Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The UN's Ban Ki-moon honours courage of Palestinians

The boys and girls at the United Nations continue to defy logic when it comes to issuing news releases regarding the plight of Palestinian refugees.

A short while ago, the UN was beaming with pride as one of their top officials endorsed the "tradition" of Muslims caring for refugees. The only exception to this generosity is the Palestinian community that left Israel in 1948 and who continue to swelter in refugee camps set up in Arab countries.

Unlike Israel, which took in more than 650,000 Jewish refugees from Arab countries immediately following the Independence War and immediately began a process to integrate them into the new country's society, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt, herded the same number of Palestinians into camps in those countries.

60+ years later, the Palestinians are denied citizenship in their host countries, denied work permits, and basically treated as non-entities. For what purpose other than to foster anti-Semitism?

On June 30, 2009, according to a UN press release, "Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon paid tribute today to Palestinian refugees, who he said had shown great courage in the face of conflict, as well as to the efforts over the past 60 years of the United Nations agency tasked with assisting them."

Rather than ask for absorption of refugees, the UN lauds their courage. They should have the courage to insist on citizenship in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. They have been the pawns of the world's Arab and Muslim community for way too long.


The Expatriate said...

Once again, Mr. Flatlow, you allow your personal biases and experiences to distort your view of the world. Has it ever occurred to you that the Palestinians might want their own land back, rather than to be resettled in another country?

Here is a suggestion: when the rest of the world is looking one way, and you and your small group are looking another, it's generally a good sign that you and your group are wrong.

Stephen M. Flatow said...

Dear Expat- Let's look both ways, as you suggest. About 650,000 Jews were expelled by Arab countries following the 1948 war. They left the same kinds of villages and towns and cities as the Arabs did when they voluntarily left Palestine at the urging of Arab leaders or were chased by the fighting. (At the same time, many 10s of thousands of Arabs stayed out of the fray and became Israeli citizens.)
I think it is correct to say that the Arab world had a choice in 1948between penning-in these folks while holding out to them the promise that they would soon return to their homes in Israel or taking them out of the camps and fully absorbing them into society.
Instead, for more than 60 years the UN has played into the hands of Arab and now Palestinian leadership singing the "we'll soon return you to your home" song.
The fact remains that Arab refugees are treated as nothing more than pawns by their fellow Muslims (despite the trumpeted claim of their kindness to refugees) and as little children by the UN.

The Expatriate said...

Mr. Flatow,

You still haven't address my main point: that the Palestinians do not want to integrate into these societies. They want to return to their homes. Also, as historians such as Ilan Pappe, a Jewish citizen of Israel, have pointed out, the evacuation of Palestinians was largely non-voluntary.

Stephen M. Flatow said...

Dear Expat- I think it's implicit in the posting and my response to you that the world knew in 1948 that there would not be a right of return to Israel by the Arabs or to Yemen, Iraq, et al, by the Jews, no matter what their desires may have been about someday returning.

The Jews understood this and educated their refugees to the new reality. The Arabs and the UN intentionally chose to ignore the same reality, fed their refugees false hopes, and kept them separate from their neighboring society.

It's time for the Arab world and the UN to dismantle UNWRA and to work on settling the Palestians in the countries where they are now or to educate them to the reality that they are not going back to long-gone villages in post-1948 Israel.

The Expatriate said...

If that's the case, then you can expect another fifty years of violence. It's tragic, but if people settle in Indian country, they have only themselves to blame if they end up scalped. I say this as someone with Native American blood.

shana maydel said...

Hey Ex Man I'll address your point:
In 1947 the United Nations approved a plan to partition the territory into Arab and Jewish states. The Jewish Agency accepted the plan. The Arabs did not.

On May 14, 1948, the State of Israel declared its independence. On May 15, five Arab nations declared war. Despite being surrounded on all sides, Israel prevailed and expanded its borders, providing a small additional measure of security against attacks which were certain to come—and did.

So, to be clear, the more than 700,000 Palestinians who left Israel were refugees of a war instigated by Arab governments, bent on seizing more land for themselves.You are correct it was
an evacuation of Palestinians but it was voluntary on a promise they would get back land that wasn't theirs to begin with. Also never forget the Arabs who left Israel after its modern founding weren’t the only displaced population in the Middle East. In addition to the hundreds of thousands of Jews who left Europe during and after the Holocaust, in the 20th century, more than three quarters of a million Jews fled or were expelled from their homes in Arab and Middle Eastern nations—in cities that many of their families had lived in for nearly a millennium.

The Expatriate said...

Dear Pretty Girl (as that is what your name means),

You ignore the evidence uncovered by historian Ilan Pappe, which demonstrates that the leaders of the founding of Israel planned to expell large portions of the Palestinian population before the war with the Arab countries broke out. Pappe argues that the voluntary exodus was more patriotic myth than historical truth.

I find a rather interesting double standard in your writing. If the Palestinians and Arabs lose their homes, that is just fine. However, if Jewish people lose their homes, that is horrendous. Try a bit of consistency next time.

shana maydel said...

Well Ex-Man this about all I'm going to say about this: Ilan Pappe???
While it is interesting to explore the question of why there are anti-Zionist Jews, this is not necessarily the reason to discount Pappe's work. You sound like a "thinking man"...Pappe's work should be ignored not because he is a communist or an anti-Zionist, but because he is a bad historian and what he writes is not history, but controversial historical fiction.
Check it out.