The Fourth ‘No’ of the Khartoum Resolution: No Return of Palestinian Refugees

In the aftermath of the Arabs humiliating defeat in the June 1967 war with Israel, the leaders of eight Arab countries assembled in Khartoum, Sudan to proclaim their unity with each other and the cause against Israel which had just taken the Sinai from Egypt, the West Bank from Jordan, and the Golan Heights from Syria. They published the Khartoum Resolution which, among other matters, proclaimed the infamous ‘three No’s’ regarding Israel:

“3. The Arab Heads of State have agreed to unite their political efforts at the international and diplomatic level to eliminate the effects of the aggression and to ensure the withdrawal of the aggressive Israeli forces from the Arab lands which have been occupied since the aggression of June 5. This will be done within the framework of the main principles by which the Arab States abide, namely, no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it, and insistence on the rights of the Palestinian people in their own country.”

The comedy of classic clowns might be lost on the listeners of later generations, but the Arab heads of state made the subject of Palestinians having their “own country” a new priority, after 18 years of occupying the West Bank and Gaza between 1949 and 1967, and making no effort whatsoever to create an independent Palestinian state.

What’s more, the no peace/ recognition/ negotiations with Israel not only prevented any pathway to peace for all the Arab actors with Israel, it slammed the door shut on Palestinian refugees having any chance of returning to homes in Israel.

As stated in the 1948 UN General Assembly Resolution 194, item 11, “refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours 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.” The 1967 Khartoum Resolution made clear that there would be no peace with Israel, and consequently, no return for any refugees.

This was not a new or novel issue for the Arab world.

In October 1950, not long after the end of Israel’s War of Independence, the United Nations sought a method of handling the displaced Arabs who had left Israel. The UN Conciliation Commission for Palestine noted the opinion of Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben Gurion about the status of the Arab refugees:

“Mr. Ben Gurion’s view this passage [Resolution 194] made the possibility of a return of the refugees to their homes contingent, so to speak, on the establishment of peace: so long as the Arab States refused to make peace with the State of Israel, it was evident that Israel could not fully rely upon the declaration that Arab refugees might make concerning their intention to live at peace with their neighbours. Mr. Ben Gurion did not exclude the possibility of acceptance for repatriation of a limited number of Arab refugees, but he made it clear that the Government of Israel considered that a real solution of the major part of the refugee question lay in the resettlement of the refugees in Arab States. On the other hand, Mr. Ben Gurion fully recognized the humanitarian aspect of the problem and on several occasions declared that, when the time came, the Government of Israel would be ready to take part in the efforts necessary for its solution and that it would do this in a sincere spirit of co-operation. Mr. Ben Gurion told the Commission, however, that the Government of Israel considered the refugee question as one of those which should be examined and solved during the general negotiations for the establishment of peace in Palestine.”

Arab states rejected the existence of the Jewish State at its founding in 1948 and dug in deeper after the loss of territory that belonged to THEM (as opposed to local Palestinians) in 1967. While Egypt and Jordan did sign peace agreements with Israel in 1979 and 1994, respectively, the remainder of the Arab world still has not. Thirty Arab and Muslim states still refuse to acknowledge the basic existence of Israel.

So while the number of Palestinian “refugees” stood at roughly 1 million in 1967, that number ballooned to over 5.5 million in 2019. Bringing that many Arabs into Israel would completely alter the demographic composition and character of Israel, a point which the United Nations abhors when it comes to Jews living in the West Bank as it stated in the 2016 UNSC Resolution 2334: “Condemning all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem.” If the desired Arab state cannot handle a 5% Jewish population, how can anyone possibly consider that the Jewish State, which already has a 20% Arab population, take in an additional 5 million Arabs?


Arab women entering the Western Wall Plaza in Jerusalem, Israel
(photo: First.One.Through)

The Arab world declared three No’s to Israel in 1967, and also effectively sealed the fate of Palestinian refugees, that they would never move to houses in Israel.


Related First One Through articles:

Stabbing the Palestinian “Right of Return”

Removing the Next Issue – The Return of 20,000 Palestinian Arabs

The “Great Myth of Return”

When the Democrats Opposed the Palestinian “Right of Return”

Time to Dissolve Key Principles of the “Inalienable Rights of Palestinians”

Losing Rights

What’s Wrong with UNRWA

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Compensation Fund for Palestinian Arabs’ and MENA Jews’ Lost Property

As the US hopefully initiates plans to dismantle the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinians in the Near East (UNRWA), it is an appropriate time for Israel to assess the amount of money that Palestinians are due for their lost property.

ALL Palestinians

Part of the lure that the United Nations dangled before the Stateless Arabs from Palestine (SAPs) to register as refugees in the UN agency was that those people who remained in the immediate surrounding area (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, West Bank and Gaza) would not only be entitled to free schooling and healthcare, subsidized housing and business loans, but would ALSO have the opportunity to either move into Israel or be compensated for the homes that were left by parents, grandparents and great-grandparents long ago. This contrasts with relatives who left the region to have careers, homes and citizenship outside of Israel’s neighbors who gave up the right to move to Israel and/or be compensated for the lost property according to the UN.

That’s absurd. Lost property is lost property.

It is time for Israel to take a full accounting of the property which Arabs left in 1948 when five Arab armies came to destroy the reestablished Jewish State of Israel. Those Arab descendants who lost property should not be limited to those who registered with UNRWA to be wards of the world. There are Arabs who live in Chile, the United Kingdom and elsewhere who should also be entitled to compensation for a lost home.

The compensation should be paid directly to the Arabs still alive from 1948. In cases in which there is no survivor, the compensation should be shared ratably among all of the descendants regardless of where they currently live and whether they are registered as “refugees” with the UN.

Such approach is consistent with the founding resolution of UNRWA and UNGA Resolution 194 which states:

 “that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours 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;”

For 70 years it has been clear through wars, intifadas, car ramming and stabbing attacks and a leadership that continues to refuse to acknowledge the “Jewishness of Israel” and has laws for the death penalty for any Arab that sells land to a Jew, that the Palestinian Arabs are unwilling to “live at peace.” The chapter of “Right of Return” has closed. It is time to settle the issue completely with compensation.

Does that mean that third generation Palestinian Arabs living in Chile will have the same rights to compensation as the SAPs in Gaza? Absolutely. Why should they be treated differently? Just because Gazans have been living off of the world’s charity for 70 years, does not make them more entitled to compensation for lost property than Palestinians that established productive lives in new countries. A Palestinian-Canadian, Palestinian-Chilean and Gazan will all have to share from the same compensation fund.

850,000 Jews from Arab Lands

It is similarly time for the Arab countries that forced their native Jews to flee from their homes to pay compensation to them for lost property. These Jews were routed from their houses out of pure antisemitism, unlike the Arabs from Palestine that had launched a civil war over land. Each country should follow a similar program of compensating the direct party that was forced to leave their home, or their direct descendants.

  • Algeria 140,000 Jews
  • Egypt 75,000
  • Iraq 135,000
  • Lebanon 5,000
  • Libya 38,000
  • Morocco 265,000
  • Syria 30,000
  • Tunisia 105,000
  • Yemen 55,000

This total of 850,000 Jews does not include the Jews who fled Iran and Afghanistan.

The fact that the Jewish survivors of the Arab expulsion and their descendants now have citizenship in Israel, France, Canada and elsewhere make them no less entitled to compensation for lost property, just like the Palestinians with citizenship in various countries.


For 70 years the Jews and Arabs from around the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have fought each other and routed people from their homes. It is time for just compensation to be made for all parties to forge a pathway to an enduring peace in the region.


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UNRWA’s Ongoing War against Israel and Jews

Help Refugees: Shut the UNRWA, Fund the UNHCR

What’s Wrong with UNRWA

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When the Democrats Opposed the Palestinian “Right of Return”

Israel’s Channel 2 reported over the weekend that US President Donald Trump was prepared to push the Palestinian Authority to end its so-called “Right of Return” in which millions of descendants of Palestinian Arabs that left homes in what is now Israel, be granted the right to return. Various news stories picked up the story as something new and fantastic including the Jerusalem Post and Arutz Sheva.


Senior Advisor Jared Kushner Meets with Acting-P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas
(Photo: AP)

It is remarkable to witness how the tenure of former President Obama was so pro-Palestinian, that people have forgotten that the Democratic Party also was against the “Right of Return” before Obama took office.

The 2008 Democratic Platform (drafted pre-Obama) stated clearly that:

“[t]he creation of a Palestinian state through final status negotiations, together with an international compensation mechanism, should resolve the issue of Palestinian refugees by allowing them to settle there, rather than in Israel.

That is, there are one of two ways that the Palestinian Arabs will be compensated for lost property: either through monetary compensation, or by permitting them to move to the new country of Palestine. There would be NO right of return into Israel.

Should President Trump move to close the return issue demanded by the Palestinians, he would simply be reverting back to the standard bipartisan approach that both Democrats and Republicans used before Obama’s aggressive push of the Palestinian Arab agenda. That Trump’s action is being viewed as novel says more about how far the Obama administration shifted the Democratic Party and the media away from Israeli-leaning positions than the Trump action itself.


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Stabbing the Palestinian “Right of Return”

The “Great Myth of Return”

Removing the Next Issue – The Return of 20,000 Palestinian Arabs

Time to Dissolve Key Principles of the “Inalienable Rights of Palestinians”

Losing Rights

The Democrats’ Slide on Israel

The UN Must Pay to Repair the Gaza Fence

Delivery of the Fictional Palestinian Keys

Palestinians are “Desperate” for…

UNRWA’s Munchausen Disease

How the US and UN can Restart Relations with Israel

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I Hate Israel – Right of Return

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The “Great Myth of Return”

The Palestinian Arabs are engaged in a “protest” at the Gaza border with Israel to draw attention to their “Right of Return” to land in Israel. Pro-Palestinian organizations like Al Jazeera (Qatar) and Press TV (Iran) have produced videos related to the Arabs’ rights. The use of animation and live interviews however do nothing to educate people with actual facts, and how the claim of a Palestinian “Great March of Return” is a sham.

Global International Law

The United Nations developed a Universal Declaration of Human Rights that underscored the basic human rights that all people in the world possess. The UDHR states clearly in Article 13 that:

“1. Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the
borders of each State.
2. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to
return to his country.”

Note that the relevant clause is that a person is entitled to leave his COUNTRY and then return to that country. For Jews, that means that the remaining survivors of the 850,000 people that were kicked out of Arab countries including Iraq, Egypt, Libya and Morocco have the basic human right to return to that country, should they so desire. However, the Stateless Arabs of Palestine (SAPs) have no such right, as Palestine was never a country but an administered region from 1924 to 1948.

The principle of returning to a house, land or town is not based on universal standards, but found in a niche resolution to address the SAPs several decades ago.

Specialized Resolution for Palestinian Arabs also Fail

On December 11, 1948, the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 194 in the middle of Israel’s War of Independence. Article 11 stated:

“Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours 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;”

This is the clause that the Palestinian narrative continues to call out, but it fails in many regards:

  • There are fewer than 30,000 “refugees” from 1948 are alive today. The millions of descendants that claim a right to return have no such claim as they are not refugees;
  • The actions of the Palestinians have clearly shown that they have no desire to “live at peace with their neighbors,” as evidenced by the many wars and terrorism waged against Israel, the election of a Holocaust denier to the presidency that pays people to kill Israeli Jews, and the election of the terrorist group Hamas to a majority of the Palestinian parliament

Further consider that the same UNGA Res 194 made other statements that the Palestinian Authority rejects, such as Articles 7 and 8:

“detailed proposals for a permanent international regime for the territory of Jerusalem…”

“Resolves that, in view of its association with three world religions, the Jerusalem area, including the present municipality of Jerusalem plus the surrounding villages and towns, the most eastern of which shall be Abu Dis; the most southern, Bethlehem; the most western, Ein Karim (including also the built-up area of Motsa); and the most northern, Shu’fat, should be accorded special and separate treatment from the rest of Palestine and should be placed under effective United Nations control;”

The Palestinians are seeking to turn eastern Jerusalem into its own capital, not a permanent UN town. The PA claims that it already has control of part of this Corpus Separatum – Bethlehem – which they took over in December 1995. Are the Palestinians going to abandon Bethlehem and scheme for eastern Jerusalem, or will they just cherry-pick from UN 194 to validate an invasion of Israel?


The UN’s Corpus Separatum from UN Resolution 181

One could possibly argue that around 30,000 SAPs over 70 years old who are interested in moving to Israel and living in peace should be allowed to do so, but the Friday protests at the Gaza border are full of young people. These people have no legal rights to move to Israel and their actions at the border constitute a threat of invasion and must be addressed on such basis. And if the PA acting president Mahmoud Abbas wants to quote UN Resolution 181 (which the entire Arab world rejected in 1947) and UN Resolution 194, he should be prepared to relinquish Bethlehem and dreams of eastern Jerusalem.

Palestinian Arabs’ “Great March of Return” is nothing more than the “Great MYTH of Return.”


Related First.One.Through articles:

Corpus Separatum Ended Forever in 1995

Stabbing the Palestinian “Right of Return”

Time to Dissolve Key Principles of the “Inalienable Rights of Palestinians”

Removing the Next Issue – The Return of 20,000 Palestinian Arabs

Losing Rights

Delivery of the Fictional Palestinian Keys

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Removing the Next Issue – The Return of 20,000 Palestinian Arabs

When US President Donald Trump announced that the United States was recognizing the reality of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, many people argued that the move was much more than it was: the anti-Israel camp stated that it gave Israel something for nothing, while the pro-Israel camp celebrated the end of Jerusalem as a negotiating point in the Arab-Israel conflict.

Both points of view were incorrect.


US President Donald Trump recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel
December 6, 2017

The US decision was a simple matter of realizing the reality that Jerusalem has held all of the key government functions of the State of Israel since its founding. The Trump administration clarified that its decision to relocate the US embassy to Jerusalem did nothing to preordain the borders or status of Jerusalem in a mutually-agreed upon peace between the Israelis and the Palestinian Authority.

But maybe it is time to take some actions that take a critical issue off of the table, namely the “Right of Return” of Palestinian “refugees.”

On December 11, 1948, the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 194 which included a clause which Palestinian Arabs hold as a sacred truth in Article 11:

“Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours 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;

“Instructs the Conciliation Commission to facilitate the repatriation, resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation of the refugees and the payment of compensation, and to maintain close relations with the Director of the United Nations Relief for Palestine Refugees and, through him, with the appropriate organs and agencies of the United Nations;”

As of this time, there are fewer than 30,000 refugees related to UNGA resolution 194 that remain alive, nearly 70 years after the resolution’s passing. UNRWA, the UN agency tasked with providing services to the 1948 refugees (and later on, their descendants) was established one year later, on December 8, 1949. That UN agency ultimately created a completely unique distorted definition of a “refugee” to allow UNRWA to survive past its mandate and grow to accommodate the descendants of refugees.

But the bizarre abuse of the English language for UNRWA did nothing to alter the actual meaning of UN Resolution 194.

As a matter of moving the peace process forward, Israel should coordinate with the United Nations to assess which of the 1948 Palestinian Arab refugees seek to return to cities in Israel and live in peace with their Israeli neighbors, and which ones would prefer to receive compensation. As Israel does so, it need not ask anything of the Palestinian Authority in return.

Concluding one of the key agenda items of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the UN can hasten the dismantling of UNRWA and fold its functions into the global refugee agency, the UNHRC. The schools and hospitals of UNRWA would be transferred initially to UNHRC and then to the Palestinian Authority.  The refugee “camps” run by UNRWA would be dissolved into regular local neighborhoods.

The Trump administration has begun to take actions against the Palestinian Authority, including withholding funds to UNRWA. Israeli actions on the “right of return” can begin the process of ending the funding – and the UN agency – completely.


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Help Refugees: Shut the UNRWA, Fund the UNHCR

UNRWA Is Not Just Making “Refugees,” It Creates Palestinians

UNRWA’s Munchausen Disease

UNRWA’s Ongoing War against Israel and Jews

Stabbing the Palestinian “Right of Return”

Losing Rights

How the US and UN can Restart Relations with Israel

Delivery of the Fictional Palestinian Keys

Time to Dissolve Key Principles of the “Inalienable Rights of Palestinians”

UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants September 2016

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Adalah, Dismantling Zionism

Adalah is also known as the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel. It is funded by a number of left-wing organizations including: the New Israel Fund (NIF); the Ford Foundation; the Open Society Foundation (George Soros); Oxfam; and the European Commission.

Adalah claims to be “an independent human rights organization and legal center which… works to promote and defend the rights of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel, 1.2 million people, or 20% of the population, as well as Palestinians living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).”  It’s agenda is much more aggressive than simply defending Israeli Arabs.

The group seeks to replace Israel as a Jewish State with a bi-national, multi-cultural state.

adalah person
Adalah protested Israel’s ban of Islamic party in Israel, November 2015.  Caption states “Raed Salah, the head of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, gestures  in Nazareth on Nov. 17 after an Israeli police raid at the movement’s office.(Atef Safadi / European Pressphoto Agency).”  The four-finger “gesture” is the salute “R4bia” supporting the Muslim Brotherhood.  The United Kingdom also declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization in December 2015.

Dismantling the Jewish State

Adalah’s goal is a new Israel, which would no longer have any Jewish preferences, such as special symbols for Jews (in the national anthem and flag), nor special treatment for Jews (such as quick and easy approval for Israeli citizenship).

Adalah’s mission can be clearly seen in its “Democratic Constitution” for Israel, proposed in 2007:

  • Setting Israel’s borders at the 1949 Armistice Lines/ “1967 borders”
  • The “Right of Return” of all Palestinian Arabs that left the region, together with their descendants, back to Israel
  • “[T]he return of land and properties [for all Arab refugees] on the basis of restorative justice
  • Israel would become a “democratic, bilingual and multicultural state,” replacing the Jewish State, because it views Israel as racist due to “the exclusion of the Arab minority based on the definition of the state as Jewish.”

The group rejects the international laws of 1920 (San Remo Conference) and 1922 (Palestine Mandate) that specifically called for “reconstituting their [Jewish] national home” THROUGHOUT Palestine, as Adalah claims that such international actions ultimately turned Arabs from a majority into a minority “against their [Palestinan Arab] will.”

The organization’s mission is to remove any particular “Jewishness” of Israel, and then flood the country with millions of Arabs to make Jews the minority. Homes would be taken away from Israeli Jews and handed to Arab “refugees.”

Refusing Equality for Israeli Jews

While the group fights against what it calls Israeli laws with embedded “racial inequality,” it shows no interest in promoting equality for Jews.

  • Where is the Adalah protest that Jews should not be barred from living in Judea and Samaria?
  • Where are the Adalah lawsuits to enable Jews to pray openly on the Jewish Temple Mount?
  • Why does the group find it offensive for Arabs with Israeli citizenship to be called “Israeli Arabs” and insists on being called “Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel?”  Are they demanding dual citizenship with a future Palestinian State?  Will they advocate that Israeli Jews should similarly get dual citizenship?
  • Adalah highlights that Arabs have lived in the region for generations which entitles them to particular rights in their homeland, yet they deny the history of the Jews and their rights to a homeland in the Holy Land.

Is equality for Adalah only a one-way street where Arabs get access and rights but Jews are denied?

Adalah: Having Your Country and Eating It Too

Adalah’s goals are clear.  It seeks a two state solution for the region: one is called Israel, in which Jews are allowed to live as a minority in a bi-national state with a Palestinian Arab majority; the other country is called Palestine, which will have no Jews nor Jewish rights to their holy places.

As “Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel” are part of the broader Palestinian people, they would have citizenship in both countries, while Jews would be limited to just living in Israel.  Over time, it is easy to visualize a future where those two Palestinian Arab states would merge.  Goodbye Israel.

20151119_161515
Full page NIF ad in The Jewish Week, November 20, 2015
stating it supports “Israelis working for a shared society” and claiming those opposed to NIF have an “ultranationalist agenda”

“Pro Israel” groups like the New Israel Fund state that they “are working for civil rights, social justice and religious tolerance.”  Those are noble goals. However, why does NIF support organizations like Adalah which seek to destroy the Jewish State?  Why does NIF label those people who want to see Zionism flourish in the Holy Land as “ultranationalist?”

Adalah openly opposes the vision of Zionism’s founders, as well as international laws which called for re-establishing the homeland of the Jewish people.  How can NIF give Adalah funds ($1.875 million from 2008-2014) and claim that it is “pro-Israel?”

However the NIF chooses to stretch the definition of “pro-Israel,” it is certainly is not pro-Zionism.


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Stabbing the Palestinian “Right of Return”

The “Stabbing Intifada” in which Palestinian Arabs attack Israeli civilians has effectively ended the issue of the Palestinian “Right of Return.”

A Palestinian demonstrator raises a knife, during clashes with Israeli police, in Shuafat refugee camp in Jerusalem, Friday, Oct. 9, 2015. Recent days have seen a string of attacks by young Palestinians with no known links to armed groups who have targeted Israeli soldiers and civilians at random, complicating Israeli efforts to contain the violence, which has been linked to tensions over a sensitive Jerusalem holy site. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

A Palestinian raises a knife during clashes with Israeli police, in Shuafat refugee camp in Jerusalem, Friday, Oct. 9, 2015. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

Palestinian Arabs have been arguing for a return to Israel for several decades. They claim that 5 million Palestinian Arabs are have a legal right to move to Israel as declared by the United Nations. The claim has always been flawed:

Refugees: As detailed in “Palestinian Refugees or SAPs,” the definition of a refugee is someone who leaves a country, not a land. Under the most generous definition of “refugee,” there are only 30,000 Arab refugees alive who left Israel after the country was created in 1948-9. The 5 million descendants of various refugees who left Israel before the country was created are provided services by the United Nations, but are not refugees entitled to a “right of return.”

Live in Peace: The basis of the Palestinian Arab claim for the right of return under international law stems from UN General Assembly Resolution 194 which stated “refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours 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 equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.”

The phrase “live at peace” is the core of being able to move to Israel. No one will be entitled to any compensation or consideration without the clear intent of living in peace with Israelis in the Jewish State.

According to an Anti Defamaition League poll in May 2014, almost every Palestinian (93%) was considered an anti-Semite. Not a good place to start for moving to the Jewish State and living in peace.

In December 2015, Palestinians conducted their own poll of Arabs in Gaza and the West Bank about the “stabbing intifada” against Jews. It concluded that “two-thirds support an armed intifada and the current wave of stabbings.

Based on the estimate of 30,000 Arab refugees alive today, the poll would imply that only one-third, or 10,000 would potentially be interested in living in peace with Israelis (if not killing someone would be used as the barometer of “living at peace”).

 

The number of Arab refugees from Israel is now declining rapidly as they enter old age.  It appears that the stabbing intifada will not only delay any chance for peace between Israelis and Palestinian Arabs, it will also guarantee that one of the points for negotiation will no longer be relevant.


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“Peace” According to Palestinian “Moderates”

Palestinians are “Desperate” for…

UNRWA’s Ongoing War against Israel and Jews

Help Refugees: Shut the UNRWA, Fund the UNHCR

The Israeli Peace Process versus the Palestinian Divorce Proceedings

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Delivery of the Fictional Palestinian Keys

Summary: Imagine perceiving the future when you cannot see the present nor recognize the past.

One of the most famous paintings in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican is by Pietro Perugino, entitled “Christ Handing the Keys of the Kingdom to St. Peter.” The painting itself is notable for several important contributions to the world of art such as displaying three dimensions using linear perspective and a vanishing point. The subject matter is also an interesting metaphor for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict today.

keys

The Painting

The subject of the painting reflects the establishment of the role of the pope in Catholicism. Jesus’s handing of the “keys of heaven” to his disciple Peter was considered establishing a connection between earth and the heavenly realm.

The center of the painting focuses on the actual handing of the keys: one key is held by Jesus, while a second key remains dangling in the foreground. The viewer does not really notice two keys, but the single dangling key. From that key, eyes are drawn up towards the open doors of the Temple of Solomon, displayed as an interpretation of the eight-sided Dome of the Rock. This is a metaphor of the connection between the divine to the physical and up again to the divine: the keys connecting Jesus and Peter, and then the dangling key from Peter to the Temple.

In the painting, the Temple of Solomon is sitting on a plaza surrounded by people and triumphal arches of Constantine. It was the emperor Constantine that welcomed Christianity to the Roman Empire in 325CE. While the Temple of Solomon sat in Jerusalem, these arches were in Rome, near the Vatican.  By integrating these themes, Perugino brought Jerusalem to Rome and had Christianity flanking the holy Temple.

 The Metaphor of Keys

Keys are often used as metaphors in art and poetry. Keys are not only tools for gaining access, but connote ownership. The holder of the key is considered both the rightful owner of whatever is locked, and is the sole person who has the means of gaining access to whatever the lock has sealed. In the case of this famous painting, Jesus holds the heavenly key in gold, which is paired with a darker key for Peter. The twining is a partnership bridging heaven and earth, with Peter as the rightful owner of the earthly key. The key itself opens the Temple in Jerusalem, the physical gateway back to heaven.

The brilliance of the painting lies in the suspension of the dark key. Set against a plain background in the center of the painting, a viewer has no choice but to be drawn to it. The key anchors the focus, and the story is built around it.

The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

The Middle East has a long history of using keys, both physical and metaphorical. In 1917, the Mayor of Jerusalem handed over “keys of Jerusalem” to British General Allenby as a sign of surrender, and in 1841, the Ottomans handed the keys to Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem to Jews as a symbol of their control of the holy site. Even today, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre has a key that is held by a Muslim family as was the tradition dating back to 1246, even though the church has no religious significance to Islam.

Many Palestinians carry their own physical keys with symbolic messages today: that they are the rightful owners to homes in Israel and are waiting to move there.

keyboy

The skeleton keys are not the actual keys to homes that grandparents abandoned in 1948 while they waited for Arab armies to destroy the nascent Jewish State.  These Palestinian keys are representational of their quest to a “right of return” to homes in Israel. It has become a physical manifestation of their view of themselves as refugees. However, both the keys and status are manufactured.

As detailed in “Palestinian “Refugees” or “SAPs”?” there are only about 30,000 refugees (or more accurately, Internally Displaced Persons) alive from 1948, as refugee status cannot be handed down like an inheritance. Further, a refugee is someone who left a country, not a house. International law covers refugees return to a country, not an abandoned building (and Palestine was never a country).

Regardless, the acting President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, continues to put the “refugees” as a key issue in negotiations with Israelis. He does this with the blessings of the United Nations which is complicit in misleading the Palestinians.

The United Nations not only created a unique agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) separate from the organization that handles all other refugees in the world (UNHCR), but uniquely enables the descendants of Palestinian refugees to get services from the UN.  As elaborated in “Help Refugees: Shut the UNRWA, fund the UNHCR” the staffing of the UNRWA now exceeds the total number of Palestinian refugees.

The larger issue with UNRWA is not their giving extended services to millions of Palestinians who are not refugees, but the UN agency’s active encouragement of Palestinians to seek to move to, and delegitimize Israel.

key doorway
Entryway to UNRWA camp in Bethlehem with a large key atop

Both the United Nations and Palestinians have manufactured a particular narrative:

  • Palestine was an Arab country in 1948
  • Palestinian Arabs were the only indigenous people who had lived there for centuries
  • Jews ethnically cleansed Palestine of its Arab inhabitants
  • Per the points above, Israel is not a legitimate state as the Jews are interlopers who stole the native Arab land

Such story stands in stark contrast to basic facts:

  • Palestine was never an independent country
  • The region and Mandate of Palestine had a mixture of Jews and Arabs, with Jews accounting for over 30% of the population in 1948
  • More Arabs than Jews moved to Palestine under the British Mandate 1922-1948
  • Many Palestinian Arabs were not land owners but tenants in the land
  • Most Arabs fled from their homes in 1948, while they hoped and waited for Arab armies from Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Egypt to destroy Israel
  • Israel welcomed non-Jews, giving 160,000 non-Jews citizenship in 1948, in sharp contrast to the Jordanian and Palestinian Arabs who expelled all Jews from Judea and Samaria

As in the painting “Delivery of the Keys,” UNRWA has  handed Palestinians a narrative and claim to Israel: the Arabs are the rightful owners of Israel. The United Nations paints these “refugees” against a bleak background (like the key in the painting) to emphasize their stateless position. The key above the portal at the UNRWA camp is a potent symbol to all Palestinians, that it is through the United Nations that millions of Arabs will migrate to Israel. UNRWA and the Palestinians have established a pairing of keys like Jesus and Peter in the painting above: Palestinian Arabs are the owners of Israel, and the gateway to getting that land is through the United Nations.

The Vanishing Point

The vanishing point is where eyes are drawn to in the horizon.  It is a place where parallel lines converge giving depth to a two dimensional painting.  It is also the point where things become increasingly smaller and faint, disappearing altogether.

In the Perugino painting, the vanishing point is the open door to the Temple of Solomon. It is this worldly portal to the heavens, where man’s prayers ascend to ethereal songs.  The viewer of the painting is pulled to the very spot where the material world melts – indeed, the vanishing point.

Today, a person could look at the artwork with another perspective.

The Temple of Solomon, the most holy place on earth for Jews, is replaced with an Islamic shrine.  The Temple, and Jewish presence has seemingly disappeared.  In this Christian piece of art, the flanking of Constantian arches and Jesus and Peter in the foreground are meant to underscore that the pope and Christianity are the proper pathways to God. Judaism has faded to Islam, and both are replaced by Jesus’s emissary.

Over Jerusalem Day 2015, the vanishing point added an additional dimension.

The current pope, Pope Francis, canonized two nuns who were born in the holy land in the 1840s, while it was part of the Ottoman Empire. One nun was born in Jerusalem and another was born in the Galilee.  Yet the pope decided to refer to these nuns as “Palestinians,” not Ottomans and not Israeli (while the status of Jerusalem is under debate, the only people that consider the Galilee part of Palestine are Hamas-supporters who seek the destruction of Israel).  If one chooses to be generous and argue that the region was called Palestine in the 1840s, does the pope refer to people from regions like the Sahara (Saharans?), the Rockies (Rockies?) or Patagonia (Patagonians?), or does he call them Libyans, Americans and Chileans?

Is the pope seeking a new replacement theology, where not only has the Vatican replaced Jerusalem as the center of divine revelation, but history itself can be updated? Is Israel being supplanted today the way the painting at the Vatican shows Judaism being replaced?

The news media has certainly rallied to such vision.  The New York Times decided to cover the celebrations of Jerusalem Day on May 17, 2015 from a purely Arab point of view.  The day in which Israelis celebrate the reunification of their holiest city from which they were expelled and barred from reentry was characterized as a moment of protest. The atrocities committed by Jordanian and Palestinian Arabs during 1949-1967 vanished and this year’s celebration was mocked.

The Times questioned the very essence of Israeli rights to Jerusalem as it quoted a Palestinian man ““How would you feel if somebody marched through your living room, without your permission?””  Whose house is this anyway?

 


A Vanishing Point has interesting features: our eyes are drawn there; but the subject matter blurs and disappears.

The world’s attention is focused on the Middle East and the Arab-Israeli conflict. Jews and Palestinian Arabs are focused on Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.  As they do, Palestinians grab hold of the dangling key and Israelis don’t see the golden key in their hand. Everyone wonders what the future will bring and ventures predictions as they gaze into the distance.

And as they do so, all reality disappears.


Related First One Through articles:

In Israel, Everybody’s New

The Holocaust and the Nakba

The Arguments over Jerusalem

“Arab” Land

A Disservice to Jewish Community

Summary: There is a Jewish community in New York with a long-standing effort to maintain a strong Community: among the various denominations of Judaism within the city, and in staying connected with the Jewish State. For the 67th birthday of Israel, it opted to destroy all of those efforts.

 

The Jewish community of White Plains NY is not a typical New York City suburb. The five synagogues of the city (5SWP) – Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative and two Modern Orthodox – all sit within 1.5 miles of each other and actively seek to maintain a sense of close community. Each temple helped to establish the communal eruv around the residential neighborhood. The rabbis have study groups together. And lastly, the members of the shuls do their Israeli programming together.

In the spring of 2015, a group from the Israel Action Committee of the 5SWP decided that it was time to invite a left-wing speaker to address the group, as past speakers included right-of-center speakers including Bret Stephens and Malcolm Hoenlein. While voices of dissent came from within the committee as they learned about the proposed speaker’s line of work as a lawyer for Palestinian Arabs that sues the government of Israel, the group elected to invite Danny Seidemann to speak anyway – on Israel’s Independence Day, Yom Ha’atzmaut.

Danny Seidemann was presented to the audience as a “Leading Israeli Expert on Contemporary Jerusalem.” He spoke to the group for roughly one and one-half hours, including Q&A. If Danny is an expert, it is in deception. For 90 minutes, the group of 70 attendees heard deliberate misstatements and lies of omission. However, Danny’s views and message were very clear: that Jerusalem has never been united and can never be a united capital of Israel.

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Seidemann’s Lies

Here is a selection of some of Danny’s lies to support his position.

Palestinians are deliberately excluded from Jerusalem society. Danny made several remarks early in his talk that he clearly knew to be untrue. He stated that Palestinians in East Jerusalem are “deliberately and permanently disenfranchised” and “are not allowed to be leaders” in Israel. However, in Q&A at the end of the talk, he admitted that Palestinians in East Jerusalem are permitted to ask for Israeli citizenship and thousands have already become citizens. How can the Palestinian Arabs be “permanently disenfranchised” if they can become Israelis, similar to the over 1 million Arabs that are currently citizens of Israel? Those Israeli Arab citizens include members of the Israeli Knesset and the Supreme Court.

A minority of Jerusalem’s residents celebrates Israel Independence Day. Danny asserted that the capital of Israel barely celebrates Yom Ha’azmaut, undermining the claim that the city can truly be the capital of Israel. Along with Palestinian Arabs living in Jerusalem who are not Israeli citizens, are roughly one-quarter of the population that are Ultra-Orthodox Haredi who are not Zionists according to Danny, leaving only a minority of the population in Israel’s capital celebrating the holiday. However, Danny later admitted that the Haredi do actively participate in Israeli elections and actively seek roles in the Israeli Knesset. Does he not like the black hat brand of patriotism? Further, these Haredi Jews predominantly live in the western half of Jerusalem- does Danny question the legitimacy of the western part of the city too?

No Jew enters East Jerusalem. Danny claimed that “80% of East Jerusalem is off-limits to Jews.” First, that is untrue as many Jews go into East Jerusalem all of the time (and not just the Old City). For example, Pisgat Ze’ev, the largest Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem, lies next to Shu’afat. Further, would a neighborhood being dangerous or consisting of a single ethnic group mean it ceases to be part of a city? If few Jews visit Umm al-Fahm, an Israeli city that is nearly 100% Arab (compared to the eastern part of Jerusalem which is 60% Arab), would that mean that the city is not part of Israel? When few white people entered areas of black Harlem in the 1970s, did Harlem cease to be part of New York City?

No Arab enters West Jerusalem. Danny said that Arabs no longer enter the western part of the city. That is patently false. On most days, there are more Arabs in Independence Park than there are Jews. Danny may claim that these are Israeli Arabs and not Palestinians from East Jerusalem, but how could he make such claim without speaking to the hundreds of Arabs that anyone can see in the streets of western Jerusalem every day without talking to each one?

Countries do not recognize Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel because of East Jerusalem. Danny argued that Jews pretend that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital but that such claim is untrue as no country places its embassy in the city. His point deliberately led the audience to believe that this international action is a direct result of Israel’s annexing the eastern half of the city. That is completely false. No country moved their embassy BEFORE Israel annexed the eastern half of the city because the entirety of Greater Jerusalem and Greater Bethlehem (known as the “Holy Basin” in the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan) was planned to be an international city. World governments are waiting for final status negotiations before moving any embassy, as they viewed the 1949 Jordanian annexation of East Jerusalem and the Israeli annexation of West Jerusalem as contrary to that 1947 Plan. It has NOTHING to do with Israel’s taking East Jerusalem in 1967.

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United Nations 1947 proposed map for an international “Holy Basin”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not want Peace. Danny claimed that the four-term Israeli Prime Minister “is a terrible person who preys on Israelis’ fears of security.” Not only did Seidemann ignore Netanyahu’s numerous statements supporting a two-state solution (without any part of Jerusalem for Palestine), but Danny also failed to relay that it was Netanyahu who handed over half of the Holy Basin (Bethlehem) to the Palestinian Authority back in 1995.

The US Democratic Party Considers East Jerusalem too Controversial. Danny relayed how the 2012 Democratic National convention had removed its long-used platform language that Jerusalem would be the capital. He said that Americans were “tired of being bullied” about the contested city. What Danny failed to say was that the 2012 platform also removed the standard language that: Palestinian refugees would be settled into a new state of Palestine, not Israel; that it is unreasonable to expect that the borders of Israel would follow the 1967 “borders”/ the 1949 Armistice Lines; and that Hamas is a terrorist organization. Are Democrats tired of believing all of these platform items too? Are they now welcoming Hamas? Danny made it appear that the status of East Jerusalem was the only reason Democrats were breaking with Israel, while in fact, it was the entire pro-Israel platform that was either intentionally or unintentionally gutted.

Olmert ultimately realized the need to give up East Jerusalem. Danny said that former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert ultimately concluded late in his career that the only way to get to a final status agreement with the Palestinians was to give up East Jerusalem. What Danny failed to say was that Olmert only pitched this approach as he was about to get indicted on bribery charges, and was hoping that he could win over the liberal Israeli press to save him for going off to jail (it was too late and he was ultimately sentenced). Further, Danny failed to mention that acting President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas never responded to Olmert’s plan for Jerusalem.

If Jews move to East Jerusalem, then Arabs will have an added case for the Right of Return. The “expert” on Contemporary Jerusalem has no understanding of the Palestinian claim of the “Right of Return.” Danny spoke about recent “terrible” news of Jews legally (according to Israeli law) buying homes in an East Jerusalem neighborhood called Sheik Jarrah. He described that some of these homes had been owned by Jews before the 1948 Israeli War of Independence, which were then taken over by Arabs at the war’s end.

For starters, it should have been noted at some point in the speech that the Israeli War of Independence started when several Arab armies initiated an attack to destroy Israel when it declared independence at the end of the British Mandate.  The land wasn’t “Arab” and Israel’s war was of self-defense.

Secondly, Danny failed to clarify that the Jordanians (and Palestinians who accepted Jordanian citizenship), evicted all Jewish inhabitants from East Jerusalem and all of the West Bank, and then further barred their reentry after the war, counter to the Fourth Geneva Convention. Conversely, after the war, Israel granted citizenship to roughly 160,000 Arabs.

Third, Jews acquiring homes in East Jerusalem is legal according to Israeli law in the same way that Arabs may buy homes in West Jerusalem; there is no discrimination either way. These are private transaction between private people, and the government does not get involved. Danny’s commentary left the exact opposite impression that the Israeli government acted in a discriminatory manner.

Lastly, and perhaps most telling, the private purchases of homes have absolutely NOTHING to do with the Palestinian Arab claim for a Right of Return. A quick review for this “Israeli expert”:

  •  Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “[e]veryone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his COUNTRY (emphasis added).” The law is about returning to a person’s country, not a particular house where someone’s grandparent may have lived.
  • In regard to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, UN Resolution 194 Article 11 “Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and LIVE AT PEACE WITH THEIR NEIGHBOURS (emphasis added) 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.” Palestinian Arabs are not refugees, but the children and grandchildren of refugees. And as Seidemann makes abundantly clear throughout his talk, they have no intention of living at peace with Israel.

Jews acquiring properties in Silwan or Sheik Jarrah or any other parts of East Jerusalem have absolutely nothing to do with these laws and give Palestinian Arabs no additional rights or claims to any “Right of Return” to any part of Israel or western Jerusalem.

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Daniel Seidemann at Yom Ha’atzmaut Discussion

These were just some of the false comments that the speaker made about Jerusalem. Seidemann did say that Jerusalem is holy to Jews and referred to “Jewish Jerusalem,” but he made the comment only about the western part of the city. He gave no historical context that the area called “East Jerusalem” was an artifice of war. That its creation was solely from a war started by Arabs to utterly destroy any Jewish state, and the only reason that there are fewer Jews than Arabs in that part of the city was because of the ethnic cleansing committed by the Palestinian and Jordanian Arabs.

  • There was no clarification that Jews have been a majority in ALL of Jerusalem since the 1860s.
  • No mention that the Ottomans never limited where Jews could live in Jerusalem for 400 years.
  • No mention that the British Mandate of Palestine allowed Jews to live throughout the region, including what some today refer to as the “West Bank.”

Overall, Seidemann’s speech was an attempt to portray Israel as an evil, racist occupier of eastern Jerusalem. To the more informed in the audience, all his speech actually conveyed was that the Palestinian Arabs hate the Jews, hate Israel and will never want to be part of the Jewish State.

That may be true, but it certainly does not make Israel an evil racist occupier and does not mean that Jerusalem isn’t completely part of Israel.

Seidemann’s Call to Action

An hour into the Seidemann story, he became particularly excited.

Call for BDS of the “Settlement Enterprise. Danny gave a short preamble that what he was about to say was illegal. He then raised his hand and voice and declared that all settlers living in the West Bank should be boycotted. That all businesses in the territory should be boycotted. That he, as a “true Zionist” that paid taxes and served in the army needed to protect his country from “right-wing idealogues” who threatened his vision of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.

At that point, people in the audience finally began to leave.

Seidemann Refusal to Engage

At the reception after the talk, Seidemann continued to lie (or being more generous, show how uninformed he was):

  • Palestinians support Abbas. Seidemann claimed that Abbas enjoyed broad support of the Palestinians. When he was confronted that it was not true as shown in every poll conducted by Palestinians themselves, including recent university elections, he refused to back off his claim.
  • Abbas is in control. When Seidemann was asked how Israel can possibly negotiate with Abbas since he lacked control of the people and territory, he reiterated that Abbas had complete control. After it was pointed out that if Abbas was in control, he was therefore responsible for the Gaza war that fired thousands of rockets into Israel, Seidemann ripped off his yamulke and stormed away.

While the speaker demanded total silence and respect from the audience, he showed the group none.


A community that sought to be educated about Israel was lied to for 90 minutes. A group that wanted to bond with fellow Jews and Israel, heard from a speaker that called for Jews to punish and economically strangle Israeli Jews.

As this self-declared UberZionist drove away, the community was left with bitter feelings. At least it was no longer on the Israeli Independence Day.


Related First One Through articles:

It isn’t “Arab Land”

Legal Israeli Settlements

A “Viable” Palestinian State

The Fault in Our Tent: The Limit of Acceptable Speech

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