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We crush insects and plants underfoot when we hike in the woods. For the insects and plants, we are bad news. We inevitably do damage when we live our lives. We damage nature, we hurt the ones we love. Question is, what do we do about that sad fact?

We crushed Palestinians when we created the State of Israel. This is Nakba Day. Nakba, the Palestinians’ catastrophe. 700,000 children, women, and men fled their homes, in trucks, on foot, ushered out of their land so that the Jews could establish a homeland after 2,000 years of exile. As the Palmach conquered area after area, there was little thought of the horror of what we had done, from the other’s perspective.

What’s wonderful about time, about history, is that even now we can take responsibility for the catastrophe our liberation has wrought. We can say “Sorry” in a way that brings with it a devotion to justice and humanism, without compromising our security. We can reach out, from our position of strength, and say to the Palestinians, “Hey, we are ashamed that the joy of achieving our state rests on your suffering and loss. We wish it hadn’t gone this way. We are listening to your pain. Now, we Israelis are strong and secure, and we are here to assist you in creating for yourselves what we have built for ourselves. We know that only when you can finally live your lives freely will we truly be liberated.”