Issues In The Palestinian—Israeli Conflict

__ Refugees Forever __

Understanding the roots of the problem

      Wars produce refugees. The humanitarian imperative is obviously to settle refugees as quickly and as safely as possible. And yet, in the case of the 650,000 Palestinian Arabs who left Israel before and during the War of independence in 1948, the international community has colluded with the Arab world in doing the exact opposite: For the past half century, there has been a deliberate refusal to resettle Palestinian refugees within the Arab world. Instead, the Palestinian and Arab leadership have condemned these people and their descendants to poverty and misery in the UNRWA-run camps that offer little hope of a better life.

 

      This sore and tragic problem can and must be solved, because the longer it takes to arrive at a solution, the more its alarming dimensions will multiply. In this booklet, compiled and written by Eliyahu Tal, the facts—as opposed to the myths - behind the creation of the Palestinian refugee question; the fate of the Arab world's Jewish communities following Israel's creation; and comparisons with other world conflicts that spawned refugee problems, are presented in a clear and concise manner.  There is a consensus, spreading from the Israeli Right to the Left, that there can be no right of return to their 1948 homes for Palestinian refugees, even in the context of a full peace accord between Israel and the Arab world. First and foremost, such a return would threaten the existence of Israel as a Jewish state, as within the space of one generation, the Jewish majority within Israel would be lost. As Tal points out, Israel has changed over the last half century. The villages to which

these refugees demand to return no longer exist.

 

      In the present war in which we find ourselves against the Palestinians, brought about in no small part by their refusal to accept that there can be no right of return, it is important for all to understand the roots of this issue and the justness of Israel's stance.  We at The Jerusalem Post consider the publication of this supplement our contribution towards finding a solution.

 

DAVID RADLER

  

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

and is reproduced solely for educational purposes.

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