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Beyond the Palestinians' Crisis

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Palestinian Refugee by Alternative Insight
President Obama's closest neighbor must know. While occupying a tent across from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in a twenty year vigil for world peace, diminutive but mighty Concepcion Picciotto interfaced with a sufficient number of Americans and surveyed the public pulse. After campaigning for Palestinian rights and an equitable solution to the Middle East crisis for two decades, the nation capital's most famous activist offered a wry and defeating conclusion; nothing has changed and nothing will change. Israel continues unimpeded in its quest to obtain the entire West Bank, and no external or internal force is prepared to halt the endeavor and the eventual destruction of those whose ancestors resided in the land for centuries. If any powerful force cared, and many exist in the western world, wouldn't it have applied its power in the past and be active today? The American people haven't learned anything.

United Nations Declaration 181, which partitioned Palestine, thrust the Palestinians into an ongoing crisis, a subset of the conflict that serves as a violent testimony to its consequences. As their agony recedes from international conscience, the fearful and overriding conflict emerges - one masked by valid attention to the fate of the Palestinians - that between Israel and the Arab world, and now spreading to other parts of the Muslim world - add Iran and Turkey. This larger conflict has many roots, and each uncompromised root is sufficient to cause mass destruction to the Middle East and neighboring regions.

It is doubtful the Arab world will ever accept the entrance of a European styled nation into a major position in the Middle East. It is doubtful the presently constituted Israel will modify its preferences - aligning itself with the western nations and not integrating into the Middle East world. An Arab Spring, which has brought the Muslim Brotherhood to credible invocation in Egypt and Libya, and allowed those of similar characteristics to gain acceptance and popularity, the Ennahda Islamic Party in Tunisia, now considered Tunisia's strongest political force, and the Sahwa, who are actually being accepted as the largest and best organized non-state group in Saudi Arabia, heighten these insinuations. On the other hand, Israel has moved from a secular managed and somewhat tolerant nation to a more religious dominated and more intolerant nation. Israel's inflexibility combined with its military power easily dominated the Palestinian Fatah flexibility and lack of military power. Clash replaces dominion in a changing Arab region that portrays inflexibility and renewed power.

The real conflict had origins in 1905, when Naguib Azoury, an Ottoman official aroused Arab nationalism with a proclamation: "Two important phenomena ... are emerging at this moment in Asiatic Turkey. They are the awakening of the Arab nation and the latent effort of the Jews to reconstitute on a very large scale the ancient kingdom of Israel.... [They] are destined to fight each other continually until one of them wins."

A large influx of uninvited Europeans, who crossed the Mediterranean Sea, violated the natural demarcation between the Middle East and European world, created permanent settlements and forced out the local peoples, jarred the Arab psyche, just as an influx of uninvited Europeans, who crossed the Atlantic Ocean, spanned the natural demarcation between America and Europe, created settlements in the Americas and forced out the indigenous peoples, jarred the Native Americans. Imagine if Europeans, with a unique religious persuasion and a non-historical claim, developed a powerful military that continued to grow, armed itself with the latest weapons, forcibly expanded its territory, expelled the native Mexicans, and engaged in continuous hostile actions with its neighbors. How would the other Americans, especially those in the United States react?

From an Arab perspective, the real conflict exploded when a relatively small number of European persons who had a need for locating themselves in the British Mandate, and could have located elsewhere in a safer and more habitable area, and a moderate number of European persons with self-dictated and subjective wants to relocate to the Mandate, replaced the needs of magnitudes greater number of Arab people who had an irrevocable bond with the land they had tilled for generations and ignored the wants of tens of millions of Arab peoples who rejected any European incursion into their territory.

The established conflict between a western supported Israel and the Arab world continued to generate reasons for pursing the conflict.

After the 1948 war, Arab nations had a new imposed role - contain and support the refugees - which they did, and as best they could without assuming Israel's responsibility and inheriting Israel's problem. Despite the impoverished state of all Arab nations in the mid-twentieth century, these nations provided land and facilities for international agencies to assist the Palestinian refugees. After a period of time, Jordan granted citizenship to the refugees, Syria gave them almost full citizenship, Iraq supported them with special privileges, Libya housed many for decades, and the wealthier Arab nations gave them higher education and employment. Only Lebanon reacted with excessive hostility, maintained the Palestinians in refugee camps and denied them economic and social benefits appreciated by Lebanon citizens.

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Israel heralded its efforts to assist and welcome the Jewish refugees (Mizrahim) from Arab nations. A better description is that Israel encouraged the emigration at a measured pace, used the new immigrants to immediately inhabit homes of Palestinians left vacant by those who moved several kilometers in order to escape hostilities, and treated the Mizrahim with racism and prejudice.

"The mass immigration of Mizrahi Jews was received by Ashkenazi old-timers with mixed feelings. They thought that any immigrant was an asset to the new Jewish state, but they had neither expected nor wanted so many Mizrahi immigrants. The marginality of Mizrahim in the Yishuv was a precedent that augured ill for the new immigrants. The immense volume of immigration (the population doubled during 1948- 52) caused food and housing shortages, unemployment, and the near collapse of state services. The old-timers regarded the appearance and customs of the Mizrahi newcomers as strange and inferior and soon became alarmed by the dangers of Mizrahi immigration to the new Jewish society and state - demographic swamping, cultural erosion, and breakdown of democracy. The precious Zionist project that had been constructed for over fifty years was in jeopardy. These widespread fears prompted the government to practice the above-mentioned policy of selective immigration. Yet, the alleviation of the old-timers' apprehensions required preventing the new Mizrahi immigrants from becoming a major force in Israeli society in order to insure the old-timers' continued control of state and society." [1]

If Israel treated its Arab Jews as inferiors, how did the Arabs expect Israel to treat Arab non-Jews? Instead of the western world demanding that Israel permit the return of the Palestinian refugees to their rightful homes, its apparently co-opted media circulated the bizarre assertions that the Arab nations were responsible for creating the refugee problem and were not being responsive to the needs of their Arab brethren. The circulation of these preposterous assertions throughout the American media and their acceptance by the American people must have angered the Arab populations.

Israel's use of the Palestinian crisis for territorial expansion fueled the conflict.

Regardless of damage to the Palestinian community, due to Israel's actions and policies, Israel explained everything with the word security.

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Build settlements on West Bank hilltops - security

Seize Palestinian agricultural lands for military use - security

Divert West Bank water supply to settlers - security

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http://www.alternativeinsight.com
Dan Lieberman is the editor of Alternative Insight, a monthly web based newsletter. His website articles have been read in more than 150 nations, while articles written for other websites have appeared in online journals throughout the world(B 92, (more...)
 

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