Claim: Israel has engaged in the “ethnic cleansing” of Palestinians.
One of the most common claims against Israel is that they have supposedly engaged in ethnic cleansing against the Palestinian people since its creation in 1948. In 2001, the United Nations conference of NGO’s meeting in South Africa accused Israel of being guilty of ethnic cleansing. The definition of “ethnic cleansing” is the expulsion, imprisonment, or killing of a minority ethnic group by the larger majority in order to achieve ethnic homogeneity. The Holocaust or the Turkish massacre of Armenians are truly examples of ethnic cleansing. The absurdity of this charge against Israel is astounding. Following the 1948 War in Israel, roughly 150,000 Arabs were living in Israel. Rather than expelling, imprisoning them, or killing them, Israel granted them citizenship. Today, there are more than two million Arab citizens of Israel, comprising of approximately 1/5 of the population. You may wonder, what about the West Bank and Gaza? According to a census conducted in 1967, the population of the West Bank and Gaza was 661,700 and 354,000, roughly. In 2021, the population of those territories was approximately 3,000,000 and 2,000,000. The real proponents of ethnic cleansing are the Palestinians who advocate for a two state solution and call for the expulsion of more than 800,000 Jews so the Palestinians could achieve ethnic homogeneity in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem. Arabs in Israel, despite whatever challenges they may face, are given full civil rights like that of any Israeli. They are permitted to vote and run for political office, including serving on the Supreme Court. It is important to note the ethnic cleansing of Jews from Arab countries. Let’s take a look at the Jewish populations in Arab countries from 1948 and 2018.
Algeria: 140,000 (1948) – Less than 50 (2018), Morocco: 265,000 (1948) – 2,000 (2018), Libya: 38,000 (1948) – 0 (2018), Tunisia: 105,000 (1948) – 1,000 (2018), Iraq: 135,000 (1948) – Less than 10 (2018), Egypt: 75,000 (1948) – Less than 100 (2018), Yemen: 65,000 (1948) – Less than 50 (2018), Syria: 30,000 (1948) – Less than 100 (2018).
The real accusation of ethnic cleansing should be directed towards the Arab countries. Where are your Jews? Where is the real ethnic cleansing?
Claim: Palestinians do not violate the human rights of their people.
There is nearly total silence of critics regarding the treatment and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in the Arab world. Palestinians have lived as second and third class citizens in Arab countries for many years. Palestinian refugees are not welcome in anywhere in the region of the Middle East or their apparent Arab allies. The lucky ones who manages to escape to Lebanon and Jordan live in down trodden refugee camps are are barred from working in certain areas of expertise and have limited rights. Roughly 98% of Palestinians live under the rule of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. They are denied the most basic human rights such as freedom of speech, freedom of press, religion, women’s rights, and gay rights. There has not been a presidential election since 2005 and critics of the government are often “disposed” of. One of the commonly seen things is the far-left LGBTQ+ members showing support of the fight against Israel. What confuses me is that if they were to live under Hamas or the PA, they would be executed for being a member of the LGBTQ+. Advocates for Palestinian rights are silent about the cruelties Palestinians suffer unless an excuse can be manufactured to blame Israel.
Claim: Israel discriminates against its Arab citizens.
Israel does not discriminate against its Arab citizens, in fact, they enjoy the same rights as the Jewish citizens do. Arabs in Israel enjoy the same voting rights as Israel; in fact, it is one of the few places in the Middle East where Arab women are permitted to vote. The Arab parties held 10 seats in the 25th Knesset. The Islamic Movement’s political party (Ra’am) actually became the first Arab party to join the previous governing coalition. More than 300,000 Arab children attend Israeli schools and are often taught Arabic and Hebrew in these schools. The sole distinction between Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel is that the Jewish citizens are required to serve in the Israeli army. This is in order to not require the Arab citizens to to need to take up arms against their fellow Arabs, although many Arabs do choose to serve in the military. In 2021, the Israeli government passed a five-year $9 billion economic plan focused on developing employment, including raising the numbers of Arab women in the workforce, investing in technological innovation and high-tech.
Claim: Israel has been an expansionist state since its founding.
Israel’s original boundaries were determined by the United Nations when it adopted the partition resolution in 1947. Throughout multiple defensive wars, Israel captured a copious amount of additional territory and has withdrawn from 90% of it’s won territory in exchange for peace and security. As part of the 1974 disengagement agreement, Israel returned territories captured in the 1967 and 1973 wars to Syria. In the 1979 Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty, Israel withdrew from the Sinai for the third time in exchange for peace. In the year 2000, Israeli PM Ehud Barak, offered to withdraw from 90% of the Westbank and 100% of the Gaza Strip in a final offer for settlement. This offer was rejected. In August of 2005, all Israeli citizens were ordered by the Israeli government to evacuate from the Gaza Strip in order to turn it over to the Palestinian Authority for peace. As of now, Israel has withdrawn from 97% of its acquired territory from the 1967 war.
Claim: Israel’s security fence is meant to serve as a Palestinian Ghetto.
It is not unheard of for a country to have borders to protect themselves, especially when the vast majority of your neighboring countries have the goal to annihilate your country. There is no claim here and there is no difference between the Israel-Palestine border and the United States-Mexico border.
Claim: Israel should be prosecuted for war crimes.
For many years, the Palestinians have been trying to convince the International Criminal Court to change Israeli politicians and soldiers with war crimes. However, there is nothing that the ICC could do that will bring the Palestinians one degree closer to achieving statehood. It is important to note that the “State of Palestine” does not even presently satisfy the conditions to be considered a state because the Palestinian Authority does not control the territories. Nevertheless, the court claimed jurisdiction in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza. Given Israel’s history of investigating and prosecuting for wrongdoings by the military personnel, the ICC is pulling at hairs for political purposes.