The tragedy of the Palestinian refugees....
These people should have been resettled decades ago...
The Palestinians are the only people who have their own private section of the UN, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). It defines “refugee” as someone who lived in Palestine between June, 1946, and May, 1948, and “lost both their homes and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict.” The definition includes all their descendants. Entirely credible numbers don’t exist, but UNRWA believes there were 711,000 such refugees in 1948, and now more than 4.7-million.
The Arab countries love the Palestinians, praise them and pray for them. They just don’t want them moving permanently into their neighbourhoods. The Arab League advises Arab states to deny citizenship to Palestinians, “to avoid dissolution of their identity and protect their right to return to their homeland.” They pretend it’s a favour. It also means Arabs can hire Palestinian workers when they need them and send them home when the economy sags.
The treatment of the Palestinians has become a major crime of omission committed by the rich Arabs against the poor in collusion with the UN. It has created a permanent underclass, living on meagre public assistance, growing more numerous every day but never put in a position where they can create a healthy, productive community. They are permanent grudge-bearers, who teach their children to yearn for a lost paradise.
Children in school learn the official line (and no other) on the Nakba (“disaster”) of 1948, when peace-loving Arabs were rudely ejected from their own land by an alien military force, European Zionism. Every year, the pageants commemorating the Nakba grow larger and the stories about the sins of Israeli soldiers more appalling. No Palestinian wants to know that there were Jews in the region for rather a long time, or that the Arabs started the war of 1948.
The Palestinian national narrative depicts the Arabs of Palestine as history’s tragic losers, the unfairly dispossessed. Nowadays, it’s routine to compare the Nakba with the Holocaust in Europe. And around the world, a vast constituency of anti-Zionists and anti-Semites provide a willing audience for any lie the imaginative Palestinians can concoct.
No one in politics or diplomacy who hopes to win a few friends on the Arab side can acknowledge this historic con game. Anyone who tells the truth will be accused of Islamophobia, that infinitely convenient rhetorical invention.
And no politician, ever, compares the Palestinians to other refugees. Sol Stern, trying in a recent City Journal article to bring some perspective to the Palestinian question, noted that in 1945 about 11-million ethnic German civilians, living in Central and Eastern Europe, were expelled from their homes “and force-marched to Germany by the Red Army, with help from the Czech and Polish governments. Historians estimate that 2 million died on the way.” The survivors built new lives as best they could. Some still speak of reparations they deserve. None argue that they should live in squalor until they receive justice.