Myths and realities: Israel and the refugee problem

The Arab world committed crimes against 850,000 Arab-Jewish refugees and continues to commit crimes against 5,000,000 downtrodden Palestinian pawns

Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, 1952
Adam Mallerman
On 13 September 2012 11:44

I cannot imagine Israel without these people's descendants, who today number around 50 percent of the population. Zionism, the political ideology behind the birth of Israel, believes in the in-gathering of the Jewish people and so these Jewish-Arab refugees' children and grandchildren are woven into the fabric of Israeli society. That does not erase the racist crime that was committed against them by states across the Arab world.

Nobody can take away my pride in being British and I can't imagine that identity being ripped away from me. I can say I'm a British Israeli with a smile, because that country was and is good to my family. It’s still my other home.

What does a Yemenite or Libyan Israeli think of a land his family helped build and cultivate since Caesar ruled in Rome that turned on them for no reason other than their religion? Many of these people had never left the town of their birth, had lived in the home of their parents, grandparents and generations before that, and suddenly they are fleeing for their lives to a place they only know from prayers?

Businesses, homes, and possessions, their lifetime of achievements, stolen from them overnight. I doubt Moroccan Israelis feel able to cheer the Moroccan football team as I do the English cricket team.

An entire agency of the UN (UNRWA) exists to handle Palestinian refugees from that period, who today number 5,000,000 stateless people. The same Arab states that had expelled the Jews, then refused to let the Palestinians become absorbed into their countries, as Israel did for its Jewish refugees.

Three generations later, Palestinians across the Middle East remain stateless and in some places still live in shanty town refugee camps, not allowed to work, build homes or create lives. The real crime of 1948 was never the creation of a tiny Jewish state in barren, undeveloped land, or the exile (self-imposed or otherwise) of 450,000 local Arabs (today known as Palestinians). No, the real crime was the exile of Jews across Arabia and the on-going disgrace of the Palestinian refugees, who remain so because their Arab "brothers" need them to be poor and angry pawns.

Over 50 years ago, Ralph Galloway, former Director of UNRWA, wrote: "The Arab states do not want to solve the refugee problem. They want to keep it an open sore, as an affront to the UN and as a weapon against Israel. Arab leaders don't give a damn whether the refugees live or die."

While the UN and Human Rights groups have been busy condemning Israel for the past 60 years, they have been complicit in the crime of the Palestinian refugee problem. Even King Hussein of Jordan recognized this crime writing in 1960: "Since 1948 Arab leaders…have used the Palestine people for selfish political purposes. This is…criminal."

This situation should shame the world, but it is never discussed in the media, by rights groups or in the UN. The Palestinians are still pawns as they were in 1958, in the Arab world’s xenophobic hatred of Israel and Jews in general.

The Palestinians' so-called leaders are busy selling their "narrative", but let's call a spade a spade – their narrative is nothing but propaganda, full of half-truths, omissions and outright lies and it's built on the tears of the crimes the Arab world committed against 850,000 Arab-Jewish refugees and continues to commit against the 5,000,000, downtrodden Palestinian pawns.

Shame on them and shame on anyone out there who becomes an accessory to these crimes by buying into the propaganda.

Adam Mallerman is an English-born, Jerusalem-based broadcaster. He is a regular contributor on the Israel News Talk Network and hosts a weekly program on Israel National Radio. Visit his blog and follow him on Twitter @IsraelradioGuy

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