The Im Tirtzu demonstrators called for an alternative Nakba ceremony, which would “truthfully depict the historical facts – that the Arabs sought to destroy the Jewish nation in the 1948 war.”
JPost.com staff and Reuters contributed to this report.