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Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Right of Return on Comment is Free

link for a rationalization by a transplanted Brit why Palestinians shouldn't be able to live in their villages, towns, homes. Some of the comments on the story are here:

Israel did not just make a few refugees in 1948 and again in 1967- Israel created the largest and longest running refugee crisis in the world today... AND Israel as a sovereign nation with one of the most powerful miltaries on earth continues to pulverize Palestinian homes and impoverish the Palestinian individually and collectively. The way that Zionist immigration and investments and propaganda works is that the game is now very much rigged so that one very racist Israel, what ever promise it might have had in 1948, will only become more and more monstrous towards the native non-Jewish population of the region.The only way to forward toward real justice and a lasting peace is by fully respecting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights from 1948 in general - and specially the INALIENABLE right to leave- and return. People world wide do it every day when we leave for work or school. It is reasonable and right to expect that you can leave and return to your home. It is also reasonable and right to expect full and equal rights ( and economic opportunities) in the the land of your birth.

Anne Selden

From the very inception, Israel was a crime against humanity, it is still a crime against humanity. Israel is a murderer, liar and land thief. And like all thieves, it always resorts to lying and other twisted tactics to justify their abominable behavior.

That is why the rape of Palestine, my country, by ethnic Ashkenazi supremacists will never be accepted, neither now, nor after a thousand years. Hence, we must always speak in a clarion way about the right of return. This right represents the soul and heart of the Palestinian problem. It is more important and more paramuont than anything else, including the issue of Palestinian statehood. A Palestinian state may go to hell if its creation is at the expense of the right of return.

The right of return is not about enhancing one's standards of living, it is not about compensation or indemnification. It is not about a Hamburger or a "big mack" as the paragons of mendacity would protray our just cause.

It is about the profanity and evilness of uprooting and extirpation an entire people form their homeland from time immemorial by East European Ashkenazi supremacists. It is about an individual's inherent right to live in one's homeland, one's country.

Hence, our right to return to our homes and villages from which we were banished at gunpoint is inherent, intrinsic, inalienable, and absolute. Claiming otherwise would be a futile exercise in dishonesty and racism.

Khalid, al Khalil, occupied Palestine.

If ethnic cleansing is the key to solving the "problem" in the Middle East, if Judeo-Nazism is the only hope for peace, and if perserving one's simple right to return to his home, from which he or she was expelled at gunpoint, complicates things in the Middle East, then we certainly prefere to keep the "problem" intact.

The analogy with "German refugees" is corrupt and unacceptable. Nazi Germany waged war on Europe and much of the world. Germany destroyed Europe and caused the death of millions of people. The Palestinians waged war on nobody, invaded nobody's homeland and expelled nobody from their country. Quite the contrary, they were and still are the victims. Their homeland was taken away from them, their villages were destroyed, their homes stolen, their people expelled to the four corners of the world. So, is it just that that they be punished like the German people? What kind of obscene and promiscuous logic is that which equates between the victims and the victimizers.

We Palestinian refugees and our children and grandchildren and their children will never ever render legitimacy to the act of rape, to the greatet theft in history. The ethnic cleansing of our people was a crime against humanity. It is still a crime against humanity. And we will never every come to terms with this crime. We will never ever allow ethnic cleansing to win.

Khalid Amayreh

Gershon Baskin wrote the following:

"Anyone who understands anything about Israel and Israelis must realize that there will be no return to Israel proper."

Dr. Salman Abu Sitta replied:

"In simpler words, Israel wants to continue its ethnic cleansing, pursue its racist and Apartheid policies, and does not 'really want to live in peace' with the Palestinians but instead of them.
"The Palestinians, and most of the world with them, are determined to pursue justice, eradicate racism and Apartheid. Just as South Africa did. They have no intention of disappearing.

"Baskin, true 'friendship' should go to the Israelis to help shake them off their collective amnesia about what they have done and are doing to the Palestinians and to advise them that their salvation lies in shedding racism fully and forever. They have to amend their ways, reverse ethnic cleansing and make reparations.

"For it is clear that the history of Jews will ultimately be marked indelibly, and above all other historical events, by what they have done in Palestine."

Based on Alex's earlier article on the Jewish Law of Return, I had actually looked forward to engaging with a similarly thought-provoking piece on the Palestinian Right of Return. Having read his latest post, however, I'm disappointed to find that there's hardly enough substance to justify a response. Just one more Jew who is either unable, or unwilling, to exercise moral judgment where fundamental issues of justice come into conflict with equally fundamental tenets of contemporary political Zionism.

Alex knows what he wants, he has the weapons to keep it, and that's what he intends to do. The rest of the post is just self-soothing and post hoc rationalization. I've seen worse, certainly, just not when I was actually expecting better. Maybe later I'll write some sort of detailed response, and we can all pretend, for a few additional minutes, that we're participating in a substantive debate. For now, I'm just going to append a paragraph from The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy's overview of Hannah Arendt.

"Arendt concluded that Eichmann was constitutively incapable of exercising the kind of judgement that would have made his victims' suffering real or apparent for him. It was not the presence of hatred that enabled Eichmann to perpetrate the genocide, but the absence of the imaginative capacities that would have made the human and moral dimensions of his activities tangible for him. Eichmann failed to exercise his capacity of thinking, of having an internal dialogue with himself, which would have permitted self-awareness of the evil nature of his deeds. This amounted to a failure to use self-reflection as a basis for judgement, the faculty that would have required Eichmann to exercise his imagination so as to contemplate the nature of his deeds from the experiential standpoint of his victims. This connection between the complicity with political evil and the failure of thinking and judgement inspired the last phase of Arendt's work, which sought to explicate the nature of these faculties and their constitutive role for politically and morally responsible choices."

Aaron J Levitt

Dr. Salman H Abu-Sitta is a very self-effacing man, who gave up a lucrative career in construction to establish himself as perhaps the foremost expert on Palestinian refugees. He has iconic status among Palestinians and is revered among us for his monumental work and untiring efforts.

Dr. Abu Sitta is himself a refugee. According to journalist Amira Howeidy, "His family's land and town bears the family name, Maein Abu Sitta (the Abu Sitta springwell), which appears 'on all the maps of Palestine from the 18th century onwards.'" Maein Abu Sitta is located in Beir Al-Sabe' (Beersheba).

Dr. Abu-Sitta's father built the school in Maein Abu Sitta and was its headmaster.
Dr. Abu Sitta defines "sacred," in a debate with Michael Lerner.
"It [right of return] is sacred because it is embedded in their [Palestinians'] psyche." He continues, "Although they have been dispersed, their family structure is strong."

He further elaborates on "sacred" in "An End to Exile":

"For them [Palestinian refugees], the return home is sacred. They have lived on this land for over 30 centuries. Their historical bond with the place moved an Israeli writer to note: 'Every people in the world lives in a place. For Palestinians, the place lives in them.' The grandchild of a 1948 refugee, when asked, says he comes from his original village, not from the refugee camp where he lives. The Mukhtars (village heads) are elected on the basis of their original villages. The schoolchildren are registered in school accordingly. A recent study showed that 66 per cent of all refugees moved to their exile in one of the five areas of UNRWA operations (Gaza, West Bank, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon) as a complete village unit, 25 per cent of the villagers split into two UNRWA areas and only nine per cent moved to more than two areas. It is remarkable to note that 87 per cent of the refugees are in Palestine (where 29 per cent live) or in a 100km-wide ring around it. Only 13 per cent are in other Arab and foreign countries. This proximity to the homeland is indicative of the bond between the refugees and their homes."

Dr. Abu Sitta, using much of his own money, worked decades to compile his monumental Atlas of Palestine. "Israel has attempted to eradicate their [Palestinians'] lives and their culture," writes Amira Howeidy.

David Ben Gurion "create[ed] a committee of scholars, geographers, and theologians . . . whose goal was to "erase" all the names used in historic Palestine for the past five thousand years and to create new Hebrew names. 'They wanted to make these names a symbol of the old link with Palestine, but unfortunately they could not find genuine Hebrew names for more than five percent of the names previously used,' said Abu Sitta. These new maps and new names erased the vocabulary of the life of the people, he added, because of the way the names had recorded historic events like weddings and battles.'"

Dr. Abu Sitta's Atlas, which for the present restores our patrimony on paper, is, according to Rami Khouri:
" . . . not a record of what Palestinians have lost; it is an affirmation of that which still defines them and future generations. The collective link to the land is the source of their national legitimacy. It is documented here with startling power, and ? it can never be taken away from them, despite death, denial, dispersal and occupation."

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