It is every civilian’s right to flee the violence of war. Even Jewish folk. It is also every civilians right to return after the war. Land ownership is not a criteria. Even a landless bum who lived under a bridge has RoR. The only criteria is that the region was their normal place of abode at the time they fled or were dispossessed.
All civilians have a right to flee violence and return, no matter who starts a war or for what reason or who tells them to flee or who wins or loses. Because they are A) Civilians, who… B) …might not have voted for or even have been able to vote for, the regime in power when hostilities began. C) Did the Palestinians vote for the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem? No, they didn’t. He was installed by a Jewish chap, one Herbert Samuel. D) Did they vote for the Governments of the Arab States? No, they didn’t. E) Were they responsible at the time for the Jewish folk who fled the Arab states? No they were not! F) Were the Palestinians of today responsible? No, they were ALL children in 1948.
Let’s look at the Israeli demand of having a peace agreement before any RoR is granted.
A) RoR is an individual right. As such the Palestinian negotiators can only really negotiate to ensure that RoR be observed.
B) Let’s say Palestine signs a peace agreement. OK. Very good. However, the returnees would be ISRAELI citizens, not citizens of Palestine!
It is simply nonsense to demand RoR depend on a peace agreement with an entity who returnees are A) no longer belong to and who B) no longer represents them.
What happens should hostilities break out between Israel and Palestine? Would they suddenly lose their Israeli citizenship?
According to the Jewish Virtual Library – On May 14th 1948 Israel was guaranteed a minority of non-Jewish civilians within it’s Sovereign territory. 538,000 Jews / 397,000 Arabs. Of this minority, only some fled the violence of war. Simple mathematics tells us that even if all of them had fled, had they returned some weeks later, by August 1948, they could not possibly have been a demographic threat. Never the less, in August 1948 Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett is quoted as saying, “To repatriate those who had fled would be suicidal folly.“
He was quite wrong. RoR has inbuilt safe guards for the country of return. They have the right to refuse RoR to folk who do not satisfy the criteria.
That was 63 years ago. In 2009 the life expectancy of a Palestine refugee is 73yrs. In 1948 it would have been even lower. In 2011, every Palestine refugee still alive, who fled Israel’s Sovereign territory in 1947/48, are at the very minimum, 63 years of age. Past the age of rampant procreation and natural attrition has seen many who are older, pass away.
For the most part, were children at the time of their dispossession. They did not take part in any hostilities, did not vote for the Mufti of Jerusalem, did not vote for the leaders of the Arab States, had nothing to do with the Holocaust, did not kill or dispossess any Jews or Israelis and were not even born as far back as 1920.
Today, there are less ’48 Palestine refugees with a genuine RoR to Israel’s Sovereign territories, than ever before. Naturally their numbers grow ever smaller every day. The Demographic threat to Sovereign Israel, is BULL SHITE! A blatant lie.
There are three main areas to which Palestine refugees have RoR.
1) Those from what is Sovereign Israeli territory as per Israel’s Declaration of a Sovereign State, where there was an absolute maximum of 397,000 Arabs in 1948. Remember Israel has never had any territory legally annexed to it, not all it’s minority non- Jewish population fled the violence and those who did are now beyond the age of procreation.
2) Those who were dispossessed from territories slated for the Arab State, illegally acquired by war under Plan Dalet then Israel between 1948 & 1949, none of it annexed to Israel.
3) Those who were dispossessed in 1967 from ‘territories occupied in the recent conflict’. Some of whom were also dispossessed in ’48-’49. Again, territories never legally annexed to Israel.
Are there 3.5 to 4 million Palestine refugees ready to flood Israel? NO! That too is a fallacy. The Palestinians have only ever claimed RoR as per UN resolutions which are as a matter of course, based on UN Refugee Conventions which do not allow for all lineal descendants.
Under basic RoR, only innocent civilians, who actually lived in a region and who agree to live in peace, have legitimate RoR. It is their right to either return or opt for compensation. Even then the state of return has the right to veto those who do not fit the criterion. Although the state of return is obliged to recognize and grant only basic RoR, they can expand on this basic right through their own legislation and allow, as some countries have, for lineal descendants.
The 3.5 to 4 million figure often cited by the ‘demographic threat’ scare mongers, comes from the UNRWA figures for Palestine refugees. UNRWA was set up because of the unique set of conditions that apply to Palestine refugees
A) The protracted nature of the conflict B) Israel’s illegal refusal to recognize even basic RoR and Israel’s illegal claims to territory OUTSIDE it’s Sovereign borders C) All Palestinians and Palestine refugees are stateless.
However under the UNRWA Mandate the term ‘Palestine’ refugee is a need-based definition the clue is in the name, Relief and Works. The UNRWA definition is not for the purposes of repatriation or compensation as envisaged in UN General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 194 (III) of December 1948. UNRWA’s working definition, is only for expediency in ascertaining who may qualify for Relief and Works, while they are refugees.
It’s numbers are not those who qualify for RoR to Israel’s actual sovereign territories. UNRWA’s limited mandate
” UNRWA is a humanitarian agency and its mandate defines its role as one of providing services to the refugees.”
Yet Professor Ruth Lapidoth perpetuates the fallacy on the Israeli Government web site. “According to Palestinian sources, there are about 3.5 million Palestinian refugees nowadays registered with UNRWA. If Israel were to allow all of them to return to her territory, this would be an act of suicide on her part, and no state can be expected to destroy itself.”
Is she, a professor, really that ignorant? Of course she isn’t. The ambiguity of her assertion shows she is engaged in typical propaganda modus operandi. Planting the seeds of panic in order that there be no RoR at all. She does not say the Palestinians demand that all lineal descendants have RoR, she only says “there are about 3.5 million Palestinian refugees nowadays registered with UNRWA “….she then slyly adds…. “ If Israel were to allow all of them to return to her territory…etc”
This is a typical propagandista’s strawman argument, enough to make people think this is the Palestinian demand. It isn’t. The Palestinians have only asked for RoR per the UN Conventions, (res 194) which is as a matter of course, a resolution based on the UNHCR statute. No RoR for lineal descendants, one must have lived in the region. Added to which Israel is NOT REQUIRED to admit all those registered with UNRWA into Sovereign Israeli territory. The UNRWA mandate does not cover RoR or final status negotiations and only those who agree to live in peace need be granted RoR.
The propagandists also treat us to the false notion that, because Palestine refugees are served by UNRWA, they are not covered by the UNHCR. However, although the Palestine refugees are afforded ‘assistance’ whilst they are refugees under UNRWA and because of this they are not afforded ‘assistance’ under the UNHCR, they are never the less, still refugees and as such have RoR.
The Convention relating to the Status of Refugees 1950 states: ” D. This Convention shall not apply to persons who are at present receiving from organs or agencies of the United Nations other than the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees protection or assistance.”
‘Protection’ or ‘assistance’. It does not say they are no longer refugees. It does not say they are not covered by the other aspects of the UNHCR statute. The document goes on to say: “When such protection or assistance has ceased for any reason, without the position of such persons being definitively settled in accordance with the relevant resolutions adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations, these persons shall ipso facto be entitled to the benefits of this Convention.”
What has been Israel’s true intentions all these years? Let’s look at the events from the launch of Plan Dalet in the weeks prior to May 14th 1948. We are told it was a defensive strategy. Fair enough. However, if folk have fled, what is the strategy of razing their villages and homes if they were not there? It does not add up.
Link to this section
What was Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett talking about when he said in August 1948 “To repatriate those who had fled would be suicidal folly.“? If he was talking about those who fled Sovereign Israeli territory being a demographic threat, simple maths tells us it just does not compute. If he was talking about them being a violent threat. Israel was not and is still not required to repatriate folk unless they agree to line in peace. Either he was ill informed, which I doubt, or lying or had crap maths skills or perhaps was creating an insidious propaganda mantra in order to promote fear in the Israeli psyche, thereby preventing any RoR at all. A propaganda mantra that lives on today.
Perhaps Moshe Sharett was talking about those unfortunates who fled from the territories outside of Israel’s Sovereignty? Territories slated for the new Arab State, already cleansed under Plan Dalet before the 14th May 1948 and after, by Israel during the war of Independence? Territories Israel has illegally acquired by war but never annexed? Territories Israel did not Declare Sovereignty over.
If these are the folk Moshe Sharett was talking about, why was he, a few weeks later, in August 1948, saying they’d be a demographic threat were they to return. Before the War of Independence was even over? Was it Israel’s intention in August 1948 to keep these territories? It was by August 1949 according to Israel.
Fact is, all of Israel’s actions have confirmed that intention. Israel HAS kept all the territories it has acquired by war. Yet none of the territories Israel has captured have ever been legally annexed. They are, quite simply, NOT legally Sovereign Israeli territory.
Unilateral annexation is invalid and Armistice lines are only borders where they were borders before the armistice. Only parts of the Green Line were ever actual borders. The majority of the ‘Green Line’ was never a border between Israel and Palestine. Parts of the armistice line were the border between Israel and the Arab States and other parts were a border between Palestine and the Arab States. For the most part, it was only an armistice line.
Is there a demographic threat to the territories Israel has illegally claimed as it’s own for 62 years?
Of course there’s a threat to Israel’s existence in these territories. They’re not Israeli. Legally, it’s up to the Palestinians to pass legislation as to who returns and illegal settlers who might stay.
Israel’s fallacious ‘facts on the ground’. It’s ignoring International Law, UNSC resolutions. Even dissing it’s own voluntarily Declared obligation to adhere to the UN Charter. All ignored. Added to which the USA’s complicity in using it’s power of veto in the UNSC, have caused a hugely complicated and seemingly intractable MESS for Israelis and Palestinians alike.
DEFINITION OF A “REFUGEE” UNDER PARAGRAPH 11 OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION OF 11 DECEMBER 1948
Convention relating to the Status of Refugees Adopted on 28 July 1951 by the United Nations Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Status of Refugees and Stateless Persons convened under General Assembly resolution 429 (V) of 14 December 1950