Israel, Zionism and the Media

Tag: right of return

The real meaning of a Palestinian Right of Return

H/T Elder of Ziyon

This cartoon appeared in the Palestine Times:








Although the Elder says a picture is worth a thousand words, let me explain.

The key is the symbol of the Right of Return. You may see Palestinians waving keys during protests. The inference is that they have the actual keys to their ‘former homes’, even though almost all of them were born outside of Israel and it was their parents, grandparents and other forbears who may have lived in what is now Israel.

It is always claimed that all these ‘refugees’ want is justice and to have their homes and property returned.

Yet this cartoon clearly demonstrates the real reason and motivation behind the Right of Return: to erase Israel from the map; but, just as subtly,  the Palestinian key removes the symbol of the Jews. The Right of Return,* then, is merely a ploy to destroy the State of Israel and remove all Jews from the land.

(*No such Right exists in international law for any descendants of refugees anywhere. UN Resolution 194, which is always quoted as granting this right, does no such thing.)




Jewish ‘Nakba’ – why Jews deserve compensation and the Palestinians do not

Today saw the commemoration of what Palestinians call the Nakba, the catastrophe, which happens to be the anniversary of the Declaration of the State of Israel in 1948.

In scenes unprecedented in history thousands of people in Lebanon, Syria, Gaza, East Jerusalem and even Jordan have tried to cross the border into Israel apparently to demonstrate their so-called ‘Right of Return’. In Tel Aviv an Arab drove two kilometres trying to hit everything in sight and screaming ‘Death to the Jews’ (note ‘Jews’, not ‘Israelis’) killing one man and injuring several others.

Several people were apparently killed by IDF gunfire and at the border with Gaza tank rounds were used.

In Ankara, Turkey and even in Athens, Greece, where you’d think they would have other things to demonstrate about, protests have taken place and Israeli embassies targeted.

I did not intend to write about this particular event, as important as it is. However, it underlines the fact of continued Palestinian rejectionism. As Jonathan Tobin has pointed out :

Nakba Day should illustrate that it is not the eviction of the Jews from parts of the West Bank that has inspired Palestinian Arab nationalism but the notion that Jewish sovereignty anywhere in the country is unacceptable.

Estimates of the number of Palestinians who would claim a Right of Return (or compensation) vary, but it is somewhere between 4 and 7 million and, of course, growing.

The notion that somehow Israel could absorb 7 million people, let alone return them to their putative homes and property is absurd. That doesn’t matter. They are not interested in returning to No. 10 Habibi Street or 17a Jaffa Road.

No, their goal is the same as it has always been: destroy the State of Israel, kick out 5 million Jews and create a Palestinian State from ‘The River to the Sea’. A single, Islamist, authoritarian entity to replace Israel.

The ‘Return’ of a large number of Palestinians would result in Israel no longer being a  state where the Jews remain a majority in charge of their own destiny. The goal of a single Islamic state, yet another in the region, would be achieved and the ‘Zionist Project’ would be history.

The sad fact is that so many on the Left in Europe believe that a one state solution will solve the problem and immediately result in the end of the Arab’s grudge against Israel and the West.

They are deluded.

The justification for the idea of a Nakba and a Right of Return comes from two false narratives.

The first is that Jews ‘stole the land’ from something called Palestine, a mythical Muslim state in cis-Jordanic Mandate Palestine. The Jews attacked the Arabs, driving them out and stealing their land forcing them to be refugees in surrouding countries and in Gaza and the West Bank.

This is a gross distortion of history. The Arab League rejected a two-state solution in 1947 and when the Jewish State was declared armies from surrounding nations attacked the nascent state.

Although many Arabs were driven out, many more left from fear or because they were encouraged to leave whilst the armies of the Arab League mopped up the Jews and drove them into the sea.

Unfortunately for these refugees the Arab league never delivered. Much of the land that had been offered as part of an Arab, Palestinian State was now in the hands of the Israelis.

Then something extraordinary happened; the UN created an Agency to deal only with refugees from the conflict of 1948. This is UNRWA or the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.

UNWRA’s own website tells us:

UNRWA’s services are available to all those living in its area of operations who meet this definition, who are registered with the Agency and who need assistance. The descendants of the original Palestine refugees are also eligible for registration. When the Agency started working in 1950, it was responding to the needs of about 750,000 Palestine refugees. Today, 4.8 million Palestine refugees are eligible for UNRWA services. (my emphasis)

Thus, uniquely, amongst all the millions of refugees in the world. descendants of Palestinian refugees are also given refugees status with no end date applicable. So in another 60 years there could be 100 million refugees and they would all claim that they have a right to live in Israel and claim back their putative property.

And these refugees were created as a result of an aggressive act by their own people (the Arab nation under the auspices of the Arab League as there was no idea of a separate Palestinian State in 1948).

Let us remember that Israel accepted the partition plan (UN General Assembly Resolution 181) that would have given them a small fraction of what they were promised (by the League of Nations under International Law in 1922), but the Arabs rejected it on behalf of the Palestinian Arabs, and then attacked Israel.

The second false narrative is that there is a Right of Return for these refugees based on UN resolution 194 Article 11:

Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible; Instructs the Conciliation Commission to facilitate the repatriation, resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation of the refugees and the payment of compensation, and to maintain close relations with the Director of the United Nations Relief for Palestine Refugees and, through him, with the appropriate organs and agencies of the United Nations;

As the Zionism-Israel website tells us:

UN General Assembly Resolution 194 called for return of refugees who were willing to live in peace with their neighbors. Jewish refugees, including refugees from Palestinian Arab areas and hundreds of thousands of others expelled from Arab lands, were absorbed into Israel and did not claim refugee status. Arab refugees were placed in camps.

Please point out to me a specific ‘Right of Return’ in Article 11, and where does it mention descendants in perpetuity are entitled to refugee status. In the Zionism-Israel article cited above the Right of Return was specifically excluded despite recommendations by Count Folk Bernadotte, the UN mediator murdered by Jewish extremists.

The cited article also points out that there was no specific mention of Arab refugees. It referred to all refugees included Jews who fled from the area now known as the West Bank which came under Jordanian control until 1967 and included East Jerusalem which was ethnically cleansed of Jews by the Jordanians.

And, most importantly, even if there were a Right of Return specifically for Arab refugees mentioned in Resolution 194 Article 11, General Assembly resolutions are not binding in international law. Israel has no obligation whatsoever to provide such a right.

For a full discussion of the putative Palestinian Right of Return I recommend you read the cited article.

But here is the point of the title of this article. There was a Jewish ‘nakba’ which no-one ever hears about very often if at all.

Estimates of Palestinian refugees vary from 450,000 to 750,000.

800-900,000 Jews were expelled from several Arab states and stripped of their property and assets in 1948, and immediately in the aftermath of the creation of Israel, for no other reason than they were Jews.

Many of these fled to Israel where they were absorbed.

Today, the inestimable Michelle Huberman of Harif organised an event in London “The Jewish Nakba, Remembering Jewish refugees from Arab Countries”. This organisation is dedicated to having the issue of Jewish refugees and their narrative recognised and acknowledged.

Communities right across the Arab world from Algeria to Iraq were wiped out; some of these communities could trace their roots back more than 2000 years.

I recommend that you read Sir Martin Gilbert’s fine history: “In Ishmaels’ House” which deals with the Jewish nakba in its final chapters.

This is why I believe those who suffered the enormity of these events deserve compensation; they attacked no-one, they may or may not have been Zionists, they were generally content to continue their tight-rope existence  in Arab lands where many were successful, wealthy, educated, property owning and asset rich.

How did they deserve to be deprived of citizenship, stripped of their assets and their property? What crime did they commit? The crime of being a Jew. That eternal crime which has been punished for centuries.

And they want to punish us still.

That punishment is their version of justice. The perceived grievance of the original 750,000 bloated to 4.5 million or more. Yet the 800,000 or so Jews and their descendants are only now being recognised as the other half to this cruel equation. Indeed, the Israeli government has quite rightly stated that no final peace can be made with the Palestinians without compensation for the Arab Jews.

The compensation and the recognition of this injustice against Mizrachi and Arab Jews is long overdue; and it is a much stronger claim than the Palestinians, many of whom had only moved relatively recently from surrounding countries and fled, or were victims of Israeli action as a result of their own people’s aggression.

Yet, in this Looking Glass world we now live in, the Jews and their grievances are valued at nought whilst the Palestinians must be rewarded and compensating for 60 years of self-victimhood and an aggressive war of extermination.

OK, despite the title, no doubt, at some time in the distant future, hopefully, when there is a final settlement that does not involve the destruction of Israel, Palestinians will be rewarded for their extraordinary patience and, as George Galloway might say, their ‘indefatigability’.  I do not wish to suggest that they have not suffered or that Israel is blameless, but unless and until they recognise their own guilt and allow Jews to live in their homeland on a sliver of land called Israel, they do not deserve any compensation at all.

Palestinian Right of Return – what does it really mean?

Ami Isseroff has written an important article which argues strongly that the Palestinian Right of Return is always going to be a blockage to any peace negotiations because it is an uncompromising view that all Palestinians and their descendants across three generations should have the right to return to their homes in Israel as part of a final peace deal.

The so-called Right of Return, should it ever be implemented, would clearly mean or strongly threaten Israel’s existence as a Jewish state because the demographics would be firmly tilted toward an eventual Palestinian majority or at the very least a very large minority. And this is precisely the intention of a no-compromise stance on this putative right; the Palestinian leadership knows full well that Israel will never agree to it and can use this refusal to further demonise Israel by claiming it breaches UN Resolution 194 (which is a misrepresentation of 194 and that’s another story and I recommend the discussion here).

But let’s for a moment dwell on the practicalities of allowing a couple of million ‘returnees’ into Israel:

  • How does the original UN Partition Plan ideal and the idea of a two-state solution square with a policy which will effectively lead to three majority Palestinian states: Jordan, Palestine and Israel?
  • How will a claim for former residency be proved?
  • What if the original property no longer exists?
  • How can Israel ensure that those ‘returning’ are not inimical to the State of Israel?
  • What is the effect of such an influx on the Israel economy and all its citizens?
  • If compensation is offered will Jews and their descendants expelled from Arab lands in 1947-8 just for being Jews be compensated similarly?
  • Would Jews expelled from East Jerusalem in 1947 and Hebron in 1929 after the massacre be likewise allowed to return to their homes and remain unmolested?

In Ami Isseroff’s article he demonstrates that the majority of Palestinians see the Right of Return as not negotiable.  Not just the leadership, but ordinary Palestinians hold this view. So the idea of a two-state solution is not even viable if half of that solution want to be a majority in both states.

Perhaps the greatest irony could be that Palestinians cling to the Right of Return because they actually DO want to live in Israel like almost 2 million other Palestinians because it would give them a better life. There is already strong evidence that Arab East Jerusalemites do not want to be part of a Palestinian state because the benefits they receive in Israel trump any nationalist ideals.

Facts and realities on the ground are always more complex than newspaper headlines and political soundbites would lead us to believe.

Peace or surrender?

King Abdullah of Jordan, on a visit to Bucharest, has said that Israel

“must decide whether they want to observe this opportunity and become integrated in the region or whether they want to remain a fortress … and keep the Middle East hostage in conflict”

as reported by Arutz Sheva. The opportunity he refers to is the Saudi Peace Plan/Ultimatum reiterated in Qatar last week in terms of “take it or leave it”.

The Saudi plan offers recognition of Israel from all Arab countries but in return Israel must withdraw from what are known as The Occupied Territories, there must be an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, and (and here’s the killer punch), there must be a just solution to the “problem” of Palestinian refugees.

So in return for the dubious benefits of “recognition”, whatever that really means, Israel must return to the 1949 ceasefire lines and potentially allow into Israel hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Palestinians against whom it has been fighting an existential war since 1967. This influx will turn the Jewish State into something quite different. In no time, Jews would be a minority in their own country and there would be two Arab states, no doubt with the intention of confederating as Palestine and thus bringing about the end of Israel.

Security issues (massive), housing, health, the economy would all suffer to the detriment of Israelis. And where would these returnees go? Would they have the right, having kicked the Jews out of the West Bank, to start to kick them out of Ashkelon and Haifa?

In Qatar an ultimatum was issued. See my post “Israel must agree to its own destruction” – Arab League This is more of the same from a previously tacit source – namely king Abdullah.

It’s as if the enmity generated throughout the world by Operation Cast Lead, the move to a right wing government in Israel and the pleasant noises (for Arab ears) emanating from the new administration in Washington have emboldened the Arabs in the belief that the time is ripe to land a killer blow on the Israeli chin or maybe a kick somewhere lower down.

All this might be considered a first round negotiating position, but three significant players are completely ignored in this equation: Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran.

Also on Arutz Sheva this report Hamas: We Will Not Recognize Israel-Period

Hamas leader Ismael Haniya reasserted his faction’s principled refusal to recognize Israel, calling it “the Zionist entity” and claiming it to be an illegitimate state based on ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, according to the Palestine Times. He said that Hamas wouldn’t abandon its principles under pressure. “We will not cave in to pressure, we will not betray our people’s trust, we will not recognize the illegitimate Zionist entity. This has always been our stance, and it will never change.”

Haniya suggested that when it comes to recognizing Israel, the Palestinian Authority represented only itself and not the entire PA Arab population.

Let’s analyse this.  Israel is “an illegitimate state based on ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity”. So what is it this “principled” people want to do with Israel? 

“Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.” 

“There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.”


Hamas are a little hypocritical when it comes to ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, don’t you think? Just go to PalestinianMediaWatch ( to see the depraved depths of their hate-filled rhetoric, their “educational”materials, their blood-libels and then tell me who are the racists and Nazis in the Middle-East.

Hezbollah and Iran have a similar genocidal animus against Israel and the Jews. Fatah, Al-Aqsa Martyrs, Islamic Jihad are not exacty Israel or even Jew-friendly.

So let’s see what happens when the Saudi dream is realised. Israel’s borders will be open, the security wall dismantled and those whose professed aim is to kill all Jews and destroy Israel will have a free pass across its borders, along its coastline, in its airspace. Their agents and accomplices will move freely among Jewish Israelis.

So the small matter of the Right of Return for Palestinians is nothing less than a formula for the destruction of Israel and the removal of all rights to self-determination of Jews. So the other points in the formula a little moot. Of course, compensation for the hundreds of thousands of Jews expelled from Arab countries in 1948 are not part of the equation.

Do the Arab nations really expect this government of all governments to agree to a new Jewish Holocaust? 

Of course they don’t. But what they do want is to be seen as moderate, offering a “peace solution” which Israel will reject out of hand and they can write another chapter in the Book of Historical Revisionism to say “the Jews didn’t want peace. We had no choice but to continue the struggle. They bring it upon themselves.”