13 August 09
I’m pretty sure that if you were to take a poll of Americans and ask them, “who put the Palestinian refugees in camps and kept them there to this day?” a large majority would respond, “The Israelis, duh. Why would the Arabs do that to their brethren?” For example, Michael Moore speaks about a visit to the refugee camps in 1988:
Although in my life I had already traveled through Central America, China, Southeast Asia, and other parts of the Middle East. I wasn’t ready for what I saw in the refugee camps in the Occupied Territories. I had never encountered such squalor, debasement, and utter misery. To force human beings to live in these conditions – and do so at the barrel of a gun, for more than forty years — just made no sense. Stupid White Men, p. 178.Now Moore seems to presume that it’s the Israelis who have done this to the Palestinians. (His next paragraph goes into how badly the Jews have been treated in the past and how sad that they should turn around and do it to someone else — the favorite formula of those attracted to moral Schadenfreude.) He seems to have no awareness that for the first (and critical) half of the Palestinian experience of refugee confinement, it was Arab rulers and Arab guns who kept them in misery, and that once Israel took over they tried to move these unfortunate victims out into decent housing, and it was the Arabs who pushed UN Resolutions insisting that they be returned to the squalorof the camps.
How much more nonsensical is that — it’s the Arabs who want their misery, not the Israelis?
Unless one thinks in terms of Domineering Cognitive Egocentrism, and the Honor-Jihad Paradigm.
I have posted before on the inexcusably ruthless Palestinian and Arab policy of using the refugees from 1948 as hostages, really as sacrificial victims on the altar of Arab irredentist hatred of Israel. The single most constructive move that the world community can do to contribute to peace is test the real intentions of the “moderates” who assure us all that only a fraction of the Palestinian refugees will want to return to Israel once the peace deal has been brokered, by insisting that they start moving those who don’t/won’t want to move back into decent housing… not just in Palestinian territory, but all over the Arab world. And Jimmy Carter can lead the movement as head of Habitat Humanity.
Now, at last, an Arab intellectual, Daoud Al-Shiryan, has tackled this shameful (by modern humanitarian standards) situation. MEMRI provides an extensive translation of passages. Al-Arabiya TV Deputy Secretary-General Calls for Resettlement of Palestinian Refugees .
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