Arab and Muslim states, or governments, although they now ask Israel to surrender still more, created the so-called “Palestinian refugee” problem. These were not classic refugees, hounded out, but rather people who left a war zone, for an Arab assault was anticipated even in 1947. They were confident that they would soon be returning. The evidence for this, written and spoken, is overwhelming. However, very few people bother to consult that evidence. Or if they do, they dismiss it with hardly a moment’s thought, since it does not correspond to their own deeply imbedded misinformation. An army of Arab propagandists, speaking both directly and through their willing Western megaphones (such as Jimmy Carter, morally the worst of our presidents), have fed them that misinformation for decades now.
One of the staples of modern journalism is the “Arab” or, in a little nunc-pro-tunc updating, the “Palestinian” family that “returns” to Jaffa or Jerusalem to stare wistfully at their old house. I remember one case a few years ago where someone came to “stare” at his “old house” and it turned out that the “old house” had been built long after 1948, and on an empty plot.
Why is it, do you think, that you never have stories showing Jews who fled Syria, or Iraq, or Morocco, or Yemen, under threat of pogrom replacing the usual insecurity and daily humiliations of life as a Jew in a Muslim Arab land, visiting their “old houses”? After all, Baghdad early in the 20th century was the second Jewish city in Asia (after Jerusalem). What happened to all those “houses”? No, the Jews do not make a fuss, do not demand compensation, do not make their huge losses a source of constant, obsessive media attention and U.N. focus. In Israel they integrated the Jewish refugees from Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Morocco, Libya, Egypt, and later from Iran, not to mention those who came from non-Arab and non-Muslim lands lands such as Ethiopia and Russia.
A Saudi columnist’s recent recognition that the so-called Arab refugees ought, more than 55 years after they left, be integrated into the Arab countries, is welcome — but it is 55 years late. And if it is being suggested as part of a campaign to force Israel, in turn, to surrender still more of the territory to which it is entitled, both under the specific terms of the Palestine Mandate and under all the rules that have governed the aftermath of wars (as a thousand examples in the past century demonstrate — start with Austria’s Sudtirol becoming Italy’s Alto Adige), then it is to be treated warily.
For the last forty years, all over the world, the Arab and Muslim propaganda machine has run circles around the naive Israelis, who seem incapable of understanding the nature of the enemy they face. Or perhaps they are unable for reasons of realpolitik to describe accurately that enemy, or even fear that doing so might damage morale: no one likes to be told that the threat to his nation is a permanent one, prompted by the immutable tenets of a belief-system with hundreds of millions of thoroughly brainwashed believers.
That same machine renamed the local Arabs, the ones in Gaza and in the “West Bank” (as the Jordanians had renamed the area of Mandatory Palestine they seized in the 1948 war), as the “Palestinian people.” It had its effect. For most people, most of the time, know very little about anything. And if the area was once known, in the Western world, as “Palestine” and if there was now a group of people called the “Palestinians,” well then — that was it, wasn’t it? The Jews must have taken their land, the land of those “Palestinians,” unfairly. And all those poor “Palestinians” and their justifiably outraged supporters wanted was just a little bit, just a tiny bit, of what they should have had. And thus it was that tiny Israel, existing on 22% of the land area originally planned for Mandatory Palestine, created for the sole purpose of establishing the Jewish National Home (read the Preamble to the Mandate for Palestine), it is now the Arabs who, preposterously, use the exact same figures, claiming that “even if we get Gaza and the West Bank, that is only 22% of ‘Palestine.'”
Someone in a Western country ought to have the courage to stand up and tell the Arab states that the “Palestinian” “refugee” “problem” is one that they created. And that it is up to them to solve.