Issues In The Palestinian—Israeli Conflict

__ Refugees Forever __

The Penalty of Aggression


The Arab lobby has always blamed Israel for the Palestinian problem.

The blame game


      The Palestinian refugees are victims, yes - but not of Israel. Rather, they are the victims of wars launched - ostensibly for them - by the Arab states, but for which they pay the price. They are the victims, effectively, of Arab aggression against Israel.  "Had the Palestinians accepted the UN [partition] resolution instead of waging an aggressive war, there would have been no refugees.... The initial refugee problem of 1948 was exacerbated when Egypt and Syria launched the Six Day War.... Never before in history have those who lost wars of

aggression been deemed equal partners in the negotiation, and for good reason," writes legal expert Prof. Alan Dershowitz of Harvard University. The "good reason," of course, is that aggressors should not have incentives for perpetrating acts of aggression.  Dershowitz notes the unabated hostility toward Israel demonstrated by Palestinians over the years, as exemplified by their conspicuous support for Saddam Hussein during the Gulf War.


"Over the course of the conflict the Palestinians ... continue to play the

violence card as part of their negotiating strategy. Indeed, the major

bargaining chip they bring to the table is the threat of renewed violence

if they don't get their way. Another chip has been the one- sided refusal

of the UN to condemn them for their aggression and terrorism.

"There must be a price paid for starting and losing wars... Aggressors

should be made to absorb refugees created by their aggression."


Prelude to World War II:


      The Sudetenland In the ill-fated Munich Pact signed with Hitler in 1938, Britain's Chamberlain surrendered to Germany's demand to annex the Sudetenland, a part of Czechoslovakia, inhabited by Germans for centuries. The Nazis soon occupied the whole country, and then invaded Poland.  Liberated by the Allies in 1945, the Czechs regained the Sudetenland, expelling 2.5 million of its ethnic Germans to Germany as authorized at the Potsdam Conference.  There is a parallel between the German Sudets and the Palestinian refugees - except that the latter refuse to accept the universal code that aggressors must pay for their acts.  A final agreement between the Germans and the Czechs was signed in December 1946, recognizing that the German Sudets were expelled on the understanding that they were pro-Nazi and, as such, enemies of the Czechs. Both sides agreed that the German Sudets would receive neither compensation nor apology. During the ensuing Cold War, the descendants of these Germans demanded to return to their "ancestral homeland" - but in vain.


      Another example of international justice following WWII is the decision arrived at by Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill at the Potsdam Conference.  The three agreed that Germany should compensate Poland for attacking and ravaging the country, by ceding sizable territory to it.  A "cooperation and good neighborhood" agreement was signed by the Republic of Poland and the Federal Government of Germany, denying the right of return to the millions of German refugees who had fled with the retreating Nazi army. It was also agreed that no restitution would be paid for abandoned properties.


Where is the German PLO?

      The line between past and present was drawn, and Stettin, once the proud capital of Teutonic Pomerania, became the major Polish city of the region.  And of course, there has never been a Teutonic PLO, or "Pomeranian Liberation Organization." The only existing PLO is the Palestinian Liberation Organization, founded in Cairo in 1964 with pan-Arab support.  The code of penalty for aggression has been applied not only to mighty Germany but also to smaller countries who had gotten on the wrong bandwagon, such as Finland and Hungary. 


Finland - In 1939 the Soviet Union invaded the small Finnish democracy. Despite courageous resistance, the Finns were defeated and forced to cede the Isthmus of Karelia to the Russians. In an attempt to recover lost territory, the Finns joined with the Germans, who invaded Russia in 1941. Joint Finnish/German forces recaptured the isthmus.  However, at the Paris Conference in 1947, Finland was forced to relinquish Karelia (which comprised one-eighth of its total area) and to pay the Russians a considerable war indemnity.  Moreover, 400,000 refugees were reabsorbed into Finland, without any international financial aid.


Hungary - The principle of penalty for aggression was also applied to Hungary who, during part of World War I fought on the side of Germany as a member of the dual Austro- Hungarian Monarchy. The war lost, sizeable Hungarian territories were ceded to Czechoslovakia, Romania and Yugoslavia.  In World War II, Hungary once again chose the wrong side and fought with the Axis Powers. She was ultimately overrun by the Russians, and at

the Treaty of Paris, was ordered to pay $3 billion in reparations to the Soviet Union.



This article appeared in the Jerusalem Post 1-15-2003 approximately,

and is reproduced solely for educational purposes.


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