One of the rallying cries of the Pro-Palestinian Groups, primarily those from Europe and North America, blame Israel for keeping the Palestinian refugees in camps, living under horrid conditions of inhumane squalor, denied any rights or citizenship, denied from employment except for the most menial and degrading of jobs, in a virtual prison with only the barest of the essentials for life. The manner in which the refugees’ lives are described is designed to lead the unknowing to picture the camps as anything from tents pitched in mud to barracks with multiple families forced together sharing a Spartan existence with little if any privacy. The truth about the refugee camps is they resemble the style of the government housing projects that were erected in numerous American cities. These buildings are apartment buildings with electricity, running water, individual apartments for each family, and all the conveniences one would find or expect of lower priced apartments in the United States. The claims of the refugees being denied any rights or citizenship, denied from employment except for the most menial and degrading of jobs and being prevented free access to come and go as they please are true in varying degrees depending on which refugee camp these Palestinians were placed and in which country the camp is located.
Here is a shocking truth. Absolutely no Palestinian refugee camps exist anywhere in lands under Israeli governance and control. The nearest of these camps to Israel are the ones in Gaza under the control of Hamas and those in the West Bank under Palestinian Authority control. The rest of these camps are found in Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria. The rationale behind keeping the Palestinian refugees basically imprisoned in these camps is to enable them to be ready and available to return to Palestine, or Israel inside the Green Line, at a moment’s notice. The reason for denying them decent employment and citizenship is that should they be allowed such things they would become attached to these conditions and thus possibly decide to remain in the country rather than returning to reclaim all the lands of Palestine, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Another way of describing the Palestinian refugee’s situation is they are being denied any semblance of a normal life by their fellow Arabs in whose nations they have resided for over sixty years simply to be used to subvert and destroy Israel at some future date should the rest of the world willingly comply.
Another item that needs to be addressed is how the approximately 600,000 original Arab refugees became more than 5,000,000 claiming the Right of Return into Israel. This was accomplished with the full knowledge and cooperation of the United Nations who allowed the formation of a separate organization, United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNWRA), to form unique rules that are completely different than those used by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for all other refugees to now or ever been under United Nation’s administration. Where in every other case where refugees needed to be addressed, the definition of a refugee was the actual persons who had become relocated and or dispossessed, but for the Palestinian refugees that definition would not serve the purpose of a continuous, everlasting, and growing condition with which to attack and assail Israel, her people, her legitimacy, and be used as a permanently impending demographic threat ready to change the makeup of Israel from a Jewish State into a Muslim State by their inclusion in a future election. If the Palestinian refugee situation had been treated as has been every other similar situation, the first difference would be that their numbers would today be less than 100,000, probably even less than 50,000. Secondly, instead of being relegated to refugee camps and imprisoned within them, the Palestinian refugees would have been absorbed by the nations where they had fled. This is exactly what happened to the Jewish refugees who were expelled from numerous Arab countries in 1948. These Jewish refugees were absorbed predominantly by Israel, followed by the United States and several countries in Europe and even India. The approximately 875,000 Jews who were dispossessed of their land, property, and wealth then exiled were not placed into refugee camps and kept there for generations to grow in numbers while kept in poverty and neglected by their own people on the mistaken dream they would someday return to their former homes throughout the Muslim world, they were welcomed and made part of the society where they made new homes and new lives.
Today’s Palestinian refugee population is made up largely of the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of the original refugees and includes the few remaining original refugees who were most likely small children in 1948. By ostracizing these refugees for multiple generations, their host countries have denied these people of respect and opportunity while denying their own society of the contributions these refugees may have contributed given the chance. Rather than helping their fellow Palestinian Arabs, most of which originally migrated from the very countries where they are now ostracized, Syria (which originally included the areas of Lebanon and Jordan), Egypt, Iraq, Turkey, the Balkans, and throughout the Muslim world, they have kept them separate, denying them even the most basic rights, simply to use them as a tool of their hatred of Israel and the Jewish peoples. During this same period, the Sephardic Jews who had remained living in Eretz Yisroel continuously since their return after the exodus from Egypt have taken in Jewish refugees and made a homeland and a country with the mutual efforts of those Sabra and those who made Aliyah. These include the survivors of the Shoah, the refugees from the Arab purges of their Jews, the Soviet influx, and numerous Jews from many places where they no longer felt welcome, and those Jews simply returning home from the Diaspora. They showed how taking all these different parts of the Jewish people one could make a home and a whole that exceeded the individual elements.
Today, keeping the descendants of the original refugees from the 1948 War in camps in their respective Arab countries, they are needlessly denying them any semblance of a normal life. They deny the refugees descendants’ humanity by relegating them to be used as a tool of hatred and spite. They teach these unfortunate people who are needlessly being defined as refugees from a land they have never known nor resided within to hate and despise wishing to murder a people they have never met. They are told that these people in another country are the sole reason that these victims must be herded like cattle and treated even worse despite the fact that the troops from the country in which their camp is located guard the fence and the gates in order to keep them separated. They teach that Israel is responsible for their plight yet are never told that had these countries agreed to sign a peace agreement in 1949, these peoples forefathers would have been accepted back in Israel and welcomed. They hide from the descendants of the original refugees that it is the denial that Israel has a right to exist or that Jews may be something other than Dhimmis and the necessity to have a sympathy getting argument against the Jewish State that has them relegated to being kept cut off from the society around them, a society whose views and customs these refugees share. They are told that a great Nachba, catastrophe, that is responsible for their situation. Never mind that Nachba has nothing to do with 1948, the defeat of six Arab armies (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt) by a bunch of virtually untrained Jews with inferior numbers, weapons, and virtually without any armor, aircraft, or heavy weapons. Don’t tell them that Yasser Arafat stole the term Nachba from its original meaning which referred to the division of Greater Syria by France and England and the closure of the border that cut off those Syrian Arabs living in the British Mandate from going to Damascus. Never mind the term Nachba originated in the early 1920’s, a quarter century before there was to be a Jewish State called Israel. Just tell them the same lie that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Mohammad Amin al-Husayni told their ancestors that as soon as the Jews have all been killed and the remainder driven into the Mediterranean Sea to drown, then they can return home and take everything that used to belong to the Jews. Tell them whatever lie is necessary instead of taking in your brothers and sisters and treating them as equal and decent human beings. That is what the Jews did to build their country and make a future that is brighter for all. But, since the Jews did this, we cannot expect the same from the keepers of the refugees’ descendants.
Beyond the Cusp