Wednesday, December 28, 2005

On the Right of Return

A side discussion at The Lebanese Bloggers:
rincewind said...

Hizbullah is regrouping-internally and trying to consolidate a couple of alliances, particularly with aoun. Why would they want to exert pressure upon themselves? It doesn't make sense for it to be Hizbullah. Besides, they could have done it within the rule of the game in Shebaa. This was even against the april 96 agreements.

Now who did this? A possibility is the Jabha Shaabiyya-alQiyada al Amma. Ahmad Jibril is a military man, a good one at that, but his mind works in a way that never includes political consequences as a factor while making decisions. That's how he ran the PFLP-GC all his life: a military wing of a non-existant political movement. They fired katyosha's in 2002 without Hizbullah's knowledge. But please, you may disagree with the man (I do), you may hold him to blame for so many erroneous decisions, such as:
-participating , brutally in the lebanese civil war,
-saving Junblatt's ass in the mountain wars 1983(wish he'd left him to his demise)
-sending 2000 fighters to Libya, to save Qahddafi's ass on the sourthern front, while they were needed against israel
- reducing a cultural, political, social and military fight into a solely military one

But in all that, he was not a stooge, so you can't go on calling people stooges, and reducing men and women, who, whether you like them or not, are part of the region's history, into 'stooges'.

Now about the peace, I've reached the conclusion that there will never be peace while zionism is an applied, living, breathing ideology. It simply will not work.
Without Justice, there will be no peace, even if the heavily corrupt PA tries to pass one. Remember that the palestinians are 10 million, and they're not only the 3.5 million in the WB and Gaza. For the others, the PA can never deliver the solution (esp with regard to the Right of Return).

Zionism is an idea counter to justice, and israel, founded on ethnic cleansing and terrorism, can not overlook escape this past forever. I do believe in a real peace, one based on liberty, freedom, justice and humanity. That peace will not stand on the shoulders of racist ideologies such as zionism, or islamic nationalism for that matter.

9:25 AM
Solomon2 said...

Exactly backwards! Zionism counters injustice! The idea of what is just and what is not has been made murky by years of false anti-Israel and anti-Semitic propaganda. By returning to the Land, Israel is rectifying "ethnic cleansing", and it is only a victim of terrorism, not a perpetrator of such acts!

Rincewind, you have reason, but you lack correct facts and context. But IMO Arabs and Muslims usually reject these in favor of their own macho ego-satisfying conceptions - which is why the M.E. is so fractured by tribalism and dictatorship.

Rincewind, could you ever abase yourself and publicly admit error? If yes, then I suppose I'm wrong.

9:37 AM
Rincevent said...

I would, and I've done so in the past.

Please do the honours of pointing me to the errors in my argument and I'll gladly acknowledge all. However, your 'Arabs and Muslims' generalization, that conveniently stuck a label on me and put me in a tidy, little, and easily
Please do the honours of pointing me to the errors in my argument and I'll gladly acknowledge all. However, your 'Arabs and Muslims' generalization, that conveniently stuck a label on me and put me in a tidy, little, and easily managable box leaves me with little room to with little room to even wiggle a little. Oh and it speaks Volumes about you, too.

Since you're so humanely against ethnic cleansing, what do you call the ethnic cleansing of 700-800 thousand palestinians? A free one-way tourism?

The only solution is the one that safeguards the rights of all the people in historical palestine (all of them, and call it israel if you like), while giving the ethnically cleansed their Right of Return. There are 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation israelis who did not choose to be born there, and as such, are now natives of the land. However, their rights should not supersede the rights of the dispossessed.

If you're such a firm believer in human rights, tell me, what is wrong with granting the palestinians the right of return? Is 'preserving the character of a state' more important than Human Rights?

10:25 AM
Solomon2 said...

They weren't "cleansed"; most left or were constrained to by their leaders, and quite a few never orginated in "Palestine" at all! Israel has a double-digit Arab population, descendants of those who stayed after the U.N. granted independence. Can you point to the same good treatment afforded Jews in any Arab country since 1948?

Jews have been kicked out of their land and abused throughout the world for 2,000 years. No displaced people anywhere has such a claim to their homeland, is that not so? Look at the Ottoman census records: palestine was pretty much a backwater before Jews started moving there in the 19th century. That's why the Jerusalem Post was originally called the Palestine Post.

The problem is that the goal of the "right of return" is to swamp Israel and its Jews and prevent their existence at all. Did you not know that the original concept of the Zionist movement was to establish a homeland under Ottoman rule, not an independent state? Only racist Arab violence pushed the Jews into complete independence.

Desecendants of palestinian arabs can live with their brethren in 22 Arab states throughout the M.E., which would be appropriate as almost all Jews were kicked out of them after 1948. Certainly the Arab World possesses enough oil riches to resettle every such family generously and productively.

And they are generally safe in those areas rapidly being colonized by Arabs throughout the world. If you believe in Human Rights, how can you deny security to the Jews, Ba'hais, Samaritans, and others who feel they can only find security and community in the State of Israel?

11:23 AM
Rincewind said...

The argument of 'look the arabs have 22 states why won't they allow us one?' is pathetic.

These people are palestinians, they were ethnically cleansed (even if they left on their own accrod, which they didn't, don't they have a right to go back?) from a certain land, and they want to go back to it. Irrespective of what arab states did or didn't do, answer me this:

Don't they have a right to go back to the land which they were kicked out of in 1948? Some people always try to muddy the picture by bringing 'collective arabism' into it. I'm talking about individual rights, I-N-D-I-V-I-D-U-A-L R-I-G-H-T-S: A person, a single individual was kicked out from his/her home, does he/she have a right to go back to it or not?

ps: most of your facts are wrong, and no it was not 'a backwater' but there was a thriving community, with schools, hospitals and all.

ps2: The right of return does not mean kicking anyone out. The Stern, Irgun and Hagannah terrorist gangs started their atrocities before 48, so it was not 'arab' violence that instigated the 'oh-so-innocent' push to independence, but it was a a rather premeditated plan to achieve control over the land of palestine.

ps3: the jewish population in lebanon tripled after 1948. the palestinians in israel-proper were 125,000 after the ethnic cleansing of 48, and the founders of the state regretted letting them stay, in hindsight.

If you want to talk about arab states' errors, mistakes, atrocities, betrayals of the palestinians, we can talk from now till tomorrow, but let us focus on the individual rights of people, which are the most basic of human rights. Are you willing to do that?
If you are, I recommend reading a few books instead of myths and zionist pop-culture: Morris, Pappe, Shleim, Segev, Khalidi, Zureiq, Matar (to revisit the 'backwater', I recommend Matar's encyclopedia of the palestinians.

Human rights are not transferrable, and you can't rectify the expulsion of jewish inhabitants of arab countries post-48 by expelling the palestinians are claiming that this was tit-for-tat; human rights are both individual and collective, and you can't address one and ignore the other.

11:55 AM
Solomon2 said...

The argument of 'look the arabs have 22 states why won't they allow us one?' is pathetic.

O.K., I accept your position that you lack empathy.

Do Arabs have a right-to-return if that means free reign to murder or enslave their non-Arab neighbors? Not in my judgment, not as long as they have the opportunity to dwell in their own communities where they are today. Nor are you granting the Israelis who were kicked out of Arab lands the same rights as you demand for others - and human rights are supposed to be universal, not particular.

The power of the Stern and Irgun gangs did not prosper in democratic Israel, and their expulsionist philosophies were not applied. Most of the other "Jewish terror" stuff is fabrication. Jews defending themselves from attack were not and are not terrorists.

Only the twisted or deluded think Israel is expansionist; Israel's actions are consistent with a philosophy to do the minimum necessary to protect the security of its population. That's why Arabs don't fear that a nuclear-armed Israel with first-strike capabilities will suddenly blast them to smithereens without provocation. Sadly, it is difficult to conceive of any Arab political entity that would show the same restraint against its "enemies", be they Arab or non-Arab.

I don't know what you mean by "transferable". Many Israelis can trace title to their properties to deeds sold by Arabs long ago, even pre-1948; should their descendants have the right to reoccupy these areas and kick the Jews out?

One only has to to a very little bit of poking around to discover that many more Arabs claim to be from Palestine than actually lived or had parents there. Some areas, like the Syrian-controlled but U.N.-demilitarized areas of the Golan, were depopulated and their former inhabitants re-labelled "Palestinians".

It isn't fair that "Palestinians" (Arafat ruminated at Wye about the difficulties of creating an artificial history) have been treated so abominably, and almost always by their leaders or other Arabs. But justice isn't always fair, and it is only just for Israel to exist, and it is only just to put the major part of the onus for the Arabs' plight upon Arabs themselves.

12:27 PM
Rincewind said...

Do you think that calling them 'arabs arabs arabs' will make it ok to stick them in KSA or Jordan or Iraq?

They are palestinian, irrespective of being arab or not. They'd been in palestine for hundreds (if not thousands) of years, untill the Nakba. In 1948, 92% of the land was owned by palestinians, and the 8% that was sold by corrupt feudal lords who got it unfairly under lax ottoman laws in the first place.

Do the palestinians, kicked out in 48, have the right to return under an equal-rights state? Definitely. Does any jewish person, kicked out from iraq, syria, egypt have the right to his property, citizenship, etc...? Without a doubt. Human rights are universal,... and individual.

So, the question remains: Do the refugees have the right to come back to the land they left behind in 48, if that does not trample on the rights of the current population in that land? If so, then there are so many ways to figure a solution out (85% of the land refugees left behind is uninhabited, btw).

it's amazing how two wrongs (expelling a jewish person from an arab country, expelling a palestinian from palestine) is suddenly justice.

Outremer lasted 150 years, israel is a new manifestation of the same colonial mentality. I have no doubt that, in turn, it will cease to exist in its current form.

Believe me, when that happens, lots of blood will be shed. If that time comes in my life, I'd be more than happy to give my all defending the jewish inhabitants of the land and their right and the right of their children to live there, but you'll find very few who'd be willing to do that, least of all the imperial west that created the state of israel in the first place.

Humanity First!

1:10 PM

Rince, read Jews Stole Land?, please.

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