A common misunderstanding:
In the 1967 war, also known as the Six Day War, contrary to popular belief Israel did not take a single inch of territory from Palestine. That is because there is not, nor has there ever been, a Palestinian nation. Israel captured the West Bank and Eastern Jerusalem from Jordan’s King Hussein and the Gaza Strip from Egypt, after they declared war against the Jewish State. It was only following the Six-day War in 1967 that Arab refugees living in these territories began identifying themselves as the Palestinian People because the global media labeled them as such.
There is no language known as Palestinian. There is no distinct Palestinian culture. Palestinians are Arabs, indistinguishable from Jordanians, Syrians, Lebanese, Iraqis, etc.
A little bit of history:
In the First Century CE, the Romans crushed the independent kingdom of Judea. After the failed rebellion of Bar Kokhba in the Second Century CE, the Roman Emperor Hadrian determined to wipe out the identity of Israel-Judah-Judea. Therefore, he took the name Palastina and imposed it on all the Land of Israel. At the same time, he changed the name of Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina.
Since the Jewish conquest in 1272 BC, the Jews have had dominion over the land for one thousand years with a continuous presence in the land for the past 3,300 years.
A few forgotten facts:
In 1948, while 500,000 Arab refugees left the territories, 850,000 Jewish refugees were thrown out of Arab countries, from ancient Jewish communities that predated Islam. They were stripped of their citizenship and their property was confiscated. In contrast, 160,000 Arabs accepted Israel’s offer to remain and today there are around 1,250,000 Arabs with full rights of citizenship.
Arab refugees were intentionally not absorbed or integrated into the Arab lands to which they fled, despite the vast Arab territory. Out of the 100,000,000 refugees since World War II, theirs is the only refugee group in the world that has never been absorbed or integrated into their own people’s lands. Jewish refugees were completely absorbed into Israel, a country no larger than the South West Counties of England. (People commonly perceive Israel to be much larger than it really is. As a result, they fail to understand how difficult, painful, and even dangerous it is for Israel to withdraw from land it holds)
If Arab countries would assimilate and care for the “Palestinian” refugees, as Israel did for their Jewish refugees, there would be no refugee problem. Instead they use the refugees as political pawns in their struggle against Israel.
Arab refugees in Israel began identifying themselves as part of a Palestinian people in 1967, two decades after the establishment of the modern State of Israel.
The Arabs are represented by eight separate nations, not including the Palestinians. There is only one Jewish nation. The Arab nations initiated all five wars and lost. Israel defended itself each time and won.
How did the Arab refugee numbers go from 500,000 to an estimated 4,700,000. How could this have happened? Because attempts to resettle them were blocked by a whole variety of discriminatory laws enacted in Arab countries. For example, they were banned from receiving citizenship(with the exception of Jordan), they were blocked from entering many professions, restrictions on land owning, restrictions on movement and denied access to education and health services.
Quoting Sir Alexander Galloway, Former UNRWA Director, Jordan; “The Arab nations do not want to solve the Arab refugee problem. They want to keep it as an open sore…as a weapon against Israel.”
While all refugees in the world are assisted by the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), a separate agency was established for the Palestinians, called the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, or UNRWA. Why can’t the Palestinians share the same UN agency as the refugees from Bosnia, Darfur, Congo, Mali, Sudan? Because while UNHCR helps refugees resettle, UNRWA helps to perpetuate the Palestinians refugee status by applying unique criteria.
For example refugees lose their status when they receive citizenship from a recognized country. Palestinian refugees do not. Refugees cannot transfer their status from generation to generation. Palestinian refugees can. Refugees are encouraged to settle in other countries or integrate into their host countries. UNRWA avoid such policies.
The UN spends almost three times more on a single Palestinian refugee than on a non Palestinian refugee, and employs almost thirty times the staff.
The truth is that during the 20th century the UN has found enduring solutions for tens of millions of refugees, while the Palestinian refugee agency has found none.
This had led to the fact that the Palestinians now find themselves trapped, between Arab leaders unwilling to accept their brothers, and UN agencies who do not apply equal and universal principles to all refugees.
Some interesting quotes:
Throughout his authorised biography (Alan Hart, Arafat: Terrorist or Peace Maker) Arafat asserts at least a dozen times: “The Palestinian people have no national identity. I, Yasser Arafat, man of destiny, will give them that identity through conflict with Israel.”
~ Yasser Arafat ~ (President of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA)
“The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel. For our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of Palestinian people, since Arab national interest demand that we posit the existence of a distinct ‘Palestinian people’ to oppose Zionism.”
~ Zahir Muhse’in ~ (Leader of the Palestine Liberation Organisation ( PLO)