If Zionists are entitled to incorporate Palestine into Israel based on the holocaust, what might other aggrieved peoples demand based on their prior sufferings?
"The Jews deserved Reparations for the Nazi Holocaust inflicted upon them," says Francis Boyle, the prominent University of Illinois international law authority. "And a Jewish State carved out of the German Nazi Reich would have been the appropriate and fitting Reparation. But stealing Palestine from the Palestinians was an Existential Injustice--not Reparations under international law."
The U.S. Congress apparently believes the people of Palestine must make good for the punishment Hitler inflicted on European Jewry. Congress supports this view by backing Israel's territorial claims and transferring $2-billion every year to Israel even though Israel treats the Palestinians as second-class citizens.
Speaking of holocausts, the Soviet Union lost 18 million citizens in WW2, most of them killed by Nazi death squads that followed their Panzers into Russia, machine-gunning civilians. The massacre of these defenseless non-combatants surely qualifies Russia today for holocaust-sufferer status. Does this vast crime against humanity entitle Russia to, at the least, say, the take over Bavaria? And what would we think if the Russians claimed it entitled them to getting their former province Finland back? Would the American Congress show as little pity for the Finns as it displays for Palestinians?
China lost 8 million citizens to war crimes perpetrated in WWII by the Imperial Japanese Army. Shouldn't this, by the same logic, entitle them to a part of Japan? And what if the Chinese should insist they don't want part of Japan as compensation but instead claim that they want to rule Brazil? Wouldn't we regard that as absurd? By what right, we would ask?
Shouldn't such fundamental issues of justice be resolved by a world court rather than by a clash of armed antagonists vying for control? Hasn't the fighting in Palestine/Israel gone on long enough?
As for the European takeover of the Americas, estimates of the number of "Indians" living in North America vary widely but it may have been several million. Whatever the figure, a high percentage of them were killed or fell victim to starvation and disease because of the invasion. A common saying among whites to justify this slaughter was, "The only good Indian is a dead Indian." Even a century after Custer's defeat at Little Big Horn, (in which more than a hundred braves also died in defense of their homeland), one conservative U.S. magazine dismissed the genocidal slaughter by characterizing Native American men as a bunch of "horse-thieves and wife-beaters."
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And what restitution for the American invasion of Mexico that led to the seizure of a vast region stretching from Texas to California? Of course, there's always a question of whether the Mexicans would want back any part of what they lost, as much of it is on fire at any given moment and billions must be spent annually to house its criminals.
If Jews are entitled to Palestine, Native Americans are entitled to the UK, where so many of their oppressors came from; the Chinese are entitled to Tokyo; and the natives of the Amazon rain forests are entitled to celebrate their next holiday as the rulers of Lisbon. Americans who think this is all academic can restore some small semblance of justice by returning Hawaii to the indigenous people there; by returning Guantanamo to Cuba, and by vacating Okinawa, and 900 other bases around the world where, by and large, they are not wanted by local populations----at a fabulous savings to U.S. taxpayers.
And the former inhabitants of the Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean have an iron-clad case to get their own homeland back. USA and UK should return it to them and beg their forgiveness. So that the Pentagon could build a military base there, in what the Washington Post called "a mass kidnapping," the inhabitants were removed by force between 1968 and 1973 by the British and dumped in Mauritius and The Seychelles. The military geniuses who removed the inhabitants---in what had to be the PR blunder of the millennium---also gassed their pet dogs!
In sum, if Zionists are entitled to Palestine, a few other aggrieved peoples may also have a case. Boyle's extensive arguments on the injustices done the Palestinians can be found in his books, "Palestine, Palestinians and International Law" (2003) and "The Palestinian Right of Return under International Law"(2011).
(Sherwood Ross is a former wire service columnist. He has won awards both for his reporting and poetry. He currently operates a Miami-based public relations firm for good causes.)
Sherwood Ross worked as a reporter for the Chicago Daily News and contributed a regular "Workplace" column for Reuters. He has contributed to national magazines and hosted a talk show on WOL, Washington, D.C. In the Sixties he was active as public (more...
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