I would rather listen to a Hamas spokesman talk about Israel than President Obama or almost any European Union leader. This is because Obama and the Europeans insist that they are concerned with Israel’s security, and then try to force Israel to adopt policies that will wreck it. They cling to the idea that Israeli withdrawals will bring about peace, contrary to historical precedent or reasonable estimates of the intentions of Israel’s enemies. They make my head hurt.
The Hamasnik, on the other hand, does not pretend to care about Israel or Jews, except as targets, and honestly admits his intentions.
What both the Westerner and the Hamasnik don’t realize (or just don’t care about) is that while their policies haven’t resulted — yet — in the demise of the Jewish state, they have created a long and unmitigated disaster for another group that they pretend to be concerned about, the Palestinian Arabs.
The fact that the majority of the descendents of those Arabs who fled Israel in 1948 have been kept in concentration camps since then is not Israel’s fault. It is directly attributable to the inhuman plan of the Arab nations, aided and abetted by the West, who have paid for the unique institution of UNRWA, the UN agency dedicating to perpetuating the ‘refugee problem’. Since this can’t possibly help the ‘refugees’, the only reason for it is to hurt Israel.
Martin Sherman explains:
…the Palestinians are stateless because the Arabs have either stripped them of citizenship they already had, or precluded them from acquiring citizenship they desire to have.
In the “West Bank,” for example, up until 1988, all Palestinians, including the refugees, held Jordanian citizenship. This was annulled by King Hussein when he relinquished his claim to this territory. This abrupt and brusque measure was described by Anis F. Kassim, a prominent Palestinian legal expert, in the following terms: “… more than 1.5 million Palestinians went to bed on 31 July 1988 as Jordanian citizens, and woke up on 1 August 1988 as stateless persons.”
But Palestinians have also been prohibited from acquiring citizenship in their countries of residence in the Arab world, where they have lived for over half a century. The Arab League has instructed its members to deny citizenship to Palestinian Arabs resident within their frontiers, “to avoid dissolution of their identity and protect their right to return to their homeland.”
Thus Arab League spokesman Hisham Youssef conceded in an 2004 interview to the Los Angeles Times that Palestinians in the Arab world live “in very bad conditions,” but added that this official policy is meant “to preserve their Palestinian identity,” which apparently is incapable of existence without coercion. With breathtaking callousness, he went on to assert that “if every Palestinian who sought refuge in a certain country was integrated and accommodated into that country, there won’t be any reason for them to return to Palestine.” Indeed. — “Note to Newt (Part I): Uninventing Palestinians“
Everyone agrees that the conflict can’t be ended without solving the refugee problem. It should be obvious that an American/European style ‘two-state solution’, even if it explicitly calls for Arab ‘refugees’ to settle in the new state of ‘Palestine’ rather than Israel, cannot do so. Such a state would in effect be one big refugee camp, with several million Arabs that have no economic outlet seething in a pot next door to Israel, waiting for the opportunity to overrun it. A Gaza strip on steroids.
The PLO version of the ‘two-state solution’ is even worse, since it will not take in any ‘refugees’ — they can only go to Israel in the PLO plan! I’ve called this the ‘two Arab state solution’.
There is a way to solve the refugee problem, and the Isareli-Arab conflict as well. The only difficulty is that so many people are stuck on the American/European two-state non-solution, or the Arab ‘Israel gone’ solution that they won’t listen. Although this plan would provide security for Israel and a decent life for Palestinian Arabs, I expect howls of outrage from the Left and the Arab camp, since they don’t want either of the above.
Sherman spells it out with a three part plan. Abolish UNRWA, end discrimination against Palestinian Arabs in host countries (Syria, Lebanon, Jordan), and finally — the most contentious part:
While the first two elements of the proposed solution are directed toward addressing the plight of the Palestinians in the Arab world, this measure is aimed at those in Israeli-administered areas.
It involves allowing individual Palestinians free choice in charting their future and that of their families.
These efforts should focus on two elements: (a) Generous monetary compensation to effect the relocation and rehabilitation of the Palestinian Arabs residents in territories across the 1967 Green Line, presumably mostly – but not necessarily exclusively – in the Arab/Muslim countries.
(b) “Atomization” of the implementation by making the offer of compensation and relocation directly to the breadwinners and family heads, and not through any Palestinian organization that may have a vested interest in thwarting the initiative. — “Note to Newt (Part II): Rethinking Palestine“
Talk about howls of outrage, this will do it. I’m sure Sherman has already been greeted with accusations of racism, Hitlerism, genocidal intent, etc. Nevertheless, it seems to me the only one of the recent plans — the Obama plan, the Arab Initiative, etc. — that promises an actual solution.
Sherman’s articles represent a breakthrough in the direction of reason and humanity. The chance of anyone with the power to implement them taking them seriously is small.