WHY DO THEY HAVE TO SUFFER?
54 years have passed and the Palestinian refugees are waiting for an untouchable dream. 54 years have passed and the Palestinian refugees are listening to infertile slogans from those leaders who have sold their cause. 54 years have passed and the Palestinian refugees are waiting in despair to come back to their homes. And what do the Israelis say? They say that the refugees must go somewhere else. They say that it is impractical for them to come back. They say that only a limited number of them are allowed to come. They are afraid that it will change their nation’s demography. Why is it those who were kicked out of their native land who have to suffer? Why?
The nation of Israel was set up in 1948 and from day 1 of its creation, it has kicked out more than 750,000 Palestinians out of their homes. Studies by the Palestinian Return Centre, have shown that half of them were literally forced out of their homes by the Israelis and the other half were threatened by the Israelis and left their homes out of fear. Contrary to the claim of some Israelis that the Palestinians were free to stay, only 0.5% of the Palestinians left from free will. According to the UN, 90% of the villages inhabited by the Palestinians were totally destroyed by the Israeli army.
An Israeli named Ben Mouris has admitted in a book called “Correcting a Mistake” that the methods used to force the Palestinians out of their homes ranged from the murder of old men, women and children, massacring babies, cutting the stomachs of pregnant women and rape. All of this is written by an Israeli! All of these crimes were committed between 1948 and 1956 in what was known as the Transfer. This is also contrary to the claims of some Israeli officials that the Arab armies in 1948 were the ones who told the Palestinians to leave their homes, hoping that they would return after the 1948 war. In addition to that, some Israeli peace movements deny these claims.
The same thing happened in 1967 when the Israelis occupied the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Now, the number of refugees has reached 5 million (NOTE: if you have heard of a figure of 3 million only, than that is just the number of refugees who have been registered by the UN).
Those refugees were simply replaced by Zionists who had arrived from different nations around the world. The Zionists claim that their Holy Book says that Palestine is theirs. Imagine that the Quran said that a tiny part of Britain rightfully belongs to Muslims and they have the right to occupy it. Would the British people accept that? Would they say: “All right. We must respect their religion. Come and occupy our land”? When the Falkland Islands; a group of tiny islands with a population of only 1800, thousands of miles away from Britain and had only belonged to the British for a few centuries; had been occupied by the Argentines, Margaret Thatcher fought a war to regain it. But what about a whole nation occupied with 5 million people having nowhere to live but cramped, crowded, filthy camps after being forced out of their homes for 54 years?
Why does everyone have the right to return for their land and the Palestinian refugees need to wait for the UN or negotiations to solve their problems? Why? Why does everyone have the right to have a nationality while the great majority of the Palestinians have no nationality? Let’s put any people in this world in place of the Palestinian refugees, being kicked out for exactly the same reason, in exactly the same circumstances and not allowed to return for exactly the same excuses. Would they agree to be left out for one second? Would they respect the Israelis’ will and decided to come up with a compromise- any compromise? If one citizen from any nation is kidnapped for one second, his nation will do anything to regain him. So why do the Palestinian refugees have to wait for 5 decades depending on aid like beggars and waiting for negotiations? Why do they have to wait?
The Zionists claim that the Arab nations are responsible for hosting those refugees. The peoples of those Arab nations already face problems keeping their heads above the water. Egypt has an unemployment rate of 20%. Lebanon has just got out of a civil war while Syria’s economy is in tatters. Jordan has its own problems. Those nations have already hosted many Palestinians and Jordan has in fact given them the Jordanian citizenship. Even the rich Gulf states have a terrifying future with their oil. How can they host a whole population if they can’t even look after their own populations?
And anyway, those who claim that the Palestinian refugees need to find another place to live in are demanding from the Palestinians something they would not have demanded other people to do. Wouldn’t they? Such people are demanding what they would not have accepted for themselves. Who in this world would agree to leave his home, his beloved nation – the nation he and his ancestors had lived in for millennia- for other people to replace him? When the Zionists say, so simply and coldly, that the Arab nations should host the refugees, they are demanding a whole people to leave their native land. How many Australians are willing to leave their land so that the refugees, who are currently trapped behind barbed wires, can come and replace them? Demanding that anyone leave his nation is a racist action. When the Jews were expelled by the Nazis, everyone stood in one line and considered it a racist action. But when the Palestinians were expelled by the Zionists, we find people disagreeing or sitting down and saying, “Well, look at the other side of the opinion.” We find several UN resolutions demanding “a solution” for the refugees after “negotiations between the 2 sides”. We find Foreign Ministers giving fruitless speeches about “negotiating” to “find a solution to this problem” and that “both sides need to make a compromise”. Well, 54 years have passed and these corroded tapes have resulted in no solution but the Palestinians are the ones who need to wait behind barbed wires. Freedom is not prevented from you by someone, it is taken away from you. All humans have been born free but some are in chains. Why do the Palestinians need to wait more than half a century? Would this have happened to any other people in this world? Why? Are they barbarians? Are the Palestinians animals?
When an Arab demands an immediate solution without compromises, he will end up being an extremist and a belligerent person. But did anyone call Margaret Thatcher refusing to give away the Falklands Islands, Boris Yeltsin refusing to give away Chechnya or Vajpayee refusing to hold a plebiscite in Kashmir, extremists or racists. This is a world where “Justice is the Advantage of the Strongest” as Thrasymachus had said. This is a world were “Might is Right” not “Right is Might”.
Why don’t the Jews, who have come from different parts of the world, wait to negotiate? They say because they have lived in Palestine 2500 years ago but were kicked out by the Romans. Well, if we are going to follow these principles, why don’t the Australians invade Britain? Haven’t they been kicked out of their nation? The descendants of all the gypsies in this world come from India. Will the Indian government accept to give one square centimetre to form a nation for all the gypsies of the world to return to? Palestine itself had once been occupied by the Assyrians, Crusades, Greeks, Babylonians, Romans, Arabs and Persians. So shall we say that the Iraqis, Europeans, Greeks, Italians Saudis and Iranians have the right to invade parts of Palestine? What about giving away a whole nation? What about kicking the inhabitants of your own nation for others to replace them?
Moreover, if the Zionists have lived in Palestine 2500 years ago, than let’s not forget that the first inhabitants of Palestine were the Canaanites who became urbanized as early as the 3rd millennium BC. And believe it or not, the Canaanites are the descendants of the people whom we now call Palestinians. So history says that the Palestinians have always lived in Palestine. But the Israelites have arrived more than a thousands years later and occupied the land from them and were later defeated by Babylonia and Assyria. So the Israelites have only occupied it for a certain time while the Canaanites have always been living there. This is the truth and there is no weapon stronger than the truth. Yet, it was the Palestinians who had to leave the land to the Jews. Why?
World sympathy had been given to the Jews during the 1940s after the Holocaust and many believed that the Jews needed their own nation to protect themselves. Well, why would the Palestinians pay the price of the Nazi persecution? In fact, during the Nazi rule, many European nation refused to accept Jewish immigrants. The British agreed to accept hundreds of thousands of Jewish immigrants to Palestine during the 1920s and 1930s, against the will of the Palestinian people. Is the will of the Palestinians unnecessary? (NOTE: Palestine at that time was a British mandate. Theoretically, the mandates had to be ruled to please the people of the nation.) Furthermore, there are many other minority groups in this world with no nation to protect them. Look at the Kurds or look at the gypsies. They don’t have any home and they are being persecuted by the Iraqis and Romanians and other nations.
In addition to that, if you ask Ariel Sharon to send you to his grandfather’s grave, he will send you to Ukraine. If you ask Shimon Peres to send you to his grandfather’s grave, he will send you to Poland. But if you ask any Palestinian- any Palestinian- of their father’s or grandfather’s or great great great grandfather’s or any of their ancestors’ graves, they will all send you to the same place: Palestine. Yet, it is the Palestinians who had to leave space for others to replace them. Why?
But what is the solution? The best ever compromise made by the Israelis during the negotiations with Arafat, was 100 000 Palestinians to return over a period of 25 years. If you consider this number, the fact that Israelis define a refugee as only the person who has been born in Palestine before 1948 and consider the birth and death rates of the Palestinian refugees over this period…. than 100 000 only makes 0.5% of the Palestinian refugees!!! What a compromise!
Another great compromise made by the Israelis in Camp David 2 years ago, was the return all of the Gaza Strip and the return of 90% of the unoccupied areas of the West Bank (i.e. excluding Jerusalem and Jewish settlements, this makes the unoccupied areas equivalent to only 40% of the West Bank) BUT preventing the return of any refugee to Palestine. (Put into account that the West Bank and the Gaza Strip together only make 22% of total area of Palestine, or what is now called Israel.) When Arafat had refused to make this compromise, Bill Clinton and the world media blamed him for being uncompromising. Which leader in this world would have agreed to give up one grain of sand of his homeland or prevent one child from seeing his motherland?
Why does the world look at the Arabs as those who should make the compromises? Why do they look at us from this point of view? Why do they consider Israel returning some land which it had occupied as a compromise? Why? It is true, that if I say that in a public speech I will be considered a fanatic or anti-Semitic. But when the Zionists talk about preventing the refugees from returning because of the consequences on the Israeli society or race, who considers them racists?
Some say that the return of the refugees is impractical or impossible. Why don’t the Zionists want the Palestinians to return to their homes but allow Jews to come from different parts of the world? Is the Jewish blood more sacred than the Palestinian blood? The Israelis have considered it a big compromise to allow 100 000 Palestinians to return. But now Sharon has already made a plan to allow 1 million Jewish refugees to come to live in Israel. 1 million!! They allow 1 million to live on the land which is not their land, to farm on farms which are not their farms, to drink from the river which is not their river…. And they only want to allow 100 000 refugees to return to their homes. Why are they afraid of changing the demography of Israel? Why weren’t they afraid of changing the demography of Palestine 70 years ago when Jewish immigrants were pouring into Palestine from all over the world?
Why is that? Is Jewish blood more precious than Palestinian blood?
But is there space for the Palestinians to return? The Israelis have constantly being building Jewish settlements on the West Bank, even after the Oslo agreement. During the Camp David negotiations, Barak’s excuse for not getting rid of those settlements was that he was afraid of public opinion. Well, doesn’t Arafat have his own public opinion? Aren’t the Palestinians already suffering because of those settlements? To make matters even worse, Jewish settlements are still being built, sometimes after destroying Palestinian homes and mosques.
What about those who claim that the Palestinians themselves are unwilling to return to Palestine after its economy has been devastated? Well, a survey carried by both Israelis and Palestinians have shown that more than 70% of the Palestinian refugees are ready to come back to live in Palestine as soon as they are given the permission; let alone those who are willing to at least come to visit their nation and people yearly.
The sad truth is that the words of this article have been said before. They will probably enter one human’s ear and leave out of the other ear. The refugees will have to listen to endless speeches by Kofi Annan “condemning”, “denouncing” the Israeli occupation and “demanding” an end to the occupation. Those speeches are like a drop of hope in a black ocean of despair. The Zionists want to murder their innocent dream- a small home in the motherland….they want their ambition to drown into a deep ocean…they want their rights to evaporate into thin air….But the day will come. Yes, the day will come. Every night ends with a dawn. The day when everyone will look back and ask themselves, “Why did we allow this?” Yes, this day will come. The same way the whites in South Africa now feel ashamed of themselves for treating the natives badly, the Jews will one day feel ashamed of what they have done to the Palestinians.
Just imagine how refugees- with one unemployed out of every 2 Palestinians and live in some camps with a population density of 500 per square kilometre (compared with a density of 6 per square kilometre of the Jews after they have replaced those Palestinians)- just imagine how much they want to return to their nation…when generations of Palestinians have been trapped away from their nation for 54 years...when you have no nation and the nation is right in front of you… Imagine how a stray animal may feed quietly, untouched by soldiers’ fire, as it trespasses the lines while a human stands, an exile, separated by barbed wire from his native land.