Racism, Propaganda, and The Palestinian Right to Return

Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas has recently issued statements in accordance with a framework agreement reached with Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, surrendering the inalienable right to return of roughly five million Palestinians to their land and homes that they were driven from primarily between the years of 1947-49, coinciding with the creation of the state of Israel.

Although the Palestinian right to return is guaranteed under Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as in United Nations Security Council Resolution 194, which also affirms their right to compensation, the right to return has been thrown off the negotiation table by Israel at every opportunity. Mahmoud Abbas now joins Zionist tyrants of past and present in disregarding perhaps the most crucial Palestinian issue.

Thanks to US/Israeli/Zionist propaganda, there are currently many misconceptions, racist assumptions, and blatant lies floating around that distort a very simple reality. Using uncontroversial sources and facts, we can easily form an morally and legally irrefutable justification for the return of Palestinian refugees.

Before outlining these historical and moral truisms in an effort to articulate a just resolution to the Palestinian refugee problem, we must first examine certain ideological conceptions of history and justice that have over the years prevailed in substantial sectors of thought in the West and in Israel.

According to the Zionist doctrinal historical record, the UN, in accordance with international law partitioned the country of Palestine fairly, giving land to peace loving Jewish settlers to form their democratic country, and land to the ‘Arabs’ to form a nation of their own. The Arabs, (calling them Palestinians would signify some kind of natural right to Palestine, which of course should be avoided) consistent with their inherent irrationality stemming from an unexplainable predisposition to anti-Semitism, of course rejected this benevolent and just proposal in favor of driving the Jews into the sea.

The Zionist settlers on the other hand, who of course accepted this proposal and only wished to coexist peacefully with their neighbors, were left with no choice but to fight off several crazed Arab armies who, despite their differences, all united under the banner of finishing Hitler’s final solution. Miraculously, with God watching over in approval, hopelessly outnumbered, “tiny Israel” succeeded in driving the Arab Nazi forces out and declared independence in May 1948.

In an act of pure altruism, the newly formed state of Israel welcomed the Arabs who happened to be residing in the new Jewish state by awarding them full equal rights and citizenship. Of course, some Arabs did voluntarily leave the land that became Israel, as they followed strict orders from their belligerent Arab commanders who instructed them to vacate the land. By 1949, the green line was established leaving Israel with nearly 80% of Palestine while generously conceding the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem to the Arab savages.

After all, God promised the land to the European Jewish settlers, and the Arabs shouldn’t have been squatting there. The terrorist Arabs who chose to leave Israel before its official establishment of course cannot simply come and go as they please. Israel has to consider the security of its citizens and make sure that its immigration policies reflect that priority.

Also, perhaps most importantly, Israel has a divine and natural right to protect its sacred Jewish character, to ensure that Israel remains the state “for the Jewish people” which includes Jews in every corner of the globe. That being said, an overwhelming Jewish majority must be made permanent and cannot be jeopardized by unscrupulous Arab ‘immigration’ and the anti-Semitic propaganda advocated by the United Nations, Amnesty International, Israeli human rights groups and scholars, most of the world, and other self-hating Jews.

In the real world, free from the ideological constraints of Zionist fantasy, the UN 1947 partition was rejected by both Palestinians and Zionists. The difference is that the UN Special Committee On Palestine (UNSCOP) was comprised of 11 members, none of which were from Arab nations, none of which had specific background knowledge in the Middle East, and none of which was a native of the country being partitioned. As author and human rights activist, Mazin Qumsiyeh notes in his book, Sharing the Land of Canaan, the committee was privy to well organized and “significant lobbying by Zionist and US [leaders and organizations]” which included David Ben-Gurion, a open advocate of Palestinian ethnic cleansing. The committee “spent considerable time interviewing European Jews” but did not consult one native Palestinian.

According to the UN Charter, the UN is officially committed to “developing friendly relations among nations based on respect for…self determination of peoples.” As Qumsiyeh points out, the partition was fundamentally illegal as it marked the first instance in the history of the United Nations of “the people of the land being partitioned not being afforded self-determination.”

Consistent with the proclamations of every early Zionist leader, the Zionists rejected the majority of the 1947 partition proposal’s content, despite the fact that the partition granted the Jewish minority the majority of the country, including its most arable land. Nevertheless, they dismissed the prohibition of the removal of the native population, the internationalization of Jerusalem, and the proposed borders among other things.

It is at this point in history, in regards to the subsequent events following the UN partition proposal, that the ideological constraints of Zionist propaganda have reached perhaps a peak of shamelessness. Based on uncontroversial facts documented by mainstream and respected Israeli historians such as Benny Morris, during the time between November 29th, 1947 and Israel’s declaration of “independence” on May 15th, 1948, 213 Palestinian villages and towns were cleansed by Jewish-Zionist militias, making refugees out of 413,794 Palestinians.

These pre-1948 independence war ‘land clearing’ operations, which accounted for 52% of Palestinian refugees, were all carried out, well before any outside Arab force entered Palestine, and as Qumsiyeh notes, “under the ‘protection’ of the British mandate.” After the mandate expired, another 339,272 Palestinians were driven out of Palestine, constituting a cleansing of 264 additional native villages or towns, and accounting for 42% of the refugees.

We should also note the nature of these cleansings, which not surprisingly, hardly resemble the claims Zionists have made for decades in attempting to offer an explanation for the enormous Palestinian refugee population. As cited by Qumsiyeh, pulling directly from Morris’ research, as well as other Israeli historians (whose research consists of declassified Israeli government and military sources) 122 Palestinian localities (towns, communities, or villages) were cleansed by “expulsion by Zionist/Jewish forces.” 270 localities were cleansed by “military assault” by Zionist militias. This amounts to 88% percent of the Palestinian refugees being forcibly “expelled” or driven out by “military assault” by Zionist militias.

Palestinians fled from at least 12 known localities because of “fear of a Zionist attack.” Of the 33 documented massacres of Palestinian civilians in 1948 alone, the massacre of Deir Yassin is the mostly widely known today, where at least 254 Palestinians civilians were slaughtered by Zionist forces. Like hundreds of other villages Deir Yassin was literally wiped off the map, as if it never existed. Qumsiyeh notes that during the massacre, “more than 20 villagers were taken to a nearby Jewish settlement, paraded, and then killed to incite panic among the local Palestinians.”

After the fact, Prime Minister to be, Menachem Begin, explained the benefits of the massacre:

Deir Yassin helped us in the conquest of Haifa…Arabs began fleeing in panic, shouting ‘Deir Yassin’…

In all, less than 1.5% of the inhabitants of the Palestinian localities evacuated due to orders from outside Arab leaders. (It is noteworthy though, that even if the Palestinian refugees had left by their own free will, independent of Zionist coercion, international law still guarantees, under the Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that “everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.”)

Of course, none of this should come as a surprise to anyone interested in the origins of Zionism and the theories and philosophies put forth by every major Zionist leader, from Vladimir Jabotinsky, Yitzhak Rabin, David Ben-Gurion, Joseph Weitz, and countless others.

By the time Israel’s borders reached the Armistice green line, the Zionist forces had succeeded in removing 80% of the native population from the newly established state of Israel. Without massacring thousands and driving out nearly one million native Palestinians, the Jewish state of Israel could never have been established. Indeed, it was established primarily on extreme aggression and terror, creating a the largest refugee population in the post WWII world.

Within a month of its independence, the Israeli Cabinet issued a law banning the return of Palestinian refugees to their homeland. Israeli leaders then proceeded to pass laws regarding “Absentee Property” referring to the legalization of confiscating millions of dunams of Arab land, thousands of truck loads of stolen goods, thousands of Arab businesses, and thousands of Arab homes.

We should also be aware that 300,000 more Palestinians were made refugees during the 1967 war as they were driven out of the West Bank of Palestine. In all, Palestinian refugees and their descendants, the biggest refugee population in the world, number upwards of five million people today, many of whom live in atrocious conditions in refugee camps in unfathomable poverty, oppression, and desperation.

Because the vast majority of Palestinians have consistently made clear that any peaceful resolution to the Israel/Palestine conflict must include the Palestinian right to return, and because their right to return is uncontroversially articulated under international law, and reaffirmed by UN member states year after year, this issue should have been solved a long time ago.

What is standing in the way of justice and compensation for the refugees is Israel’s claim to its “right” to maintain a “Jewish majority” in the “Jewish state.” The self proclaimed Jewish state, within its armistice borders, artificially maintains a roughly 70% Jewish majority. Israel is a state only for the Jewish population, as its Palestinian-Arab citizens (often referred to as ‘Arab-Israelis’) are subject to several racially discriminatory laws.

Arab communities are deliberately prevented from developing or expanding, while municipality policies are erected to clear space for Jews, despite the horrendous housing crisis Israeli Arabs are currently facing. Israeli-Arabs are virtually without political representation as government social services are severely disproportionately allocated to Jews, and scarcely even attempt to address the needs of its Arab citizens. These are the 2nd class Arab citizens of Israel. We already know how Palestinians are treated who live in the occupied territories. (The Association for Civil Rights in Israel: “The State of Human Rights in Israel and the Occupied Territories” 2005)

The idea of artificially maintaining a demographic Jewish majority should, as noted by Palestinian journalist, Khalid Amayreh, “constitute a brazen moral insult to every human being that values justice and honesty.” Furthermore, to test this argument on the grounds of universal morality, we might ask how Jews in the US would react to an American policy that denied future Jewish immigration to the states on the basis that the United States of America needs to retain its “Christian character.” What if British lawmakers stated that no more Black Africans would be allowed to immigrate to Great Britain because they felt it necessary to maintain a “white majority?”

As repulsive as these hypothetical situations would be, they do not even begin to approach the racist moral cowardice of Israeli-Zionist policy which guarantees citizenship to any Jewish person in the world including religious converts, but systematically denies the human right of return to the indigenous Palestinian human beings that it forcibly removed from the country it took over.

Israel should be held to the same standards as any other state that seeks democracy and justice, and therefore cannot in good conscience be a state for one religious demographic, while banning millions of rightful citizens from returning and while undermining the very existence of the minority Arab population that escaped expulsion and death in the nascent hours of Israel’s establishment. Simply put, racist and exclusive assertions cannot be accepted as a justification for the continued illegal denial of human rights to millions of people.

The only just solution for the question of Israel/Palestine will be a resolution that recognizes human rights, international law, and one that transcends racist ideology, providing equality for both Jews and Arabs. For all those concerned with justice and universal moral principles, this is non-negotiable.

Max Kantar is an undergraduate at Ferris State University. He can be reached for comment at: maxkantar@gmail.com. Read other articles by Max, or visit Max's website.

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  1. Mrs C Cameron said on September 17th, 2008 at 8:43am #

    You are absolutely right, Mr Kantar: ‘Israel’ is an illegitimate, racist state which should not be recognized by anyone until its indigenous inhabitants are allowed back and until the Zionist invaders respect all the rights of the Palestinians. These alone can decide on the future of their native land.