2 December 2012
Israel and the Arab Right of Return
I was asked an apparently serious question why Israel objects to the Palestinian Right of Return. This was my extended answer.
The short answer
So why doesn’t Israel accept a Right of Return for the Palestinians? Because it would be suicide and the Palestinians are too happy to take the role of Dr. Jack Kevorkian.
The long answer
Under their unique system of counting 4,797,723 Palestinians are registered refugees and their numbers are increasing because unlike every other refugee they inherit their status to their descendants, for ever. The entire population of Israel Jews and non Jews together is only 7,933,200. They are refugees because they failed to destroy Israel in 1948 and have been indoctrinated for more than 60 years that killing Jews is a religious and national duty and that after the state of Israel is eliminated as the world’s only Jewish state that they will return by right to the actual, original homes that around 650,000 of their grandparents and great grand parents left. You do the maths
In addition to that many have been denied education and job experience so even if they had peaceful intentions (which they don’t) and were prepared live as Israeli citizens (which they are not) they have nothing to contribute to the Israeli economy and will have to be supported for ever, adding to the problems.
Put it in an Australian perspective. (my interlocutor was an Aussie) Australia, far richer and larger than Israel has an estimated population of 22.5 million. It accepts perhaps 900 000 immigrants per year, most still coming from the culturally similar United Kingdom and New Zealand. None of them come with a grudge against Australia. None of them come with the intention of overthrowing the Australian system and most of them are accepted after a very strict examination to ensure that they will fit in.
The choice is a violent or at best non violent destruction of the very nature of the country and/or bankruptcy. No country in the world willingly accepts either so why demand it from Israel?
They don’t really mean it
Occasionally the argument is brought forward that Israel’s fears are baseless. The Palestinians only want the right but won’t exercise it. Never was a R.O.F.L.O.L. more justified.
For the last sixty-four years the Palestinians have been indoctrinated that they will come back; kick the Jews out and return to their original homes, the doors of which will miraculously still fit the ancient keys they took with them. Just Google Palestinian keys and you will get the idea.
Hamas has called the Right of Return a sacred right. Fatah says, Either we get the home and land peacefully, or we will make sacrifices until we return. Does it sound that either of the dominant forces among the Palestinians are bargaining?
Some of the more rational realise that their houses no longer exist but that’s even better. Millions or even billions of dollars of compensation. They demand compensation, not by the Arab states who have treated them as third-class citizens; not by their leaders, past and present and not from the Europeans and Americans who by pouring billions of dollars down the Palestinian drain have guaranteed the conflict will be intransigent.They demand it from Israel, for their own starting a genocidal war against the Jews and losing it.
One of the ironies of Right of Return is that of the almost five million registered refugees, some almost two million of them (1,895,043 from a total 4,797,723†), a smiggen under forty percent (40%) live in Gaza and the West Bank. That’s right. They live in the area that Mahmud Abbas worked so hard to gain recognition as the Palestinian State. Abbas is a case in point. Despite being the President of the Palestinian Authority; a presidential palace in Ramallah (Hamas ‘cooperation’ has made his Gaza residence currently off-limits) and an estimated personal wealth of $100 million he retains refugee status.
Following the violent coup by Hamas, life for relatively secular Gazans, both Muslims and Christians, not to mention assertive women and homosexuals, has become far less pleasant. <SARC> It is after all the most crowded place on Earth and ‘the world’s largest prison‘ . The West Bank‡ is mild by comparison, being simply ruled by klepto thugs (unless you openly support Hamas and it can be just as bad as Gaza). Who in their right mind would stay there – a refugee for ever in your own country?
Outside Gaza and the P.A. the situation is even worse. It seems to have escaped the world’s attention that a surprising number of genuine, UNHCR, move to save their lives or preserve their freedom refugees from Iraq and Syria are Palestinian. Given the choice of being abandoned in a camp on the Syrian-Jordanian border which doesn’t want to upset the delicate demographic balance between Bedouin and Palestinian, what would you choose?
If there is a real Apartheid in the Middle East it is in Lebanon. Despite sixty years of residence Palestinian refugees do not have Lebanese citizenship, are legally barred from owning property or legally barred from entering a list of desirable occupations. Employment requires a government-issued work permit, and, according to the New York Times, although “Lebanon hands out and renews hundreds of thousands of work permits every year to people from Africa, Asia and other Arab countries… until now, only a handful have been given” to Palestinians. AND THE SITUATION HAS IMPROVED FROM WHAT IT WAS TWO YEARS AGO!
The Lebanese agreed to house the Palestinians until Israel is destroyed. Forget about them chosing to exercise the Right of Return. What chance is there that Lebanon wouldn’t kick them out?
Israel may be rolling-on-the-fl00r-laughing when they hear that the Palestinian refugees might decide not to come. They would have nothing to laugh about if the Palestinians were granted the opportunity.
Chronic Kleptocracy: Corruption within the Palestinian Political Establishment, Steve Chabot, Chairman Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, 10 July, 2012
† UNWRA in figures as of 1 January 2012
‡ To keep things clear I refer to the West Bank when discussing Palestinian and Jordanian claims or quoting from documents that use that term and Judah and Samaria when referring to Jewish claims.