By 1950 there were nearly a million UN-registered Palestinian refugeesfrom the Nakba. Another quarter million were expelled in 1967 by Israel's attacks on three neighbors falsely justified as pre-emptively defensive (as admitted by Menachim Begin in 1982), and perhaps another half-million have been dispossessed by Israel's subsequent destruction of some 25,000 Palestinian homes which often housed multiple families and multiple generations.
With their descendants, this registered refugee population now exceeds four million, and the conflict between their rights and Israel’s fear provides a substantial obstacle to resolution of their impasse. Palestine is their homeland, which threatens Israel’s ability to call itself a "Jewish" homeland and retain its discriminatory laws and Jewish privileges without sacrificing its pretensions of democracy.
This represents yet another in a long succession of distortions, rationalizations and outright lies designed to avoid the "demographic threat" of an Arab majority between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean. Here are some of the oft-recited others:
(1) There was no such place as Palestine.
(2) There was never a Palestinian people.
(3) The Arabs voluntarily abandoned their properties.
(4) The Arabs were told by their leaders to flee.
(5) The Arabs attacked the new state, lost the war, and to the victor go the spoils.
(6) Arabs hate Jews and refuse to accept a Jewish homeland.
(7) The Arabs and Jews have been fighting for centuries, so it’s just an ancient religious conflict.
(8) God gave the land to the Jews.
(9) The UN gave the land to the Jews.
(10) It’s the Arabs’ fault for rejecting the UN partition plan.
(11) It’s the other Arabs’ fault for not absorbing all the refugees.
(12) The Arabs have lots of land and Israel is very small.
These evasions of truth, responsibility and international justice are now supplemented with the assertion that justice has already been satisfied: it was just a fair trade of populations.
Actually, however, the emigration of Misrahi Jews from Arab lands was almost entirely voluntary in response to Israeli recruitment, a central Zionist objective in establishing the new Jewish state. The Palestinians were driven into UNRWA refugee camps while their stolen properties were given to these aggressively recruited emigres. In addition to generous incentives, the recruitment was facilitated by false flag Mossad attacks in Baghdad and Cairo to stampede Jews into fleeing, as revealed by the diaries of Moshe Sharett, Israel’s first foreign minister and second prime minister. And most "ingathering" of Jewish emigrants was not in 1947-49, but took place over the next 20 years in response to the call of Zionism.
Some Jews were expelled due to Arab panic and sudden distrust of their long-time Jewish neighbors evoked by the Zionist ethnic cleansing of Palestine, well-documented by Israel's own historians including Avi Shlaim and Ilan Pappe. Some were expelled from Egypt when invaded by Israel in 1956. Those who were expelled have expressed resentment of Israel's claim, pointing out that it is they, not Israel, who are entitled to compensation, that their rights cannot be exchanged for the similar rights of others, and in the case of Iraqi Jews, that Prime Minister Ben-Gurion reportedly cut a deal with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri as-Said to allow Iraq to keep the property of Iraqi Jews sent to Israel, encouraged by false flag Mossad attacks on Iraqi synagogues.
But most important, Jews have not been denied their rights to return to their homes and countries of origin. The governments of Morocco, Egypt, Iraq and Yemen have always invited their former Jewish citizens to return, and some have even done so proactively. In 1975 Iraq ran advertisements in the New York Times, Toronto Star and Le Monde inviting their 140,000 Iraqi-born Jewish emigres to return, and in 1977 Egyptian President Sadat extended the same invitation to Egyptian Jews. (The beautiful Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue in Alexandria, Egypt is shown above left.)
If some Jews were unjustly expelled and deprived of their property they are certainly entitled to return and/or compensation under international law, but this does not in any way negate or "cancel out" the same right of return and/or compensation for Palestinians. Jews expelled with land claims have always been free to register these with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. But how many have needed to do so if provided the properties of dispossessed Palestinians or state-subsidized housing on illegally occupied Palestinian lands?
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