Review: Erasing the borders in "A Map of Home"

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Robin Yassin-Kassab, The Electronic Intifada, 31 August 2009


Randa Jarrar’s A Map of Home is a beautifully achieved coming of age novel which follows a clever girl through a war, a domestic battlefield, and repeated forced migrations. For our heroine, these events are aspects of normal everyday life (because everything’s normal when it happens to you), like school, friends, family and shopping. Despite the geographical and cultural particularities of the story, the themes — of awakening sexually, of learning how to love a parent yet firmly say no, and of struggling for independence and a place in the world — are universal, and the book will appeal to all but the most easily shocked readers.

At the novel’s center is a family. The father, Waheed, is a Palestinian from Jenin exiled to a string of temporary residences. Resentful of his failure to develop a career as a poet, he projects his ambition onto his daughter, about whom Waheed is convincingly self-conflicted: he wants her to be a famous professor, but doesn’t want her to study away from home.

The mother, Fairuza, is a Greek-Egyptian mixture who owns a piano and a prodigiously large backside. Waheed and Fairuza’s fights are frequent and sometimes ugly.

Nidali — the name means “my struggle” — is the product of this complex marriage, a traveling Greek-Egyptian-Palestinian, and born in Boston for good measure. In America, “people would have assumed that Mama was a Latina, and that I, a cracker-looking girl, was her daughter from a union with a gringo, and that would have been that.” But it’s not.

The plot follows Nidali from place to place, the narrative voice seamlessly modulating as she grows from a Persian Gulf schoolgirl to sassy Arab-Texan chica. At first she considers cosmopolitan Kuwait home. This section of the novel delivers situational comedy at its funniest and most delicate, with an added dash of hyperrealism, as it offers closely observed descriptions of everyday, normal life.

For instance, a seven-year-old Nidali wonders who this “people of Ibrahim” her father asks God to bless at prayer time is, so her friend Zainab informs her that the Ibrahims are “a family that throws big barbecues at Eid.” Later, Nidali’s excessively religious cousin Essam comes to stay. He destroys her Wonder Woman (Nidali translates it “Woman of Wonders”) stickers, and when challenged declares that the superhero “is a shameless prostitute.”

Nidali wins a Quran competition and kisses her first boyfriend Fakhr who, like a low-brow version of Saul Bellow’s Herzog, writes letters to “presidents, actors, dead singers.” Soon Nidali herself has occasion to write an amusing letter to Saddam Hussein. The occasion is the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait. Bombs, bodies in the streets, and the mysterious presence of a black cat in the toilet won’t move her father to flee, but a shortage of za’tar will. The family moves through Iraq and Jordan to Egypt, where Nidali begins a new, less naive life chapter. Alexandria is certainly full of life — they arrive during an Ahli-Zamalek football match, men watching dashboard-mounted TVs as they drive — but the family is in extended and uncomfortable transition, until their move to Texas.

The absent home of the novel is of course Palestine, known from maps and snatched glimpses. Nidali remembers her grandmother’s stories, and being strip-searched at the Allenby bridge between Jordan and the West Bank. Beyond that, Palestinian identity is migration — “moving was part of being Palestinian” — and return denied. “I’d never see them again,” becomes a refrain.

It’s also obstruction. In airports, mother, father and child have to stand in different queues. Waheed can’t enter Saudi Arabia with his Jordanian “pity passport.” His wife’s Egyptian passport, and Nidali’s American, won’t work for Saddam’s Iraq. After the liberation, Waheed — because Palestinians were collectively punished for Yasser Arafat’s support of Saddam Hussein — is forbidden to return to Kuwait.

There’s a wonderful moment when Nidali erases the borders she’s drawn on her map of Palestine. “I stared at the whiteness of the paper’s edges for a long, long time. The whiteness of the page blended with the whiteness of my sheets. ‘You are here,’ I thought as I looked at the page and all around me. And oddly, I felt free.” Another advantage of homelessness is that the homeland becomes portable. “Our people carry the homeland in their souls,” says Waheed.

A Map of Home has a cartoon quality, so comparisons with Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis are valid. The novel form, however, provides it with extra dimensions of style and word play, and Jarrar’s writing contains unabashed metaphors reminiscent of Franz Kafka or Andrei Bely. Its exuberance is on display in such lovely sentences as: “Guilt descended like a fat mosquito and sucked out all our blood.” When Waheed rushes down a hospital corridor, patients and nurses see only “an enormous moustache with limping legs.” Fairuza’s hair is “a thought balloon hanging above her face.”

The book bulges with translated Arabic phrases, including lots of warm-hearted profanity. People curse each other’s religions, and worse, and exclaim “O eye!” mid-sentence. Hearing some of these expressions defamiliarized in English reminds you just how expressive they are — phrases like, “May God brighten the world for you.” A Map of Home is not just playing with language — it’s about language. Jarrar explores the condition of homelessness and cultural transplantation through the somersaults made by words. In Kuwait, for instance, she reads “an Egyptian comic called Meeky.” This eye for traveling words is reminiscent of Ahmed Alaidy.

As lyrical as Arundhati Roy or Mourid Barghouti, Jarrar’s pacing is tight and her dialogue approaches perfection. With light and loving characterizations that are entirely free of false romance, her tone is wry, sunny, very feminine and very powerful. A Map of Home is addictive reading.

Robin Yassin-Kassab has been a journalist in Pakistan and an English teacher around the Arab world. His first novel, The Road from Damascus, is published by Hamish Hamilton and Penguin. He blogs on politics, culture, religion and books at qunfuz.com.

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Israeli religious schools found to discriminate based on race

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by Saed Bannoura
August 30, 2009

The Israeli Education Ministry announced Sunday that it would cut funding to three state-funded religious schools because they refused to enroll Ethiopian Jews simply because they were black.

The state had tried to compromise with the schools, saying that they only had to allow a few Ethiopian Jewish students in, as a token measure, but the schools refused.

Ethiopian Jews who have immigrated to Israel face multiple forms of discrimination within Israeli society, some of which are inscribed into law.

In this case, the state-funded religious schools argued that since private religious schools in Israel are allowed to discriminate against Ethiopians, then they should be allowed to discriminate too. They had asked that the heads of private religious schools be included in their conversations with the Israeli government on the matter.

But the Israeli Education Ministry replied that the schools in question should be held to a different standard than private schools because they are state-funded.

Regardless of the outcome in the case of the three publicly-funded institutions, private religious schools in Israel will be allowed to continue discriminating against students based on race.

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" … escalation against Syria is a warning from Tehran …"

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A “Good piece” of Shit for TONY:

Asharq Alawsat, here

“… Syria is trying to arrange its political situation in the Arab world and internationally, and has taken steps in Lebanon. Some would describe these steps as being insufficient, however they are concessionary, particularly to those who follow the Syrian line. Confirmed information also indicates that there is a considerable disagreement between Syria and Hezbollah, …..

It would also not be rational for Damascus to allow the Baathists to attack from within Syrian territory, especially as the Americans have now opened up channels of negotiation with the Iraqi Baathists via Turkey, which is now Syria’s most important ally. …….This would only serve to put Syria in a dangerous international predicament. Even if Syrian interests call for the end of any pro-Iranian regime in Baghdad, because Damascus does not want to find itself surrounded by [pro-Iranian] Iraq on one side, and Hezbollah’s Lebanon on the other, any act of sabotage at this level is an act of madness. …..All indications seem to point that the major beneficiaries of the Baghdad bombings are [Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri] al-Maliki’s rivals, who are also allies of Iran, and here we must not forget the new Iraqi Shiite coalition [the Iraqi National Alliance]……. Therefore the political escalation seen today against Syria seems to be a warning to Damascus, perhaps from Tehran, otherwise how could Iran accept this kind of escalation against its Syrian ally? …”

Posted by G, Z, & or B at 10:10 AM


Assad: Iraqi Accusations against Syria Immoral

31/08/2009 Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Monday said allegations that Syria was sheltering people suspected of involvement in devastating bombings in Iraq were “immoral” and politically motivated.

His comments came as Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu embarked on a mediation bid between Baghdad and Damascus to defuse tensions which worsened last week when the neighbors recalled their respective ambassadors. Iraq has accused Syria of sheltering suspects allegedly involved in one of two devastating truck bombings that targeted government ministries in Baghdad on August 19, killing a total of 95 people and wounding 600.

“Syria is accused of killing Iraqis although it welcomes 1.2 million Iraqis (refugees),” Assad said at a joint news conference with visiting Cyprus President Demetris Christofias. “Such accusations are immoral and political,” he said. “When accusations are not based on any proof, this means they are illogical in the eyes of the law,” Assad said, again calling on Iraq to present evidence about its allegations. “As soon as the accusations were made, Syria officially asked Iraq to send a delegation to Damascus with proof,” he said. “So far we have not received any reply.”

Meanwhile, Turkey’s foreign minister was in Baghdad on Monday for talks with Iraqi officials ahead of visiting Damascus later in the day in a bid to defuse the tensions. “We will try to re-establish an atmosphere of trust between the two sides,” Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters at Ankara airport before beginning his shuttle diplomacy mission.

Once upon a time……in the West

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https://i0.wp.com/www.novinite.com/media/images/2009-07/photo_big_106184.jpg

Once upon a time in the West ,
somebody decided to incriminate Libya
for the Lockerbee bombing

It was difficult , because Libya was innocent
so they imposed a boycott for a decade
until a suspect was created , produced and indited.

I call this blackmail… …….
( or guilt by exclusion )

20 years later the Libyan-Regime
exchanged their Oil for that same “guilty-person

I call this ” paying a ransom for the hostage takers”

When hypocrisy is practised by governments,
it is called : ” for humanitarian- reasons”

Sherlock Hommos
first day at the office !!!
31st of August 2009

Posted by Тлакскала at 1:14 PM

ISRAEL: REWRITING HISTORY IN THE MIDST OF NEW SCANDAL

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August 31, 2009 at 7:44 am (Censorship, Corrupt Politics, Education, History, Israel, Palestine, Uncategorized)

rewriting-history

Leave it to the zionists to rewrite history. It’s reminiscent of the final years of the Soviet Union when the name Stalin miraculously disappeared from history books.

Now, the term ‘Nakba’ will be removed from Israeli textbooks. Heaven forbid a new generation of Israeli schoolchildren should know the truth about the creation of their country….. and at whose expense it was at.

Just imagine the outroar if the holocaust was removed from German textbooks… but, we know that won’t happen….. Israel would find a way to stop such a move.

Education minister: Word ‘nakba’ taken out of lesson plans

Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar briefed the cabinet on plans for the start of the school year, and announced that the word “nakba” will be taken out of lesson plans.

“It can be said with certainty that Arab Israelis experienced a tragedy in the war, but there will be no use of the word ‘nakba,’ whose meaning is similar to holocaust in this context,” said Sa’ar. “The education system in the Arab sector will revise its studies about the homeland, geography, and society in elementary schools.”

Meanwhile, Israel’s latest scandal has come to light, involving former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. I can predict that whatever the outcome of his trial will be the courts will be lenient as he is suffering from prostate cancer. Olmert’s fellow criminal on the other side of the ‘pond’, Bernard Madoff will most certainly be released from prison soon on compassionate grounds. He too is supposedly suffering from cancer. Zionism, the common cancer among these criminals seems to spread to other organs at opportune times.

Former Israeli Prime Minister to face trial on corruption charges

Ehud Olmert, who served as Israeli Prime Minister until March of this year, was indicted Sunday on charges of corruption, breach of trust, fraud, income tax evasion, accepting bribes, and a number of other charges.ehud_olmert
Ehud Olmert (photo from wikimedia)

Olmert oversaw a particularly brutal string of attacks by the Israeli military while he was Prime Minister, including the January 2009 invasion of the Gaza Strip that left 1400 Palestinians dead. He has not been charged or investigated for these attacks.Instead, the former Prime Minister is being charged with a massive corruption scandal that allegedly ran through all levels of government when he was at the helm.According to the indictment, Olmert violated his oath of office “in systematic and drawn out activities for financial benefits … in different ways and from different sources … all in manners that contravened the law, the norms and the rules that obligate a minister and a public servant.”Several other members of Olmert’s cabinet have already been indicted on a variety of charges, including President Moshe Katsav, who was found guilty of rape.Olmert allegedly carried out a variety of nefarious activities both before and during his term as Prime Minister. Some of these included lying about contributions from a US citizen, inflating travel costs in order to pocket reimbursement checks, and using campaign donations to pay for the debts of a non-profit which supported him politically.Olmert’s communication advisor told Israeli reporters Sunday, “Olmert is convinced that at the court he will be able, once and for all, to prove his innocence.”

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The Grand-father of the Terrorism

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https://i2.wp.com/seattletimes.nwsource.com/art/editorial/cartoon/2005/575/060105.jpg

Double standards

are no-standards .

and
No-standards

are Injustice.

and Injustice
breads more injustice
that then ,
it breads the Terrorism .

conclusion :
The Double Standards
are the grand-father of Terrorism


Sherlock Hommos
Back from the vacations !!
30.08.2009

Posted by Тлакскала at 1:16 PM

Resolving the Displaced Persons Problem


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By Dan Lieberman

Negotiators have continually debated the Middle East crisis without regarding the elephant in the room – the Palestinian displaced persons. Rather than being portrayed as victims, these dispossessed persons are often perceived as perpetrators, as if they caused their own ordeal and should shoulder the responsibility for their fate. It’s time to pay attention. The solution of the Middle East crisis starts with those who have suffered the most, continue to suffer and should be relieved of their suffering. The solution of the Middle East crisis starts with the Palestinian displaced persons. No matter how far ‘negotiations’ go, the displaced person solution will be the show stopper. Overcoming the problem at the beginning permits the show to continue. Saving it to the euphoric ‘end’ predicts neglect or a severe compromise that will endanger all previous agreements.

Place the refugee situation in its proper context.

Israel did not permit Palestinians who left or were evicted during the 1948 and 1967 conflagrations to return to their homes and lands. Assets, businesses, property and household items were confiscated and the owners were not reimbursed.

Israeli historian Benny Morris summarized the evictions well:

“I feel sympathy for the Palestinian people, which truly underwent a hard tragedy. I feel sympathy for the refugees themselves. But if the desire to establish a Jewish state here is legitimate, there was no other choice. It was impossible to leave a large fifth column in the country. From the moment the Yishuv was attacked by the Palestinians and afterward by the Arab states, there was no choice but to expel the Palestinian population. To uproot it in the course of war.”

Benny Morris used the correct phrase: “. if the desire to establish a Jewish state here is legitimate.” It was not legitimate. The choice was not between “having a Jewish state and not dispossessing the Palestinians.” The choice was between “not having the expanded state that Israel gained” and “dispossessing the Palestinians.” Almost all the evicted Palestinians were in the territory granted to the Palestinians. Not since the days of American expansionism has a group of individuals (Israel was not even a declared nation when the confiscations began nor had Arab armies attacked at that time.) invaded another land, seized the territory and cleared the area of the indigenous people. Hasn’t the world learned anything since Biblical times?

The exiled Palestinians are displaced persons and not refugees. The United Nations definition of a refugee is “a person who, owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of their nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail him/herself of the protection of that country.” Most of the Palestinians wanted to return to their homes, but they were denied entry. Some of them walked back to their villages from Ramallah or Bethlehem, after leaving for only two weeks, and found their homes occupied by Iraqis or other foreigners and were forced to leave again. Similar to situations during World Ware II, displaced persons fled the fighting. These were persons “forced from his or her country, esp. as a result of war, and left homeless elsewhere.” After the world failed to repatriate the displaced Palestinians, they were identified as refugees, which permitted then to be relocated to any land except their own.

Other misconceptions need correction.

Contrary to the intensive propaganda that describes the Arab nations as failing to assist the Palestinians, almost all Arab states opened their lands to them. Jordan and Syria eventually allowed the massive number of displaced persons to share in the social benefits and engage themselves in the economy. In Jordan, almost all Palestinians became citizens. Syria granted the Palestinians social and economic privileges normal to its citizens. Palestinians trained and worked in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the Arab Emirates and Egypt. Only Lebanon, to where Palestinians were forced after a conflict erupted between PLO leader Yasser Arafat and Jordan’s King Hussein, denied the Palestinians access to normal public life. All this was done by impoverished Arab nations, who did not have sufficient resources for their own people and were politically unstable.

The nation that has refused to assist the dispossessed Palestinians has been Israel – the principal perpetrator of the refugee’s condition. Israel boasts of assisting Jewish refugees from Arab nations, but fails to mention that Israel’s policies made Arab nations suspicious of their Jewish citizens and Israeli intelligence forces instigated their emigration, which Israel sought. The Mizrahi served to occupy vacated Arab homes, boost the military and swell the Israeli population.

Another bit of propaganda exclaims that Arab nation leaders urged against citizenship for the displaced Palestinians. Naturally. The Arab nations felt the Palestinians would forfeit the Right of Return if granted citizenship and they would relieve Israel of its own obligations to the dispossessed persons.

Resettlement of these ‘refugees is not the only consideration. Most of them are without passports or attachment to any nation. The Right of Return, a right usually available to anyone driven from a land, deserves to be implemented. Displaced persons have severely overpopulated Gaza, making it one of the most densely populated regions in the world and a tinderbox for social and economic upheavals. Gaza’s population needs to be severely reduced for the entire population to live comfortably.

Because the displaced persons are not a constituency and are powerless, their grievances remain at the bottom of the priority list. Some nations refuse to permanently accommodate them, which extends the problem to perpetuity, Due to insufficient space and resources in the West Bank (which has its own displaced persons camps) it will de difficult to relocate all of the displaced persons to a forecasted Palestinian state. Nevertheless, what does the world expect to happen to these long suffering persons; just continue to suffer for millennia and stir up terrorism? Rather than being an afterthought, the refugees should be the primary thought – where they stay, where they go, and how they are they are brought from their deprivation to take a deserved place in the world.

Naturally this will create problems for Israel, but didn’t Israel cause the problem? UN Resolution 194 clearly stated:

“… that the 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.”

Refugees have always been allowed to return to their homes. Here again, the western world shows its bias towards Israel, even when faced with Israel’s contradictory policies.

Israeli courts have ruled that any person can petition the court to claim land, even after 100 years, and, if ruled in the claimants favor, evict the dweller. Jews have won many cases. Although it’s documented that Palestinians owned about 90 per cent of the land before partition, no Arab citizen has been able to exercise that right.

The Zionists promoted an unproven and historically disputable claim that all Jews are refugees from the land of their forefathers and have the ‘Right of Return’ after 2000 years. Why don’t Palestinians, all with historically proven claims, have the same right?

Can the Palestinian displaced persons problem be conveniently resolved?

Start with the number of Palestinian displaced persons.

According to BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency & Refugee Rights, the displaced Palestinian and their descendents are estimated to number about 7.1 million plus 500,000 internally displaced persons (IDP) in Israel and the Occupied Palestine Territories (OPT). The latter IDP’s were forced from their villages but still live in Israel and the OPT. Figures are debatable but the information below from Badil categorizes the refugees in an approximate and accepted manner.

Lebanon – 460,490 in refugee camps.
Syria – 488, 656 listed refugees.
Jordan – 2,478,424 listed refugee of whom 2,200,000 are Jordanian citizens.
West Bank – 754,000 in refugee camps
Gaza – 1,059,584 in refugee camps
Egypt – 75,706 displaced persons
Saudi Arabia – 341,770 displaced persons
Kuwait – 43,718 displaced persons
Europe – 200,000 displaced persons
Other – 1,200,000 displaced persons

Note: Not all displaced persons are in refugee camps.

In Jordan, most Palestinian citizens are still registered as refugees. In the occupied territories, the populations have an undefined citizenship. In Syria, Palestinian refuges have access to most social services and economic opportunities but cannot obtain citizenship. Other category is not exaggerated. Chile has 300,000 Palestinians and many other Palestinians are unregistered and scattered around the world.

After validating the number and authenticity of the displaced persons, they will be presented with several choices:

1. During a five year period, nations where they reside will permit a portion of the displaced persons to become citizens. Almost all nations where Palestinians presently reside will probably offer citizenship, except for Lebanon, which fears another radicalized minority in its midst. Lebanon might allow a fraction, possibly about 100,000 persons to become citizens. Due to the Palestinians approaching a majority, Jordan might deny 200,000 Palestinians from receiving citizenship. In the other nations, Palestinians have become well established in the societies and contribute economically. Once the issue shows resolution and Israel concedes to meet its obligations, there will be no reason for these nations not to grant citizenship.

2. Over a five year period, western nations will offer to receive 1,500,000 Palestinians as immigrants. This is actually an obligation. Consider that the Partition Plan was doomed to failure and could only lead to what happened; the expulsions of the Palestinians to enable a predominant Jewish population in a Jewish state. The partitioned Jewish state had 495,000 Jews and 325,000 Palestinians and limited arable area for expanding the Jewish community. The immediate seizure of territory and expulsion of Palestinians were predictable, necessary to allow the Mizrahi from North Africa and the Middle East to emigrate and have suitable housing. Iraqi families were immediately placed in homes vacated by Palestinian families. Israel is most responsible for the dispossessions and planned destructions of Palestinian villages, but the nations that voted for partition without care and without thought of the consequences (except for the U.S. State Department who expressed doubts about the success of the partition plan) must share the blame and make amends.

In the United States, the Palestinian communities have proven to be the best citizens, exhibiting exemplary behavior – quiet, diligent, cooperative, moral, studious, educated, and with little attachment to crime or need for welfare. The Palestinians will integrate and contribute well in all nations.

3. Israel will vacate all areas in the West Bank and East Jerusalem that are in violation of the UN Resolutions. Except for Israelis or their descendants who can prove ownership of property in the West Bank and East Jerusalem before 1948, all other properties, installations, institutions and homes will revert to Palestinians. Being as Palestinian families are large and generally have been able to exist with less square feet of space, the vacated housing should accommodate about 750,000Palestinians. This is the least the state of Israel can do for the illegal seizure of Palestinian lands and the oppressed conditions in which subsequent generations have been forced to live.

4. Israel will admit 300,000 Palestinians who can show prior ownership of seized land. This requirement has several purposes: It provides a token resolution to a great injustice.
It informs the world that ‘human rights’ is not an empty phrase. It makes certain that a precedent no longer exists that allows the more powerful to seize possessions from the weaker. It removes a stain that would forever afflict the Jewish community. It presents the Arab world with a more satisfying perspective of western nations..

How does this work out?

Let’s use the BADIL figure of 7.1 million externally displaced Palestinians and 4.6 million offers to permit them to remain and acquire citizenship. The latter includes the 2.2 million who are already citizens in Jordan, the 456,000 who are quasi citizens in Syria, all other areas where Palestinians have already been integrated, and Lebanon permitting at least 100,000 to remain. Those in the West Bank and Gaza are not included in the offers. Consider that 10%, or 460,000, will refuse the offers and we still have 3.0 million displaced persons to rehabilitate. Certainly out of that figure there will be 1.5 million persons, many from Gaza and the West Bank, willing to immigrate to the western nations and situate among Palestinian communities that already exist in the western world. That leaves 1.5 million DPs. We then have 750,000 in the West Bank and Gaza moving to new home in the West Bank and 300,000 from all DPs moving back to Israel. That leaves only 450,000 displaced persons to find new accommodations in Gaza and the West Bank.

The population in Gaza and the West Bank will shrink by about 500,000, hopefully mostly from Gaza, which is now too overcrowded. Israel’s population within the Green line will increase by about 500,000 settlers and 300,000 repatriated Palestinians for a total of 800,000.

At first glance, this all seems improbable. It isn’t. Examining it carefully, if the displaced persons are granted citizenship in lands where they live, it comes down to only about 300,000 displaced persons from Lebanon and 200,000 from Jordan who are presently in UNWRA run refugee camps and another 460,000 from other nations who might refuse citizenship. The other displaced persons from the West Bank and Gaza warrant consideration, but they are presently on Palestinian territory and can be easily addressed.

The problem is not forecasted to be with the Arab nations. They will cooperate if they definitely know the western nations and Israel will cooperate. The problem is with the western nations and Israel, who have been delinquent in recognizing their participation in the tragedy and the violence that has developed.

Can anyone believe that Israel is not directly responsible for the Palestinian exodus? Did these people voluntarily decide to leave their homes, face starvation, have entire families commit suicide because of their desperation and then be willing to sit quietly in refugee camps? Are these verified reports of forced removals, terrorizing, killings and destruction of more than 400 Palestinian villages only stories? Why were the villages destroyed? Why weren’t the villagers allowed to return? Why were vacant homes instantly occupied? In Rwanda, Bosnia, Kosovo and elsewhere, the western nations have been firm in demanding prompt return of refugees and have fought to achieve that demand. The Palestinian situation is more insidious. In other situations, refugees had been created, but wanton property and asset seizures were not a rule. In Palestine, Israel seized all properties and assets and allowed newly arrived foreigners to occupy vacant homes. No precedent for these illegal operations exists in the post World War II western civilized world.

If western leaders stop behaving cowardly and do what they must do to resolve an unjust situation that can paralyze the world for perpetuity, the world will breathe more easily. The road to Middle East peace starts with the resolution of the Palestinian involuntary displaced persons and not with what least harms the East European voluntary displaced persons of Avigdor Lieberman and his crowd.

– Dan Lieberman is the editor of Alternative Insight, a monthly web based newsletter.
Dan’s many articles on the Middle East conflict have circulated on websites and media throughout the world. Contact him at:
alternativeinsight@earthlink.net.

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