I have not read the memoirs that you mention, though every now and
then I have come across statements that attempt to put some of the
blame of the origins of the refugee problem on Arabs as well. I am as
yet to come across a reputable source for such an allegation, though I
imagine Khaled al-Azm would be one. Could you please let me know what
his memoirs were called?
However, the above notwithstanding, I am still uncomfortable by a
statement as sweeping as "there are very few real refugees." I would
ask if you have even traveled to some of those desperate refugee camps
where the displaced are well into the next generation. Should you ever
get the opportunity to, please do speak to the inhabitants. I promise
you there is no way their stories will not move you. These are people
not speaking with an ostensible political agenda, just a purely
humanitarian one. Their stories of being displaced by the Zionists are
almost identical, and I see no reason to disbelieve them.
I remember watching a particularly moving documentary on BBC World
some years ago where they traced the story of a Palestinian family
that were thrown out of their homes in the middle of the night in 1967
(I think, but am not sure of the year). Settling in Iran, their story
said nothing of fellow Arabs luring them away, simply the rude
awakening to Israeli's evacuating their entire village. Yes, just one
account, but I trust the BBC's research and authenticity, and they
claimed they were many others.
But rather than turn to such flimsy evidence, let us seek advice from
some of the early champions of Eretz Israel-
Lord Balfour (of the Balfour Declaration): "The four Great Powers are
committed to Zionism. And Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad,
is rooted in age-long traditions, in present needs, in future hopes,
of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the
700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land."
Theodor Herzl (writing in his diaries on June 12, 1895): "When we
occupy the land, we shall bring immediate benefits to the state that
receives us. We must expropriate gently, the private property on the
estates assigned to us. We shall try to spirit the penniless
population across the border by procuring employment for it in the
transit countries while denying it any employment in our own country."
"The property-owners will come over to our side. Both the process of
expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out
discreetly and circumspectly. Let the owners of immovable property
believe that they are cheating us, selling us things for more than
they are worth. But we are not going to sell them anything back."
Nachman Syrkin (writing in 1898): "In places of mixed settlement,
there will be a peaceful population migration...Palestine, which is
very sparsely inhabited, and where the Jews, even today, comprise ten
percent of the population, must be vacated for the Jews."
Menachem Ussishkin (head of the Jewish National Fund): "We must
continually proclaim our demand that our land be returned to our
possession. If the land is empty of inhabitants--good! If, however,
there are other inhabitants there, they must be transferred to some
other place, but we must receive the land! We have an ideal greater
and more elevated than standing guard over hundreds of thousands of
David Ben-Gurion (writing in his diary about the Peel Commission
transfer proposal): "We should not assume that it is definitely
impossible. If it were put into effect, it would be of tremendous
advantage to us...For every transferred Arabs, one could settle four
Jews on the land."
Henry Morgenthau, Roosevelt's Secretary of the Treasury, writing in
his diary in 1942 of a conversation with FDR in which the President
said: "I actually would put a barbed wire around Palestine, and I
would begin to move the Arabs out of Palestine....I would provide land
for the Arabs in some other part of the Middle East....Each time we
move out an Arab we would bring in another Jewish family...."
Vladimir Jabotinsky, (in 1923): "[It is the] iron law of every
colonizing movement, a law which knows of no exceptions, a law which
existed in all times and under all circumstances. If you wish to
colonize a land in which people are already living, you must provide a
garrison on your behalf. Or elseor else, give up your colonization,
for without an armed force which will render physically impossible any
attempts to destroy or prevent this colonization, colonization is
impossible, not "difficult," not "dangerous" but impossible!...
Zionism is a colonizing adventure and therefore it stands or falls by
the question of armed force. It is important to build, it is important
to speak Hebrew, but, unfortunately, it is even more important to be
able to shootor else I am through with playing at colonization."
And so on...
Going back to Charles' statement about whether the 600,000 Jews
displaced from Arab countries have a right to return, I provide the
following excerpt from The Link newsletter. John F Mahoney writes:
"In his presentation, Fayez Sayegh documented the discrimination
against those Palestinians in pre-1967 Israel where, unlike in the
United States, a distinction is made between citizenship and
nationality. In Israel, Palestinians are identified as having Israeli
citizenship and Arab nationality; Jews, on the other hand are
identified as having Israeli citizenship and Jewish nationality. As
Israeli citizens Palestinians, like Jews, can vote and run for the
Knesset or Parliament, although, unlike Jews, they cannot form any
independent organization to work for their rights. As Arab nationals,
however, Palestiniansas all non-Jews are denied basic rights enjoyed
by Jewish nationals. Here, again, Sayegh stressed that Jewishness in
context does not signify a religious attribute, but a biological one,
and he cited a March 10, 1970 law enacted by Israel's Knesset which
determined that a Jew was one born of a Jewish mother or a convert.
Commenting on this definition Israeli Supreme Court Justice Haim Cohen
was quoted in the Times of London, on July 25, 1963, as noting how
ironic it was "that the same biological or racist approach which was
propagated by the Nazis and characterized the infamous Nuremberg laws
should, because of an allegedly sacrosanct Jewish tradition, become
the basis for the official determination or rejection of Jewishness in
the state of Israel. "One such basic right given to Jewish nationals
and denied to Arab nationals is the Right of Return. In 1950, Israel
enacted the Law of Return by which Jews anywhere in the world, by
virtue of their Jewish nationality, that is, by virtue of being born
of a Jewish mother, have a "right" to immigrate to Israel on the
grounds that they are returning to their own state, even if they have
never been there before. Conversely, non-Jewish Palestinians,
dislodged from their homeland in 1948 and 1967, have no such right
because they are not Jewish. To spell this out more clearly, in 1952
Israel enacted the Citizenship/Jewish Nationality Law, granting every
Jew in the world, and only Jews, the status both of Israeli
citizenship and Jewish nationality as soon as they step foot on
Israeli soil. Sayegh points out that, were the situation reversed,
were, for example, those born of a Christian mother in the United
States entitled by law to rights that were denied Jews, such a law
would be decried, rightly, as anti-Semitic and "racist." Why, then, he
asked, is not the same practice, when perpetrated by Jews against
non-Jews not condemned as racist and a form of racial discrimination?
Another example cited by Sayegh was the Agricultural Settlement Law of
1967, which banned Israeli citizens of non-Jewish nationality, i.e.,
Palestinian Arabs, from working on Jewish National Fund lands, i.e.,
on well over 80 percent of the land in Israel. This law prohibits the
sale of state-owned land to non-Jews, the leasing of stateowned land
to non-Jews, even the employment of non- Jews on state-owned land.
Again, were the situation reversed, were Jews in the United States
prohibited by law from owning, leasing, or working on state-owned
land, this would instantly be condemned as racist. Sayegh also pointed
out that legal discrimination against non-Jewish nationals, that is,
Palestinian Arabs, affected the most vital aspects of their daily
life. This is because many state benefits, such as educational
allowances, housing and welfare grants, and job entitlements, are all
tied to military service. All Jewish nationalseven the relatively
small number of Jewish nationals who are exempt from military
serviceare eligible for these benefits; non-Jewish nationals, with
minor exceptions, are not. Again, were the situation reversed and Jews
were de facto barred from essential state subsidies, this would
rightly be condemned as anti-Semitism and overt racial
Post by Joel A. Brodsky
There are very few real refugees from palestine. You can start by reading
the memoirs of Khaled al-Azm, the prime minister of
about "the call by the Arab Governments to the inhabitants of Palestine to
evacuate it and leave for the bordering Arab countries, after having sown
terror among them." He added that "since 1948 we have been demanding the
return of the refugees to their homes. But we ourselves are the ones who
encouraged them to leave." So much for Israel being completely on the hook
for the Palestinian refugee crisis.
Post by Bolbo Na
Charles, correct me if I am wrong but I think I detect a slight
beligerence in your words. Please believe me when I say that I am not
trying to pick a fight, nor am I trying to stoke the already hot fires
around this entire issue. I am just trying to lay out the issues and
facts in black and white as I understand them.
Let me start off by saying you are correct that no SC Resolution
mentions the term 'right of return.' The GA Resolution 194 called for
the refugees to be allowed to return. The commonest retort to this is
that GA Resolutions are not binding- while this is true, it must also
be remembered that in 1948 (when the Resolution was passed) the UN was
a fledgling newly formed institution that now admits had no idea how
to go about approaching the prooblem. GA Resolutions were considered
of pursuasive authority (much like Privy Council decisions in UK Law),
and as such the international community considered Res 194 to be a
just and sufficient basis to persuade Israel to allow a right of
return. Admittedly, this is open to interpretation, and cannot be
conclusively proved either way.
However, of undoubted binding force is SC Resolution 237, which calls
on Israel to allow the 1967 refugees to return to their homes. Clearly
Israel is in violation of this.
Regarding your understanding of 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, I think
you might find your interpretation to be misguided. Having studied Law
at University (not that that gives me an upper hand in this general
discussion- rather allows me to speak on International Law with a
certain degree of assurance), I can reasonably assure you that
allowing and facilitating the transfer of settlers by the Israeli
government almost certainly falls within the confines of "transfer
part of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies."
That quotation in no way implies that the transfer must be forced on
the settlers, and as such facilitating transfers to and from
territories that are under Israeli Govt. control is a breach of this
provision. Should you disagree with me, may I refer you to SC
Resolution 446 which clearly states the illegality of the settlements
and asks Israel to abide by the Geneva Convention.
Incidentally, this same resolution also dileneates Israeli aspersions
towards Jerusalem to also be improper.
Re the 600,000 Jews that you say were expelled by Arabs (I must admit
my knowledge of this history is sketchy at best), I do think they
should be allowed to return.
(Slightly besides the point, I have always wondered how people can
uphold the right of the Jews to return to Palestine based on a
2000-odd year old claim, but deny a 50 year old Palestinian claim!)
You mention the ambiguity of Israel being a legal occupying power
because the Jordanian annexation was 'unrecognised by most of the
world'. May we extend your respect and import of international opinion
to recognition of the right to return, since 'international opinion'
(as embodied by GA Resolution 194) states the latters illegality and
unacceptability? Surely if international opinion legalises Israeli
'occupation,' then it should 'illegalise' a denial of the right to
Extending the point of Israel's occupation viz-a-viz Palestine's
supposed lack of legal status, please note the Advisory Opinion
regarding the status of South-West Africa by the International Court
of Justice. The ICJ held that Article 22 of the Covenant of the League
of Nations did in fact not transfer sovereignty of the mandated
territory to the Mandatory power (in our case Palestine and Great
Britain respectively). "The terms of this Mandate, as well as the
provisions of Article 22 of the Covenant and the principles embodied
therein, show that the creation of this new international institution
[the Mandate] did not involve any cession of territory or transfer of
sovereignty to the Union of South Africa. The Union Government was to
exercise an international function of administration on behalf of the
League, with the object of promoting the well-being and development of
the inhabitants." Thus the legitimacy of a claim to a (at-least)
semi-sovereign Palestine is bolstered. Particularly in light of this
decision it becomes difficult to sustain any argument that purports to
extert a claim of an independant functioning Israeli government's
superiorty over an Arab or Palestinian one.
To anyone else that might be reading this discussion, could I please
invite comments and criticism (preferably constructive and civil!) on
Over to you Charles.
Post by Charles Farley Post by Bolbo Na
Charles, The resolutions regarding the right of return
Which UNSC resolution refers to a "right of return"?? Cite the
number and excerpt the relevant text.
And regarding the 600,000 Jews who were expelled by Arab
countries -- do they, and all their descendants, have a "right
of return" as well?
Post by Bolbo Na
Jerusalem and the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza strip are
being violated by Israel today.
How so? Cite the Security Council resolution, and excerpt
the relevant text.
Post by Bolbo Na
Also, of more than just ancilliary interest is the fact that
every single settlement is in breach of international law (Article
49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention).
Article 49 states that an occupying military power "shall not deport
or transfer part of its own civilian population into the territory it
occupies." Israel has "deported" or "transferred" no one to the
settlements, whose inhabitants are there of their own free will.
Also, it is unclear that Israel was ever, legally, an "occupying
power" since in 1967 the Jordanian annexation of the West Bank was
unrecognized by most of the world. The territory in effect belonged
to no government. As the sole sovereign state to have emerged from
the British Mandate, Israel had not only the right -- but the duty --
to act as the West Bank's civil administrator pending determination of
the area's status.