The Demand For the Right of Return: a Trojan Horse to Destroy the Jewish State / DR.Rivka Shpak Lissak

The “right of return”, presented by the Palestinians as part of the solution for the Arab-Israeli conflict, is nothing but a Trojan Horse, like that left by the Greeks for the Trojans to bring it into their city and then destroy it from within. The “Right of Return” poses a great danger for the future of the Jewish state, and is itself a considerable obstacle for peace.

This demand is based on the Palestinian claim that Israel is responsible for the “nacba”, the tragedy of the Palestinian people, and is the only one to blame for the refugee problem. It is this claim that forms the justification for the existence of the UNRWA, the organisation that distributes aid and food to some 3.5 million Palestinians, including the refugees and their descendants, some of whom have already rehabilitated themselves by their own efforts. The Palestinians are the only refugees that are provided for by the UN beyond the first generation; and they are the only case for whom the definition of “refugee” was altered to include Arabs who were living in Israel for only two years prior to 1947 (when the UN voted to divide the country between Jews and Arabs).

The “two states for two nations” solution requires by its definition the resettling of the Palestinian refugees in Palestine.

Who is responsible for the refugee problem?

The basic principle for UNRWA and the Arabic position formulated in UN resolution 194, is the claim that the Palestinians were expelled from Israel for no fault of their own. This is in complete oblivion of the fact that, prior to 1948, the Arabs in Israel rejected every compromise offered to them and consistently took recourse to terrorist actions against the Jewish population, including the pogroms of 1919-1920, 1929, 1936-1939, as well as killings on the roads and inside settlements throughout the period 1919-1947.

The Palestinians were given the opportunity to establish a state of their own in the Land of Israel in 1937, following the recommendations of the Peel Committee. They could establish their state in 1947 after the UN voted to divide the country between them and the Jews. The Arabs, however, refused to accept the Jewish people’s right for self determination and its historic linkage to the country. Immediately following the UN declaration, they attacked the Jewish settlements again with the aid of gangs that invaded the country. The Arabic states would not accept the rights of the Jews either and decided, against the UN directive, to attack the State of Israel as soon as it was established. The leader of the Arabs in what was then called Palestine, the Moufti Haj Amin el Housseini, called for the Arab armies and the Arabs in Israel “to throw the Jews into the sea”.

The Arabic states attacked Israel with the active participation of the Arabs living within it. Some of the Arabs obeyed the Moufti’s and the Supreme Arab Committee’s directives to leave until “the Jews are thrown into the sea”. Others, who were involved in the fighting against Jewish forces fled for fear of revenge when events turned out in favour of the Jews, and others were forced to leave by the Israeli forces who feared the Arabs were becoming a “fifth column”. Those expelled were enemies of Israel, not a neutral, uninvolved civilian population. It was not possible to remove the men alone without their families.

The problem facing the Arabs was that, against all expectations, they failed to throw the Jews into the sea. Had they succeeded, it is not likely that the UN would have passed a resolution to return the Jewish refugees to Israel. Israel and its Jewish population were supported only by the Jewish world that was still recovering from the horrors of the holocaust; on the Arabs’ side, however, was the whole Arab and Muslim world, and the Western world’s oil interests.

Had the Arabs accepted the UN resolution and had established their own state rather than declare war on Israel, the refugee problem would never have been created. All the Arabs within the area of Israel would have remained in their places and become Israeli citizens. Unlike the Arabs’ plan, Israel did not throw the Arabs into the sea, and expelled only a small fraction of them in an act of self defence.

The Palestinian Arabs are the only ones responsible for their tragedy. There is no doubt that they suffered as a result of their displacement, but the word “nacba”, chosen to compare the fate of the Palestinians with that of 6 million Jews murdered in the holocaust, is an exaggeration.

Who is responsible for the refugees’ ongoing suffering?

The refugees’ hardships, resulting from the decisions of their own leaders and the Arabic states, only began when they left Israel. Unlike Israel, which absorbed and rehabilitated more than 1,000,000 Jewish refugees who fled or, in some cases, were expelled from the Arabic states leaving all their property behind, the Arabic world refused to absorb the Palestinian refugees. With the exception of Jordan, no Arabic state is prepared to offer citizenship, or at least rehabilitate, the refugees in its area, because rather than solve the refugee problem their aim is to return the refugees to Israel in order to annihilate the Jewish majority and the Jewish state. It is a known fact that, between 1948 and 1967 when some of the refugees were living under Jordanian and Egyptian rule in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip, no effort was made to rehabilitate them. Even the Palestinian Authority has done nothing to rehabilitate the 1948 refugees in its own territory despite the extremely generous aid it has been granted by the Western world.

Are the Palestinians a native nation?

Jews lived in Israel for about 2000 years. They lost their political independence and population majority as a result of the policies of the Roman and Christian-Byzantine imperialist rules, and the economic and security situation during the Arab and Muslim occupations. Yet they held on to their dream to return to their motherland and renew their sovereignty. When the geo-political conditions allowed, Jews began returning to Israel. Although the country was not entirely empty, it was sparsely populated and most of it was desolate and uninhabited.

Arabs arrived in Israel as conquerors during the 7th century. The country was not empty at that time: the majority of its population was Aramaic-speaking Christians, with Jewish and Samaritan minorities. Jewish settlements were concentrated in the Eastern Galilee, while Christians settled in the Western Galilee, the south of Samaria, and Judea. The Arabs did not settle at that time because they were still at the nomadic stage, herding sheep and cattle. During the 7th century no change in the population composition in the Land of Israel was discernible. The Arab conquerors were not interested in settlement, other than settling Muslims in some coastal areas as a buffer against invasions by the Byzantine fleet. Between the middle of the 9th century and the 11th century, the country was incessantly invaded by marauding Bedouin tribes, some of whom used the weakness of the Arab Muslim rulers and took over parts of the country. This is when Bedouins began penetrating Samaria and gradually moved to permanent settlement. This process, however, was cut short by the Crusaders, whose massacres of the Muslim population caused many Arabs and Muslims to flee the country. The next wave of Muslim settlement in the Land of Israel began with the Ottoman conquest during the 16th century. The country was sparsely populated and the Ottoman rulers failed to stop the Bedouin raids on the local population. Bedouin raids and settlement in the Galilee continued up to the 1930’s. Before the middle of the 19th century, the lack of security and the dire economic situation were important factors in the continued decline of the country’s population numbers. Around the middle of the 19th century, Ibrahim Pasha, son of the governor of Egypt, conquered the Land of Israel and settled Egyptian farmers in the coastal area, the valley of Beth Shean, and other locations. The Ottoman government, which recaptured the country a few years later, had its own interests for populating it and so began distributing land to Arabs and Muslims it invited from around the Ottoman Empire to settle in the Land of Israel. For example, in 1873 the tribe of Zou’abiye from Irbid in Trans-Jordan was invited and given lands in the Lower Galilee and the Jerzreel Valley (MK Hanin Zou’abi, who claims that the Jews are colonialists while the true owners of the land are the Palestinians, is a member of this originally-Iraqi tribe which arrived in Israel 136 years ago from Trans-Jordan).

A wave of Arabic work immigration into the Land of Israel began at the end of the 19th century and continued through the first half of the 20th century. These work immigrants arrived at the same time as the Jewish immigrants, settling near Jewish settlements to take advantage of the employment opportunities in the construction industry, the citrus agro-industry, and other industries created by development works of the Zionist movement and Jewish investors. The British Mandate’s government’s development works attracted work immigrants from the Arabic and Muslim world as well. Most of the work immigrants did not settle in the mountainous region of Judea and Samaria, rather, they settled in the area of Jewish settlement, i.e., within our present day Green Line. Research has shown that thousands of Egyptian workers settled in the coastal plains from Jaffa southwards, while Arabic work immigrants who settled in the Sharon area (between Tel Aviv and Haifa) increased the Arab Muslim population there threefold. Thirty five thousand Arabs immigrated to Israel from the Horan region in the north alone. The 1931 census carried out by the British Mandate government exposes the multi-national composition of the population calling itself Palestinian. According to the census, work immigrants came into the country from Bosnia, Chechnia, the Caucasus and other Muslim, non-Arabic countries. Between 1870 and 1948 the Arabic population in the Land of Israel grew by more than 200%. A large portion of this growth was due to immigration rather than natural increase.

In other words, a considerable portion of refugees and Israeli Arabs within the Green Line are first or second generation of those work immigrants. This conclusion is supported by the Arab nations’ demand during the debate over UN resolution 194 to extend the refugee status to any Palestinian who had been living in the Land of Israel for as little as two years prior to 1948.

The right of return means two states for one nation

Under the present circumstances, the solution is to divide the country into two national states. The Oslo agreement presented a turning point in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, when the Palestinian National movement declared its support for the two-state solution. Allegedly, this declaration should have been accompanied by recognition of the State of Israel as the home of the Jewish nation and Palestine as the home of the Palestinian nation. While Israel has fulfilled its part of this bargain, the Palestinian leadership refuses to recognise Israel as the home of the Jewish nation. The Palestinians brought into the negotiations the Trojan Horse of the demand for return, insisting that the refugees return to Israel and refusing to rehabilitate them in the Palestinian Authority. Realising the right to return means turning the Jews into a minority within Israel, thereby creating not two states for two nations, but two states for one nation.

The refugee problem has become a tool for destroying the Jewish state

Seemingly, negotiations are taking place for the establishment of two states. At the same time, however, the Arabs and the Palestinians are conducting global propaganda war against the Jewish state, which is accompanied by a drive to de-legitimise it. As part of their efforts to de-legitimise Israel, Israel is portrayed as a racist country, and the fence it built between itself and the Palestinian Authority as a defence against the terrorist actions originating from the PA, has been turned into a symbol for apartheid. Their propaganda presents the refugees, who were left to their own fate by the Arabic nations, as victims of the establishment of the State of Israel, and compares Israel to the Nazis.

In Camp David in 2000, Yassir Arafat was offered, by President Clinton and Israel’s prime minister Ehud Barak, international financing for rehabilitating the refugees in the Palestinian Authority. Arafat rejected the offer, and the Palestinians continuously refuse to give up the idea of resettling their refugees in the state of the Jews. In an interview in the Washington Post recently, Mahmoud Abbas, who is considered more moderate than Arafat for his rejecting terror as a means for achieving the Palestinians’ goals, has just recently rejected Ehud Olmert’s generous offer, because not all Palestinian demands were accepted although Olmert agreed to Israel absorbing a few thousand refugees as a humanitarian gesture.

The “right to return” is the greatest obstacle for peace between the two nation

great observation

but you apparently stole that from another blogger.

Whoa20, you are wrong,article on Troian horse published3/26/2007

The article was published by me on web site Omedia in hebrew on 3/26/07

I published this article on march 26, 2007 on web site Omedia

Whia20,You are wrong
Someone stole my article.It was published march 26, 2007 on web site Omedia in Hebrew.

sorry, I didn't see a date

Tho I don't think the person stole your article, I know who wrote it. many of his arguments are different as is the overall layout, tho they do share some points. The intro is mere coincidence. The person obviously never saw your article or else I wouldn't have accused you of making a similar one. but still, great article. I was wondering why the term "trojan horse" for RoR isn't used more often, as it should be. Tho it is good that even on other blogs like the one which the article I linked to is, have diaries like this.

Whoa20,you accused me for stealing the article.appologize,please

As I wrote before. I published the article in web site Omedia in hebrew on 3.26.07
This is the translation of my article.
It is not nice to accuse people like you did and you should appologize

I'm very sorry for accusing you

of stealing the article. It was my mistake to jump to conclusions. It would have helped to see a date, but still, sorry about it. I feel like an idiot and I should.

whoa20,the date 3/26/07 us on the hebrew version

Do you read hebrew?
If you read hebrew, you can give me your email and I"ll send you the hebrew version with the date on it.
I gave the editor of this web site the hebrew version, with the date.
He can testify about it.
In this web site everything is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

I don't read hebrew

I'm sorry, it was a mistake for me to accuse you. Can we leave it at that? it was a misunderstanding.

Post new comment

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters (without spaces) shown in the image.