The Palestinians are famous for two demands. Supposedly there would be peace if their two demands were granted: 1) a Palestinian State and 2) the Palestinian Right of Return. However, when the implications of these two demands are unpacked, then it becomes clear that the goals of the two demands cancel each other. When these two demands are examined, then they reveal a contradiction: the Palestinians are the only people who demand a state and simultaneously demand that they be ethnically cleansed from their own state at the same time.
The first demand is problematic, because the “State of Palestine” has already been recognized as a non-member observer state in the United Nations. Roughly 130 countries have already recognized Palestine as a state. Wikipedia even explains that, “Mahmoud Abbas… is the President of the State of Palestine.” Still, perhaps the Palestinians want to be recognized as a full-member state of the UN. Strangely enough, the President of “the State of Palestine,” Mahmoud Abbas, has repeatedly called on the European Union member countries to recognize, “the State of Palestine.” Supposedly, this is a moderate call for a two-state solution, which would lead to the creation of a fully independent Palestinian state next door to Israel, instead of replacing Israel.
Second, the Palestinians also demanded the Right of Return, which is the political position that Arabs who were made refugees in The 1948 War have the right to move back to Israel. Today, there are roughly 20,000 refugees still living from the original war. However, the claim is misleading, the principle extends far beyond the original refugees, instead the claim is that the descendants of the original Arab refugees inherit refugee status. For example, a great-grandchild of an Arab refugee from the 1948 War will still be considered a refugee, even if he or she were born in America. The passage of refugee status from parent to child is so well understood that even Wikipedia explains, “both first-generation refugees (c. 30,000 to 50,000 people still alive as of 2012) and their descendants (c. 5 million people as of 2012), have a right to return.” The UN created an organization called the “United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine refugees.” The official UNRWA website explains, “the Agency began operations in 1950, it was responding to the needs of about 750,000 Palestine refugees. Today, some 5 million Palestine refugees are eligible for UNRWA services.”
Wikipedia estimates that the total population of Palestine is “4.817 million.” President Abbas went even further and explained that there are actually more refugees than the total population of Palestine. According to Abbas, “There are six million refugees who wish to return, and by the way, I am one of them. We need to find creative solutions because we cannot close the door to those who wish to return.” The webpage for, “The Palestine Right to Return Coalition,” declares that there are, “7.2 million Palestinian refugees.” This means that every person living in Gaza and the West Bank, as well as all of their descendants living outside of Gaza and the West Bank are defined as refugees.
All of this means that the entire population of the (non-member) state of Palestine is considered to have refugee status, which means that Palestinian refugees already live in Palestine. This why are there are modern towns in the West Bank with apartment buildings, stores, hi-speed internet and cars which are still called, “refugee camps.” For example, the Aida refugee camp was established in Bethlehem by refugees from Jerusalem and Hebron in 1950. At the time, Aida housed 1,125 refugees living in 94 tents on a very small piece of land. Today, Aida is a poor community, but it is also a completely modern town, with apartment buildings, two schools and two community centers.
The symbol of the Palestinian Right of Return is a metal key. The metal key is a symbol of the keys that Arab refugees used to lock their doors when they left their homes in The 1948 War. The Aida refugee camp has an enormous metal key sculpture at the front of the village to let everyone know that the the refugees will never forfeit the Right of Return. A left-wing organization, called, “The Israeli Committee Against House Demolition,” published an article on Aida. The article stated, “For Refugee Week 2016, we wanted to highlight the plight of the largest group of refugees in the world (numbering approximately 6 million), and our call for the Right of Return by sharing some reflections from a recent study tour visit to Aida Refugee Camp, established in 1950 close to Bethlehem, Palestine, and home to more than 5,500 Palestinian refugees.”
In politics, there is a propaganda term called, “Potemkin Village.” It refers to the story of Grigory Potemkin, who constructed a gorgeous fake village to impress Empress Catherine II. In the story, Grigory constructed the imaginary village to make things look better. But, the Palestinians have invented a reverse Potemkin Village, they have designed an imaginary Potemkin Palestinian refugee village to make things appear worse. Hence, many people from all over the world are given tours of the camp, which is specifically designed to make the Palestinians appear to be suffering. In 2009, Pope Benedict XVI visited the camp, and expressed his sympathy for the refugees. Of course, the whole village is a mirage, the truth is that the people living in the village have not been refugees for seventy years. There is no reason why their grandchildren who grew up in apartment buildings and attend Bethlehem University should still be called “refugees.”
This raises the question: How can Palestinians living in Palestine be considered refugees from Palestine? Well, the answer is that the Palestinians refugees are not considered refugees from the State of Palestine, instead they are considered refugees from a completely different nation state.
Question: Where do Palestinians refugees live?
Answer: In Palestine.
Question: So, if the Palestinian refugees are already living in Palestine, then where are they considered refugees from?
Question: Have you ever heard of Eritrean refugees who live in Eritrea? Syrian refugees who live in Syria?
Everything about the phrase, “Palestinian Right of Return,” is deceptive. The word, “refugee” is misleading. Normally a person stops being a refugee once he or she is granted citizenship in some other country, but not in the case of the Right of Return. In this scenario, even if the Palestinians were given a state, which granted all of the Palestinians citizenship, then then they would not stop considering themselves refugees from Israel. Likewise, the word, “return” is also deceptive. Most of the young people in Gaza have never physically been inside Israel, but they are still considered refugees from Israel. If they have never been to Israel, then they cannot “return” to Israel. Instead, they want to go to Israel for the first time. A more truthful description would be, “The Palestinian right to visit Israel for the first time and to be granted automatic citizenship.”
President Abbas stated, “There are six million refugees who wish to return.” So, let’s imagine a fantasy scenario. Let’s imagine that the UN announces it is going to grant the Palestinians their two greatest demands on Christmas Day. The UN is going to upgrade Palestine from a non-member observer state to a full-fledged member. Plus, the UN is going to force Israel to fully implement the Right of Return. Since every single living Palestinian is defined as a refugee from Israel, well, – then all of them will be moving to Israel. So, the big day arrives: Christmas morning! Palestine becomes a full member state of the UN, and at the same time the Palestinian Right of Return is fully implemented for all six million Palestinian refugees to return to Israel.
Well, what would happen? On the same day that a stretch of land called “Palestine” was recognized as a full member of the UN, – the entire population of Palestine would move to another country. On the same day “Palestine” was born, it would be empty. There would be no Palestinian newspapers, businesses, taxis or cafes, because there would be no citizens of Palestine. There would be no state of Palestine, because there would be no government of Palestine. Ironically, the Palestinian Right of Return is a call to ethnically cleanse Palestine of Palestinians. The two main Palestinian demands are self-cancelling. The Palestinians are the only people who demand a state and simultaneously demand that they essentially be ethnically cleansed from their own state at the same time.
Of course, everyone knows that the Palestinians don’t really want to eliminate a Palestinian State. Rather, the Right of Return is a scam designed to block peace. The population of Israel is about 8.5 million, the Jewish population is about 6.5 million. If Israel has to grant six million Palestinians citizenship, then it would transform Israel into a Palestinian state. Israel would simply become another Arab state with a Jewish minority. The Palestinian Right of Return would mean that the Palestinians would control who is allowed to become a citizen of Israel. If a group controls who becomes a citizen of a country, then they effectively control the country. The Palestinian Right of Return would replace Jewish self-determination in the land of Israel with Palestinian self-determination.
The reason for the self-canceling demands is that the Palestinians want to create two Palestinian states: one next to Israel and the other on top of Israel. In other words, the Palestinian Right of Return is a means to eliminate the Jewish State and replace it with a twenty- third Arab state. Still, the international community continues to pretend that they do not see the contradiction. Even worse, they expect the Jews to play along. Perhaps, it is time for the Pope and the UN to simply admit that the Palestinians are not refugees and do not need to live in fake refugee camps. If the international community continues to demand that Israel recognize a Palestinian State, then they must also demand that the Palestinians forfeit the Right of Return. Otherwise, the international community is complicit in the goal to replace Israel with a Palestinian state.