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The fable of the Palestinian ‘right of return’

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While more than 1200 rockets rained down on southern Israeli towns during the latest violence from Gaza’s Hamas, the terrorist organization’s leader Ismail Haniyeh arrogantly warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to “play with fire . . . Neither you nor your army and police can win this battle. What’s happening in Jerusalem is an intifada that must not stop.”

In fact, an unending intifada against the Jewish state has been the central mission of Hamas since its inception, and part of that war against Israel includes what Palestinians claim is their legal “right of return;” that is, the right of those Arabs who fled or were expelled from what became Israel to now return, en masse, to the Jewish state — together with all of the original refugee’s descendants, now numbering in the millions.

In its “Document of General Principles and Policies,” Hamas specifically articulates this supposed right, claiming, mistakenly, that “The right of the Palestinian refugees and the displaced to return to their homes from which they were banished or were banned from returning to — whether in the lands occupied in 1948 or in 1967 (that is the whole of Palestine), is a natural right, both individual and collective. This right is confirmed by all divine laws as well as by the basic principles of human rights and international law.”

Hamas’s aspirations aside, all sentient observers of the Palestinian issue know that the “right of return” issue is a core tactic in rendering real peace, any viable Arab/Israeli solution, effectively impossible, that the prospect of some five to seven million Palestinian refugees flooding into what is now Israel would, as the late University of Haifa professor Steven Plaut once put it, “derail Israel demographically and turn it into the Rwanda of the Levant.”

The demand for a right of return, a notion referred to by Palestinians and their supporters as “sacred” and an “enshrined” universal human right granted by UN resolutions and international law, in fact, has no legal standing at all, and is part of the propaganda campaign that is based on the thinking that if Israel cannot be eradicated by the Arabs though war, it can effectively be destroyed by forcing it to commit demographic suicide.

In the first place, the right of return claim uses the fraud as its core notion that the Palestinians were “victimized” by the creation of Israel, that they were expelled from a fictive land of “Palestine” where they were the indigenous people “from time immemorial,” as historian Joan Peters put it in her book of the same name. The recounting of this wistful fable has enabled the Palestinian cause to become the obsession of Leftists in the West, Middle East Study Centers on university campuses, the United Nations, much of Europe, and throughout the Arab world where Jew-hatred helps fuel a central evolving myth of Zionist oppression and occupation of fellow Muslim brethren.

More importantly, far from being either a “sacred” or, for that matter,........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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