The Arab refugee problem – 6

February 18, 2011 at 11:35 am Leave a comment

Continued from The Arab Refugee Problem – 5



Excerpts from his book “How to avoid Armageddon”
Available through Amazon
Click:  type: how to avoid armageddon

Starting with about 700,000 displaced persons in 1948, this number had grown to over 4.7 million Arabs registered as refugees with UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency). They live in the Gaza Strip, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank.

The Twentieth Century saw many dreadful wars in Europe and Asia, in which over eighty million people became refugees. In most cases refugees have ultimately been resettled, often in places outside the countries were they had dwelt beforehand.

But the Arabs have deliberately perpetuated their refugee problem for three generations in order to use it as a political and military weapon against Israel. The colossal irony is that the Arab world could have solved their refugee problem with far greater ease than any other nation involved with displaced persons. For over sixty years many Arab countries have through their oil, been able to generate an unprecedented resources which they have used largely for the purchase of arms or enormously grandiose construction projects, instead of for the benefit of their fellow Arabs – turned into refugees because at the outset, they themselves had tried to dispossess another people of their lands.

In the past, Arab leaders and media have admitted that the refugee issue is a strategic tool. Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser made this clear in 1961 when he explained: “If the refugees return to Israel, Israel will cease to exist.”

Israel is constantly under international pressure to bow to Arab demands, which include a return to the indefensible borders of 1948 and at least a partial return of the refugees. At the moment there is no consensus among the Arabs that even this would be enough for them to consider making peace with Israel. Many demand the right of return for all refugees and their descendants, and swear there will never be peace with Israel unless this is done. But there is also a large element that states categorically that, no matter how much Israel accedes to Arab demands, there will never be peace until the Zionist state no longer exists.

In the current, intermittent peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians, the latter have insisted on the right of return of all the refugees to Israel, pointing out United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194 (December 1948) and claiming that their rights are based on international law.  However, Resolution 194 is conditioned with, “refugees wishing to … live at peace with their neighbors” which is very far from being obvious, judging by the thousands of acts of terrorism perpetrated by people living in refugee camps and their regular pronouncements of “death to Israel.”

Paragraph 11 of the U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194, also states: “… compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.”

Bearing this in mind it should be remembered that as a direct consequence of the conflict, about 900,000 Jews have had to flee from Arab countries since Israel’s War of Independence, losing all their assets, and thus becoming refugees. Most of these people, more than the number of Arab refugees, were quickly taken in by the then desperately impoverished new state of Israel and gradually fully integrated. Today, their children and grandchildren have hardly any inkling that their families had ever been refugees. Furthermore, every single surviving Jew living in areas in Palestine that had been conquered by the Arab armies, such as in East Jerusalem and the Jewish Quarter, as well as other parts of Judea and Samaria, were expelled from their homes by force, also falling into the category of refugees.

Another salient point is that there is no precedent in international law for forcing a country to repatriate hostile belligerents. Neither is there, at the time of writing, any applicable provision in any U.N. or Hague International Court of Justice statute for such a situation. After World War II, ethnic Germans living in the Czech Sudetenland were expelled and lost their property. Likewise, Poland annexed parts of East Prussia and settled Poles there. No compensation was ever offered and no right of return was ever implemented for any of these evacuees. In 1947, India and Pakistan formed two states, and exchanged populations on a mass scale. No right of return was ever claimed. Turkey absorbed ethnic Turks from Bulgaria, and Finland absorbed Finns displaced by the Russians when Finland ceded territory to them.

So, what is the solution to this crucial problem? From Israel’s point of view, Arab demands that they all be allowed to return at least to within the region where they had dwelt, is untenable because Israel would be swamped with a very large, probably hostile population, that would create a demographic nightmare for Israel and lead to it’s demise. But a solution does exist, which should have been implemented two or three generations ago. A way was shown when citizenship and equal rights were offered to the refugees who entered the Kingdom of Jordan. Also Syria, while not granting full citizenship, has at least allowed its refugees to work, and given them almost equal rights.

After the 1947-49 war, Egypt occupied the Gaza Strip with its large refugee population. In 1967, Israel pre-empted an imminent Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian invasion and Gaza was among the territories captured by Israel. Subsequently in 1979 Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty, which included Israel agreeing to return all the lands taken in the 1967 war – with one exception. Egypt was adamant not to take back the heavily-populated Gaza Strip with its huge, volatile Palestinian refugee population. 

Most Arab countries are loath to resettle the refugees in their lands on a permanent basis, because they fear insurrection. This fear has become more real in recent years with the sharp rise in militant Islamic fundamentalism, spreading among the masses throughout the Arab and Muslim world and threatening many regimes in the Middle East. The last thing these regimes want is an additional large, potentially volatile population.

Meanwhile the problem continues growing and festering and adding greatly to global terror through the existence of at least ten terrorist organizations, based or started in the refugee camps. It is also a terrible human tragedy with a large percentage of the refugees and their descendants having no basic citizen’s rights, unable to realize their potential as human beings, unable to build up productive, prospering lives, and caught up in an atmosphere of hatred and hopelessness, dangerously alleviated by suicidal messianism. Three generations of refugees demonstrate sincere ties to their former lands. Many have kept the keys to their homes, which in most cases no longer exist because buildings, factories or farms have been built where they once stood. Most of the people who suffered displacement and who are still alive were quite young in 1948. Most of today’s refugees are descendants, who are constantly taught in their schools and mosques that they are refugees as a result of the theft of their lands by the perfidious Zionist Jews and it is their holy duty to redeem these lands.

Some of those living along Israel’s borders can see the fields, villages and towns where they or their parents and grandparents had once lived. What they see is no mirage but a constant taunting reminder of what they regard as having once been their’s – and in their minds that also includes the fields, villages and towns that had belonged to the Jews beforehand.

From Israel’s point of view, the best place for the refugees to be settled permanently would be in Arab lands. There just isn’t enough space in Israel. Also, in Arab lands, there would be no problem with the language of their new domiciles, where at the outset they would also share a similar culture and religion. The Arab peoples possessing the second largest land mass in the world – smaller only than the mighty expanses of Russia, and larger than that of China or Canada – clearly has more than enough space to accommodate all the refugees. Also, with all their wealth from oil, financing would be no big problem. In any case, UNRWA would still be in a position to help significantly.

All that is needed to solve this terrible humanitarian problem is the will on the part of the Arab peoples, who should be able to confront their own culpability in creating the crisis in the first place.

Ironically, there are few nations on earth with as much experience in settling refugees as Israel, which successfully absorbed millions of newcomers, many of them who came as penniless displaced persons, without any occupational skills and unable to speak the language of the country. Not only has Israel done so, it has succeeded in a way that has no precedent in history, and without the enormous lands or financial resources that the Arabs possess. All the Arabs need to do is call on Israelis to share their experience in resettling refugees.

The consequences of those fateful days in 1948 when hundreds of thousands of Arabs, driven for different reasons to abandon their homes and properties, are increasingly more ominous as time goes by. Unlike the hundreds of cases all over the world during the last century, of whole communities and societies being uprooted because of war, the Arab refugee problem, with its awful, attendant human misery and suffering, has been cynically and tenaciously perpetuated to the present day – by the Arabs themselves. It is too powerful a weapon for them to forego, in their conflict with Israel and only when the international community wakes up to the facts as they were and the present increasingly volatile situation, can this dangerous issue ever begin to be solved.

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See also


Entry filed under: dangeous lies and halftruths, Jewish survival, Solutions for Palestine. Tags: , , , , .


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