< link rel="DCTERMS.isreplacedby" href="http://bokertov.typepad.com/ btb/" >

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Submitted to the Daily Camera

As the 56th anniversary of the reestablishment of the nation of Israel approaches, Kimberly Gibbs (4/17/04) publicly advocates a Palestinian "right of return." This buzz-phrase is not warm and fuzzy, nor does it advocate anything peaceful. It indicates a very radical position, shared by master-terrorists and their followers. It is a thinly-veiled call for the destruction of Israel, and as such it is completely unacceptable.

When Israel reasserted her sovereignty in 1948, that nation was not yet 24 hours old when attacked by the converging armies of five Arab countries. The secretary general of the Arab League proclaimed, "This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre . . ."

Arab leaders urged Arabs living in Israel to flee -so they wouldn't be in the way of the attack- and promised they would be returning to their homes(or to houses of the Jews) very quickly, when the Jews were annihilated. According to official records, some 540,000 Arabs fled; at the same time, 750,000 Jews were expelled from the Arab countries. The displaced Jews were immediately absorbed by Israel, but the Arabs never absorbed their brothers and sisters, nor assumed any moral or legal responsibility for their wellbeing -- not to this very day.

Those original Arab refugees, together with three generations of their offspring, now number over 4 million persons. One third live in refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Israel (in the disputed territories of Judea, Samaria and Gaza). Moreover, 1.3 million Arabs live in Israel as citizens.

Do the math: with only 5 million Jews in Israel, wholesale repatriation of as many Arabs would mean the end of Israel as a Jewish country. Arab "right of return" is nothing more than a demographic version of driving the Jews into the sea.

Israel must exist - it is the only sovereign refuge for Jews in the world. I don't see how anyone who wants peace can ignore or contravene this moral imperative. True advocates for peace would do better by bringing pressure to bear on Jordan, Lebanon and Syria - to absorb, as full and equal citizens, the Palestinians who have lived in those countries for 56 years . . . in refugee camps.

Anne Lieberman
Boulder, CO