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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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