For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
“The plight of Arab refugees, consequent upon the war that was started by the Arab League, has not only aroused genuine humanitarian concern,” remarked the London Jewish Chronicle in December 1948, “but has also formed the pretext of much unscrupulous propaganda against the Jews.” Sounds familiar?
If there is ever an issue which is going to prove a sticking point in the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs, it is the notion of Haq el-Auda, the claimed right of return for the 725, 000 (some sources say 750,000) Arab refugees of 1948 – and not only for as many of them as are still alive but their descendants, a total of 5,000,000 people. One of the questions in the August AWRAD (Arab World Research and Development) poll of 3001 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza was : “With regards to the peace process and reaching a final status agreement, which issues do you consider to be Very Significant, Of Some Significance, Of Little Significance, Of No Significance, or I don’t know?” The issues identified were: Establishing an independent and sovereign Palestinian state (Very Significant – 91.7%); The status of Jerusalem (Very Significant – 91.0%); Security for Palestine (Very Significant – 86.2%); The rights of refugees (Very significant – 83.2% ); Settlements in the Occupied Territories (Very Significant – 81.3%). And as I stated in my last post, 87.5% of respondents consider it “Essential” that refugees be given the “Right of return and compensation”. But at the same time, 45.7% of respondents believe that “No change in the status of refugees will take place”.
It’s just as well that their demands are tempered by pessimism – perhaps realism is a better word. Although Bibi Netanyahu is surely more pragmatic than is often suspected, he’s hardly likely to give way on this one. To put it bluntly, Israel bears no culpability for the refugee situation, and it cannot be expected to solve it in the way most respondents (and extremist partisans of the Palestinians around the world) want. Had the Arabs accepted the hand of friendship proffered by the little Jewish State on its establishment in 1948 instead of – with the intention of obliterating Israel – immediately waging what proved for the aggressors a disastrous war, there would be no “refugee problem”, and the Palestinian Arabs would have their own state.
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"