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The ‘March of Return’ at the Gaza border

For seventy years, Arab leaders have been carrying on with the lie that Palestinian refugees and their many descendants will one day “return” to Israel which they insist on calling Palestine.

For seventy years, the world has been assisting with that lie. By funding the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) whose job it is to ensure that the “refugees” maintain that status indefinitely. By refusing to ever speak about the Jewish refugees from Arab lands. And by refusing to bluntly state that the “return” will never happen because Israel, the Jewish state, will never commit suicide by giving away its Jewish majority.

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The Jewish refugees, whose count was approximately equal to those who can legitimately be called Palestinian refugees (i.e., without counting their descendants) have long been absorbed by Israel. It is therefore the duty of the Arab world to absorb the Palestinian refugees.

World leaders, however, do not have the courage to tell the Palestinians the truth. They’d rather avoid the issue by funding the UNRWA and pretending that somehow the issue will resolve itself.

But right now, at the Israeli border with Gaza, we see the consequence of that appeasement. We see that Hamas is able to convince or coerce thousands of Palestinians to march towards the border in an attempt to “return” to “Palestine”, and we see that Israel has no choice but to prevent them from crossing the border, resulting in a growing number of deaths and injuries.

These Palestinian deaths and injuries are the responsibility of Hamas that is cynically leading its own people to their deaths in an attempt to gain media sympathy, but they are also the responsibility of every world leader who has appeased the Arab leaders and refused to state the facts as they are. It is time they understood that there is a cost to that lie, and that the cost is counted in Arab lives.

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Fred Maroun is a Canadian of Arab origin who lived in Lebanon until 1984, including during 10 years of civil war. Fred supports Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, and he supports a liberal and democratic Middle East where all religions and nationalities, including Palestinians, can co-exist in peace with each other and with Israel, and where human rights are respected.