Keeping Palestinians Refugees as a Weapon Against Israel

(Times of Israel) Avi Mayer - Palestinians marked May 15 as Nakba (Catastrophe) Day. May 15, 1948, was the day Egypt, Syria, Transjordan, and Iraq invaded the fledgling Jewish state, determined to carry out the "war of extermination" and "momentous massacre" declared by Arab League Secretary General Azzam Pasha. Some 6,373 Israelis were killed, just under 1% of the country's total population (the equivalent of three million Americans today). The first Nakba Day commemorations took place in several towns in the Jordanian-occupied West Bank on May 15, 1949, and the primary target of their anger was not Israel. "The speakers in these gatherings blamed the Arab regimes and the Arab League," writes scholar Tamir Sorek. The long history of Arab rejectionism and the consistent refusal to countenance the notion that Jews might have national rights in their homeland have served only to perpetuate a conflict that should have ended eighty years ago. Likewise, the cultivation of a fantasy of "return" to homes that no longer exist is an act of cruelty. That a unique definition of refugeedom is applied to Palestinians, enabling refugee status to pass from one generation to the next in perpetuity, is scandalous. That the great grandchildren of Palestinian refugees remain trapped in refugee camps in Lebanon, denied citizenship and barred from seeking employment in a vast range of fields, is outrageous. These are all part of what one UN official called an Arab desire to "keep [the Palestinian refugee] as an open sore [and] as a weapon against Israel." The writer is spokesman to the international media for the Jewish Agency for Israel.

2017-05-17 00:00:00

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