Guest Notes

Right-of-return notes

8 September 2018

9:00 AM

8 September 2018

9:00 AM

The Great Disrupter

For decades the world has infantilised the Palestinians, calling them refugees when they are not refugees; justifying a ‘right of return’ when there is no ‘right of return’.

The world has indulged the Palestinians by providing aid whilst turning a blind eye to evidence that the funds end up in the pockets of families as a reward for having their sons murder Israelis. The more horrendous the crime, the greater the reward.

The world has maintained the fiction that Israel, the only liberal democracy in the Middle East, is the world’s worst human rights offender. The United Nations Human Rights Council has a permanent agenda item, Item 7, which mandates that the UNHRC debate Israeli human rights abuses against the Palestinians during each of its sessions. No other nation has such a standing agenda item.

As John Stuart Mill said, the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. And that is what the supposedly good people of Europe have been doing at UNHCR meetings by merely abstaining when Israel’s calumnies are being debated.

The world maintains the fiction that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel. Every other country nominates its capital which is universally recognised. Only Israel is prevented from doing so.

The world ignores the fact that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine, UNRWA, employs Hamas terrorists. Its schools, which are required to prepare children for career opportunities and social responsibility, instead teach children to kill Jews. Its schools have also been used as repositories of weapons during conflicts and bases for the delivery of missiles aimed at Israeli civilians.

The world supplies the Palestinians with the proverbial ‘fish rather than fishing rods’, and exacerbates the situation further by boycotting Jewish enterprises which employ Palestinians, hence not only failing to provide fishing rods but instead breaking them.

The Boycott, Divest, Sanctions (BDS) movement, insofar as it is succeeding, is losing jobs and income for Palestinian families who have enjoyed better opportunities and work conditions than would be possible otherwise. Clearly the greatest hope for the Palestinians is in the integration of their economy with Israel and Jordan; a possibility vehemently sabotaged by so-called ‘Friends of Palestine’.

And then along comes the Great Disrupter. ‘No,’ he says to great consternation, ‘Israel is not the greatest human rights abuser in this world of civil war, genocide, mass expulsions, and terror.’

‘No,’ he says, ‘The United States will not fund a government which rewards murderers’ families and encourages the killing of innocents.’ In this he has the support of the US Senate which passed the Taylor Force Act, named after a US soldier murdered by a terrorist attack in Tel Aviv which injured another eleven civilians.

As for refugees, the Great Disrupter asks ‘Why is there one definition of “refugee” for Palestinians and another for the rest of humanity? Aren’t Palestinians humans?’

‘Everyone else is a refugee if he cannot return to his country and is not permanently settled. The Palestinians have all been permanently settled for decades. Why are they and their children and grandchildren, who could be New York bankers, called Palestinian refugees?’

‘Why are people living under their own government called Palestinian refugees? Why are Jordanian citizens called Palestinian refugees? Why are people who, with their parents and grandparents, have lived all their lives in Lebanon and Syria calling themselves Palestinian refugees? Refugees are people looking for refuge. All of these are permanently settled.’

The Great Disrupter says: ‘No. We will not fund a United Nations organisation which promotes a fictitious definition of refugee to include people settled in neighbouring countries for decades and even those living under their own governments. And no, there is no such thing as a “right of return” for Palestinians who fled 70 years ago, no more than a ‘right of return’ for the indigenous populations of Manhattan, Chicago, Buenos Aires, Sydney or Ottawa.’

For those unfamiliar with the conflict, the issue of the ‘right of return’ is at its very heart. Media-savvy Hamas strategists have labelled the recent Gazan attempts to break down the barrier to Israel as ‘right of return’ demonstrations.

This slogan appeals to those who respond compassionately to the photographs of poor old Palestinians holding up an ancient key, a key to their former home, now in Israel.

To understand the dreams of the holders of the key one must understand that they are not dreaming of a return to their country, Palestine, which never existed. No, their dream is to place the key in the door of their parent’s home, a home surrounded by the homes of family and friends in their ancestral village, where goats wander aimlessly, a home overlooking an orange grove and olive trees, a small local mosque nearby, the home of their childhood.

The problem is that this was 70 years ago. The door in which the key is meant to turn is gone and the house which the door once protected is no longer there. The village in all likelihood is an industrial estate, a highway, a hotel or a corner of a suburb. The home of the holder of the key no more exists than bark humpies do in Balmain or Port Melbourne.

As the saying goes, ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions’, and the world is overflowing with good intentions towards the Palestinians. The motivation of the Great Disrupter is to throw cold water on the dreamers; for them to acknowledge that the only path to peace is a realistic territorial compromise reached by peoples who don’t threaten each other.

There is a long way to go, but if the major European countries wake up, and the Gulf States join Trump’s lead, there is hope.

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