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Articles by IAM Associates
IAM special: Israel and the Palestinians: What is the "Refugee" Problem?

By Shlomo Sharan, Professor, Tel-Aviv University

And collaborators

Sept. 15, 2008

 Israel and its Jewish citizens have been subjected to numerous "objective"
investigations by non-Jews and Jews alike both in and outside of the
country. Academics constitute a large portion of the investigators,
including these from Israel's own universities. The present article
examines the main issues raised by these investigations which, in no small
measure, reveal profound and far reaching distortions as well as sheer
disregard for historical evidence that does not support their assertions.
These investigations would be best ignored were it not for the fact that
they exert some influence on public opinion and, more pointedly, on the
views and ideas acquired by students in universities, including, as noted,
universities in Israel. An alternative perspective is required to balance
the record that, thus far, reflects the opinions of the vociferous, albeit
minority of anti-Zionist Jews in Israel.

 We must all remind ourselves that political views cannot be scientifically
objective. Political Science, as a legitimate academic discipline, does not
make the claim of being an objective science, whatever some of its
practitioners might believe. True, it can be a challenge to distinguish the
proper parameters of a given discourse. That challenge is inevitably
present in every serious investigation of political affairs.

 The term "political" is used here in its broadest sense, as was done by
Aristotle when he called Man a "zo-on politikon." (a social creature). The
social views and legislation adopted by our citizenry and their
representatives in government are a functio'n of their values,
socio-economic-political opinions and perspectives, their lives and life
histories and even of their age. Academics might seek to persuade the
public differently to the effect that they, academically trained people,
possess the disciplined, mental-scientifically sanctioned ability to
comprehend given parts of our social-political reality which the ordinary
non-academically trained person cannot comprehend. When the majority of a
nation adopts political views based on that belief or assertion, we stand
on the threshold of Dante's Inferno (Divine Comedy, Inferno, Canto
3):"Abandon all hope, ye who enter these gates."

 The Arab-Palestinian claim to a "right of Return" refers to the alleged
"right" of hundreds of thousands of Arabs, and the descendants thereof, who
fled from the territory that became Israel in 1948, to occupy and receive
sovereignty over not only those parts of the Land of Israel called Judea
and Samaria, but over what is today known as the State of Israel proper.
That is the essence of the Arab-Palestinian position, supported by all
Moslem nations of the Middle (and Far) East. Remarkably, there are Jewish
academics (again, a distinct minority of Israel's academic personnel)  in
and outside of Israel who have also adopted that perspective and who,
consequently, reject the Jewish-national or Zionist position regarding the
historical and moral claim of the Jewish People to ownership of the Land of
Israel. The present article seeks to provide readers, students and writers
on this subject, a Jewish-National-Zionist perspective instead of the
competing anti-Zionist pro-Arab position expounded by some academics, Jews
and non-Jews alike.

The Palestinian "refugees"

 Perusal of the publications that attack the legitimacy of Israel's Zionist
foundations and condemn its alleged treatment of Arab "refugees," and their
descendants, who fled Palestine in 1948, reveals a shocking and
irresponsible disregard of well documen'ted events, as well as the arbitrary
attribution of motives to the Jewish governments of Israel over the past 60
years. Anti Zionist publications treat readers to summaries of Arab views
prepared by authors who are unable to read Arabic and who rely on
English-language publications (or those in some other West-European
language) that are translations of works by Arab authors. One such author
went so far as to claim that the "research" he relied on  as the basis for
his article "was written in English by Palestinians…this discourse is not
peripheral but rather central…(they) have no equivalents in Arabic "
(Kuzar, 2008, p. 629).  In view of the fact that the author of that quote
does not read Arabic, one can only wonder on what grounds he presumes to
make an assertion of that kind.
Academics the world over observe – with only a few notable exceptions –
the premise that they have acquired expertise in the subjects about which
they write and publish in professional/scientific journals. Otherwise,
their work is one of journalism, not one of responsible systematic
research. Editors of respectable academic journals are careful not to
publish journalistic reports, a task they accomplish – as best as they
can – through a system of peer reviews prepared by reputable colleagues.
However, when editors fail to discharge their responsibility, perhaps even
due to their own personal prejudices or their misguided opinion that a
given article is scientifically defensible, the professional public is
exposed to patent charlatanism. That appears to be what occurred in the
case of the anti-Zionist publications.

 We have only to recall how, a few decades ago, the illustrious,
world-famous Orientalist, Professor Bernard Lewis, utterly discredited the
anti-Israel claims made by the late Edward Said (of Columbia University)
who was close to the governing board of the PLO terrorist organization (Bat
Yeor, 2002, p. 310; Lewis, 1986, especially chapters 7,8, and 9). Of
relevance here is the curious fact that Said was a professor of English
literature, not a political scientist, and his book on Orientalism was
found by Bernard Lewis to be riddled with errors of all kinds. Like others
before and after, Said had his own agenda that he intended to propound
whether his thoughts about Orientalist research in many universities
coincided with reality or not. As a professor of English literature he may
have thought that he was entitled to poetic license, just as the other
anti-Zionist, anti-Semitic Jewish linguist, Noam Chomsky of MIT, considered
historical objectivity to be totally subordinate to his agenda of Jewish
self hatred (Sharan, 2003; 2007).

Arab pragmatists vs. maximalists: Who are they?

 A distinction was made (Kuzar, 2008) between two allegedly different
approaches to the Arab "refugee" problem between Arabs who demand that "all
refugees" return to their homes in Israel, and those Arabs who appear to
accept a compromise and insist that refugees should return to the territory
called (by Jews) Judea and Samaria. That territory was not officially
incorporated into the States of Israel. Hence, the pragmatists are prepared
to debate the question of Israel's borders and they appear to accept the
existence of Israel. They do not feel comfortable with the suggestion that
a nation and its citizens can be eliminated with impunity.

 We are constrained to inquire of the anti-Zionist authors just how they
arrived at the insight that there are maximalists and pragmatists among the
Arab-Palestinians? It is abundantly clear that all Arab Palestinians
without exception (who have expressed themselves in public) demand the
return to Israel's territory (as delineated after the 1967 war) of all the
"refugees," namely all of those still alive who left Israel in 1948-1949,
and all of their descendants, or all those who proclaim themselves to be
descendants. That demand, however felicitously formulated, implies the
elimination of Israel as a Jewish nation, no less than the permission
granted by England and France to Nazi Germany to enter the Sudetenland
meant the destruction of Czechoslovakia.

 The only non-imaginary distinction among the Arab-Palestinians is between
those who seek to destroy Israel with one decisive blow, or those who
project its demise in stages. Return to Israel of the Arab "refugees" is
the means by which its destruction can be accomplished, as far as the
Palestinians are concerned. Either way the goal is to eliminate Israel and
its Jewish inhabitants. That goal retains its unequivocal meaning whatever
euphemism one prefers, such as "a bi-national state," the "two-state
solution," "a state for all its citizens," a "multi-cultural state," and so
forth. All of the afore-mentioned terms, and others, have an equivalent

 For those readers who may not be knowledgeable about the history of
Palestine prior to, and following, WWII, permit us to note that up to 1948
the Arab population consisted of totally un- related tribes and groups that
entered Palestine during the first half of the 20th century. They had no
though of establishing a new and independent Arab nation. Their explicit
wish was to live under a Syrian regime in what was considered to be
southern Syria, and integral part of "greater Syria."

 The Koran, the holy book of Islam, (7th century A.D.), states that the
Jews are a superior People entitled to an unchallengeable right to the Land
of Israel (Chapter 7, verse 137; chapter 5, verse 21; chapter 17, verse
104). Mohammed called that territory "The Holy Land" and the children of
Israel are the Chosen People (chapter 2, verse 47; chapter 44, verses

 It is worthwhile to examine the volume entitles The Arab Awakening; the
Story of the Arab National Movement (London, 1938) by George Antonius, a
Lebanese Greek Orthodox person
(supported by the anti-Semitic American millionaire Charles B. Crane who
was later nicknamed Harun al-Rashid. See Bat Yeor, 2002, p. 168, p. 448,
note 75). Antonius was a great admirer of Hitler and, obviously, an extreme
anti-Semite. In his book (page 314 or 312 in another edition) he sets out
the intention of the Arabic term Nakba (catastrophe). At the time, that
term could bear no possible relation whatsoever to the Palestinian Arabs of
1948 (as is widely believed today). Rather, that term dealt exclusively
with the events of 1920 when the Arabs perceived that the British Mandate
potentially could scuttle their political connection with Syria. This was a
true "catastrophe" for the Arab population of southern Syria, a reflection
of their Syrian nationalism, not for the Arab Palestinians (a name later
invented by the British).

The "Palestinian People"

 Between the years 1948 and 1967 there was no problem associated with the
"Palestinian People," with the "Palestinian refugees," or with a place
called "Palestine." There were only "Arab refugees." Nor does the UN
decision 242 of November 22, 1967 mention them. In 1948, Egypt and Jordan
conquered territory in the western part of the Land of Israel and they
summarily discontinued any reference to the subject by the local Arab
population. Jordan annexed the West Bank, which was recognized only by
Great Britain and Pakistan, while Egypt retained the mandatory regime.
There is no Palestine, no Palestinian People, no Palestinian refugees. That
is precisely the reason for Arafat's uprising and the establishment of the
Fatah in October 1959. The PLO, set up in May 1964, was part of the Arab
leaders; strategy to control the Palestinian. Arafat shrewdly took over the
PLO in February 1969. The PLO is now headed by Arafat's assistant terrorist
of 40 years Mahmud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen. As is well known, Mr.
Abbas by now is a figurehead with the real power in the hands of Hamas that
exerts control over the Palestinian population. The "negotiations" for
peace with Israel are unquestionably a charade and nothing more, not just
because the entire political leadership (sic!) of Bush, Olmert and Abbas is
hovering on the brink of departure, but because none of the Palestinian
leaders, since long before Haj Amin Heusseini to this very day, ever
intended to actually reach some agreement with Israel. The entire history
of agreements and "political" discussions with the Arab Palestinians –
such as those conducted with Yasser Arafat that led to the miserably naïve
and misguided Norwegian "deal" called the Oslo agreement – have led to
more bloodshed caused by Arab terrorists than in the period that preceded
the agreement. Yet, Israel – or more accurately Israel's pitiful and
corrupt "leaders"- cling to these illusory contracts that were never worth
the price of the paper on which they were written. Arafat brazenly lied to
President Clinton and refused to agree to vastly exaggerated compromises
made by then Prime Minister Ehud Barack in Clinton's presence. Arafat also
put on a transparently mock "election" in Ramallah when Clinton came to see
if the PLO would vote to uphold the Oslo agreement. Is it superfluous to
add here the obviously incomprehensible credulity of Bill Clinton? However,
the point of this discussion is not directed at the Americans (although
Jimmy Carter served as a precedent for Clinton, so that not one but two US
presidents fell into the same trap) but at the Arab Palestinians and their
relationship to Israel.   As noted, their ultimate goal was, is and, it
seems, will be as far as we can tell now, unaltered: to destroy Israel and
kill the Jews to the extent possible. No amount of propaganda by any
source, be it a person, group or nation, can avoid facing that fact. If
history serves as an indication of the present and future, the world and
the nation of Israel, have a long time to wait before any change will occur
in the Arab-Moslem world in terms of its attitude toward, and intentions
regarding, the Jews and Israel.

The return of the Palestinians

 The return to Israel of Arabs who left 60 years ago, and of their extended
families, means the complete and total destruction of Israel. Israel
academics who support that scenario might be able to find employment in
other countries. If they do they will surely enjoy higher salaries than
paid here, as the present authors can attest. Since the anti-Zionist
professors scattered in Israel's institutions of higher learning, are, in
general (but not necessarily in particular for some few individuals who
learned how to squeeze the money out of the pockets of the treasury)
receiving a lower salary than they might receive in other countries,
perhaps they can be induced to leave, as have several like minded
colleagues. Perhaps Saudi Arabia or Pakistan would be willing to employ
them, especially if they are professors of History, modern literature,
Psychology, Sociology or Political Science – subjects that are
none-existent in most Arab/Moslem countries.

The Arab-Palestinian strategy, coordinated with their anti-Semitic Jews and
other collaborators, is based on the awareness that it cannot destroy
Israel on the battlefield, and that Israel gets stronger after every
battle. Hence, the decision was made, and we have all the reasons to
suspect that it was taken firstly by the anti-Semite Jews and adopted
enthusiastically by Arafat, that the winning strategy is on the
international stage of public opinion, namely: to de-legitimize and to
de-humanize Israel. That is the primary and unfortunately indelible lesson
taught the world by the genius of propaganda, who held the post of Minister
of Propaganda, no less, Paul Joseph Geobbels:
If you lie long enough and no one refutes it, eventually the lie will
become accepted as truth.
Adolph Hitler often said, in these and in other words:
By means of shrewd lies, unremittingly repeated, it is possible to make
people to believe that heaven is hell and hell is heaven. The greater the
lie, the more readily it will be believed.
The model is South Africa. Compare Israel again and again to South Africa;
de-humanize and de-legitimize it with sheer lies; isolate it from the
international community – and this will bring the demise of Israel. The
right of return is one of their tactics – to exhibit Israel as a cruel
conqueror and colonialist nation.

 Arab commentators wrote that had Israel not been established in 1948, its
territory would have been subdivided into spheres of influence, so that
Egypt would dominate the south of what is now Israel (called the Negev),
Jordan would control the central section of the country (where Jerusalem
and Tel-Aviv are located), and Syria would control the north (known as the
Galilee). So much for "Palestine." None of the Arabs residing at the time
in The Land of Israel would have protested in any way whatsoever. The very
same scenario would have taken place had Israel not been victorious in the
1967 war. Jordanian rule would have been retained in the area known as the
West Bank, and the Palestinian Arabs would have been absorbed into Jordan
and disappeared. According to Muhammad Hasanein Heikal and Abdul Nasser,
Egypt would have taken control of the Negev, its long-term strategy being
to bridge the western and the eastern territories.
No Palestinian state would have established, and the Arabs who call
themselves Palestinians would not have made a sound. Furthermore, they
would have assimilated into the Arab-Moslem societies in that area without
any hesitation.

On that score we should recall here the treatment received by the Arab
Palestinians at the hands of their brother Palestinians when tens of
thousands were expelled from the countries of the Persian Gulf in 1991, in
the wake of Arafat's support for the Iraq of Saddam Hussein. They were
ordered to leave immediately without any "rights" whatsoever. Once again
Israel permitted them to return to their homes in Judea and Samaria.
Amazingly, they did not express any complaints. It became known through a
study conducted within the Arab community that the Arab Palestinians said
that their return to Israel was taken for granted: "We came to work in an
area ruled over by a tribe (Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, etc.). When the tribe no
longer wanted us there we could not continue to remain under its
protection." Need it be pointed out that on that occasion as well as on all
others in regard to the Arabs' behavior toward one another, the Jewish
anti-Semites and their supporters made no complaints?

Safety or massacre: Where?

 It is patently clear that the so-called Israeli "occupation" of Judea and
Samaria is not at all what Israel's detractors claim. By comparison to the
regime of terror imposed on their fellow Moslems in Judea, Samaria and
Gaza, Israel's rule has been benign and distinctly generous to the
inhabitants, including the provision of municipal services, housing
construction, jobs, freedom of worship, and so forth. Readers are invited
to consider how Arab Palestinians are treated by their fellow Moslems in a
number of Arab/Moslem countries. Recall the episode of "Black September"
1970 when 20 to 30 thousand Palestinians were massacred by their Jordanian
"brothers" and thousands escaped to the much maligned State of Israel. The
escapees – or refugees, if you will – knew they would be safe in
Israel, they would receive dental care, complete their high school
education, get health insurance, and so forth. Then they could confidently
return to their terrorist activities to destroy Israel, with hopes of
receiving generous sums of money for every Israeli killed from Saddam
Hussein or from other bottomless barrels of Arab funding.

 There was also "Black December" in 1983 when Syria trampled to death
thousands of Palestinians in Tripoli, in northern Lebanon, and exiled the
commanders of the PLO to Tunis, including Yasser Arafat, of course.
European or American voices, or those of Israel's political "Left", are not
raised in protest when Arab Palestinians slaughter other Palestinians in
the Gaza strip: Hundreds have been burned to death, stoned, shot in the
back of the head, thrown out of second story windows so they could be
picked up again and thrown down again and again. Once again hundreds of
Arabs from the Gaza strip ran away into Israel. Contrary to all the
blood-curdling propaganda publicized by Arabs and by anti-Israel Jews in
Israel, the escapees knew they would find sanctuary in Israel.

 Anti-Zionists don't really take an interest in the afore-mentioned
atrocities, similar to many prosecuting attorneys who ignore evidence
incompatible with the presentations of their case against the defendant.
Anti-Semitism either by non-Jews or by Jews can rarely be explained: It is
perhaps the oldest form of hatred against an entire people who remain
faceless, even when it is their own People who is the object of their
hatred. The criminal acts of terrorism inflicted on Israel's population by
Moslem/Arab Palestinians, are, as noted, of no concern to the
anti-Zionists. Indeed, Justice and the "rights" of the Palestinians are
similarly of no concern to them. They are motivated by their hatred and
contempt for Israel. Any act is justified that contributes to the eventual
destruction of the Jewish People, Zionism, or the Jewish State. Millions of
Arabs and Moslems have been slaughtered by other Arabs/Moslems over the
past 60 years (since the establishment of Israel) but the anti-Zionists
protested not one bit.

 Readers are urged to re-examine decision 194 of the UN that deals with
reconciliation between Israel and the Arab nations. Only section 11 refers
in a general way to the return of refugees, NOT of Arab Palestinians
refugees, not of the Palestinian People, not of Palestine.
It is a fascinating docum'ent. From the point of view of the present
authors, the UN decision deals with Jewish as well as with Arab refugees. A
million Jews left Arab countries after Israel was established, and left
behind a vast amount of property of far greater value than that left in
Israel by the Arabs who elected to flee.

The so-called "two-state solution"

The Palestinian declaration of a two-state solution includes the
implementation of "the right of return" of the Palestinian refugees to The
State of Israel. Palestinian demands are as follows: first, Israel's total
retreat to the 1967 borders, and then to solve the refugee problem within
those borders. That is tantamount to establishing an Arab Palestinian state
inside Israel, and a bi-national state in place of the State of Israel. In
the long run it means one big Arab Palestinian state from the Sea to the
Jordan River. In all probability it also means an end to the Kingdom of
Jordan. After all, Jordan is part of historic Palestine, and Palestinians
constitute 70% of its population.

In regard to the Palestinian refugee problem, the following should be

 1. In the twentieth century there were 130 million refugees in the world,
of which 640,000 are Arabs (i.e. one half of one percent);
2. Over 90% of the refugees in the world have been rehabilitated, residing
in the places where they resettled;
3. Despite the billions of dollars received by the Palestinians, not even
one refugee family was rehabilitated and left the camps;
4. The enormous donations to the Palestinians, far more than the money
given to Europe in the Marshall Plan after WWII, unfortunately are
earmarked mainly for corruption and terrorism. Those who are in need in
Asia and Africa receive nothing. The poverty, misery and wretchedness are
really there, but only the Palestinians get the world's financial
attention. The Palestinians are genuine parasites, living off the world's
charity at the expense of those who are truly in need of charity.
5. Of all of the tens of millions of refugees in the world, only the Arab
refugees are given special refugee status in the UN, and only in their case
does this status transfer from one generation to the next without end;
6. The activity of UNRWA is counterproductive in terms of the intention and
possibility of resolving the Palestinian refugee problem: It relegates the
refugees to a state of passivity and dependency.
7. Arab and Palestinian leaders not only do not care about the refugees'
situation, but deliberately leave it untouched to use as their best weapon
against Israel.

All attempts to reach an agreement with the Arabs were derailed.

Every effort to achieve political compromises and arrangements with the
Arab population was rejected. Even an anti-Zionist Jewish group called
Brith-Shalom in 1930's, which offered far-reaching concessions to the
Arabs, did not succeed in achieving an understanding with them. Moreover,
during the period of the British mandate, the Arab-Palestinian leadership,
with the encouragement of the Arab nations, was not ready for any
compromise on the issue of Jewish immigration, Jewish settlement of the
land, or in regard to various partition plans that were proposed, including
he UN Partition Plan of November 29, 1947. The day after the UN vote, the
Arab nations initiated a war against the Jewish population of Palestine to
prevent the establishment of the State of Israel on any and all territory.
After the Arabs were defeated in 1948, the frontiers of the Jewish state
were determined in negotiations with the Arab states. They appropriated the
Palestinian issue to themselves, and from that time on it was known only as
a humanitarian problem. Resolution 194 of the UN General Assembly on
November 11, 1948, refers mainly to the conciliation between Israel and the
Arab states. Only in Article 11 does it relate to the "refugee problem" in
general terms. In that docu'ment, if the term refugees mean Palestinians, it
refers to Jewish refugees from Arab states. From 1948 on, the Palestinians
had no connection with regional political reality in general. They were not
an active political player, they did not have any territorial assets, and,
as noted, their problem was defined as humanitarian. UN Resolution 242 of
November 1967 deals with the issue c of the "refugees" and not with that of
a Palestinian people. There was no mention whatsoever of a political
problem referring to an exploited and occupied people.
In the 1967 war, Israel conquered and liberated areas of mandatory
Palestine which had been occupied by Arab states. Jordan annexed the West
Bank in April 1950, making it part of Jordanian territory. Egypt continued
to view the inhabitants of Gaza as subjects of the Mandate. The
Palestinians were not sovereign over any territory, and the State of Israel
never conquered any territory from them. The Palestinian national movement,
in contrast to Palestinian identity, was shaped and organized only after
the 1967 war.  Its chief goal was, and remains, to take possession of
Palestine in its entirety through indiscriminate terrorism and to control
the territory of "Greater Palestine," including Jordan, by totally
demolishing the State of Israel.

The Palestinian refugee problem is a political one.

           Several different approaches were undertaken by different
nations to the problem of refugees in various countries in the Western
  In April 2004, the UN General Assembly decided that it is impossible to
implement the rights of the two hundred thousand Greeks and the fifty
thousand Turks to return to their homes in partitioned Cyprus, because "the
new reality which has been created" must be taken into consideration. This
stand of the UN is also the position of the EU. However, in Palestine their
view is totally different.
  Following World War II, 11 million Germans were expelled from
Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary and Romania and were absorbed in Germany,
with no refugee procedure. Now a few are seeking to return to their homes
in the Sudetenland, from which they were banished. They are not demanding
to dissolve the country from which they were deported; they are not
demanding to replace it; and they are not demanding monetary compensation.
They just want to go back to their lands that belonged to their families
for many generations. In August 2004, the German government determined that
there is no right of return and even no reparations. However, the attitude
of Germany towards the Palestinian refugee problem is different.
In 1968, the British Government exiled 5,000 of the Residents of the Island
of Diego Garci for the purpose of constructing an American air base. In
2003, their demand to return to their homes was rejected by the British
High Court of Justice, that ruled that the residents have neither the right
to return nor to receive compensations. Again, the Palestinian refugee case
is much easier, but the British stand toward the Palestinian refugee
problem is different.

Here are some illuminating data provided by the UN:
a) There are more than one hundred countries in the world whose economic
and social situation is much more severe than that of the Palestinians. In
Indonesia alone there are 120 million people- more than in Pakistan and
Afghanistan combined - who earn less than one dollar a day.  The sum of per
diem earnings is still worse in Africa.
b) At any given moment there are between 15 to 25 million refugees living
outside of their country who are without food and shelter, in conditions
far more dire than the Palestinians.
c) There are almost two hundred national-ethnic peoples in the world
begging desperately for freedom and statehood who do not wish to gain their
independence at the cost of ruining some other nation.
d) There are 240 million slave-children around the world, including many in
Muslim nations.
e) 40% of world population drink polluted water, and 25% drink water that
endanger their health. Every minute of the day and night 8000 children die
solely from drinking polluted water.
f) 30% of world populations have no toilets at home and use holes in a
field. Hunger and wretchedness abound in the world, mainly in Africa and
Asia, far more grave than exist among Arab Palestinians. However, the
Palestinians do not suffer these deprivations because they have an ensured
salary and huge donations of food each month. That is truly an outrage.
Monetary donations from around the world should be directed to those who
are in need – mainly in Africa.

It is worthwhile to stress that the term "Israeli occupation" employed by
the Palestinians refers not to the 1967 occupation, but to the "occupation"
of 1948, and not to the borders of 1967 but to the 1947 borders. When Arab
terrorists murder and massacre Israelis, it is not because of the
"occupation", and not because of the so-called settlements, but because
Israel is a Jewish Zionist nation living on what the Arabs consider to be
their land. The occupied territories have no relevance to the resolution of
the war between the Jews of Israel and the Arab Palestinians. It is just
another problem in a large set of complex issues which first and foremost
must focus on the recognition of Israel as a Jewish nation.

The Palestinian National Covenant

The official Palestinian attitude toward Israel and the concept of
"occupation" is expressed clearly " in the Palestinian National Covenant
that states as follows:
Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine. Thus it is the
overall strategy, not merely a tactical phase. The Palestinians assert
their absolute determination and firm resolution to continue their armed
struggle for the total liberation of Palestine (Article 9). The liberation
of Palestine means to repel the Zionist and imperialist aggression, and
aims at the elimination of Zionism from Palestine in its entirety (Article
15). The partition of Palestine in 1947 and the establishment of the state
of Israel in 1948 are entirely illegal (Article 19). The Balfour
Declaration [1917], the Mandate for Palestine [1919], and everything that
has been based upon them, are deemed null and void. Claims of historical or
religious ties of the Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts
of history. Judaism, being only a religion, is not an independent
nationality. Nor do Jews constitute a single nation with an identity of its
own. They are only citizens of the states to which they belong (Article
20). The Palestinian people, expressing himself by the armed revolution,
reject all solutions which are substitutes for the total liberation of
Palestine (Article 21). The liberation of Palestine will destroy the
Zionist presence and will contribute to the establishment of peace (Article
This Charter shall not be amended save by [vote of] a majority of
two-thirds of the total membership of the National assembly of the PLO
[taken] at a special session convened for that purpose (Article 33).

The charter of Hamas includes the following:

Israel will exist until Islam will obliterate it... [Hamas] strives to
raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine (Article 6). The
Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the links in the chain of the
struggle against the Zionist invaders. It goes back to 1930's, and it
includes the struggle of the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1948 war and all
Jihad operations… The Day of Judgment will not come about until Muslims
fight the and kill the Jews, and when the Jew will hide behind stones and
trees, the stones and trees will say O Muslims, O the servants of Allah,
there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him (Article 7). The land of
Palestine is an Islamic Waqf (endowment) until Judgment Day. It, or any
part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be
given up. Neither a single Arab country nor all Arab countries, neither any
king or president, nor all the kings and presidents, neither any
organization nor all of them, be they Palestinian or Arab, possess the
right to deny that. Palestine in its entirety belongs only to the
Palestinians. This is the law governing the Islamic Shari'ah (article 11).
Nothing is more significant or deeper than Jihad against the Zionist enemy.
Resisting and quelling the enemy become the individual duty of every
Muslim, male or female. Abusing any part of Palestine is tantamount to
abuse part of the religion [which means death]. There is no solution for
the Palestinian question except through Jihad to eliminate the Zionist
invasion. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a
waste of time and vain endeavors (Article 13). It is the utmost necessary
to instill the spirit of jihad in the heart of the Muslim nation (Article
15)... jihad is the path, and death for the sake of Allah is the loftiest
of all wishes...

     The above docu'ments do not mention any occupation of 1967 or its
borders, nor does it refer to peace with Israel, whatever may be the
borders. The town of Sderot is not in the 1967 occupied territories, nor
the town of Ashkelon or all the villages and Kibbutzim around Gaza. Yet
they are shelled and bombed on a daily basis. Kiryat Shmonah and all of
northern Israel are not in the 1967 occupied territories, but they have
been bombed and shot at for years. If the problem with the Arabs is the
1967 borders, why do they continue bombing Israeli cities, terrorize,
shell, send homicide bombers against Israeli citizens and dig tunnels into
Israel inside the 1948 borders?


There really is no Palestinian refugee problem

The Palestinian issue is not a problem of refugees since only a small
minority of them live in camps, and the socioeconomic data and the living
standards show clearly that their situation not only resembles hundreds of
millions of inhabitants of Third World countries, but their economic and
social conditions are far superior. The Palestinian issue is not the
problem of a people uprooted from its land, since most of the people who
call themselves Palestinians live in the land of mandatory Palestine. Nor
is the Palestinian issue a problem of a society that was dispersed among
foreign and antagonistic environments since almost all Palestinians live
and reside in Moslem majority populations that speak Arabic as their
primary language, as do the Arab Palestinians.

Anyone who wishes to obtain knowledge about the Arab-Palestinian refugee
problem can do so easily, beginning with the outline presented here. The
conclusion derived from this information is unequivocal: there are no
Palestinian refugees at all. Their well-being; their way of life; their
real social and economic situation is superior to that of hundreds of
millions of people, among them many other Muslims, around the world.
However, individuals and nations can ignore objective historical or
social-economic information and prefer their own opinions about any and all
topics of human existence. That decision is up to them. People remain free
to change their internal reality when they do not wish to recognize what
exists in the world around them.


Bat Yeor (2002)  Islam and dhimmitude: Where civilizations collide.
Farleigh Dickenson University Press. Teaneck, New Jersey.
Kuzar, Ron (2008)  The term return in the Palestinian discourse on the
Right of Return. Discourse and Society, 19, 629-644.
Lewis, Bernard (1986)  Semites and anti-Semites. New York: W. W.  Norton.
Sharan, Shlomo (Ed.) (2003) Israel and the post-Zionists: A nation at risk.
Brighton, UK and Shaarie Tikvah: Ariel Center for Policy Research.
Sharan, Shlomo (2007)  Our inner scourge: The catastrophe of Israel
academics. ACPR polic Paper 171. Shaarei Tikvah, The Ariel Center for
Policy research. 


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