Independence celebrations like ‘dancing on Palestinian blood’

Israeli-Arab MK Jamal Zahalke says Yom Ha’atzmaut parties are insensitive to Palestinians; blames government for ongoing bloodshed

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

Jamal Zahalke (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Jamal Zahalke (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israel’s Independence Day celebrations are seen by Palestinians as dancing on their blood and ignoring their tragedy, Jamal Zahalke of the Balad party said Tuesday at a demonstration near Umm al-Fahm in northern Israel.

He was speaking at an event, the 16th March of Return, in which the Nakba, Arabic for “catastrophe,” associated with the establishment of Israel and the uprooting of Palestinians from certain villages, is commemorated.

The Israeli-Arab legislator blamed the government for the ongoing tragedy and bloodshed of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

On Tuesday, Israel marked its 65th Independence Day.

Zahalke set out how he said Palestinians felt about the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. For Palestinians, the end of the British Mandate and the founding of Israel meant swapping one foreign ruler for a second one. Israel’s celebrations were like “dancing on Palestinian blood” in provocation while ignoring their tragedy and pain, Zahalke said.

“[The government] stubbornly refuses a historic compromise and a just peace,” Zahalke charged. The government “even rejected the Arab peace initiative in which the Palestinians gave the Arab world [the leeway to offer] all the possible and impossible concessions.” Israel wasn’t even willing to discuss the idea, he said.

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