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The Palestinian ethnic cleansing occurred over a period of about 3 months. It began with the adoption of Plan Dalet by Ben Gurion in Tel Aviv around March 15, 1948, two months before Independence. In the two month period before Independence, 250,000 Palestinians were ethnically cleansed forceably and through fear stemming from village massacres of which Deir Yassin is the best known, by the Haganah and the terrorist groups, the Irgun, Stern Gang, and others. The remaining Palestinians were ethnically cleansed after Independence.

The so-called Jewish "ethnic cleansing" from Arab countries, by contrast, would have had to occur over a period of 20 years, and if you include the period of the Iran revolution, it is 30 years. The events you said occurred did occur, but they were sporadic, occurred over a 20 year period, may have been in some cases induced by Israeli agents, and in only one country was there a government sponsored forced emigration (again, I don't recall the country). At the same time, Israel provided incentives to induce people to emigrate because it needed population.

I know that there is an effort to create a Jewish Nakba, an ethnic cleansing, in order to justify the Palestinian Nakba that occurred long before it, but I don't believe that most people would use the term ethnic cleansing to characterize the emigration of Jews from Arabic countries over two decades. It use of course is an attempt at tit-for-tat, which then justifies the Palestinian ethnic cleansing and a nonclaim by Palestinian refugees. In fact, it is quite evident to most that the Palestinian Nakba did increase antiSemitism in Arab countries, but there was always some around anyway.

And yes, there were attempts to stop Jewish Arabs from leaving for Israel for the very reason that Israel was inducing or encouraging their emigration. It was believed that the emigration was assisting in the further disenfranchisement of the Palestinians of their homes and land. No doubt that it was widely known that Israel then proceeded to attempt to erase the memory of the Palestinians by bulldozing most of the 470 villages emptied of their residents, into the ground, and just changing the names of the others that were then populated by Jewish emigrees. In many cases, Palestinian family homes were just appropriated. I have heard of complaints by Israeli Palestinians, citizens, who are not permitted to visit their villages, who know that their family home was taken over by new Israeli emigrants. Many of Israeli Palestinians, citizens, are actually internal refugees from their family villages. Jewish emigrees can take their homes, but they cannot even visit them.

There is no tit-for-tat

by shergald on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 03:46:59 PM EST
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The emigration did take place over an extended period of time, but it was far from evenly spread. What you saw was a wave of violence accompanying the first Arab-Israeli war. At that point a great many wanted out, but many countries refused permission. Under international pressure, certain countries at certain times opened their borders at which point there was mass flight.

There were also those who first tried to stay, given that they saw themselves as Jewish Arabs and who had no interest in becoming Israelis, but later decided that it simply wasn't worth it, leading to second waves. There's also the understandable fact that faced with  pogroms and intense government anti-Jewish propaganda and discrimination just a short period after the Holocaust, most Jews weren't interested in gambling.

Sure the pattern wasn't the same as the Naqba, but that doesn't mean that it didn't happen. Nor does the Israeli government's use of the events in its propaganda change the reality of what happened. I personally happen to think that Palestinian refugees outside the 1967 borders should have no claims on Israel (or any other refugees in any other place after a couple decades). However, I'm not going to go running around claiming the Palestinians left voluntarily under Arab encouragement - a myth long propagated by pro-Israeli propaganda.

by MarekNYC on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 04:06:20 PM EST
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And isn't this the point you are trying to make all along: that the Palestinian refugees, thrown out of Israeli in 1948, have no rights to their homes and lands?

I personally happen to think that Palestinian refugees outside the 1967 borders should have no claims on Israel (or any other refugees in any other place after a couple decades).

Well that is the very point of this propagandish notion of a Jewish Nakba that somehow mullifies the Palestinian right to their homes and lands. Israeli can just keep it all, in spite of the fact it was stolen by force. Over 10 thousand Palestinians died during the Nakba.

This kind of thinking requires that one comflate Palestinian and Arab, to see Palestinians as just Arabs who might be from anywhere in the Middle East, and that being so, they sinned when in Iraq or Yemen, a forced exodus was mandated, albeit not in all the other countries.

Sorry that kind of thinking doesn't fly very well because Palestinians are Palestinians and not Iraqis or Yemeni. It is part of western prejudice to see all Arabs alike. It just doesn't work.

by shergald on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 06:28:15 PM EST
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This has nothing to do with what happened in 1948, nor the nationality of the Palestinians, nor what happened to the Jews in the Middle East or in Europe, nor really anything else but when it happened. I also don't think the huge populations of 'refugees' in Poland or Germany, or Greece and Turkey or Pakistan and India have any rights.

The Naqba and the subsequent forced exodus of the Arab Jews are linked only in the sense that the latter was in part a retaliation for the first. They neither excuse nor compensate for one another. The only claim the Palestinians have on the Israelis with respect to the Naqba is in terms of historical memory and acknowledgement of that foundational crime.

There's a reason why ethnic cleansing is regarded as a form of genocide under the Genocide Convention, regardless of the amount of bloodshed that accompanies it: what it does is kill a society. If the individuals that made up that society aren't killed as well, it is potentially revivable for some time. But that point has long since passed. Another society now lives in that territorial space. Furthermore, the current Israeli society is no longer the same one that committed the ethnic cleansing (other crimes yes, but not that one).

So what we're talking about here is the descendants of perpetrators being punished, on the basis that that will somehow resurrect the long deceased. Forcing Israeli society to accept mass immigration of anyone against its will would be a crime in itself. I know it's a cliche, but two wrongs really don't make a right.

The current inhabitants of Israel have a right to their land, Palestinians in the occuppied territories have a right to theirs. Neither has any rights vis a vis anyone else as refugees because they are not. Nor is the land you're talking about 'their' land. Not any more.

Or do you really believe that Vilnius isn't legitimately Lithuanian because back in 1939 Wilno happened to be about 2% Lithuanian, or Wroclaw Polish because Breslau was some 99% German in 1944? How about Izmir/Smyrna and the rest of Greek Asia minor? What rights do the Turkish descendants of all those who fled the various independence and Balkan wars have? How far back do you want to go?

I can sympathize with the Palestinian feelings about this, they've been horribly fucked over. I can also sympathize with the extreme paranoia of the Israelis that is such an important factor in what they're currently doing to the Palestinians. But I want the Israelis out of the Territories and I don't want to force the Israelis to accept an influx of Palestinians into their own land.

by MarekNYC on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 06:58:40 PM EST
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In the end it will not be what you or I want, but what the participants will agree to. Whatever is agreed upon will obviously have to include 5 million Palestinian refugees waiting in numerous UN camps around the Middle East. At the present time, however, it is evident from its actions that Israel does not want a two state solution, and continues on a trajectory of military occupation and colonization that is happening NOW.

That's why I'm here: to publicize an ongoing crime by the current government of Israel against the Palestinian people, which from all appearances is a continuation of the Zionist project implemented in 1948. The Israelis now control 42% of the West Bank. Some like Jimmy Carter say it is actually 58% but however much control is involved it is in the form of poured cement and a half million transplanted Israelis. Ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians continues every day.

by shergald on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 09:51:44 PM EST
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So, effectively, ethnic cleansing is rewarded as long as a country has the military and political might to delay a just and equitable resolution for a few decades, or until the cleansed die off, so that their descendants have less of a hold over the losses.

I would agree that this is the reality.

But... I would also say that international law bans "settling" for precisely these reasons.

by Upstate NY on Fri Sep 5th, 2008 at 09:58:47 AM EST
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