In 1948, the actions of the Arab League saw the creation of two sets of refugees in the Middle East: the Arabs in Israel who fled as a result of the war launched on Israel, and Jewish refugees ethnically cleansed from those same Arab states, as a reprisal for the creation of the modern state of Israel.
At last, I thought, it seems someone in the Israeli government has woken up to the fact that this battle isn’t just about terrorism and repeating the line to the international community, ad nauseum, that ‘Israel is committed to peace’. At last, our government is engaging in a bit of hasbara (explanation) and putting the other side of the story out there.
But is this the real reason? Surely there can’t really be a financial motive? The same Arab countries and terrorists that have refused to recognise a Jewish State have refused everything they asked for in negotiations because that would mean recognition; they assassinated Anwar Sadat for that very reason. The same Palestinian refugees were also forbidden by the PLO from accepting compensation from Israel (during the ‘60s) because it would have meant recognition (it would’ve meant those refugees signing the State of Israel’s official documents, tantamount to recognition). And the same terrorists, under a new name of the PA, also refused over 90% of the territories they requested as part of negotiations because they weren’t prepared to recognise the Jewish State and its right to exist. If our foreign ministry thinks the Arab states will suddenly turn around and accept responsibility for this whole mess (which goes against their historic revisionism, central to their campaign to de-legitimise Israel), then I wish them luck, but I fear our ministers are in for some disappointment. But if, on the other hand, the aim is to highlight the role of the Arabs, then why only highlight the Arab League?
The UN has not only set up an entirely separate body to deal with the Palestinians, UNWRA (which is well known to employ members of Hamas), the UN has also sought to change the definition of what constitutes an Arab refugee, stating that one only needed to have lived in British Mandate Palestine for 2 years prior to the 1948 war. However, one of the most egregious facts is something else unique to this sordid mess; that the descendants of those original Arab refugees inherit the same refugee status. So instead of the refugees eventually decreasing, this number has expanded to many millions. There can only be one reason for this bizarre definition and that is not in order to solve the problem but to expand the conflict and pressure on Israel to yield to unreasonable demands.
If a ‘refugee’ is only required to have lived in British Mandate Palestine 2 years prior to 1948, then this conveniently side-steps one of the most contentious claims during WWII (which of course ended in 1945), that the British turned a blind eye to Arab immigration into Palestine during the war. Technically then, no proof of land ownership by anyone is required, except Jews.
On average, the UN has been able to fulfil the human rights of refugees within 3 years. With the UNHCR’s definition of a refugee, refugees are settled within a year. Obviously, Israel has just passed its 64th Birthday with no end in sight to this problem. It is not just the Arab League’s poor decisions which need to be made public, but the UN giving legitimacy and a seal of approval to what essentially constitutes aiding and abetting a war against Israel, transforming its appearance from an unjust war of extermination to what looks like a humanitarian plight which can only be solved with the destruction of the State of Israel. And for as long as UNWRA continues to exist, so will this conflict.
I know I’m not the first to write about this, but the taboo topic no one wants to talk about is the fact that as solutions to conflict since the end of WWII, people have been moved and resettled elsewhere. Germans, Vietnamese etc. have had their rights fulfilled by being resettled away from conflict zones.
A peace agreement, or the creation of a Palestinian state, is simply not realistic. A state would quickly become an Iranian, Saudi or Turkish terror proxy (as Palestinian terror groups are now) yet again making this conflict worse. The only solution is to have Egypt, Syria, Kuwait etc. absorb them, in the same way Israel absorbed the Jewish refugees.