Sunday, August 23, 2009

'A Jewish return for a Palestinian return'

With thanks: Iraqijews

Saleh al-Qallab, writing in the London-based Arabic newspaper Sharq-al-Awsat, says a peace settlement should honour the right of Jews to return to Arab countries and receive compensation for their property, as it should for Palestinians to return to their homes in Israel and get compensation, in accordance with UN resolution 194.

Al-Qallab claims that Iraqi Jews would reintegrate easily into Iraq because they had been living there since the Babylonian exile and had taken a full part in the rebirth of the country. They do not harbour hatred of Arabs or Palestinians. Moreover they are not as resentful as Moroccan or Yemeni Jews.

He claims that some Iraqi Jews have thought 'seriously to return'. He cites the example of Moshe Shahal, a former Israeli MK and minister of Police in Yitzhak Rabin's government. Shahal had changed his name from Fattal; a branch of the Fattal family had prospered in London. Shahal had remained faithful to his Iraqi heritage, teaching his children Arabic. His mother cooked the Arabic dish pacha for the whole family.

Shahal had apparently asked Hosni Mubarak, on his becoming Egyptian president, to arrange for him to return to Saddam's Iraq and claim his property back. He was shocked to be told that he could. But Saddam retracted his promise.

The article concludes that there are encouraging grounds to believe that Iraqi jews from Iraqi Kurdistan might seriously consider returning to Iraq, and some of them will actually do so if granted the necessary security guarantees.

Read article in full (Google translation from Arabic)

Summary in JCPA piece (Hebrew)

Point of No Return comments: Al-Qallab is to be commended for raising the issue of Jews from Arab countries, but is unrealistic to call for an exchange 'right of return' 60 years after the event. The descendants of Jews from Arab countries are now Hebrew-, English- or French- speaking Jews fully integrated in Israel and the West. Moreover, Arab countries are far from guaranteeing physical security and equal rights for returning Jews, when they cannot even guarantee them for fellow Muslims or Christians.

OK, say I - for every Jew returning to an Arab country let one Palestinian return to Israel - and see how many take up the offer.

Na-Na-Nahman from Iraq (with thanks: Iraqijews)
Yediot Aharonot (Musaf shel shabbat) of 22 August carries the curious revelation that the Hassidim of Breslav (Ukraine), who revere Rabbi Nahman from Uman, are planning to make group visits from Israel to tombs of Jewish Prophets and Sages in Iraq. According to the article, Haifa University and the Babylonian Jewish Center at Or Yehuda has started training tour guides to accompany the groups. No online link available.


Anonymous said...

This wouldn't work. The arabs will be glad to to adopt the equation of a jewish return for a pallestinian return, just to get rid of the palestinians living in their country. But only a handful of jews will agree to go back to an arab country. And what about jews living in western countries who decide to take up the offer to return to their former arab country? where should the palestinians go in exchange? to Israel or to the western country?

bataween said...

This is precisely the point - it wouldn't work. The only solution that would work is for both sides to drop their 'right of return'.

Anonymous said...

The problem is that the palestinians still live in refugee camps and are still waiting to "return", while the jews have completely settled in the countries they went to. Some kind of original solution has to be found, they can't live in refugee camps forever.

bataween said...

Exactly, and it should be easier to resettle Palestinians among their fellow Arab brethren - who speak the same language and share their religion. All is needed is the will to do so.

Anonymous said...

The will to do so is not there. The arabs do not want the palestinians among them. They are not always loyal to the country they live in, and tend to be involved in anti governmental activity... Kuwait had to expel 400,000 palestinians in 1991

bataween said...

I agree, the will is not there. The same goes for the Arab will for peace generally. We know that many Arab regimes (eg Syria) would collapse if they ever made a genuine peace agreement with Israel.
I think the idea that all Palestinians are radicalised extremists is a great exaggeration. Many are well-educated and hardworking,and if given half a chance, would assimilate into the their Arab host countries.

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

Anonymous at 7:01 8-28-09

Yes, so-called "palestinians" "still live in refugee camps." But who keeps them there?? The Western govts have been financing the camps for many years, from the beginning. They obviously wanted the refugee situation to go on. In my view, this was done out of a very clever, very subtle form of Judeophobia. I say this on the grounds that just about every other refugee situation created in the 20th century has been settled, usually by resettlement in the place of refuge or by migration from there. The Arab refugees from 1948 have been deliberately kept in camps by the West for use as a tool against Israel. In the 1950s, when the "refugee" numbers were much smaller than today, they could have resettled in Syria [perhaps the Christians among them in Lebanon] and Iraq where there was much and still is much unsettled land, as well as the possibility of fruitful irrigation. But the West wanted very much to keep the problem alive, although the Arab host-govts also contributed to this.
Hence, I would say that the West is a great obstacle to Arab-Israeli peace and has long been so.

Anon, 6:15 am-
Yes, Kuwait expelled 400,000 or so of their palestinian Arab brothers. The world did not care. The world, certainly not the West, does not care about "ethnic cleansing" or mass population expulsion. The so-called "Democratic West" is just as hypocritical as always. Note that the West has never effectively intervened to stop the genocide going on in the Sudan since 1956. Thus, we may say that the West is not against genocide or mass population expulsion. The West is an obstacle to peace and much else.

bataween said...

I agree with you Eliyahu that the West is largely to blame for perpetuating the Arab refugee problem. But rather than a form of judeophobia(NS even Israel is a contributor to UNWRA), is it not rather a form of dhimmitude, where the West pay the jizya in the shape of millions to UNWRA in return for Arab oil?

The 400,000 Palestinians expelled from Kuwait is roughly the number of Arab refugees from Israel, but as you rightly say, no-one cares a fig as long as the 'victimisers' are not Jews.