Rather Than Help Palestinian Refugees, Arab Leaders and Their Western Enablers Have Used Them as a Weapon to Defeat Israel

After the major conflicts of the 20th century, the United Nations and its predecessor organizations sought to resettle millions of refugees in new homes. But, as Adi Schwartz and Einat Wilf explain in The War of Return, the UN has taken a different approach to those Arabs who fled their homes during Israel’s War of Independence, seeking instead to keep them and their descendants in a permanent state of a homelessness. Matti Friedman writes in his review:

When I started reporting on Israel for the international press, I was made aware of linguistic quirks unique to this particular beat. One good example was the word “settlement,” which, in ordinary usage, means “a small village,” an isolated community out of Little House on the Prairie or perhaps colonial Rhodesia—but which we often used to describe suburban towns of 50,000 in the West Bank or certain neighborhoods in Jerusalem. A typical reader of the English language envisioned one thing, while the reality was another.

Another quirk was our use of the word “capital,” which we refused to apply to Jerusalem, even though Jerusalem is Israel’s official seat of government, and that is the meaning of the word, which has nothing to do with international recognition. Or there was the word “disputed,” which we weren’t allowed to use for the West Bank, even though there’s obviously a dispute over the territory—the word “disputed” would make it seem like Israel might have a case. Our vocabulary was a kind of political code.

One of the most confusing examples was the word “refugee.” In describing the problems associated with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we regularly referred to “millions of Palestinian refugees,” summoning a clear image for Western readers—tents, camps, displaced people. The word “refugee” means “a person who flees for refuge or safety, especially to a foreign country,” but this wasn’t true of the vast majority of the people we were describing.

Most of them are in fact descendants of refugees, and very many already have citizenship in the countries they live, i.e., they don’t fit any standard definition of the term. Why did Arab governments insist on perpetual refugee status? So they could demand of Israel the “right of return.”

Arab leaders weren’t coy about their plan. “It is well known and understood,” said Egypt’s foreign minister Mohammad Salah al-Din, “that the Arabs, in demanding the return of the refugees to Palestine, mean their return as masters of the homeland and not as its slaves. With greater clarity, they mean the liquidation of the state of Israel.”

Read more at Jewish Review of Books

More about: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Media, Palestinian refugees

Hamas’s Hostage Diplomacy

Ron Ben-Yishai explains Hamas’s current calculations:

Strategically speaking, Hamas is hoping to add more and more days to the pause currently in effect, setting a new reality in stone, one which will convince the United States to get Israel to end the war. At the same time, they still have most of the hostages hidden in every underground crevice they could find, and hope to exchange those with as many Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners currently in Israeli prisons, planning on “revitalizing” their terrorist inclinations to even the odds against the seemingly unstoppable Israeli war machine.

Chances are that if pressured to do so by Qatar and Egypt, they will release men over 60 with the same “three-for-one” deal they’ve had in place so far, but when Israeli soldiers are all they have left to exchange, they are unlikely to extend the arrangement, instead insisting that for every IDF soldier released, thousands of their people would be set free.

In one of his last speeches prior to October 7, the Gaza-based Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar said, “remember the number one, one, one, one.” While he did not elaborate, it is believed he meant he wants 1,111 Hamas terrorists held in Israel released for every Israeli soldier, and those words came out of his mouth before he could even believe he would be able to abduct Israelis in the hundreds. This added leverage is likely to get him to aim for the release for all prisoners from Israeli facilities, not just some or even most.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security