Friday, December 15, 2017
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Middle East Issues





What You Won’t Hear about “Nakba Day”


Friday, May 15, has been designated by Palestinian Arab leaders to mark this year's “Nakba Day,” the day they commemorate the “catastrophe” of the founding of Israel. There will be marches, rallies and demonstrations. And, there will be media coverage but it will likely not include some of the major elements in the Arab-Israeli conflict. For example...

1) Over 800,000 Jews either fled or were driven out of their homes in Arab countries during and after Israel's war for independence. This is even greater than the number of Arab refugees created by that war, which was started by Arab rejection of the 1947 UN partition plan and subsequent 1948 Arab invasion of Israel. Israel absorbed the Jews who immigrated there but the Palestinian Arab refugees  --and several generations of descendants-- have been kept in camps for decades, used by Arab leaders as a cudgel to batter Israel. (For more information, please see CAMERA's Backgrounder on Refugees.)

2) There is no such thing as a Palestinian “right of return.” Those who claim there is such a right often cite as its basis United Nations Resolution 194, passed on December 11, 1948. This is a General Assembly resolution and therefore does not carry the weight of international law. Further, the Arab states voted against 194 precisely because it did not create a “right of return” and have violated it numerous times since its passage. As CAMERA notes:

[Resolution 194] only recommends that refugees be permitted to return, it can hardly be characterized as creating a “right.” Moreover, the requirement that returnees first accept living “at peace with their neighbors” meant that Palestinian returnees would have to accept Israel's right to exist, something that very few of them, even today, seem truly willing to do. Further, it did not even hint at any return rights for descendants of refugees.

It should also be noted that (1) the resolution applies equally to Palestinian refugees from Israel and to the similar number of Jewish refugees from Arab countries who came to Israel after 1948, and (2) that it placed repatriation, resettlement, and payment of compensation on an equal footing.

(For more information, please see CAMERA's Backgrounder on the “Right of Return”.)

Most importantly, the “right of return” is a ruse to flood Israel with Palestinian Arabs and end its existence as a Jewish state.

3) To date, Palestinian Arab leaders do not accept Israel's right to exist. The terrorist group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, is sworn to the destruction of Israel and the genocide of Jews worldwide. The “Hamas Charter” declares, “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam abolishes it.”

The “moderate” Fatah movement, headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas – currently in the tenth year of his four-year presidential term – also continues to deny the very existence of the Jewish state. Last month, Fatah posted on its official Facebook page, “Palestine means the entire national land, from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea. The land is for us Palestine.” Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) has documented numerous such declarations in Fatah and PA media, schoolbooks and speeches. PMW reports:

Since May 7, 2015, all broadcasts on official PA TV have been showing a logo with the PA's representation of the map of "Palestine," which includes the PA areas, the Gaza Strip and all of Israel.

[...]

Numerous times, Palestinian Media Watch has documented the fact that the PA and Fatah present to the Palestinian public this mapthat includes all of Israel, referring to it as "Palestine" or "occupied Palestine," leaving no room for a "two-state solution" in any borders.

4) Palestinian leaders have refused multiple offers of statehood made by various Israeli leaders. These include the generous offers made by former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak at Camp David in 2000 and Taba in 2001and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's 2008 proposal. Olmert's offer, spurned by Abbas, included a territorial proposal based on the 1949 armistice lines – often incorrectly referred to as the 1967 borders – with “land swaps”, contiguity between Gaza and the West Bank, no Israeli military presence in the Jordan Valley, relinquishing Israeli sovereignty over the Temple Mount, and absorption of some Palestinian refugees. As CAMERA reports:

Why do the Palestinians refuse a negotiated peace? Because a negotiated peace means the end of the conflict, or at least promising to end the conflict and accept Israel. But the Palestinian leadership wants a state so that they can continue the conflict from a stronger position. In particular, they want a state and they want to keep pressing in every way for the "right of return" to Israel.

Israel would not agree to that in negotiations, which is why Palestinians want a state without negotiations, and without having to make any compromises.

(For more information on statehood offers, click here.)

5) The failings of Arab leadership are the major stumbling blocks to a resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict. As, Israeli Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh writes:

The Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership continues to give false hope to Palestinians regarding the "right of return" to their former villages and towns in Israel, as do the leaderships of most Arab countries.

This is what the Arab and Palestinian leaders have been doing since the establishment of Israel in 1948 -- and why millions of Palestinians continue to live in refugee camps throughout the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. Instead of helping the refugees and encouraging them to move on with their lives, Arab and Palestinian leaders continue to ask them to stay where they are because, they are told, they will return to the homes of their grandfathers and great grandfathers inside Israel.

[…]

By sponsoring, funding and encouraging Palestinians to take to the streets to "mourn" the establishment of Israel and remain committed to the "right of return," Abbas and his officials in Ramallah are not being honest with their people. They are undoubtedly afraid of telling their people that Israel would never allow millions of Palestinians into its borders. They are even more afraid of admitting to the refugees that Arab and Palestinian leaders have been lying to them since 1948 by asking them to stay in their camps because one day they will return to non-existent villages and homes.

If and when the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks ever resume, PA leaders will not be able to make any concessions on the refugee issue. They will not because they know that their people would not accept any kind of concessions on this matter. Once again, the PA leaders will have only themselves to blame for having radicalized their people over the years to a point where Palestinians consider any concessions to Israel as a "crime of high treason." This stance not only applies to the refugee issue, but also to other matters, such as the two-state-solution, the status of Jerusalem and the future borders of a Palestinian state. Neither Abbas nor any future Palestinian leader will be able to reach a compromise with Israel when the Palestinian Authority itself continues to promote such anti-Israel sentiments.

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