Palestinian-American Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) submitted a bill to congress to commemorate the ‘Nakba’, or ‘catastrophe’ of the reestablishment of the Jewish State shortly after the Holocaust, in which Palestinian Arabs who waited for the destruction of Israel were refused reentry into the country. Below is a review of H.Res.1123 Recognizing the Nakba and Palestinian refugees’ rights, submitted on May 16, 2022.
“Ms. Tlaib (for herself, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, Ms. Omar, Ms. McCollum, Ms. Newman, Mr. Bowman, and Ms. Bush) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs“
It should be noted that two of the co-sponsors of the resolution, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Jamaal Bowman, represent the tri-state New York area, home to the largest concentration of Jews outside of Israel. That these two members of congress continue to have seats says much about the Jewish community prioritizing Israel or bothering to pressure their representatives about Israel.
“Whereas the United Nations General Assembly recommended on November 29, 1947, to partition Palestine into two states against the wishes of Palestine’s majority indigenous inhabitants;“
At the time of the UNGA resolution, Palestine was less than 60% Arab and it would have been closer to 50% had the British not instituted the 1939 White Paper at the behest of local Arabs, preventing 100,000 Jews from fleeing the Holocaust in Europe, resulting in their deaths.
“Whereas this partition plan nevertheless provided for the “Full protection for the rights and interests of minorities, including the protection of the linguistic, religious and ethnic rights of the peoples and respect for their cultures, and full equality of all citizens with regard to political, civil and religious matters”;”
After rejecting the partition plan, Tlaib nevertheless embraces some positions, even while misunderstanding them completely. Israel did protect the rights of all, granting citizenship to everyone. This is in sharp contrast to the Arab nations of Transjordan and Egypt who illegally seized the ‘West Bank’ and Gaza, respectively, and ethnically-cleansed all Jews from those lands. Transjordan renamed itself Jordan with its newest illegal land, and then granted citizenships ONLY to Arabs in 1954, specifically excluding Jews. [1954 Jordanian Citizenship Law, article 3]
“Whereas before the State of Israel declared its independence on May 14, 1948, there were already between 250,000 to 300,000 Palestinian refugees who were expelled or fled from their homes often after attacks by Zionist militias on major Palestinian cities and villages;”
The Civil War for the land of Palestine was not about “attacks by Zionist militias” against unarmed civilians as portrayed by Tlaib but between warring parties of which the Arabs were much better armed and had initiated the fighting. In terms of people fleeing, there were Jews who fled the battle scenes too. The figure of “250,000 to 300,000” is preposterous as well. That many people fled the land to places like London and Canada or Jordan and Syria? If they stayed inside of the British Mandate boundaries, they cannot be considered refugees going from one town to another.
“Whereas by the time the war ended with the signing of armistice agreements between Israel and neighboring Arab countries in 1949, establishing Israel’s sovereignty over 78 percent of Palestine, and, in the process, conquering an additional 23 percent of Palestine beyond those areas allocated to the Jewish state under the partition plan, there were at least 750,000 Palestinian refugees (roughly 75 percent of the indigenous population that had lived in areas that became Israel);”
Israel was established on 22 percent LESS of Palestine than afforded it under the international mandate. The Arabs rejected the partition plan and it was never implemented so why does Tlaib reference it here at all, other than to make it sound that Israelis got more when indeed they got less.
In terms of the total number of refugees, the figure thrown about includes people who moved a few miles away to Gaza and what later became known as the ‘West Bank.’ If those areas were part of ‘Palestine’, then those people are called ‘internally-displaced’, not refugees. To be clear, there were about 770,000 Arab Muslims in the Mandate in 1931, a figure which jumped to 1.056 million in 1945, a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.3%. Extrapolating that number would suggest a total Arab Muslim population of 1.182 million in 1950. However, the actual figure for Arab Muslims in 1950 in Israel, Gaza and the ‘West Bank’ was 1.015 million, or 167,000 fewer than anticipated. Using the same approach for Christians who grew at a 3.0% CAGR from 1931 to 1945 would have produced 164,000 Christians in 1950, instead of the 65,000 actually in the region in that year, or 99,000 fewer people. That means that the total number of actual refugees that left Mandate Palestine was 267,000 of which 37% were Christians, many fleeing a religious war between Muslims and Jews (not because of the creation of Israel).
“Whereas, by 1949, Israel had depopulated more than 400 Palestinian villages and cities, often demolishing all structures, planting forests over them, or repopulating them with Jewish Israelis;”
Tlaib’s anti-Semitism is made clear: she makes all Arabs appear as indigenous and true ‘Palestinians’ when hundreds of thousands of Jews lived in the land as Palestinian Jews. She ignored the fact that the government of Israel gave citizenship to all Arabs who remained with full rights. She ignored the fact that the Arabs started the war against the small and weak Jews in their midst. She ignored the Arab ransacking of the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. Instead, she calls out “Jewish Israelis” who took Palestinian villages.
“Whereas Palestinians refer to this experience of uprooting, dispossession, and refugeedom as the Nakba (meaning “catastrophe” in English);”
The Palestinians rejected coexistence proposed in the partition plan, then launched and lost a war because they wanted to live in a Jew-free land. It’s Arab attitude that is a Nakba.
“Whereas the Nakba refers not only to a historical event but to an ongoing process of Israel’s expropriation of Palestinian land and its dispossession of the Palestinian people that continues to this day through the establishment and expansion of approximately 300 illegal settlements and outposts in the occupied Palestinian West Bank in which approximately 674,000 Israelis reside as of 2020;”
The Nakba-attitude of rejecting coexistence is definitely an “ongoing process.” Jordan attacked Israel in 1967 and Israel re-took the land in a defensive battle. Arab armies launched a war in 1973 on Judaism’s holiest day of Yom Kippur. Palestinian terrorists hijacked airplanes and killed Jews all over the world. And not only Jews – consider Palestinian assassination of US Senator Robert Kennedy. Arabs launched multi-year pogroms killing thousands of Jewish civilians in the 1980’s, 1990’s and 2000’s.
And of course, Palestinians reject Jews moving back to their holiest city of Jerusalem, and pretend there is a “Palestinian West Bank”. In truth, there are lands that Israel gave to the Palestinian Authority – Gaza, and Areas A and B – where Palestinian Arabs have self-determination, of course, as is their desire, in land devoid of a single Jew.
“Whereas the United States knew of the scale and magnitude of the Palestine refugee crisis as it unfolded, as is documented in an October 1948 telegram to the President and Secretary of State from the Embassy of the United States to Israel, warning that the “Arab Refugee tragedy is rapidly reaching catastrophic proportions and should be treated as a disaster”;”
The United States State Department stated clearly that Arabs started the 1948-9 Arab-Israeli War: “Fighting began with attacks by irregular bands of Palestinian Arabs attached to local units of the Arab Liberation Army composed of volunteers from Palestine and neighboring Arab countries. These groups launched their attacks against Jewish cities, settlements, and armed forces… On the eve of May 14, the Arabs launched an air attack on Tel Aviv, which the Israelis resisted. This action was followed by the invasion of the former Palestinian mandate by Arab armies from Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt. Saudi Arabia sent a formation that fought under the Egyptian command.” Israel was engaged in a defensive war for its survival against Arabs from Palestine and neighboring countries.
“Whereas the United States voted in favor of United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194 on December 11, 1948, which states that Palestinian “refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the governments or authorities responsible”;”
The Palestinians have never sought to “live at peace” with Israel. Not in 1948, in 1967, in 2001 nor today. The United States also voted for the UN partition plan in 1947. How do any of the votes of 75 years ago matter today? In 2004, President Bush made clear that as part of Israel leaving Gaza, that “a solution to the Palestinian refugee issue as part of any final status agreement will need to be found through the establishment of a Palestinian state, and the settling of Palestinian refugees there, rather than in Israel.”
“Whereas Palestinian refugees’ right of return is not only stipulated in a General Assembly resolution, but is also anchored in international law and in Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states: “Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country”;”
The UDHR principal is to return to a COUNTRY, not a town or house. As Palestine was not a country this article is irrelevant. Further, that same UN wanted to separate the land – not country – into new Arab and Jewish states in 1947. Moving the Arabs into the Jewish state undermines that basic principle.
“Whereas, on December 8, 1949, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 302 establishing the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, which the United States has financially supported on an almost continuous basis since its establishment;”
UNRWA was established as a TEMPORARY agency. It’s existence over 70 years later has proven an embarrassment and obstacle to peace. That is why the US had suspended payments to the organization and European countries are cutting back significantly.
“Whereas of the more than 7,000,000 Palestinian refugees, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East provides much-needed social services to 5,700,000 Palestine refugees today;”
UNRWA is a general social services organization that treats many people who are NOT refugees. By its own account, UNRWA continues to service hundreds of thousands of “other” people who live in the area. And why not? The idea that descendants of internally-displaced people are somehow “refugees” is an absurdity anyway.
“Whereas international law also recognizes that descendants of refugees retain their rights as refugees, and that according to the United Nations, “Palestine refugees are not distinct from other protracted refugee situations such as those from Afghanistan or Somalia, where there are multiple generations of refugees, considered by UNHCR as refugees and supported as such. Protracted refugee situations are the result of the failure to find political solutions to their underlying political crises”; and”
This is completely untrue. If Tlaib likes UNHCR so much, why not just fold UNRWA into that global organization? It would get rid of rampant corruption, support of terrorism and the major obstacle to peace in the region. UNHCR seeks to find a solution for refugees fleeing war. UNRWA seeks to find only one political solution for one particular group of people – Stateless Arabs from Palestine (SAPs) to move into Israel. UNRWA insists that SAPs stay registered with UNRWA and live in its environs, essentially making them prisoners. Should they opt to move – say to London – they would lose this anointed status of “refugee” and free housing, education and medical care today, as well as the chance for free housing in Israel or lots of money. UNHCR has no such political agenda and welcomes actual refugees fleeing war to find citizenship and life anywhere.
“Whereas a just and lasting resolution requires respect for and the implementation of Palestine refugee rights as enshrined in United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194 and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Now, therefore, be it”
Concluding her introductory remarks, Tlaib called out legal principals for a “lasting resolution.” She continued the narrative that there can be no peace with Israel unless the manufactured issue of “refugees” is resolved.
“Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that it is the policy of the United States to—
(1) commemorate the Nakba through official recognition and remembrance;
(2) reject efforts to enlist, engage, or otherwise associate the United States Government with denial of the Nakba;
(3) encourage education and public understanding of the facts of the Nakba, including the United States role in the humanitarian relief effort, and the relevance of the Nakba to modern-day refugee crises;”
The first three points highlighted by Tlaib refer to the ‘Nakba’. In Tlaib’s version of history, that would mean educating people that only Arabs are indigenous to Palestine; that Zionists attacked the native Palestinian Arabs and stole their lands; obfuscating that Arabs in 1948 – and today – desired a land free of any Jews; and that Palestinian Arabs want peace, even though they reject the very notion of a Jewish State in Palestine to this day. In other words, supporters of this resolution are looking to support continuing the 1948-9 Arab War against the Jewish State.
(5) support the implementation of Palestinian refugees’ rights as enshrined in United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194 and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
UNRWA has shown itself to be a deeply flawed organization. In no situation should the US government be compelled to support a temporary UN agency, which is one of the leading obstacles to peace in the region.
Further, UN Resolution 194 was a document prepared in the midst of a war. It includes numerous provisions which have absolutely no relevance today. Bringing up the December 1948 resolution highlights the dated and irrelevant orientation about refugees from which Tlaib seeks to enshrine certain rights. Indeed, US presidents have made clear that the resolution of the “refugee” issue would have them settle in a new state of Palestine, not Israel.
The Nakba isn’t a historical fact but a biased narrative. It attempts to whitewash the Arab attempt to destroy Jews’ safe haven in their ancestral homeland immediately after the Holocaust. Its a flimsy veneer of refugee-washing to promote refugee rights as evidence of being the wronged victim, to distract the world from the violent anti-Semitic screed of the popular Hamas Charter which encapsulates Palestinian desire for a Jew-free land. It’s a disgusting attitude which inspired the war against the Jews in 1948 and continues to this day.
That six members of the US Congress would promote commemorating the ‘Nakba’, highlights how anti-Semitism and racism is being mainstreamed in America today.