Monday, February 03, 2014

Yemini: no peace without refugee recognition

 Following the leak of an off-the-record conference call between senior US envoy Martin Indyk and Jewish leaders, compensation for Jewish refugees appears to be on the peace agenda. Maariv columnist Ben Dror Yemini welcomes this change of direction as positive news for peace (with thanks: Hadar):   

Many men good and true, even in the peace camp, have made ​​every effort to erase all traces of the Jewish Nakba - the persecution, dispossession and expulsion of Jews from Arab countries . It only provokes difficulties, they said. It's not about the Palestinians, they argued, it would delay the peace process, it would complicate things, and a thousand and one excuses. The main thing is to forget and make people forget.

Those who made every effort to glorify and exalt and remember and commemorate the Nakba,  at least in part, made efforts to erase the Jewish Nakba. They were not alone. Students of the State of Israel also learned much more on Deir Yassin than the Farhud in Iraq, where more Jews were slaughtered. They did not learn about the pogroms in Egypt, Syria, Libya, Aden and Morocco.

  The Americans, are now once again first off the mark, illustrating that 'refugee' includes the Jews. No Israeli prime minister, to-date, has clearly spoken on this issue. For years one has had to explain that Palestinian refugees are a consequence of Arab aggression which had two goals: First, the destruction of the Jewish state and second, that the Jews of Arab countries will pay the price. Dispossession, persecution and violence  were directed against them.

Hassan al - Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, organized volunteers to attack Israel. He announced that if Israel is established he will throw the Jews from Arab countries into the sea.  The Arab League made two decisions on the dispossession and expropriation of property.
צילום: לע''מ
Will they get compensation in the peace agreement? Immigrants from Yemen 

Two prominent leaders of the struggle against the nascent Israel, Haj Amin al - Husseini and Fawzi al - Qawukji, were self-declared Nazis. The first was the instigator and organizer of the pogrom against the Jews of Iraq - the Farhud . So it was not the Israeli-Palestinian struggle which created the refugee problem. It was the Arab struggle against the Jews, both in Israel and in Arab countries, which created the Jewish Nakba, the largest, and the Palestinian Nakba, a little less large.

If you erase the proper order of things, the Palestinian narrative gains legitimacy, sometimes through the efforts of the Ministry of Education. It's fine, even appropriate, to tell that Israel committed acts of expulsion, and in a few cases even harmed innocent people. But it is wrong to erase the real story - about the death threats, and pogroms and Arab rejectionism, and the Nazis who were among the leaders of the struggle against Israel.

To say there is "no connection" and "'The Palestinians are not guilty, " as academics sometimes suggest, is not even worthy of a third-class  degree. This is an entirely false claim, along with other lies of the same class  and claims about "the narrative of the other."

And more importantly:  stressing the Jewish Nakba is not only not an obstacle to peace but it can make a huge contribution to peace. With help from historians of Ilan Pappe's kind, Palestinians began to believe the lie that they are unique and special, forever victims, and expendable. They forgot and make people forget that tens of millions of people in those years experienced uprooting and expulsion, both as punishment for aggression, particularly for ethnic or national homogenization, as part of the establishment of nation states. They forgot that not one of those tens of millions received a right of return, nor compensation. They forgot they were the recalcitrant and aggressive side. They have forgotten what they did to the Jews, who paid a higher price.

It should be clear: the right of return is a demand to destroy Israel. Jews in Israel do not want to be in the situation of Coptic Christians in Egypt or Iraq or Pakistani Christian community members. If they believe in return or compensation only for them, they are living in a fantasy  resulting from brainwashing. There is no chance for peace without recognition of Arab responsibility for the Jewish Nakba. It should be made clear to the Palestinians  to start the process of reconciliation, and they should cease to feel like the victims.

Until now it was only Bill Clinton, President of the United States, and no Israeli prime minister, who made clear that the refugee issue also includes the Jewish refugees. It is possible that Israel's leaders last year put the issue on the table. Whether or not the leak by Martin Indyk is correct, it is a change of direction, finally, a more realistic vision of the refugee issue. This is positive news for the chances for peace.

Read article in full (Hebrew) 

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