Lieberman’s party wants to ban ‘Nakba’

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A nationalist party in the Israeli government coalition said it would propose legislation banning Israeli Arab commemoration of the Nakba.

The Yisrael Beitenu Party, headed by Avigdor Lieberman, the foreign minister, said the law would impose prison sentences of up to three years for marking Israel’s independence as a time of "nakba," or catastrophe, for the Palestinians, Ha’aretz reported on Friday.

"The draft law is intended to strengthen unity in the State of Israel and to ban marking Independence Day as a day of mourning," said a party spokesman, according to Ha’aretz.

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled their homes during the Independence War.

The proposal is likely to encounter stiff resistance, not only in the Israeli parliament but within the government.

In the previous government, the Labor Party, which is also a member of the current coalition headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, controlled the education ministry and published textbooks for Israeli Arab pupils that took into account the perception that Israel’s independence was catastrophic for Palestinians.

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