The mantra from much of the world and most emphatically from the Western, Muslim and Arab worlds is that whatever offer Israel presents to the Palestinians, it is insufficient and thus must be rejected. Part of the Palestinian demands is for the right of return for the refugees which are still unsettled from the war lost by the Arab forces from more than six nations in an attempt to wipe Israel from existence immediately after her founding. Resulting from this war and the ensuing decade of sporadic violence against the Jewish populations across the Arab world forced almost two million total refugees from their homes, businesses, lives and history resulting in their influx to Israel. These refugees were of comparable numbers with approximately seven-hundred-thousand Arab Palestinian refugees and eight-hundred-fifty-thousand Jewish refugees from across the Arab world who were forced from their homes and dispossessed of their wealth and properties as well as the hundreds of thousands of European Jewish refugees who were survivors of World War II and all of its persecutions as well as many Jews who were rejected from their homes in a number of places throughout Europe. The basic truth is that a comparable number of Jews were forced into exile as Arabs fled or were dispossessed during the war against the founding of Israel which spanned 1948 and 1949 before a ceasefire was reached and an Armistice Line produced which has since been known as the Green Line. The difference is that the Arab refugees were forced into camps and prohibited from citizenship, right to own property, right to work in all but the most menial of professions and basically shunned socially and politically by their Arab brethren while the entirety of the Jewish refugees were accepted into Israeli society and their children and their children’s children makeup about half of the Israeli population. It also bears noting that the Arabs who chose to remain in Israel are today citizens of Israel with full rights to vote, hold office, serve as judges, physicians, lawyers, or any profession of their choice and may reside and own property same as any Israeli Jew, their lives are legally as equals.
Egyptian president General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has this past week offered Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas to cede 160 square kilometers of land in the Sinai Peninsula bordering Gaza at the Rafah junction, which is equal to five times the size of Gaza, to place the refugees and relent on the demands for right of return thus making the return to the Green Line as demarking the border with Israel acceptable. This land offered by President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi would be in addition to the lands of Gaza and Judea and Samaria (West Bank) and to be used solely for the resettlement of the refugees permitting them to begin a normal form of life. It was reported that Mahmoud Abbas refused the offer without stopping to blink his eyes. Immediately and completely out of hand Abbas refused to consider, debate or even offer some counter-proposal to President al-Sisi’s generous offer and providing a viable end to the otherwise inexorable standoff between the Palestinians and Israel. This offer had the approval and acceptance by Israel, the United States and one may assume the European Union as well if approached would have also approved. Abbas simply refused without even the hint of an explanation. So, what ever could be the reasoning which forced Abbas to once again discard and reject a generous offer which would have given the Palestinians lands almost twice that of even the most generous offer Israel could ever grant, that being a complete withdrawal to the Green Line and dividing Jerusalem.
The reason has been understood and has been stated regularly in Arabic by Abbas as well as his predecessor, Yasser Arafat. The reason was the sole and announced reason that the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) was founded upon in 1964, a full three years before the Six Day War in June of 1967 and thus before Israel controlled any lands beyond the Green Line or her borders with Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt. The PLO Charter called for the liberation of all of Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea also calling for the destruction of Israel. The Palestinian Arab refugees have been kept in refugee camps and under refugee status with their own United Nations organization, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), taking responsibility for their care and setting the rules by which somebody is to be considered a Palestinian refugee with rights to return to their homes in Israel. This places the Palestinian Arab refugees as a separate entity to the whole of humanity’s refugees who are adjudicated and cared for by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) whose mission statement demands that this agency take all measures necessary to incorporate the refugees under their care into the national population within which they are located. The UNHRC recognized only those who were displaced and realized refugee status at the time of inception and cannot be transferred to their children or their children’s children or any other relative, thus any refugee group which comes under the normal care of the United Nations can last no longer than a single generation. UNRWA has a completely different set of rules and objectives. UNRWA not only permits the passing of refugee status from one generation to the next but also includes and others who may become a member of the household such as a spouse upon marriage. When a Palestinian refugee marries, even if they wed somebody who is not only not a Palestinian refugee, and not even a Palestinian, and not even Arab but, for example, they marry a French Canadian, then that French Canadian and their immediate family are now admissible as Palestinian refugees. Between this and simple reproduction the original Palestinian Refugees now number over five-million. And even if a Palestinian Refugee or their prodigy were to leave the refugee camps and take up residence with citizenship in another country, say San Diego, California in the United States, they retain their refugee status under UNRWA as well their children and their children’s children into perpetuity. Another remarkable trait of these Palestinian refugees is that every last single one of the families left their homes which were within Israeli Green Line and none fled from Judea, Samaria or Gaza. These refugees cannot be permitted to be normalized and relieved of their refugee status in any manner except by being accepted as Israeli citizens as a part of any agreement Abbas might consider, an effect which would alter Israel into simply another Palestinian Arab state and the Jewish People would no longer have their homelands. That is the reason behind the refusal of al-Sisi’s generous and logical offer for a solution to the refugee situation. Since his offer did not include the destruction of Israel as the Jewish homelands, it was completely unacceptable as the end result of the formation of the PLO instituted in order to bring about the end of Israel and her Jews throughout its metamorphosis to Fatah, the Palestinian Authority, and now, according to Abbas, the State of Palestine. Very simple, any solution that would be acceptable to Abbas and the Palestinian leadership can be summed up as follows; To Know Israel leads to No Peace but to Know Peace only if it Produces No Israel.
The aims have not altered one iota from 1964 when the PLO first demanded the purging and purification of all of Palestine from its Jewish presence. There is no difference in the view of reaching a peace with Israel between the PLO, Fatah, Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, ISIS, IRAN, Hezballah and still much of the so-called Arab Street. And furthermore, they mostly agree with Hamas in the call for the eradication of the Jewish People wherever they may reside on the entirety of planet Earth. Where Abbas and Fatah, the PLO and, for as long as Abbas can avoid elections, the Palestinian Authority desire an Arab State in place of Israel and spanning from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea with an elected governance and a secular governance, Hamas desires the same state for the Palestinian Arab also called Palestine but under Sharia exactly the same as ISIS (now referring to themselves as IS though their claim to Caliphate is weak and debatable) and as ISIS desires spreading Sharia across the globe, so does Hamas and their ally Islamic Jihad and their parent organization, the Muslim Brotherhood. It may start with Israel and the Jews, but it will not end there and eventually Hamas, ISIS, Fatah, Boko Haram, Islamic Jihad, Hezballah, al-Nusra Front, al-Qaeda, Wahhabis, Iran, Turkey, Qatar, and numerous other terrorist entities and Arab and Muslim nations will, after eradicating the Jews of Israel, spread their hatred and Sharia into Africa, across Europe, sweeping through Southeast Asia, spreading over South America and eventually, if not sooner, into the United States and Canada. Their desire and aim is no different than any of the other forces which made their vain attempts to conquer the known world and must be prevented from attaining their goal the exact same way. The one truth that must be stressed in the hopes that it is not realized in its potentially worst case scenario, they must be met with greater strength of arms and dedicated warfare to annihilate their chance to achieve even a limited form of their goals just as every other tyrant with delusions of world conquest before them. The longer this battle is postponed, the more costly in blood and treasure the conflict demand be borne. That has been true every time in the past and will prove just as valid in the twenty-first century.
Beyond the Cusp