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April 28, 2005

Reality of "Right of Return"

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Syndicated columnist Ray Hanania, in his April 22 column, "Palestinians must accept the reality of the 'right of return,'" acknowledges some important facts. (Unfortunately he also repeats many of his familiar distortions.) (hat tip: JCPA Daily Alert)

He acknowledges Arab responsibility for the continuing refugee problem:

For years, Palestinian refugees have been fed endless empty promises from the Arab countries that they will someday return. It's the main reason why most have lived and died in refugee camps rather than relocate and assimilate into the Arab world.

(Why doesn't he also spell out that Arab countries prevented assimilation by refusing to give citizenship to Palestinian refugees?)

He recognizes that some Palestinians "use the right of return as a political bludgeon to prevent Palestinian moderates from compromise with Israel," and argued that "Palestinians have no choice but to accept a compromise."

The most important fact he acknowledges is also the most obvious: "To remain a Jewish state," he states, "Israel cannot take the refugees back," and that a Palestinian compromise "on the right of return is fundamental to achieving a two-state solution."

This comment highlights the disingenuousness of those "peace activists" who insist on the "right of return." These activists don't seek peace, but rather the destruction of Israel and the end of Jewish self determination.

To see a critique of the column's distortions, click below.

Hanania speaks of "millions of Christian and Muslim Palestinians forced into exile as refugees by Israel in 1948."

Millions? The official British Survey of Palestine estimated only 1.7 million Jews, Christians, Muslims, and others living in Palestine in 1944. There weren't "millions" of people living in Palestine; let alone millions of Christians and Muslims; so obviously there weren't millions of Christians and Muslims living in the part of Palestine that became Israel in 1948; and so there clearly weren't millions who became refugees; and so there certainly couldn't have been millions "forced into exile ... by Israel," even if Israel did expel some of the refugees.

(Later in the same column, Hanania states that "The 1947 war sent more than 700,000 Palestinians into exile." So why does refer in his first sentence to "millions"?)

Hanania also falsely suggests that the return of Palestinians is "supported by clear and irrefutable international laws."

He further states that "Fifty-five years later, Palestinians have no choice but to accept a compromise, which Israel has yet to embrace."

But what is there for Israel to embrace if the Palestinians haven't accepted a compromise? Israel has on numerous occasions offered to take in up to 100,000 Palestinians refugees, but these attempts at compromise were rejected by the Palestinians.

Elsewhere he asserts: "Surveys show that despite the uncompromising Al-Awda movement, most refugees do not expect to return to their original homes or lands."

This covers up the reality that most Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are unwilling to compromise on the right of return. According to a November 2004 Palestinian Center for Public Opinion poll, 72.2 percent of Palestinians said they are unwilling to waive their claims or a right of return, "even if consequently no peace agreement would be concluded with Israel."

Posted by GI at April 28, 2005 09:24 AM