The Request of Contradiction

Eight hundred and fifty six thousand. No, that is not the amount of rockets Hamas has launched from Gaza to Israel (thank God). Nor is it the new amount of terrorists the IDF released to reclaim one Israeli soldier (phew). In fact, it is the number of Jews who were expelled from Arab lands in the early 20th century. And it is also the current number Prime Minister Netanyahu is requesting be granted the “right of return,” if he is to offer the Palestinians that right as well.

Now, a majority of small media outlets are calling this a “scrambled” proposition. And others are making a regular omelet of Netanyahu’s words stating “Israel’s goal is transparent: it hopes the international community can be persuaded that the suffering of Palestinian refugees is effectively cancelled out by the experiences of “Jewish refugees.” If nothing can be done for Arab Jews all these years later, then Palestinians should expect no restitution either.”

First off, these outlets are missing the context of the words, the campaign, and the entire situation. For years, Palestinians have been requesting that they be granted the right of return for 750,000 of them. They request that this right include the generations born since they left the holy land, those people not actually included in the aforementioned number. In addition, these same Palestinians request their own government, and state. In fewer words, they request a contradiction.

Now, I am not lessening the Palestinian refugee problem. Yes, they lived in what was once Palestine. And they left as the Jews came, and as the surrounding Arab countries told them to evacuate the area so that they could start a war with the 1948 Jews trying to create a homeland out of the property the United Nations had just granted them. However, since they evacuated voluntarily, I do not see why they cannot just accept that they made a mistake by listening to their Arab brethren who failed to re-conquer the land, and forced them to leave their homes. You failed, it’s a part of life, accept it, move on. Go build for yourself a new legacy in the Arab land you currently inhabit.

I also find the new strategy posed by the Netanyahu Government genius. For years, the world has only known and focused on the Palestinian refugee problem. But the Jews had an even worse predicament, actually being forced from their hometowns in the Arab nations. Nowadays, most Arab countries are judenrein, and not by accident. If the Arab nations are going to consistently cry out about their refugee problem, it’s about time we gave them a taste of their own medicine.

But, stepping away from the legitimacy of the Israel campaign, the Palestinian’s contradiction still stands. If the Palestinians living in the refugee camps want to be granted re-entry into Israel, why present a bid for statehood? On what land would they plan to build a state? The land they’d like to return to? Then, by all means, let’s talk about where that would be located before Israel allows the monstrous number of refugees onto current Israeli soil. Because why force the refugees to move twice? Now that’s a scrambled position if I ever saw one.

About the Author
Melanie Goldberg is a current student at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. She also serves as the research assistant for Versa: The Israeli Supreme Court English Language Repository, and founded a chapter of The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights on her campus. Most recently, she was one of the recipients of The Jewish Week's "36 under 36" award.