Disgrace of Arab states using Palestinian refugees as pawns

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From: Martin D Stern, Hanover Gardens, Salford.

SUE Cooke (Yorkshire Post, March 3) is being very simplistic when she writes that the reason “Palestinian families are in Syria ... [is simply because] their towns and villages in Palestine were destroyed in the creation of Israel and they fled for their lives to Syria, many with the keys to their homes, believing they would be able to return within weeks”.

In 1947, the UN voted to partition Palestine into two states – one Arab, the other Jewish. The Jews accepted this while the Arabs turned it down and immediately started to attack their Jewish neighbours

Jerusalem, with a majority Jewish population, was under siege even before the end of the British Mandate, with its water supply cut off and food in short supply. Isolated communities like Kfar Etsion were massacred.

After the withdrawal of British troops, the area was invaded by the regular armies of the surrounding Arab states with the aim of driving the Jews into the sea. Arabs who fled the war zone expected “to return within weeks” and also take over the property of their newly deceased former Jewish neighbours.

Unfortunately, from their perspective, the military campaign was a failure and they found themselves cut off in either Egyptian-occupied Gaza or the Jordanian-occupied Nablus and Hebron districts (the so-called West Bank).

That was 66 years ago and, since then, they have not really changed their objective. Their call to be “given their freedom and opportunity to return to their homes and rebuild their lives in Palestine” is, in reality code, for their wish to destroy Israel.

Lest anyone think that they were a truly indigenous people displaced by colonialist settlers, it should be noted that the vast majority of Palestinian Arabs are the descendants of immigrants attracted by the economic development of the area by Jewish initiative from the 1880s onwards.

This possibly embarrassing fact is betrayed by some of their most common surnames such as Masri (Egyptian), Hindi (Indian) or Tarabulsi (Tripolitanian).

No other refugee group has been allowed to get away with making their status hereditary but has accepted the inevitability of changes resulting from the failure of their own aggression.

After the Second World War, Germans who had lived in the Sudetenland and Pomerania for far longer were displaced and now are integrated into Germany.

The way the Arab states have used the Palestinian refugees as pawns is a disgrace to the family of nations and is time for the world to press them to similarly absorb their Arab brothers whom they so hypocritically claim to support.

From: Michael Ross, Weeton Lane, Dunkeswick, North Yorkshire.

SUE Cooke (Yorkshire Post, March 3) continues to peddle the myth that Israel are responsible for the sad plight of Palestinian refugees. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The facts are that many Palestinians remained in Israel when the Jewish State was formed in 1948, became Israeli Arabs and have remained in Israel ever since running their own businesses, attending universities,becoming professionals,becoming members of the Israeli Parliament and generally benefitting from the economic growth of the fledgling state.

Others were paid for their land and departed elsewhere, but many chose to flee to their Arab neighbours.

It is this latter group who are continually described as Palestinian refugees and 
who have been kept stateless thanks to their Arab host countries.

Many of their brethren still living in Israel have moved on well in the 66 years since its formation but there are those countries and anti-Israel propagandists it well suits to maintain the status quo of the refugees.