Cardinal Renato Martino, who heads the Vatican’s office for migrants, said an agreement to restart peace talks, reached Tuesday in Annapolis, Maryland, was encouraging and that he hoped by this time next year concrete measures would be under way.
“It is my hope that all the parts of the problem are taken into consideration such as that of the Palestinian refugees, who like all other refugees, have the right to return to their homeland,” Martino said. — Jerusalem Post
Here are seven reasons why it is not so simple, and indeed why the Palestinian demand is outrageous and unjust:
- The war which created the refugees was started by the Palestinian Arabs and their allies and was the culmination of a campaign of terrorism and pogroms against Jews in Palestine since at least the 1920’s.
- There were at most 700,000 Arab refugees (probably less). The Palestinians are demanding that almost 5 million descendants of these ‘return’ to Israel 60 years after the war (the Jewish population of Israel is about 5 million).
- During and after the War of Independence, about 850,000 Jews were expelled from or fled their homes in Arab countries, in most cases leaving all of their property behind. These Jews were absorbed by other countries, most of them going to Israel. Do not their descendants have a claim on the Arab world?
- The Arab nations hosting the Palestinian refugees refused to absorb them, and a special UN agency (UNRWA) was created just for them. The normal UN refugee agencies were not used, because they are concerned with finding homes for refugees. UNRWA’s job has been to keep them in camps and on welfare in order to nurture a hostile population to be used as a source of anti-Israel soldiers and ultimately as a demographic weapon. Some UNRWA personnel belong to terrorist organizations, such as Hamas.
- When Jordan occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1948, the areas were ethnically cleansed of Jews, who fled or were murdered. The Palestinians are demanding that all Jewish settlements be removed from what is to be their state. Yet they expect Israel to absorb an additional 5 million Arabs!
- If Israel were to agree to this, it would immediately have an Arab majority and would cease to be a state of the Jewish people. But the Palestinians insist that they must have a state because they have a right to self-determination. Apparently, they do not think that the Jewish people has this right as well.
- Practically speaking, the influx would result in immediate civil war, which would make similar wars in Lebanon and Yugoslavia look like ping-pong tournaments.
Cardinal Martino, ironically, is President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace!
He is also President of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples. One would think that he might have some understanding of the prototypical “Itinerant People”, who have finally returned home after thousands of years.