The Palestinian refugee problem is a political one.

The Palestinian refugee problem is a political one.

By Shlomo Sharan, Professor, Tel-Aviv University, And collaborators, Sept. 15, 2008

           Several different approaches were undertaken by different
nations to the problem of refugees in various countries in the Western

  In April 2004, the UN General Assembly decided that it is impossible to
implement the rights of the two hundred thousand Greeks and the fifty
thousand Turks to return to their homes in partitioned Cyprus, because “the
new reality which has been created” must be taken into consideration. This
stand of the UN is also the position of the EU. However, in Palestine their
view is totally different.
  Following World War II, 11 million Germans were expelled from
Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary and Romania and were absorbed in Germany,
with no refugee procedure. Now a few are seeking to return to their homes
in the Sudetenland, from which they were banished. They are not demanding
to dissolve the country from which they were deported; they are not
demanding to replace it; and they are not demanding monetary compensation.
They just want to go back to their lands that belonged to their families
for many generations. In August 2004, the German government determined that
there is no right of return and even no reparations. However, the attitude
of Germany towards the Palestinian refugee problem is different.
In 1968, the British Government exiled 5,000 of the Residents of the Island
of Diego Garci for the purpose of constructing an American air base. In
2003, their demand to return to their homes was rejected by the British
High Court of Justice, that ruled that the residents have neither the right
to return nor to receive compensations. Again, the Palestinian refugee case
is much easier, but the British stand toward the Palestinian refugee
problem is different.

 Readers are urged to re-examine decision 194 of the UN that deals with
reconciliation between Israel and the Arab nations. Only section 11 refers
in a general way to the return of refugees, NOT of Arab Palestinians
refugees, not of the Palestinian People, not of Palestine.
It is a fascinating docum’ent. From the point of view of the present
authors, the UN decision deals with Jewish as well as with Arab refugees. A
million Jews left Arab countries after Israel was established, and left
behind a vast amount of property of far greater value than that left in
Israel by the Arabs who elected to flee.

Every effort to achieve political compromises and arrangements with the
Arab population was rejected. Even an anti-Zionist Jewish group called
Brith-Shalom in 1930’s, which offered far-reaching concessions to the
Arabs, did not succeed in achieving an understanding with them. Moreover,
during the period of the British mandate, the Arab-Palestinian leadership,
with the encouragement of the Arab nations, was not ready for any
compromise on the issue of Jewish immigration, Jewish settlement of the
land, or in regard to various partition plans that were proposed, including
he UN Partition Plan of November 29, 1947. The day after the UN vote, the
Arab nations initiated a war against the Jewish population of Palestine to
prevent the establishment of the State of Israel on any and all territory.
After the Arabs were defeated in 1948, the frontiers of the Jewish state
were determined in negotiations with the Arab states. They appropriated the
Palestinian issue to themselves, and from that time on it was known only as
a humanitarian problem. Resolution 194 of the UN General Assembly on
November 11, 1948, refers mainly to the conciliation between Israel and the
Arab states. Only in Article 11 does it relate to the “refugee problem” in
general terms. In that docu’ment, if the term refugees mean Palestinians, it
refers to Jewish refugees from Arab states. From 1948 on, the Palestinians
had no connection with regional political reality in general. They were not
an active political player, they did not have any territorial assets, and,
as noted, their problem was defined as humanitarian. UN Resolution 242 of
November 1967 deals with the issue c of the “refugees” and not with that of
a Palestinian people. There was no mention whatsoever of a political
problem referring to an exploited and occupied people.
In the 1967 war, Israel conquered and liberated areas of mandatory
Palestine which had been occupied by Arab states. 

It is worthwhile to stress that the term “Israeli occupation” employed by
the Palestinians refers not to the 1967 occupation, but to the “occupation”
of 1948, and not to the borders of 1967 but to the 1947 borders. When Arab
terrorists murder and massacre Israelis, it is not because of the
“occupation”, and not because of the so-called settlements, but because
Israel is a Jewish Zionist nation living on what the Arabs consider to be
their land. The occupied territories have no relevance to the resolution of
the war between the Jews of Israel and the Arab Palestinians. It is just
another problem in a large set of complex issues which first and foremost
must focus on the recognition of Israel as a Jewish nation.

The Palestinian National Covenant

The official Palestinian attitude toward Israel and the concept of
“occupation” is expressed clearly ” in the Palestinian National Covenant
that states as follows:
Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine. Thus it is the
overall strategy, not merely a tactical phase. The Palestinians assert
their absolute determination and firm resolution to continue their armed
struggle for the total liberation of Palestine (Article 9). The liberation
of Palestine means to repel the Zionist and imperialist aggression, and
aims at the elimination of Zionism from Palestine in its entirety (Article
15). The partition of Palestine in 1947 and the establishment of the state
of Israel in 1948 are entirely illegal (Article 19). The Balfour
Declaration [1917], the Mandate for Palestine [1919], and everything that
has been based upon them, are deemed null and void. Claims of historical or
religious ties of the Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts
of history. Judaism, being only a religion, is not an independent
nationality. Nor do Jews constitute a single nation with an identity of its
own. They are only citizens of the states to which they belong (Article
20). The Palestinian people, expressing himself by the armed revolution,
reject all solutions which are substitutes for the total liberation of
Palestine (Article 21). The liberation of Palestine will destroy the
Zionist presence and will contribute to the establishment of peace (Article
This Charter shall not be amended save by [vote of] a majority of
two-thirds of the total membership of the National assembly of the PLO
[taken] at a special session convened for that purpose (Article 33).

The charter of Hamas includes the following:

Israel will exist until Islam will obliterate it… [Hamas] strives to
raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine (Article 6). The
Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the links in the chain of the
struggle against the Zionist invaders. It goes back to 1930’s, and it
includes the struggle of the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1948 war and all
Jihad operations… The Day of Judgment will not come about until Muslims
fight the and kill the Jews, and when the Jew will hide behind stones and
trees, the stones and trees will say O Muslims, O the servants of Allah,
there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him (Article 7). The land of
Palestine is an Islamic Waqf (endowment) until Judgment Day. It, or any
part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be
given up. Neither a single Arab country nor all Arab countries, neither any
king or president, nor all the kings and presidents, neither any
organization nor all of them, be they Palestinian or Arab, possess the
right to deny that. Palestine in its entirety belongs only to the
Palestinians. This is the law governing the Islamic Shari’ah (article 11).
Nothing is more significant or deeper than Jihad against the Zionist enemy.
Resisting and quelling the enemy become the individual duty of every
Muslim, male or female. Abusing any part of Palestine is tantamount to
abuse part of the religion [which means death]. There is no solution for
the Palestinian question except through Jihad to eliminate the Zionist
invasion. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a
waste of time and vain endeavors (Article 13). It is the utmost necessary
to instill the spirit of jihad in the heart of the Muslim nation (Article
15)… jihad is the path, and death for the sake of Allah is the loftiest
of all wishes…

     The above docu’ments do not mention any occupation of 1967 or its
borders, nor does it refer to peace with Israel, whatever may be the
borders. The town of Sderot is not in the 1967 occupied territories, nor
the town of Ashkelon or all the villages and Kibbutzim around Gaza. Yet
they are shelled and bombed on a daily basis. Kiryat Shmonah and all of
northern Israel are not in the 1967 occupied territories, but they have
been bombed and shot at for years. If the problem with the Arabs is the
1967 borders, why do they continue bombing Israeli cities, terrorize,
shell, send homicide bombers against Israeli citizens and dig tunnels into
Israel inside the 1948 borders?


Source: IAM[id]=7825&cookie_lang=en&the_session_id=be849d06762f616996285fa72b2eb0d5

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