August 3, 2006

Perpetual Refugees

Perpetual Refugees

The Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon are a tragic by-product of the decades-old conflict with Israel, and may be at the real and symbolic center of brokering a solution.

The 12 camps, which have been there since 1967 and in some cases since 1948, are home to almost 400,000 people, or 10% of the country’s total population. Living conditions in the camps are shockingly bad: the rate of unemployment is 80%, there’s little access to health care or schools, and the people who have lived there for decades are broadly discriminated against in the rest of the country. By law they are not eligible for citizenship, and cannot own or inherit property. They are, in the words of an anonymous blogger whose voice we featured on yesterday’s show, perpetual refugees.

The camps have also traditionally been a breeding ground for militants. In the late ’60s the PLO drew much of its support from a radicalized refugee population, providing Israel with some of its rationale for invading in 1982. The Sabra and Shatila refugee camps were the site of a 1982 massacre, which angers and galvanizes people to this day.

There are now more Palestinians living in the diaspora, camps included, than in the actual territories. Many still carry the keys to the homes they lost, and hand them down from generation to generation. What’s to do about this — eternally, it seems — displaced population? Should they have the right of return to a future Palestinian state? What impact does its presence have on the domestic political landscape in Lebanon? Why hasn’t that country tried to assimilate them into the broader population, as has happened in Jordan and elsewhere? What is the relationship between these Palestinians and the ones living in the West Bank and Gaza? What is the role of these camps in the present conflict? And what is the existential reality of being a perpetual refugee?

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  • I hope you can discuss as part of this topic the Jews driven out of Arab lands in the 20th century, without any compensation or right of return.

  • jdyer

    “I hope you can discuss as part of this topic the Jews driven out of Arab lands in the 20th century, without any compensation or right of return.”

    Yes, indeed. Also about the millions or refugees in the world of the 1940’s from India to Eastern Europe, as well as the mid East which were settled in other countries and weren’t allowed to fester in camps in order to nurse the Arab grievance against Israel.

  • Robin

    Hi guys. My guess is that the topic of Jewish refugees who fled Arab countries when Israel was created will come up at some point during this hour, but I don’t think we’re going to be able to tackle in depth all of the “millions o[f] refugees in the world of the 1940’s” in this one show. My hope is to focus in on this one population of refugees in this one country, to see how they are still impacting the ongoing conflict. Hopefully that makes sense. If you can think of other specific populations of refugees deserving similar exploration, by all means let us know. Thanks.

  • Yes finally .Maybe we can learn a bit about this injustice and the fact that the United Nation never had one single resolution about the Jewish refugees from Arab countries….Maybe at last If this injustice is addressed , Jews and Arabs can finally solve the Israeli/Palestinian problem..http://www.theforgottenrefugees.com/

  • rc21

    How many refugees were created during the 6 day war of 1967? These I would say are the total responsibility of the arab countries who started the war. Either way I feel bad for them. It is to bad that there hate and anger is so misguided

  • siennaf1

    How about this for a solution to the Israeli – Palestinian conflict:

    One state ! since obviously both nations strive to live on the same piece of land, which both see as a “Homeland�, why not share it then ?!

    Call it “Palel� or Isralestine� or whatever. One state which is at the same time a home to the Jewish people, and to the Palestinians form all around the world.

    Just like Jews today automatically become Israeli citizens and receive financial help upon arriving in Israel, so will Palestinian refugees automatically receive “Palel� citizenship and financial help.

    The new state will have a constitution that asserts civil rights for all it’s citizens, and which balances the different needs of each nation. The constitution will be a secular one and will make a clear separation of church and state.

    In a previous discussion a question was asked : “If religion could somehow, magically, be factored out of the equation, what cultural or plain human similarities would remain to bring together the Israelis and the Palestinians?�

    Knowing the two nations I think that if we remove the religious aspect, the two nations have a lot more in common that they care to admit.

    I think this can be achieved if the two learn to trust and respect each other.

    Or is the hatred too deep??

  • houstonDave

    Robin wrote: “My hope is to focus in on this one population of refugees in this one country, to see how they are still impacting the ongoing conflict. Hopefully that makes sense.”

    No. It doesn’t.

    Knowing that about a million Jews from Arab countries (and Iran) were kicked out of their homes that some had occupied for centuries when the modern state of Israel was established and not mentioning it will doom this show to being one-sided anti-Israel propaganda.

    About the time of the India-Pakistan partition, about 10 million Muslims left India to go to Pakistan and about the same number of Hindus made the opposite trip.

    Maybe you ought to ask the question about why the Arabs that were living in the 17% of Palestine that became Israel (and didn’t want to live in a Jewish state) were above making a population transfer an order of magnitude smaller than the India-Pakistan one? Another question is why didn’t they establish a country in the other 83% of the land called Palestine that Britain took from the Ottoman Empire?

    Finally, if you would zoom the camera out enough to see the part of the globe that stretches from Mauritania to Iraq (or even Iran), you might want to ask why all the hatred over a piece of land the size of New Jersey (with no oil!) when the Arab world comprises at least 1 and a half times the land of the United States, including Alaska?

    Until you ask those questions, I’m afraid you are just pussyfooting around the issue and are not really interested in getting to the core of the problem. If this is where “political correctness” has gotten us, we are not going to be able to work out conflicts. “Political correctness” seems to be just a euphemism for intellectual dishonesty.

  • houstonDave

    siennaf1:

    Your idea sounds kind of sweet, but it reveals deep ignorance of what Israel is about. There are about a million Arab CITIZENS of Israel who have full civil rights. They may serve in the military, but this is mandatory for Jews. The laws of marriage in Israel are handled separately by the different religions, so Sharia law applies to Muslims who live there.

    I’d like to hear your report of the rights of Jews in Arab countries.

  • siennaf1

    houstonDave:

    I know my idea sounds naïve and sweet, and most likely won’t work in today’s middle-east. But maybe it is time we think outside the box.

    The way I see it, the two nations spend too much time looking back in time, instead of looking forward. Both keep bringing up historical dates and facts that look different depending which side is you look from.

    I understand very well why Israel is important to the Jews, and because of that it is vital they secure a strong and peaceful country.

    The same goes for the Palestinians. You say there are many Arab countries with lots of land, but that makes no difference. The Palestinians are being used by authoritarian regimes, and have to realize that their Arab brothers don’t really care about them. If the Palestinians want their own independent secure state, they will have to work it out with the Israelis and only them. Egypt and Jordan have proven that they are not going to help them, and their “good� friend Syria will forget all about their plight once it gets back the Golan Heights.

    Now back to the one state idea.

    Many Jews in Israel see the west bank and Gaza as part of the “Holy Land� and want to live there.

    Many Palestinians, or should I say, all Palestinians see Jaffa, Haifa, Acre as part of Palestine, and want to live there.

    It will be very difficult to divide this land, and which ever way you divide it, some grievance will remain on both sides.

    So I say let’s not divide it. Israel will remain home for the Jews, but will also become home for the Palestinians.

    Of course this is not an easy thing to accomplish, and will require international help. I do think that part of the solution should be, that Palestinian refugees should be granted citizenship in the countries they now reside in if they choose to stay there.

    A constitution must be put in place that guarantees everybody’s rights.

    Like you said, at present there is no separation of church and state in Israel, so the new constitution will amend this.

  • Thank you houstonDave. If we don’t dig into the root of the problems we will never have a solution.

  • rc21

    Good point s by houston Dave. One other question,maybe slightly off topic. Why is it only Isreal that is expected to return territory that it gained in a war that was inflicted on them. Throughout history land gained in conflict has never been returned.This has been accepted throughout history. All Americans live on land that was gained by forceing out the Indians. And I can assure you I have not read of one American turning over his home or property to the nearest indian tribe. So I think the idea of Isreal returning the Golan heights and other lands gained in war is not justified or valid. Isreal is playing by the same rules as the rest of the world.

  • houstonDave

    siennaf1: The Palestinians are being used by authoritarian regimes, and have to realize that their Arab brothers don’t really care about them.

    The concept of the Palestinians as being a distinct people is controversial. Some of us believe the identity was invented in 1967. Before that, they were just Arabs. Some of the countries in the Middle East are ancient, like Israel, Egypt and Lebanon, but others were invented in the 20th century, like Jordan and Iraq. I guess it’s just handy to ignore that the majority of the people in Jordan are so-called Palestinians.

    >> Many Palestinians, or should I say, all Palestinians see Jaffa, Haifa, Acre as part of Palestine, and want to live there.

    The problem is that you omitted the operative phrase: . . .without Jews!

    >> that Palestinian refugees should be granted citizenship in the countries they now reside in if they choose to stay there.

    Another fact ignored by many who discuss this issue is that many Arab countries deny citizenship to Palestinians even after 3 or 4 generations are born in that country!

    >> A constitution must be put in place that guarantees everybody’s rights.

    Like the United Kingdom, Israel doesn’t have a constitution, and they have a legal system based on English Common Law. Israel already guarantees the rights of all of its CITIZENS, regardless of religion (I’m still waiting on your report about the rights of Jews in Arab countries).

    >> Like you said, at present there is no separation of church and state in Israel,

    I said no such thing. The separation of synagogue 😉 and state in Israel is not as complete as it is here in the US, theoretically, but most aspects of civil and criminal law is completely secular. Only a few areas are delegated to religious authorities.

  • huck finn

    Robin- I will listen with interest. I think we all will benefit from this examination of the current Palestinian refugee situation. The bigotry expressed here and elsewhere with regard to the Palestinians and others reminds me of opinions widely held in the 40’s about the “Yellow Menace” ie. “those people place a different value on human life than we do”. If folks truly want to reach understanding, going micro one topic at a time will be more effective than attempting to stay macro and superficial. I know you are assembling ideas for future shows from those suggested.

  • jdyer

    Robin Says:

    August 3rd, 2006 at 5:51 pm

    ” If you can think of other specific populations of refugees deserving similar exploration, by all means let us know. Thanks.”

    But that’s the point, isn’t it?

    The Arab refugees are unique because the Arab countries refused to normalize their lives and forced the UN to keep them in refugee camps.

  • siennaf1

    houstonDave:

    Your arguments are the same arguments we’ve been hearing for 40 years or more. These arguments got us nowhere.

    My point is to stop looking back and look for a solution looking forward.

    It does not matter if the Palestinians where a distinct people before 1916, 1947, 1967 you choose. The fact of the matter is that today they are considered to be a distinct people.

    The Arabs use the same argument about Israel. They claim Jews are not distinct people and should go back to their own countries.

    So saying the Palestinian are not a distinct people, won’t make them go away, and won’t solve the problem. What we need is for both nations to recognize the other as distinct with the right to live on the same land.

    You say “Israel already guarantees the rights of all of its CITIZENS, regardless of religion (I’m still waiting on your report about the rights of Jews in Arab countries).�

    Yes you are right – the rights are equal in the books, but as you very well know, they are not equal in practice. And it does not matter what rights Jews have in Arab countries, if you think something is bad – do you want to be bad too? And by the way, if you do want to look back at history, Jews had it better in Muslim countries for centuries, than under Christian rule in Europe.

  • jdyer

    “The Arabs use the same argument about Israel. They claim Jews are not distinct people and should go back to their own countries.”

    This isn’t true as the Arab Muslims have instituted laws to govern this “non distinct people” they also call dhimmis. This has been the case ever since the time the Koran was composed.

    Merely using an argument doesn’t make it true.

    That the Palestinian Arabs were not thought of as a distinct people is demonstrable by the fact that no government, no religion ever thought of them as such prior to 1948. Even then many Arabs rejected the label Palestinian calling themselves merely Arabs or South Syrians.

  • siennaf1

    “Merely using an argument doesn’t make it true.”

    Exactly ! So you arguing the Palestinians are not a distinct people doesn’t make it true either.

    Again we are looking to the past. TODAY they call themselves “Palestinians” and so do everybody else in the world. So you should accept that too. We’ve been down that road of not recognizing them…..

    There are millions of Palestinians refugees, and yes they have been kept in refugee camps on purpose. how do you solve this problem today !

    Everybody loves to go back to the past and quote different events in History to prove their point. the fact of the matter is that ever since the dawn of History many people lived in that part of the world at the same time. It is also true that they rarely lived in peace….

  • Potter

    The fact that Lebanon, for instance has kept their Palestinian population as “a festering sore” makes them culpable, part of the conflict sincd this is one outstanding issue of two that remains unresolved. The usage of the refugee issue connects with the ongoing state of belligerancy embraced by Arab countries ( except Jordan and Egypt) since the war of 1948 and 67.

    The Saudi Peace Plan was the best thing to come down the pike from the Arab side yet it too leaves the issue of the refugees unresolved or open. Open is better than insistance on return, but even if a small/token number of the 4 million ( grown from 711,000) are allowed to come back to Israel the majority would concurrently have to be welcomed as full citizens in the countries that they now reside or in the new Palestinian state. This is one reason why a peace agreement between Israel and Palestinians is not possible without the consent and participation of the surrounding countries especially Syria and Lebanon, but also Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait,

  • Potter

    and Saudi Arabia.

  • I would like to say that my grandmother was born March 20th 1888 in Jaffa (at the time called Palestine) .Her mother was born in Hebron for many Generations, and they all were Jewish . My grandmother was a Hebrew teacher , she married at the age of 16 and had 10 children. Please don’t tell me there were no Jews in( the then Palestine) now Israel. About 1/3 of the population was Jewish the other 2/3 were Muslim and Christian.

  • nabobnico

    The bigotry here is amazing. It is crass and endless. I log on to listen to Christopher and Robin and the guests they have on the show. This endless taunting and distortion of facts by a small cadre of hate and revenge filled posters (Rachel, JDyer,et al.) is nauseating. You add nothing to the discussion and in fact mar it terribly. Thsi thread is an example of it; the show is about the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, and immediatly your clique launch into a tirade saying (as you jump over each other in righteous glee), “Yes, but the Jews had this done! We had land too! We have a right too!” Siennaf1 is wonderful in the fact that she advocates “thinking outside the box.” Maybe a little naivete is just what is needed to counter the fundamelntalist cynicisms obvious on both sides of the argument. It si what makes this show interesting, not the hard hearted meanness you have all so regularly demonstrated in the last several weeks. Do you know you drive people away from this show? From this thread?

  • Nabobnico, I don’t understand your anger?….What hate?what taunting ? what distortion ?What are you talking about ? Is this only about Lebanon and Palestine? if it is so pardon me ….I thought this was about refugees in general…..Still I am very concern by your comment “as you jump over each other in righteous glee” ,are you implying that we are plotting something together?….That sounds very familiar ….but maybe I am paranoid .I can assure you that I have no idea who these other people are! Anyway If we are talking about Israel/Palestine what is so wrong about the comment about my grandmother? Maybe someone my like to hear the truth?

  • â€? If you can think of other specific populations of refugees deserving similar exploration, by all means let us know. Thanks.â€?

    The Scottish were chased out of Scotland by the English yet nobody seems to care about us. People willy-nilly use our sacred tartans for hidious things like doggy coats and golf pants but I’ll have you know my ancestors died for the wearing o’ the plaid and I’ve never heard anyone speak about hagis without ridicule in their voices. Obviously there is a great deal of Anti-Scottishism going on. And if its Israel & Palistine you want to talk about didn’t the bloody English empire screw that up too?

  • Peggysue,I am very sorry about your ancestors . Maybe if you do feel insulted you should protest the injustice . Indeed the English are involved and I agree with you they should be in this conversation

  • Thank you Rachel. And it wasn’t just the English who persecuted my people either. If you think Hizbullah is a terrorist organization, well, have you ever heard of the VIKINGS! Then there were the ROMANS with their legions not to mention the PICTS. Amazing any of us survived!

  • nabobnico

    OK, Who were the PICTS? And I think England should be part of this discussion, or its role the topic of an entirely other show; follow it from the Balfour Declaration to Churchills White Paper of 1922 to Sabra and Chatilla to the tragedy of the Gaza Strip and Baghdad today. What happened in this tragic occupation and then division that the english put forward? How has their legacy of bloodstained fingerprints informed what we know of the middle east today? This was beyond nation building, but region building instead, and the result, from Jerusalem to Delhi, from Beirut to Karachi, has been a terrible mess…

    And Peggy Sue, you forget entirely in your laundry list the Normans who have arguably occupied your lands, or at least the familial descendents have, since 1066!

  • The Normans were Viking terrorists.

  • siennaf1

    nabobnico: first of all i’m a he..

    the show and the thread is about the Palestinian refugges, and not about the Jewish refugees from the Arabic countrie, which their problem has been solved (most of them settled in Israel).

    I know wht i say, about a one state for the two nations, is a far fetch idea. It will require a massive change in the thinking of the two sides – which is far from happening at the moment.

    And by the way, where are the Palestinian voices in this thread ?

  • siennaf1: I’ve been trying to remember since I read your first post on this thread a piece I heard on NPR where someone made a very good case for a one state solution. It may be idealistic but I don’t think it is naive or “ignorant” at all. I’ll try to find that piece.

  • siennaf1: I couldn’t find what I was looking for but found these bits…

    Association for Equality Solidarity & Peace…

    Why do we advocate for one State?

    * Identity: both peoples’ identities and mythologies are based on the total area of historic Palestine.

    * Politico-legal legitimacy: the one State solution is based on civic statehood with equal rights and responsabilities of all citizens. (Statehood based on ethnicity generates racism and inequality.)

    * Demographic mixture: 1.3 million Palestinians live in Israel, and 450 000 Jews live in the West Bank.

    * Economy: the economies, labor force, and natural resources (especially water) are linked.

    * One State will promote peace in the region and the world at large, and will be a cultural bridge

    between the Arab and Islamic worlds on one side, and Europe and North America on the other side.

    http://www.one-democratic-state.org/

    The One-State Solution – Daniel Lazare – The Nation (slightly dated, (2003), but very thought provoking…

    http://www.thenation.com/doc/20031103/lazare

  • siennaff1from 1:36pm: No it has not been solved if they have not been compensated for the loss of 1 billion dollars in property (all this at about the same time as the Muslim Palestinian refugees). Remember they were citizen kicked out of their own countries from Morocco to Iraq only because they were Jewish. Even if they settled in that tiny country Israel , (the size of New jersey) , it still doesn’t make it right.Are Jews not entitled to compensation for their loss?. Yes most of them live in Israel . Isn’t this the point of this whole conversation ? If its not about the Israeli/Palestinian problem , which country do you want to talk about ?.

  • siennaf1

    Rachel: yes the jews who fled the Arab countries are entitled for compensation, and this should come up when negotiating the compensations the Palestinian will demand, as i’m sure they will. I for one do not think Israel should compensate the refugees for the same reason you mentioned – but i do think they will be compensated by funds from the international community. Remember that while no compensations were given to the Arab-Jews, the state of Israel received and still recievs a lot of money from the International community, mainly from the USA. The same goes for the Palestinian authority, and the same will happen when the time comes to negotiate compensations for the Palestinian refugees.

    The one state solution i was speaking of, lets the refugees be settled back in Israel/Palestine while recieving financial aid – just like Jews coming from Russia do.

    Many suggest that talking about one state solution is naive, but you have to be really naive to think that the Palesstinian will settle for the West-bank and Gaza for their state. And you really have to be naive to think that Israelies will give up Jerusalem. And evacuating 400,000 Jews from the west-bank is not going to be easy !!

    A two state solution is a temporary solution.

  • siennaf1: “this should come up when negotiating the compensations the Palestinian will demand, as i’m sure they will ”

    There is one problem , the United Nation never had one single resolution about the Jewish refugees, which mean, there has never been a recognition there is to be a restitution. If the international community doesn’t even want to recognize this injustice, how can there even be any kind of talk about compensation? I have not doubt of your goodwill , but I can’t take your word for it. There needs to be firm legal acknowledgment of the issue. The next question is why hasn’t the United Nation not have a resolution especially since there were a lot more Jewish refugees than Palestinians?

  • I just add the story of my own people here for some perspective. The Celts once had the run of the entire European continent. Talk about being shoved into the sea! For the last few centuries they have clung by their fingernails to the rocky shores of Scotland and Ireland. To my knowledge no compensation has ever been given.

  • Yes, peggysue. I think this is a perennial issue throughout history. Africans have never been compensated for being forcibly removed from their lands and placed into slavery.

    While I can see the importance of limiting this evening’s conversation to this one population and how it impacts the current state of the Middle East, perhaps we are all looking at a sea change in the way humans take responsibility for what they do to others: forcing reparations. If it became the universal standard that invading or destructive parties (say, like in Darfur) were forced to make reparations to those they had harmed once the world got them in check, perhpas people would think twice before committing these acts of violence and dehumanization.

  • OK. It’s probably time for me to apologize for veering this thread so far off course. This thread is supposed to be about the PALESTINIAN REFUGEE CAMPS. I’m not really that hung up on the past trials and tribulations of my forbearers as drenched in blood and brutality as it may have been. My point was that if we are going to get into playing a game of “my people suffer more than your peopleâ€? that is a game that all of us can play. The Buddha’s first noble truth after all is the truth of suffering. Everybody suffers. Suffering is part of the human condition.

    I don’t know how we could ever compensate everyone for past grievances. Even if we, the citizens of the United States, could figure out how to at the very least give each descendant of African American slaves the promised 40 acres and a mule, how could we ever possibly compensate for having introduced smallpox to the American continent not to mention make up for the subsequent cruelties and injustices to Native Americans?

    Rather than focus on the ancestral grievances of the past I think it is more critical to do what we can to relieve current suffering now and to the extent we are able, do what we can to remove the causes of this suffering now. Buddha taught that there is a way of living in the world that leads to the cessation of suffering. I guarantee you that bombing the crap out of others was not one of his suggestions.

    The level of frustration and suffering in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon must be horrific. It is understandable that people would cling to the past “Many still carry the keys to the homes they lost, and hand them down from generation to generation.� when the present is continually bleak. They are a population with nothing to lose. Violence won’t make anyone safer.

    Four Noble Truths on Wikipedia

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Noble_Truths

  • Peggysue , don’t you think that the Jewish refugees also have keys and memories that they keep from generation to generation?.The only difference is that no one has made a big deal over them. Israel has integrated them into their very small country .In contrast ,the huge area of very rich Arab countries with all their oil, one and one half the size of the U.S. , have just kept their refugees in real poverty at the gates of Israel .Why ?

    .NO its not possible to forget the Jewish refugees, they are also part of this whole conflict. which so far no one seems to find a resolution. I say if we genuinely want to find a solution , we have to get to the truth and the roots of the problem .It can’t be just one sided . There has to be an admission that the Jews also have lost a lot . As long as the balance of justice is tipped …there will never be a solution . Peggysue , I really think that you should watch this documentary :The Forgotten Refugees – Home ,it will open your eyes to the problem of this conflict. If you can’t open this site just google “The forgotten Refugees”….I hope you keep an open mind…

  • peggysue, I wan’t talking about trying to back now and make reparations for all past offenses. How could we ever? Where would we start? Even if we were only looking at Israel, we’d have to go find any Canaanite ancestors and start there. Too impossible from an accounting standpoint and a financial standpoint.

    But we could start to build it into the international code of laws. Destroy someone’s home and you must pay for it. Destroy social infrastructure and you must pay for it. Kill someone and you have to pay for it. If there was an enforced monetary cost to destruction and the world started a preliminary billing process as soon as violence began, perhaps people would look for other ways to resolve their problems.

    I know it’s kind a pie-eyed proposition. Nothing else seems to be working, though.

    This is another topic however. Back to the Palestinians…

  • Rachel, I didn’t see peggysue’s reference to the Palestinian refugees as neglectful of Jewsh refugees. It was an example, not a depiction of the whole.

    You will run into problems avoiding one-sidedness if we talk about getting to the roots of the problem. The Israelites originally left Israel and emigrated to Egypt because of famine, not because anyone expelled them. Centuries later, when they wanted to return, they felt quite righteous about their God-given right to annihilate the Canaanites. This is the beginning of the area’s mindset that cannot tolerate peaceful co-existence. Islam and Christianity learned this way of thinking from their predecessors. So, do we really want to get to the root? Or do we simply need to find a way to get everybody to agree to peaceful co-existence?

    peggysue may be spot on with her idea of international monies feeding a ‘reparation’ program that may be more of a “let’s give everybody a new start if you’ll agree to co-exist” program. I do believe that a lot of the violent radicals are poor. Ideoligical extremists cull their followers from the poor. Others have more motivation to cling to their lifestyles and work within a governed community. I wonder how much the extinction of poverty would do to end the violence?

  • Peggy Sue @ work

    Rachel: If Forgotten Refugees is on Netfix I will get it. Please understand that my suggestion that we get back to the origonal purpose of this thread, the Palestinian Refugees, is not intended to be a statement against any other refugees. Even my own spiritual leader the Dalai Lama is a refugee. That may be an interesting study, to look at the Tibetan refugees. One advantage they have is that India has welcomed them unlike the Palestinians who are not welcome in Lebanon, though the Tibetans are still refugees with all the suffering that entails . Have you suggested a show or thread here on ROS specifically about the Jewish refugees? I would certainly support you in that.

    Allison: I think you have a good point. If we have to rebuild or pay for what we destroy it may at least slow us down!

  • rachel: couldn’t find Forgotten Refugees on Netflix. I’ll try inter-libray loan at my public library.

  • Peggysue, Sorry you can’t find it. If you live in the Boston area …There are a few places where you can buy it…….. I just saw on “The Forgotten refugees” website that there will be a free showing September 17 in Boston just ask for tickets on the website .I hope you can see it soon. I am curious to hear your opinion, because for some reason ,it is history no one talks about .If you can’t find it, I will help you……I’m going away for few days .

  • Rachel: I live on a little Island in the Pacific Northwest so Interlibrary loan (we do have a very good public library) is probably my best bet. I’m very interested to see it because you are right, I do not know anything about it.

  • jdyer

    Genocidal dreams:

    Nasrallah today gave a speech asking Israeli Arabs to leave Haifa so that he can kill the non Muslims left in the city.

    So far the Arabs in Haifa said that they would not leave.

    I hope they don’t leave but if they do leave it will be a repeat of 1948 and I am sure the Israelis won’t let them back in since they will be participating in genocide.

    Here is what Israeli Arab response:

    “Haifa’s Arabs: We won’t leave city

    Former MK Issam Mahoul rejects Nasrallah’s call to Haifa’s Arab population to evacuate city; ‘We have nothing to do outside of Haifa, and we refuse to be refugees,’ Mahoul asserts. Haifa Mayor: Nasrallah won’t succeed in uprooting Arab residents

    Ahiya Raved

    Former Knesset Member and Haifa resident Issam Mahoul on Wednesday categorically rejected Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah’s call to Arab residents of Haifa to evacuate the city.

    “We have nothing to do outside of Haifa, and we have no reason to panic. The Palestinian people are especially unwilling to be refugees of any kind again,” Mahoul told Ynet.

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3289009,00.html

  • jdyer

    “You will run into problems avoiding one-sidedness if we talk about getting to the roots of the problem. The Israelites originally left Israel and emigrated to Egypt because of famine, not because anyone expelled them. Centuries later, when they wanted to return, they felt quite righteous about their God-given right to annihilate the Canaanites. This is the beginning of the area’s mindset that cannot tolerate peaceful co-existence. Islam and Christianity learned this way of thinking from their predecessors. So, do we really want to get to the root? Or do we simply need to find a way to get everybody to agree to peaceful co-existence?”

    Come Allison, let’s get real.

    The Jews lived in Judea and ancient israel for a couple of thousand years before they were brutally expelled from Jerusalem.

    There were Jews living in the land continuously since that time while those outside Israel kept in touch with the goings on there for more than a millenia and hoped for a return.

    There is a historical record there.

    There is no need to resort to legends in order to prove your point.

    If you believe in the Bible story as fact then you must also believe that the God of the Bible created the conditions for both exile and return.

  • jdyer

    “Remember that while no compensations were given to the Arab-Jews, the state of Israel received and still recievs a lot of money from the International community, mainly from the USA.”

    siennaf1 Israel receives military aid from the US as an ally. It also receive aid from Jews around the world which goes for environmental, education, and restoration projects.

    It does not, otherwise, receive money from the “international community.”

    The Pals have been receiving aid from the UN as well as many countries around the world and it has yet to use that money for economic development, education, and building puroposes. Most of the money has ended up in the pockets of corrupt officials and used to bu weapons in order to kill Jews.

  • It is indeed ironic that a state founded on the premise that a people should be allowed to live in their ancestral homeland should deny that same priviledge to millions of their ethnic brethren.

    While it is true that in most conflicts worldwide, refugees are settled in the countries they end up in and do not return home, Israel/Palestine is an extraordinary place with some extraordinary problems.

    One thing that has hurt the cause of the Palestinian refugees is the tendency of Westerners and Israelis to lump all Arabic-speaking peoples together under the moniker “Arabs” and ignore real ethnic and cultural differences that have hindered assimilation almost as much as the politics.

    Jordan is an excellent example — even the majority Palestinian population outside the refugee camps has been a source of very real strife and contention with the ethnically non-Palestinian Arab population that has historically held the power (thanks to the Hashemite monarchy. The power struggles between Palestinian refugees and the governments of Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan are easily forgotten by Western commentators to whom an “Arab” population can easily be seen settled in a nearby “Arab” state.

    Ultimately the current “peace process” that is focusing on a two-state solution is doomed to failure. Even if the right of return were to be granted (and it will certainly not be without a miracle on the Israeli side), Israel will never give up its strategic control over the Palestinian “state” and the result will be a set of Bantustans in the midst of an Israel that has already demonstrated that it is perfectly willing to conduct military operations at will in any nation anywhere for the sake of defense against terrorist threats.

    So yes, I agree with the comments above which suggest that a one-state solution is the only way a lasting and just peace can be brought to the region. The only other possibility is complete Israeli dominance over a Palestinian Bantustan which will be a state in name only, an economic failure, and a festering morass of armed revolt. Right of return to such a state would be like allowing Polish Jews in 1940 the right to “return” from the concentration camps to the Warsaw Ghetto.

  • jdyer

    “It is indeed ironic that a state founded on the premise that a people should be allowed to live in their ancestral homeland should deny that same priviledge to millions of their ethnic brethren.”

    But they didn’t deny it in 1948 when the Jews accepted the Un partition plan but the Arabs rejected it.

    They didn’t deny it in 1967 when they hoped the Arabs would sign a peace treaty in set up an Arab State on the West Bank and Gaza. They didn’t deny it in 2000 when they hoped Arafat would accept a peace accord setting up a Palestinian State and they didn’t deny it last year when they pulled out of Gaza.

    It’s the Palestinian Arabs who keep denying the Jews a right to their own State and prefer to send their children to kill Jews.

  • Old Nick

    At 1:00 PM Eastern and 10:00 AM Pacific (Thursday, Aug. 10th), KUOW’s Weekday will air – and stream – this:

    Middle Ground in the Middle East?

    Audio available at 11:05 a.m.

    The war in Lebanon continues. There’s speculation about an expanded conflict involving Syria and Iran. This leads to a question: where’s the middle ground in the Middle East now? Today on Weekday we’ll find out who the moderates are on all sides. And we’ll ask what they’re thinking. What proposals have a chance of bringing the various sides together?

    Guests:

    Ellis Goldberg is an expert on middle east politics and a political science professor at the University of Washington.

    Daniel Levy was a member of the official Israeli negotiating team at the Oslo and Taba talks and the lead Israeli drafter of the Geneva Initiative.

    Walid Jumblatt is a Druze leader who sparked the Cedar Revolution in February 2005. He heads Lebanon’s Progressive Socialist Party.

    http://www.kuow.org/programs/weekday.asp

    It will be available as a streaming archive, and it podcasts too.

    It will also stream ‘live’ again at 12:00 (Midnight) Eastern (Friday, officially, but Thursday night) / 9:00 PM Pacific (Thursday night) here: http://www.kxot.org

  • gregor

    jdyer: But they didn’t deny it in 1948 when the Jews accepted the Un partition plan but the Arabs rejected it.

    Partioning land and creating separate states isn’t the same as allowing people the right to live in what they consider their holy land. It is deceptive to claim that it is.

  • jdyer

    http://iamadoughnut.blogspot.com/2006/08/sundays-demo.html

    Some people get it:

    “Sunday’s Demo

    About 700 people turned up yesterday to show their solidarity with Israel yesterday – a mix of anti-fascist groups and the general public. A demanding route leaves my legs in pain, some rain at the start turned into sunshine by the end but all in all a nice action.”

  • jdyer

    “Partioning land and creating separate states isn’t the same as allowing people the right to live in what they consider their holy land. It is deceptive to claim that it is.”

    Gregor, the Arabs never claimed Israel as their holy land and its deceptive to say that they did. Saudi Arabia is their holy land not Israel.

  • jdyer

    As for Muslims, Gregor, they claim the whole world is or should be part of dar al Islam. Are you ready to give them your own country?

  • The Muslims certainly do consider Jerusalem as a part of their Holy Lands.

    http://www.danielpipes.org/article/84

  • jdyer

    From Allison’s link:

    “The city being of such evidently minor religious importance, why does it now loom so large for Muslims, to the point that a Muslim Zionism seems to be in the making across the Muslim world? Why do Palestinian demonstrators take to the streets shouting “We will sacrifice our blood and souls for you, Jerusalem” and their brethren in Jordan yell “We sacrifice our blood and soul for Al-Aqsa”? Why does King Fahd of Saudi Arabia call on Muslim states to protect “the holy city [that] belongs to all Muslims across the world”? Why did two surveys of American Muslims find Jerusalem their most pressing foreign policy issue?

    Because of politics. An historical survey shows that the stature of the city, and the emotions surrounding it, inevitably rises for Muslims when Jerusalem has political significance. Conversely, when the utility of Jerusalem expires, so does its status and the passions about it. This pattern first emerged during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad in the early seventh century. Since then, it has been repeated on five occasions: in the late seventh century, in the twelfth century Countercrusade, in the thirteenth century Crusades, during the era of British rule (1917-48), and since Israel took the city in 1967. The consistency that emerges in such a long period provides an important perspective on the current confrontation.”

    Their claim is of recent vintage and it has to do with the conflict with the Jews. Jerusalem has never been any more holy to them than any other place they conquered.

    Some Muslims for that matter consider al andalus too as holy place in dar al Islam.

    In a few years they may even come to consider New York a holy place.

  • tbrucia

    I think the last question in the header, “What is the existential reality of being a perpetual refugee?,” is the most interesting one…. Once could make the argument that the world’s trajectory is one where 99 percent of the world’s population will become rootless refugees, driven hither and thither in flight from criminals, armies, militias, terrorists, etc. A refugee camp is simply a broken imitation of a civilized town: broken because it has crummy support systems improvised from scratch by the poverty stricken. Isn’t that exactly the kind of world the political class, criminal enterprises, terrorists, militias, etc love? Such places make excellent recruiting grounds, and good hiding places. (Incidentally, I am talking just as much about the ‘developed world’ as about the so-called third world. In a winner-takes-all world, the so-called citizens of developed nations become simply more ‘losers’ — sometimes used, sometimes ignored, but never valued.) Call it science fiction, but I would love to come back in 2106 and see if the refugee camps of today are simply prototypes for 22nd century life.