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When President Bush hosted the Annapolis Conference in 2007, Israel, the Palestinians, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice left hoping that some resolution to the decades-old conflict would reveal itself by the end of 2008. The likelihood of such an outcome by the end of Bush’s presidency seems to be steadily evaporating, as Israel’s prime minister exits office in disgrace and Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, though softening his rhetoric, is still adamant that “Palestinian refugees must have the right to return to their homeland” (as he recently asserted in his meeting with Hosni Mubarak of Egypt) and that “Jerusalem and the right of return are inalienable Palestinian rights, too.”
For their part, Hamas leaders (Abbas’s political foes) are even more direct and stringent on the issue, contending that any negotiations “which disregards the basic rights of the Palestinians, and their internationally-guaranteed Right of Return will not be accepted by the Palestinian people.”
All sentient observers of the Palestinian issue know that “right of return” is a core tactic in rendering any viable Arab/Israeli solution effectively impossible — that the prospect of some four or five million Palestinian refuges flooding into Israel would, as University of Haifa professor Steven Plaut puts it, “derail Israel demographically and turn it into the Rwanda of the Levant.”
The demand for a right of return — a notion referred to by Abbas and his Palestinian supporters as “sacred” and an “enshrined” universal human right granted by UN resolutions and international law — in fact has no legal or diplomatic standing, and is part of the propaganda campaign based on the thinking that if Israel cannot be eradicated by the Arabs though war, it can be destroyed by being forced to commit demographic suicide.
In the first place, the concept of the right of return has at its core the notion that the Palestinians were “victimized” by the creation of Israel; that they were expelled from a land of “Palestine” where they were the indigenous people “from time immemorial,” as historian Joan Peters put it in her book of the same name.
The recounting of this wistful reading of history has enabled the Palestinian cause to become the obsession of Western leftists, Middle East Study Centers on university campuses, the United Nations, and throughout the Arab world where Jew-hatred helps fuel a central, persistent myth of Zionist oppression of Muslims.
More important, far from being either a “sacred” or, for that matter, legal right, the right of return is a one-sided concoction that deliberately misreads UN resolutions for political advantage and conveniently embraces only those portions that fit the intent of Arabs to make good on their long-standing intent to “drive Israel into the sea.”
In continually repeating the lie that they are victims of the “Zionist regime” and were expelled from a country of their own and condemned to unending refugee status, the Palestinians — and their Arab enablers — have prolonged the myth of victimhood.
But as Professor Efraim Karsh, head of Mediterranean Studies at King’s College at the University of London and the author of Fabricating Israeli History: The New Historians, points out, the “claim of premeditated dispossession is itself not only baseless, but the inverse of the truth. Far from being the hapless victims of a predatory Zionist assault, the Palestinians were themselves the aggressors in the 1948-49 war, and it was they who attempted, albeit unsuccessfully, to ‘cleanse’ a neighboring ethnic community. Had the Palestinians and the Arab world accepted the United Nations resolution of November 29, 1947, calling for the establishment of two states in Palestine, and not sought to subvert it by force of arms, there would have been no refugee problem in the first place.”
Thus, the accusations that the creation of the State of Israel led to the eradication and dispossession of a Palestinian “nation” and that Israel continues to obstruct and deny the Palestinians’ right to self-determination are spurious at best. Robert Spencer, a scholar of Islamic history, notes that before the 1967 war when Israel took control of Gaza and the West Bank, no one — including the Palestinians themselves — thought of the Palestinians as a nation; this “supposed national identity was invented in the 1960s in what turned about to be an extraordinarily successful ploy to adjust the paradigm of the Arab-Israeli conflict with the newly-minted Palestinians as the underdogs.”
About the Author: Richard L. Cravatts, Ph.D., author of “Genocidal Liberalism: The University’s Jihad Against Israel & Jews,” is president of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East.
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Wye would be seen to have set the groundwork for the creation of a Palestinian state
Blaming Israel for the violence in Gaza, he ends up justifying Hamas’s terrorism.
In the Thirties it was common for anti-Semites to call on Jews to “go to Palestine!”
“This arbitrary ban is an ugly stain on our democracy, and it also undermines the rule of law.”
We take US “aid” for psychological reasons-if we have an allowance, that means we have a father.
ZIM Piraeus isn’t Israeli-owned or flagged, incidentally, it is Greek operated.
Foolish me, thinking the goals were the destruction of Hamas thereby giving peace a real chance.
The free-spirted lifestyle didn’t hold your interest; the needs of your people did.
And why would the U.S. align itself on these issues with Turkey and Qatar, longtime advocates of Hamas’s interests?
Several years ago the city concluded that the metzitzah b’peh procedure created unacceptable risks for newborns in terms of the transmission of neo-natal herpes through contact with a mohel carrying the herpes virus.
The world wars caused unimaginable anguish for the Jews but God also scripted a great glory for our people.
We were quite disappointed with many of the points the secretary-general offered in response.
Judging by history, every time Hamas rebuilds their infrastructure, they are stronger than before.
The multiculturalism that animates the hate-Israel crowd is sprinkled with code words of oppression
The cynical, and historically and factually inaccurate, view has meant leftists frequently denounce Western democracies as imperialistic, racist, militaristic oppressors.
What was unique about the MLA’s and the ASA’s approach was the breathtakingly Orwellian notion that not only was Israel itself guilty of the many alleged transgressions assigned to it by its libelers, but a boycott against Israeli academics was warranted because the academic establishment itself is complicit in Zionism’s excesses and a core element of the bemoaned occupation, oppression, and denial of Palestinian self-determination.
The ASA has obviously overlooked the pathology of Palestinian society.
The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI), which represents some 14,500 members, voted in early April “to cease all cultural and academic collaboration with Israel, including the exchange of scientists, students and academic personalities, as well as cooperation in research programmes [sic].”
As an example of what the insightful commentator Melanie Phillips referred to as a “dialogue of the demented” in her book The World Turned Upside Down, Northeastern University’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), paralleling the moral incoherence of anti-Israel activists demonstrating elsewhere in American and European cities, sponsored a November 15 Boston rally in support of Gaza and, presumably, its genocidal thugocracy, Hamas.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas recently continued a long tradition of attempting to question a Jewish link to Jerusalem by expressing his mendacious notion that “Jerusalem’s identity is Arab, and the city’s and Christian holy sites must be protected from Israeli threats.”
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