The artificial Palestinian identity and the “right of return”

Palestinian right of return – a plot to destroy Israel

The Palestinians claim that since they are separate national identity, they are entitled to “the right of return” as a basic inalienable right, and this forms a central, irrevocable platform in the “peace” negotiations with Israel.

I have addressed this issue several times on this blog, but here are some more relevant articles.

Alexander Joffe and Asaf Romirowsky, writing in Forbes, (via Middle East Forum) explain the politics of the Palestinian demand to the right of return (emphases are mine):

Palestinians, as well as other Arabs and supporters, rarely tire of pointing out that more 60 years after the creation of Israel, Palestinians remain ‘refugees.’ It is, or should be a commonplace to point out that this is by choice, since no Arab state besides Jordan grants Palestinians citizenship. In comparative terms, the fact is also that there are no remaining ‘refugees’ from the contemporary, vastly larger and more convulsive creation of India and Pakistan, nor of course from World War II.

Palestinian identity is synonymous with three things, the ‘right of return,’ the permanent, sanctified struggle with Israel, and permanent recognition of their status as refugees, dispossessed at the hand of Israel with the connivance of the international community. A corollary demand is that the international community must sustain them as ‘refugees’ through UNRWA until the Palestinians themselves, somehow, declare the ‘refugee crisis’ resolved.

Palestinian national identity is predicated on winning a zero sum struggle with Zionism, not a vision of a state of their own.

The two authors are mystified, as are we all, at the lack of understanding of the Palestinians’ real intentions, especially since they are broadcast loud and clear on a daily basis in Arabic to their own people:

Unwillingness to listen to what Palestinians say in Arabic (and often English), about their political demands or national identity, much less their attitudes towards Israelis, has long been one of the most puzzling features of American and European engagement with the Middle East. Abbas’s defense of the ‘right of return’ is absolute, as is that of nearly every Palestinian politician and intellectual.

The ‘right of return’ is sometimes explained away as being symbolic rather than practical, an element of the Palestinian ‘narrative’ regarding the blameless circumstances of their diaspora. Israelis are demanded to accept both the narrative, in which they are the villains, and the possibility of the mass return of Palestinians that would, by design, end Israel as a Jewish state.

In contrast, the demand that Israel be recognized as a Jewish state would have no practical costs for Palestinians. But it would be acknowledgment of the character and permanence of Israel, and thus is rejected outright. This cannot be admitted, indeed, the entire thrust of Palestinian public culture, from education to summer camps to TV programming, relentlessly pushes the idea that Israel is temporary and illegitimate.

And then we have our utter astonishment at the Americans’ naivete in thinking that a Palestinian state will cure all ills in the Middle East:

With Arab nationalism, and nations, dissolving everywhere, it is both ironic and mysterious that the US is expending so much capital attempting to bring yet another such state into being. It failed to do so in Iraq, it abetted the dissolution of Libya and the convulsions in Egypt, and stands aside while Syria burns. And with Palestinian leaders all but stating outright that they have no plan but to struggle against Israel, the American task is Sisyphean.

Eminently sensible proposals regarding borders, Jewish communities in the West Bank and even Jerusalem are rendered irrelevant. No peace is possible until Palestinian society makes the compromise it has been unwilling to do for nearly a century, share the land. Until they do so, by their leaders giving up, however reluctantly, the ‘right of return,’ by declaring their struggle against Israel at an end, and by declaring that an independent Palestine means no Palestinian is a refugee, there will be no peace.

Demonstrating the Palestinians’ implacable opposition to Israel, here is BDS advocate Omar Barghouti – a antisemitic hypocrite who demands an academic boycott of Israel despite the fact that he himself studies at an Israeli university – demanding the “right of return” for the millions of Palestinian “refugees”. Listen out for his not-so-implicit accusation of racism against the Jews: (h/t Zvi).

Since the right of return is clearly predicated upon a separate Palestinian national identity. Eli E Herz at Myths and Facts provides us with a pertinent reminder about the artificiality of the Palestinian identity:

The artificiality of a Palestinian identity is reflected in the attitudes and actions of neighboring Arab states that never established a Palestinian state or advocated one prior to the Six-Day War in 1967. What unites Palestinian Arabs has been their opposition to Jewish nationalism and the desire to stamp it out, not aspirations for their own state. Local patriotic feelings are generated only when a non-Islamic entity takes charge – such as Israel did in 1967 after the Six-Day War, and dissipates under Arab rule, as it was under the rule of Jordan prior to 1967.

Culturally, Palestinians are not distinct from other Arabs. The sole contributions Palestinians can take credit for are the invention of skyjacking for political purposes in the 1960s, and a special brand of suicidal terrorism that uses their own youth as delivery systems for bombing pizza parlors, discos, and public commuter buses.

Ironically, before local Jews began calling themselves Israelis in 1948 (the name Israel was chosen for the newly established Jewish state), the term ‘Palestine’ applied almost exclusively to Jews and the institutions founded by new Jewish immigrants in the first half of the 20th century, before independence.


Princeton University professor of Semitic literature Philip Hitti (1886-1978), one of the greatest Arabic historians of the ninth century and author of ‘The History of the Arabs,’ testifying on behalf of the Arab cause, told the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry on Palestine in 1946: “There is no ‘Palestine’ in history, absolutely not.”

For some more background on the issue of the Palestinian right of return, see the entry “Palestinian right of return – a plot to destroy the Jewish state” in the Jewish Virtual Library.

There is also an excellent, thoroughly researched article on the whole issue by Prof. David Bukay at the American Center for Democracy. Here is a very small excerpt:

The Palestinians’ right of return was never related to the occupation of 1967 territories, but to the 1948 occupation; and it is not two states’ solution living in peace, based on territorial division of 1967 border (with or without exchanged territories), but the entire territory ‘from the Sea to the River.’ This reality is proved by the demand to fulfill and to accomplish the right of return, which is a pure euphemism to Israel’s destruction as a Jewish-Zionist independent state.

Although it’s quite long, you should read it all.

Sadly for us, although these truths are all self-evident to us, how do we go about confusing the world with facts? This is a world that does not wish to hear.

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13 Responses to The artificial Palestinian identity and the “right of return”

  1. OyiaBrown says:

    Reblogged this on Oyia Brown.

  2. Betty says:

    Don’t use facts we must use emotion, just as Elder of Zion so well argued.!

    • anneinpt says:

      We need both. We need emotion to initially counter the protests and hate, but we need to have the facts at our fingertips when the conversation becomes more matter-of-fact.

  3. DavidinPT says:

    Slightly off topic, but if (when?) that brave and wise president bullies Bibi this week to surrender to these (his?) Palestinian diktats, I hope that Bibi will simply tell him we’re going into Iran. Let’s see how O’Bummer copes with that. What with Putin and the Ukraine, he’ll probably have a nervous breakdown. But at least he’s now got a wonderful Healthcare system, or has he? The time has surely come to tell him where to get off! Quite clearly, there is no real price to pay.

    • cba says:

      I hope that Bibi will simply tell him we’re going into Iran
      I think the time has come for Israel to stop telling the Americans ANYTHING.

      They have been leaking information to the press left, right and centre.

      • anneinpt says:

        cba, absolutely. You’re 100% correct. And note that they only leak stuff that’s damaging to Israel, never anything about the Palestinians.

    • anneinpt says:

      See my latest post. Interesting that he toned down his position after that vile interview with Jeffrey Goldberg.

  4. Earl says:

    Very deft summary, anne. One trusts Bibi has watched the hapless and clueless Obama/Kerry’s gong show in Ukraine- and has learned to stand tough against such fecklessness and irrelevancy. Bibi has made an entente with Putin through Tamar/Gazprom, and clearly recognizes that the Obama WH will not act in either America’s or Israel’s best interests. He’s the walking dead- just ignore him until 2015 when American attentions will focus entirely on 2016.

    • anneinpt says:

      Thanks for the compliment Earl. Interesting point about Israel’s gas deal with Russia. I had forgotten about that.

      Certainly Bibi and teh Palestinians – and everyone else who relies on the US – is watching the Ukraine crisis with great interest and drawing the relevant conclusions. i.e. you cannot rely on the Americans, and also, it is quite safe to ignore the Americans.

      Which of course makes the world a whole lot more dangerous now.

  5. peteca1 says:

    I want to go to a completely separate topic here. So ecuse me if I diverge. Over here in the USA we seem to be seeing some sort of media “charm offensive” about Iran. Honestly, it is noticeable right now. Almost daily articles stating how the Iranians are reducing their stockpile of enriched uranium. Personally, I would be delighted if this was really true. Maybe it is. However, I would note that I do not see how any comprehensive examination of the evidence has been made – so aren’t all these stories just opinions? On top of that, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards actually came out and said that their carefully worked plan to defeat the USA is to spread their military assets all over the country. Actually – a pretty good strategy by the way. But doesn’t it stand to reason that the Iranians might be doing the same thing with their enriched uranium? So again … how do we know.

    I find it interesting that there is an agreement with Syria to destroy all of their chemical weapons. Yet experts tell us that no more than 5% of the stockpile has been destroyed as of now. And even American experts agree that the inventory of the weapons is no better than a “B+” in quality. So apparently Assad sees the value is sneaking away a few sarin gas bombs for a “rainy day”.

    Do we have to be so gullible ???

    Pete, USA

    • anneinpt says:

      You’ve made excellent points Pete. The American ignoring of Iran’s duplicity is almost incomprehensible. Almost. The only way to understand it is to see a parallel with the Israel-Palestine peace talks. The process has become the goal, not peace – or Iranian nuclear disarmament – itself.

      This leftist utopian Administration loves the illusion of peace, negotiations, talks, but don’t want to get their hands dirty with the nitty-gritty of dealing with broken promises, nuclear proliferation, incitement and all the rest of the dirty stuff going on behind the scenes.

      I don’t think it’s a matter of being gullible. I think it’s their intention – everything is for show and damn the consequences. So now Putin has tweaked America’s nose, and what are they going to do about it?

  6. Brian Goldfarb says:

    Anne has kindly linked to the article of mine she published on UNRWA in the next article down (it’s the one highlighted as UNRWA, about 4 paragraphs in). This contains a huge element of the problem of the Palestinian supposed “Right of Return”: UNRWA itself and its continued definition of all the descendants of the original refugees as refugees. I’m not going to repeat those arguments here, merely point out that no-one (or very few) challenge this definition and even fewer make the link to the expulsion of Jews from Arab lands, in original number, equalling the number of Arab displacees.

    Of course not. That might cause some straight thinking and talking about the whole question of “refugees”.

    Can’t have that. It might solve the problem.

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