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30 Palestinians killed last week in Syria

Five members of the same family were killed in Yarmouk, along with at least seven other people. Despite the bloodshed, Jordan continues to refuse to allow Palestinians among the Syrian refugees it accepts.

Syrian refugee camp (photo: Roee Ruttenberg)

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) issued a press release on Sunday expressing grave concern over the rising number of Palestinian casualties in the Syrian civil war. According to credible sources, an estimated total of 30 Palestinians were killed in the last week. Twelve of the casualties – including five members of the same family – were from Yarmouk refugee camp.

Ma’an News Agency reported that a high-level PLO delegation arrived in Syria today to discuss the situation of the Palestinians in the country. The delegation intends to talk to members of the Syrian regime and representatives from Palestinian refugee camps in Syria. Back in November, the PLO estimated the number of Palestinians who died in the war at 600, but since then there have been dozens more casualties. “The situation is so confused that it’s impossible to give a confirmed figure of casualties,” Christopher Gunness a spokesperson for UNRWA, told +972 today.

Half a million Palestinian refugees lived in Syria prior to the war. At least 20,000 Palestinians were able to flee the country to Lebanon, but the Jordanian government continues to send Palestinian refugees back, claiming that they are not affected by the conflict in the same way (the real reason probably has to do with Jordanian fears for the stability of the regime). In November, the Economist estimated that only 1,700 Palestinians were allowed by Jordan into the country. According to reports, there are no Palestinians in the Zaatari refugee camp, located in the north of Jordan.

A press release by UNRWA on Sunday stated that:

UNRWA deplores the unrelenting armed conflict in Syria and the extreme suffering it is inflicting on civilians, including Palestine refugees. In recent statements, the Agency has highlighted the crisis of large numbers compelled to leave the refugee camps in Rif Damascus to seek safety elsewhere, and the plight of those who remain in the camps. These Palestine refugees are unable to move safely, are subject to severe movement restrictions and face escalating threats from shelling and armed clashes. Poverty and deprivation are increasing in the Palestinian community, exacerbating vulnerabilities that existed prior to the Syria conflict, and lack of access to food and essential services continues to cause serious distress. These developments have left the Palestine refugee community, alongside their Syrian neighbours, profoundly traumatized and fearful of the future.

The UN estimates that about 5,000 people are fleeing Syria every day. Since the conflict began, 787,000 people were registered as refugees by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and the Palestinians are at high risk in this conflict due to their special position in the region. “Refugees by their nature are already among the most vulnerable people in any society,” says Mr. Gunness, “and in a situation like in Syria clearly they are more vulnerable.”

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Philos

      I wish more press coverage would go to Israel’s outrageous “humanitarian” gesture that was so wicked it made me sick. Some bastard in the government thought it’d be a good hasbara move to offer Palestinian refugees in Syria to come to the West Bank so long as they signed a document forswearing any claims to a right of return. I’ve already read three articles in the yellow press using this as an example of how the Palestinians are bent on Israel’s destruction rather than how craven, opportunistic, and vindictive the Israeli government is. We’ll know now that every time Israel sends a rescue team to a disaster area it isn’t a humanitarian gesture. It’s a PR stunt. Here’s the latest example of hasbara hate speech: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4341031,00.html

      Reply to Comment
      • Kolumn9

        Did you miss the part where the whole story was denied by Ban Ki Moon? Perhaps the reason that story isn’t covered is because like most Palestinian propaganda it is made up.

        Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        I sincerely hope that should you or your family members be in a great need for humanitarian gesture, no-one would bother to waste resources on a PR stunt.

        Reply to Comment
      • Oscar

        “We’ll know now that every time Israel sends a rescue team to a disaster area it isn’t a humanitarian gesture. It’s a PR stunt.”

        This is hate speech.

        Reply to Comment
      • “I’ve already read three articles in the yellow press using this as an example of how the Palestinians are bent on Israel’s destruction rather than how craven, opportunistic, and vindictive the Israeli government is.”

        You don’t have to look further than the comment threads here for that. There are plenty of commenters who only ever mention suffering in Syria in the context of improving Israel’s image or vilifying other Middle Eastern nations. I haven’t seen anything to suggest that they’re any fonder of Palestinians in Syria than they are of Palestinians in Gaza or the ‘demographic threat’ within the Green Line – just an opportunistic awareness that Palestinian blood in Syria really does make excellent whitewash. I think I need to take a comment break. It’s enough to make anyone feel physically ill sometimes.

        Reply to Comment
        • History

          Spot on, Vicky,
          and the violent responses from K9, Trespasser, and Oscar to Philos’ observation are truly disheartening.

          Reply to Comment
          • Shmuel

            “I haven’t seen anything to suggest that they’re any fonder of Palestinians”

            Yea Vicky and have you seen anything to suggest that Palestinians are fond of Israelis? It works both ways you know.

            Reply to Comment
          • sh

            “have you seen anything to suggest that Palestinians are fond of Israelis? ”

            Could you give a reason why they should be, Shmuel?

            Reply to Comment
          • Oscar

            Point at the bit in my response to Philos which is violent, Historian?

            All you have succeeded in demonstrating with your inane comment, is your ill informed bias.

            Reply to Comment
          • History

            Really Oscar?
            Of all the people I criticized, you are the last person I expected to object. The only original part of your comment is: this is hate speech.
            That’s it.
            No reasons, no argument. Just a thoughtless condemnation of a comment that came from someone whose views are more moderate than your own.

            Oh wait, I’m sorry.. “this is hate speech” means “love, Oscar” ?

            In fact, K9, I’m sorry I grouped you with Oscar and Trespasser, that was inconsiderate

            Reply to Comment
        • Kolumn9

          References to Syria are relevant for three reaspns:
          1)They provide context to the supposed urgency of this conflict and demonstrate that it is not humanitarian concern that guides the concern expressed by most outsiders. That is that the concern is generated from a pathological obsession with Israel not a humanitarian concern for suffering people.
          2)They provide context to the neighborhood and neighbors that form the background for a future reality that Israel will operate in following any possible peace agreement. That is that the ME isn’t Western Europe.
          3)They demonstrate the emptiness of Western commitments to past, current and future protection of people facing genocide. That is that Western assurances that in the future they will ride to the rescue should Israel be in danger of destruction or Jews on the verge of massacre have absolutely no value and relying on them within the context of conflict resolution is a delusion.

          Do you suggest that none of these are relevant for the discussions that go on surrounding the Israeli/Arab conflict?

          Reply to Comment
      • rsgengland

        So! A report of 600 Palestinians killed in Syria.
        And what do we have! Evil Israel.
        Israel is not to blame for what is going on in Syria.
        Possibly if the Syrians had not fixated on Israel for so long, to the detriment of her people, the bloodshed there would not have been so extensive.
        If Israel controls an area, and sets terms for people to enter, then that is her sovereign right.
        There is some controversy though, as to wheather the issue is real, or just another ‘red herring’ from you know who

        Reply to Comment
        • Leen

          Well, I hate to squash your ‘Ohhh Israel has NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS!!’ but they are there because they were ethnically cleansed by Israeli forces in 1948…..

          Reply to Comment
          • rsgengland

            And a million Jews were ETHNICALLY CLEANSED from the Arab/Muslim lands by a wave of anti-Semitism that swept thhe Middle East/North africa before and after 1948.
            Those Jews were ETHNICALLY CLEANSED because they were Jews, and for no other reason.
            If they had left because they were Zionists, they would have been able to plan their leaving by disposing of their assets and property and arriving in Israel with some capital.
            They arrived in Israel as refugees. destitute and penniless.
            The Arabs fled/were expelled during war.
            Over 165000 Arabs remained in Israel after 1948.
            This does not constitute ethnic cleansing.
            Check your dictionary.

            Reply to Comment
          • Leen

            Sorry, but how does that invalidate the fact that Palestinians were ethnically cleansed in 1948?

            Jews were also suffering from the pogroms in Eastern Europe And Russia. Rwandan Tutsi suffered a genocide. Black and whites were separated under Apartheid. Black Americans were not allowed full civil rights. But please show me how does this invalidate the fact that Palestinians were ethnically cleansed in 1948 with Plan Dalet?

            Oh, and Palestinians who remained were put under military rule up until 1966.

            Ethnic cleansing:

            the process or policy of eliminating unwanted ethnic or religious groups by deportation, forcible displacement, mass murder, or by threats of such acts, with the intent of creating a territory inhabited by people of a homogeneous or pure ethnicity, religion, culture, and history. Ethnic cleansing usually involves attempts to remove physical and cultural evidence of the targeted group in the territory through the destruction of homes, social centers, farms, and infrastructure, and by the desecration of monuments, cemeteries, and places of worship.

            Plan Dalet was pretty much that. Also, the massacre of Deir Yassin and the destruction of 400 Palestinian villages. Yes, that constituted ethnic cleansing.

            Reply to Comment
    2. XYZ

      The Palestinians on the West Bank do not want these refugees settling in the West Bank. They are hoping that Israeli will block it for them so they can blame Israel instead of admitting that they don’t want their “brothers” upsetting their society. This is the same as the “safe passage” route that Oslo was supposed to create allowing free passage from Gaza to the West Bank. The West Bank does not want the Gazans there…they stand out with a noticeable Egyptian accent and the West Bank population views them as aliens who, being used to a lower standard of living, would be willing to work for a lower wage and which would disrupt the social structure of the West Bank should they permanently relocate there. Israel closed the “safe passage” route during the suicide bombing campaign which suited the West Bank population and there has never been a serious demand to reopen by the Palestinians.

      Reply to Comment
      • XYZ

        For those who don’t agree with my assessment that the Palestinians don’t love one another as much as those “progressives” who claim to care about them believ, read this, on how fellow Muslims and Arabs treat each other in Syria:

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/iran-hezbollah-build-militia-networks-in-syria-in-event-that-assad-falls-officials-say/2013/02/10/257a41c8-720a-11e2-ac36-3d8d9dcaa2e2_story.html?hpid=z1

        Note how all the “progressives” at 972 and other sites do everything possible to ignore what is happening in Syria (and what happened in Lebanon, Iraq and Algeria over the years)….if people think about it, it really illustrates how Arab/Israel peace and more particularly, an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement is a fantasy. Remember…the people slaughtering each other (so far, 60,000 dead) are brother Muslims and Arabs who love on another…with us Zionists, on the other hand, they have a problem.

        Reply to Comment
        • Shmuel

          “Remember…the people slaughtering each other (so far, 60,000 dead) are brother Muslims and Arabs”

          - LEBANON CIVIL WAR 1975-90:
          150,000 dead

          - KUWAIT WAR 1990-91:
          140,000 dead

          - IRAQ 1970-2003 (Saddam against minorities):
          300,000 dead.

          - ALGERIA: against France 1954-62
          675,000 dead

          - ALGERIA: between Islamists and the government 1991-2006 200,000 dead

          - IRAN IRAQ war 1980-88
          1,000,000 dead

          - KURDS in Iraq, Iran, Turkey, 1980s-1990s:
          300,000 dead

          - ARAB ISRAELI CONFLICT 1950-present:
          51,000 dead

          Perspective.
          .

          Reply to Comment
      • sh

        You’ve already said that several times before. Considering that Palestinians in the West Bank have family in Gaza and vice-versa, and that Palestinian refugees in the surrounding countries have relatives in both, I don’t think local twangs and slangs are going to create an irreversible split between them. Jewish cousins from Boston and New York are not going to cut themselves off from each other because of a difference in accent nor would they from a mutual cousin in Hungary who knows no English.

        Could you show a Palestinian source for
        “They are hoping that Israeli will block it for them so they can blame Israel instead of admitting that they don’t want their “brothers” upsetting their society. “?
        - And, while you’re at it, for your contentions about their economic interests?

        Reply to Comment
        • sh

          My post is addressed to XYZ

          Reply to Comment
    3. sos

      The troll to non-troll ratio on this sites comment section is exceptionally high. I count 9 to 3 troll posts above. If this were an indication of readership (which I find very doubtful) it would mean that no one loves 972 more than the Israeli right.

      Reply to Comment
      • Leen

        Hahaha too true.

        Reply to Comment
    4. Oscar

      “The troll to non-troll ratio on this sites …”

      Another hateful comment by an “enlightened humanist leftie”.

      We are just here to have a civilised discussion and set the record straight rather than let you guys to just make up cartoonish one sided stories and for that you call us trolls? Ok then enjoy.

      :)

      Reply to Comment
      • sos

        “Civilized discussion” my ass. As if accusing people of “hate crimes” for expressing their opinions is dinner conversation.

        You are troll if you come to a left wing Israeli blog to talk about how evil the Palestinians are and naive the left is, which is all of the lot of you ever do. It is the equivalent of going to a Mac forum and endlessly posting about how great Linux or Windows is and how much much Apple products suck. You are just distracting from any possible “civilized discussion” that might otherwise happen here.

        One more thing, using a smiley emoticon after insulting someone is textbook trolling.

        Reply to Comment
        • Haifawi

          They’re not trolls. Sometimes they engage in acts of trolling, but I have seen a fair number of thought-provoking comments by K9 and Shmuel (less so by XYZ). And I’m pro violence against Israel and Israeli assets (strategic and targeted violence, no random bus bombings or Passover shootings in 48 Israel).

          Reply to Comment
    5. Oscar

      “It is the equivalent of going to a Mac forum and endlessly posting about how great Linux or Windows is and how much much Apple products suck.”

      Is that what this is all about for you? Ok then, at least you cannot be accused of not having humor.

      Oh and sorry if you think I insulted you but calling someone a troll is not exactly flattering either.

      Reply to Comment
      • sos

        You think willfully misunderstanding me makes you any less of a troll? My example was specifically using a less emotionally involved case, since an equally charged example would not serve the analogical purpose of illustrating this situation from a less involved perspective. In terms of human behavior (not the CONTENT of the discussion, if I can make this any clearer to you) it is an exact parallel.

        You did insult me, this is not just something I “think”. Are you apologize for how I interpreted what you wrote? I will make it clear that I was never attempting to flatter you, which is why I never hid my message behind a smiley face.

        And now I will stop feeding you. Feel free to respond all you like.

        Reply to Comment
    6. Oscar

      According to Sos, + 972 Magazine is just a brand. A leftist brand that is obliged to endlessly vilify Israel while feeling nothing but sorrow for the poor Palestinians who never did anything to contribute to this dreadful conflict that the two sides are locked in.

      So, how dare we dreadful right wing trolls come here and point out a different opinion.

      Did I sum your position up correctly, Sos?

      Reply to Comment
    7. Oscar

      “And now I will stop feeding you. Feel free to respond all you like.”

      Thank you Sos. Contrary to your fantasies, I can’t say that I enjoyed the altercation that you initiated.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Jordan’s refusal to admit Palestinian refugees under such duress is (another) indicator that the country will have nothing to do with the million + population of the Bank; unintergrated into the structure the regime is trying to create, those fleeing for their lives are still seen as destablizers. And XYZ may be right that the PA does not want a massive influx either–for somewhat what the same reason as Jordan: they would be unconnected to existing structure and might act as a radicalizing element. Since Israel controls the Bank, one can surmise a similar attitude by Israel.

      What is happening in Syria has nothing to do with the truncated lives Vicky, above, regularly reports through her comments and articles. Palestinian dignity in the Bank opens a new horizon in an area so inundated with mutual hatreds. If I take the right nationalists at their word, I see naught but an apartheid formed of fear from what happened elsewhere. Risks are involved, undoubtedly. But the alternative is to live as the white South Africans did for so long; but in their calculus there is no deficit in this. What the right nationalists fail to understand is that their very security successes in the Bank have opened a way beyond their fears.

      Reply to Comment
      • Kolumn9

        In our calculus the risks of getting our houses shelled by rockets are not worth the rewards of exposing ourselves to long-term strategic nightmares. In yours, where our lives are are background to grand morality plays, the Middle East will turn into Switzerland if only we close our eyes and stop being so concerned about being murdered by an innocent suicide bomber who is just exercising his right to protest against the indignity of having to live in a world where Israel continues to exist or being massacred down the line by a tinpot Arab dictator that has decided that the Jews are just not ??? enough.

        Your biggest fears are not our biggest fears. This is why you will never understand us. You think we are afraid of being accused of lacking democracy? We are afraid of getting massacred like sheep, something that both our history and the events in the region make all too realistic a fear. You wish us to close our eyes, ignore the world as it is, dream of utopia and pray for the best.

        Deploy your empty analogies all you want. You are only preaching to the already converted.

        Reply to Comment
        • Actually, I understand this quite well, and often mention suicide bombers while many “leftist” do not, diverting that solely into the past. And I think, as D. Scheindlin has suggested, some terrorism is inevitable–peace moves or not; the question will be its genisis and endurance. But even your position as such does not release you from the bodily atrocities of the occupation, acts which could be corrected and policed internally without inducing the destruction you fear. You consistently ignore reports of these on 972 or, occasionally, belittle them. Apartheid is advancing, approvingly; it will not lead to the military security you claim. A way out will have peril. Do you really think terrorism ends with bombings? I fear an eventual mutation to chemical and biological forms. But, of course, I live in fantasy land.

          Reply to Comment
    9. Shmuel

      “If I take the right nationalists at their word, I see naught but an apartheid formed of fear from what happened elsewhere. Risks are involved, undoubtedly. But the alternative is to live as the white South Africans did for so long”

      Ok Greg, you can think that but why do you feel that it is Israel’s responsibility to integrate Palestinian Arabs with Israel? Why don’t you think that it is Jordan’s responsibility instead to integrate Palestinian Arabs with Jordanian Arabs? And why do you accuse Israel rather than Jordan of apartheid unless it does so?

      Hear me out. I have reasons for asking that question.

      Firstly, before 1929, Jordan too was part of Palestine. It was known as Eastern Palestine, before it was handed over to the Hashemites by the Brits.

      Secondly, between 1948 and 1967, The West Bank was occupied by Jordan and they prevented the creation of a Palestinian state there.

      Thirdly, about half of Jordan’s population are of Palestinian descent (rather than Hashemite Bedouins) many of whom are Jordanian citizens, although, for political reasons, Jordan started revoking the citizenship of many Palestinians.

      You might want to read the following article Greg:

      http://www.alarabiya.net/views/2012/09/10/237182.html

      By the way, I can list many more reasons why it would be more appropriate for Palestinians to integrate with Jordan rather than with Israel. That is if you are against the two state solution, one of which would be an independent Palestinian state.

      Reply to Comment
      • You have won but dislike the fruits. Jordan will not take the million + Bank residents. Unintergrated by tribal affiliation, they are seen as more city residents, and you likely know the recent turnout in Jordanian cities was about 40%, given the Brotherhood boycott. The Bank is a wild card the monarchy will not take; history c 1930 does not matter. So you have them. And you want their land for either God or greater Israel or both. State treatment of the settlers is a clear indication of who will control where they live. You will have your arrogant apartheid–and it will bite back. There are over a million of them. And they think themselves just as important, in God’s eyes or their own eyes, as you and yours do. Welcome to victory. You think I am you opponent? No, not at all.

        Reply to Comment
        • Shmuel

          “You have won but dislike the fruits. Jordan will not take the million + Bank residents.”

          Guess what? Neither will Israel.

          “Unintergrated by tribal affiliation, they are seen as more city residents, and you likely know the recent turnout in Jordanian cities was about 40%, given the Brotherhood boycott. The Bank is a wild card the monarchy will not take; history c 1930 does not matter.”

          What has city residents got to do with it? Jordan won’t take them you say? Then you should accuse THEM of apartheid. As you accuse Israel.

          “So you have them.”

          How do you figure that we have them?

          “And you want their land”

          Two Israeli Prime Ministers offered 97% of the West Bank to them with some land swaps. They did not say yes. Why do you think they didn’t, Greg?

          Let me give you a hint. They wanted more. They wanted the rest of Israel too.

          “for either God or greater Israel or both.”

          BS

          “State treatment of the settlers is a clear indication of who will control where they live. You will have your arrogant apartheid–and it will bite back.”

          The only ones who is arrogant are people like you who describe Israel as apartheid but not Arab countries who refuse to integrate Palestinian Arabs into their societies. In place of the Jews whom they kicked out.

          “There are over a million of them. And they think themselves just as important, in God’s eyes or their own eyes, as you and yours do. ”

          Actually, they think of themselves as more important than we are. But I don’t resent them for that because, to me that is natural.

          “Welcome to victory.”

          Thank you and we will deal with victory as all other victors deal with victory, our way.

          “You think I am you opponent? No, not at all.”

          Judging by your biased comments on + 972, you set yourself up as our opponent. But never mind, we are used to you guys.

          Reply to Comment
          • Shmuel, I have an old operating system which somehow truncates long comments. Although much of yours got through, not after “You think me your opponent”

            Israel is the occupying power over residents born to the Bank. This has nothing to do with Jordan. Jordan cannot construct apartheid where it has no control at all. All imports, exports, land use and mobility are under Israeli oversight. What I meant by “city” is that the residence of the Bank are not tied tribally to Jordan, just as Jordanian city dwellers are not.

            It doesn’t matter who refused to agree to what. The reality coming is that occupation is engendering an apartheid. The settlers and their protection indicate Israel is now interested in a bantuization of the remaining Bank. This is your victory. The world will not let you expell the million +. You will have your apartheid; it will bite back. If you want to try for Two States (really a federated State with Israel), the vanguard settlements must be stopped. You cannot push someone’s face into the mud, saying they had their chance to agree. Foregin life is more demanding than that. I am sorry if I have been an irritant here.

            Reply to Comment
    10. kate

      so evil Jordan won’t allow Palestinian refugees from Syria to enter, wow, is Jordan supposed to be the ME refugee dumping ground, or is this another look over there see those nasty Arabs don’t care for each other like we do posts or what? If memory serves the Palestinian refugees in Syria are not refugees from Jordan and the country they are refugees from will not allow them to enter the part of their (Palestinian) country that is currently being occupied and colonized, but anyone who can be loosely described as a Jew can go and live there and the Israeli will help them out financially, seems just a bit odd

      Reply to Comment
      • Oscar

        ” or is this another look over there see those nasty Arabs don’t care for each other like we do”

        Very perceptive Kate. Israel accepted over 700,000 Jewish refugees from Arab countries. So yea, given the history of violence and warfare between Jews and Arabs, it makes more sense for Arab countries to accept and integrate fellow Arabs. And guess what, Palestinian Arabs are Arabs too.

        So what you said in sarcasm, Kate, is actually common sense and fair too.

        Reply to Comment
    11. Oscar

      Oh Kate, let me ask you. If you have two kids and you catch them fighting, I assume your inclination is to put them into the same bedroom and let them sort it out themselves rather than separate them, at least until a time as they learn to behave more maturely?

      Reply to Comment
      • kate

        well I find your comparison of the Arabs in this situation to children curious to say the least however some would have put them all in bedroom called Jordan, and Jordan it seems is only taking refugees from Syria that are well Syrian, Jordan has also refused to take Iraqi refugees from Syria, however no one seems to give a tinkers d*mn about that, no political juice in it I guess

        Reply to Comment
        • Shmuel

          “well I find your comparison of the Arabs in this situation to children curious to say the least”

          Actually I compared both Arabs and Israelis to children. But why would someone like you with pre-conceptions would want to comprehend that, hmmmmmm?

          Reply to Comment
    12. Farhat

      It is wide and clear now that the enemy of palestine is hiding in syria and carrying out attacks on palestinian refugees.Wake Up World! Wake Up!

      Reply to Comment
      • kate

        yes Israel did import 700,000 Jews from Arab countries didn’t it, seems they had about that many ‘recently vacated’ spaces, didn’t they? hmmmm

        Reply to Comment
        • Shmuel

          “yes Israel did import 700,000 Jews from Arab countries didn’t it, seems they had about that many ‘recently vacated’ spaces, didn’t they? hmmmm”

          Yes and Israel’s Arab neighbours too had about as many ‘recently vacated spaces, to accommodate Palestinians, didn’t they? hmmmmm?

          Reply to Comment
          • Leen

            Your grasp on Palestinians is a bit weird. Also on refugees is also a bit off.

            Segregation based on ethnic/race/religious lines is unnatural and wrong. I advocate for the return of Jewish refugees to their homes should they chose to and compensation.
            I also advocate the return of Palestinian refugees to their home should they chose to and compensation.

            Just as I advocate the return of Syrian refugees after the civil war is gone to their homes and compensation, should they chose to.

            Just as the German refugees have returned home to Germany after WW2.
            Just as Angolan refugees have returned home after liberation of Angola.
            Some refugees chose to be absorbed by their host country, but not against their will. Usually, they do no return because returning would mean they will be physically harmed.

            Is that the case for Palestinian refugees? WIll they be physically harmed by Israel if they return?

            Reply to Comment
          • Shmuel

            “Just as the German refugees have returned home to Germany after WW2.”

            You are very wrong about Germans who were expelled from where they lived after WW2. Here, read this:

            http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flight_and_expulsion_of_Germans_(1944–1950)

            “The later stages of World War II, and the period after the end of that war, saw the forced migration of millions of German nationals (Reichsdeutsche) regardless of ethnicity, and ethnic Germans (Volksdeutsche) regardless of which citizenship, from various European states and territories, mostly into the areas which would become post-war Germany and post-war Austria. These areas of expulsion included pre-war German provinces which were transferred to Poland and the Soviet Union after the war, as well as areas which Nazi Germany had annexed or occupied in pre-war Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, northern Yugoslavia and other states of Central and Eastern Europe.”

            Reply to Comment
          • Leen

            Actually, if one of your grandparent is German, you can by law seek to become a German citizen. Which also means you are allowed to settle in Germany, enjoy the benefits of being German and in addition you are not required to strip your other nationality because the person would be Germany by birth and not naturalized. All you have to do is prove that your Grandparent is indeed German, and you do not have to go on route to naturalization which takes years and years. You are not required to know german or to have lived in Germany. I believe this policy is to ensure that descendants of German refugees can return to Germany.

            I know this from first hand experience because I know many people who have pursued dual nationality with GErman despite the fact the only german in their family is a grandparent.

            Reply to Comment
          • Shmuel

            -
            Actually if you were an ethnic German expelled from an area that used to be part of Germany but is now part of Poland and you were expelled from there after WW2, you cannot return there and you did not receive compensation.

            Read click on the link that I provided in my earlier post.

            Reply to Comment
          • Leen

            Also I know several Germans who have fled the region after WW2 as children, many have returned to GErmany while others continue to live as German citizens in other countries since they are guaranteed by German law their national and German citizenship.

            This of course became a lot easier after the reunification of East and West GErmany because in that respect Germans of East GErman descdent were able to pursue the same policies.

            Reply to Comment
    13. Shmuel

      “Segregation based on ethnic/race/religious lines is unnatural and wrong.”

      Segragation on the basis of historic animosity between two peoples makes perfect sense.

      Jews who were expelled from Arab lands certainly don’t want to return to places where they feel that they would be subjected to persecution and pogroms again. So now they prefer to live in Israel. Therefore Israel has got no room, nor does it have a desire to accommodate a people who made war on it from the 1920s to our present date.

      What you advocate flies against all common sense. You don’t put fighting children in the same room, you separate fighting children. In the same way, you don’t put warring peoples together, you separate them.

      If you don’t believe me, just read up what happened in:

      - Rwanda
      - Lebanon
      - Yugoslavia (the Balkans)

      Reply to Comment
      • Leen

        Not necessarily. Let’s take the African Americans in the US. History dictates that the White Americans subjegated the African Americans historically to slavery. I am sure you can guess there is a lot of animosity as a result. Separation insured, and the..? Civil Rights movement happened.

        I also think, separate from the Holocaust, that the separation of Jews from non-Jews in Europe was atrocious, disgusting and anti-thetical to humanity. Anti-semitism for years have advocated for the removal of jews from public and private life, and to prevent mixing with non-Jews. It is unnatural.

        So are you saying Israel is just as bad as Iraq then? PAlestinains want to return to their homes but Jewish refugees of Iraq don’t because of the anti-semitism. Does that mean Israel will subject the Palestinian refugees to harm and domination? (well…).

        Actually, as someone who has worked with children, if 2 children fight against eachother, you don’t separate them. You explain to them the situation and then you integrate them together, give them projects to work together, so they can benefit eachother. Not isolate them from eachother (ESPECIALLY if they are siblings, this wll only foster more hatred and animosity).

        Also I really hope you make a distinction between Arab and Palestinian. Not all Arabs are the same, just as not all Africans are the same, not all Asians are the same.
        What happened in Iraq to the Jews is of no responsibility or problem of the Palestinians. It is the responsibility of Iraq. However, what happened to the Palestinians is the responsibility and the problem of Israel.

        Reply to Comment
        • Shmuel

          Listen. It is simple. The Middle East is not the USA of the 21st century. Nor is it Switzerland or Scandinavia.

          I will say it again Jews don’t want to return to Arab countries where they would be persecuted and murdered AGAIN.

          Do you doubt it? Then look how the Arabs treat other minorities or even each other.

          You can afford to indulge in your fantasies of a perfect world but Jews don’t need your advice, most of us don’t anyway. We just want to be left alone in our country. The Arabs can live in peace in THEIR 24 Arab Muslim countries around us and we will keep our ONE Jewish majority state which can also have the 20% Arab Israeli citizens. And we will endeavour to treat them decently so long as they will abide the law and will remain loyal. That means that within reason, they can even protest and demand greater equality when they believe that they are discriminated against as long as they protest lawfully.

          So, if a sort of peace ever comes. It is quite likely that existing Arab citizens will have equality in most areas except immigration laws. They won’t be treated any worse than Jews were treated as minorities in Arab or European countries. In fact, they are and will be treated much better.

          As for the other Palestinian refugees. They are not ever coming back to Israel. In the same way that ethnic Germans will never return to Poland, or Jews will never return to Arab countries. No matter how much people like you jump up and down to demand it. IT JUST AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN.

          Reply to Comment
          • Just so you’re aware, Leen is a Jerusalemite. She isn’t ‘indulging in her fantasies of a perfect world’, she’s speaking up for her basic rights – not because she can ‘afford to do it’, but because she can’t afford to do anything else.

            In your whole comment you talk about Palestinians of Israeli citizenship as some sort of exotic pet who will be treated well if only they learn to stop scratching the carpet and chewing the chair legs. What has been done to them historically suggests otherwise, and they should no more have to earn their rights through best behaviour than you had to ‘earn’ yours.

            As for saying that she should be grateful because ‘the Arabs’ in other countries would treat her worse – would you be happy if people started using the behaviour of other members of your ethnic group (with whom you have nothing to do) as an excuse to not only curtail your rights, but to get you to be grateful over it?

            Leen, I hope you don’t mind me saying this on your behalf. Sometimes I don’t know how you read this kind of stuff and keep as steady as you do. In your position it would be hard for me not to take some of this personally, and I’m surprised that you never seem to. Your patience is something I learn from. Let me know when you’re back in town, I haven’t forgotten that tea I owe you.

            Reply to Comment
          • Shmuel

            “In your whole comment you talk about Palestinians of Israeli citizenship”

            I was talking of Israeli Arabs.

            Palestinians of Israeli citizenship can be Jews too.

            And I was talking of abiding the law which is the onus of both Jews and Arabs and members of all civilised societies.

            The rest is your own fabrication and distortion Vicki. You ought to invent a new ditty, it is no longer cute and funny. You have used that inane line too often now. Time to invent a new one, you poor victim of us blood sucking vampire Jews, you.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kiwi

            “Palestinians of Israeli citizenship can be Jews too”

            Yes that is my understanding too. After all, Palestine always had a Jewish population too. Even if before the late 19th century, Jewish Palestinians were a minority.

            Moreover, 6th generation Jews born in what was known as Palestine should also be counted as Jews of Palestinian descent. Except of course in the minds of biased people like Vicki.

            Reply to Comment
          • National identity is a fluid construct and people are perfectly free to identify themselves how they want. I’ll honour their preference. Fairly recently I researched a paper on Palestinian Jewish identity from the late Ottoman Era through to the early years of the 67 occupation, and I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to use the term ‘Palestinian Jew’ for the people who want it. But this is irrelevant. It’s a semantic game that distracts from the substance of my post: a criticism of the illogical and racist idea that Leen and people like her should be grateful for what they get, and that the rights they receive in Israel are somehow contingent on the behaviour of neighbouring Arab states. Responding to that criticism by throwing an anti-Semitism smokebomb does nothing to address the point at hand, and I’m no more prepared to spend time defending myself against that than I am to get into a word game over what to call Palestinians.

            Reply to Comment
          • Leen

            Hey Vicky! No I don’t mind at all. Of course it gets personal, especially when they pretend to speak on behalf of the Palestinians. I also dislike the comparison with Arab countries because I mean, what on earth are they trying to achieve? Okay wow, we know the other countries are a hot mess BUT that does NOT mean Israel isn’t an illiberal democracy. It’s quite telling that they only compare Israel to the likes of Iraq and Yemen, when Israel should be compared to the likes of Switzerland, Norway, Germany and other liberal democracies. But it’s redudant because evryone knows that Israel falls short in these comparisons.

            Sometimes I really do wonder why is the concept of equality very hard to grasp for some people.

            But I am in Jerusalem at the moment, back for a while! We should, I will message you on Twitter!

            Reply to Comment
          • andrew r

            “Do you doubt it? Then look how the Arabs treat other minorities or even each other.”

            A very good reason not to immigrate to the US during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but Jews did that in much larger numbers than going to Palestine all the same. Why did Jews think they would be treated any better than the Cheyenne (Sand Creek) or Lakota (Wounded Knee).

            Reply to Comment
          • Leen

            So wait, are you saying Israel is not Switzerland or the US or any other liberal democracy?

            But, Palestinians want to return to their homes in Israel. Why aren’t they allowed? Refugees generally can return IF returning does not cause them physical danger.

            I fail to see the relevance of Iraq for instance to Israel. If you are saying Iraq is similar to Israel in that refugees for Jews cannot return to Iraq and that’s why Palestinians cannot return to Israel, well then.

            I live in Jerusalem. I’m considered a demographic threat solely based on the fact that I was born a Palestinian, and not a Jew. Despite the fact that my ancestors can be traced back to the Byzantine times. I don’t have any ethnic or genetic lineage in the other 24 Arab countries. My cultural and ethnic lineage is within this land. it is proposterous that you would even suggest that anyone be forcefully removed from their own land. Should the African Americans be shipped off to Africa? Should the Americans in Boston be shipped off to Ireland? Should the White Americans be shipped off to Europe, where they came from?

            Once more, Arabs are not all the same. It is as ignorant as saying ‘all Africans are the same’ or all ‘Asians are the same’.

            What about land laws?

            Ethnic germans can return to Poland. As an EU citizen you can live in Poland for the rest of your days.

            And I think you ignored my entire post about how GErman refugees can actually return to Germany.

            Reply to Comment
    14. Shmuel

      “racist idea that Leen and people like her should be grateful for what they get”

      Grateful? Who talked about grateful? I talked about abiding the laws of the land. And that applies to everyone. Jew and Arab alike. The rest is just your bias kicking in.

      Oh and your “racist” card. I was waiting to see how long it will take you to play the “racist” card. Spare me. I am used to the tricks of people like you who come up with straw men and red herrings.

      Then again, I know I am not your intended audience. You are fiddling for your like minded kin folk.

      Reply to Comment
      • The first paragraph of my comment was directed to you/Kiwi, the second to Leen. I don’t need to incorporate dogwhistles into my writing, as regular commenters here already knows what I think and I’m more than happy to say it openly.

        The implication that Palestinian citizens should be grateful for what they get is inherent in the idea that ‘greater equality’ is something they should even have to ask for – it’s not automatic for them the way it is for Jews. You hold up the negative experiences of Jewish minorities elsewhere in the world in the face of their complaints in the same way a child who won’t eat his greens might be reminded of the starving children in Africa. That really is a very problematic line of reasoning to take when discussing legal rights.

        But the worst part for me was when you wrote, “Look how the Arabs treat other minorities or even each other.” That’s Leen and her family you’re talking about there. It is racist to say that to her. She is a very thoughtful person, and she will give anybody a fair hearing; it rubbed me up the wrong way to see you talk to her like that. I was snappy and I shouldn’t have been, but there is no need to read any deep dark motivation or subtext into my irritation. If I talk to you, I really am talking to you, and however profoundly you might disagree with what I say, I mean it sincerely.

        Reply to Comment
      • Vicky is here because she has experienced the Bank first hand. I have read her much here and on her own blog and have never seen someone so straightforward in principle and empathetic to those trapped in life. As far as I can tell, she will just not let anger and fear go unchallenged; so she responds to comments.

        She’s not a war here.

        You may be, though.

        Reply to Comment
    15. Kiwi

      “and I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to use the term ‘Palestinian Jew’ for the people who want it. But this is irrelevant.”

      No it was not irrelevant Vicki. You made the following comment about what Shmuel said:

      “In your whole comment you talk about Palestinians of Israeli citizenship”

      Shmuel then pointed out that he was talking about Arabs who are Israeli citizens. And he pointed out that your claim that he (Shmuel) was talking about Palestinians with Israeli citizenship is misleading. Misleading, because your term can describe BOTH Jewish and Arab citizens.

      “She (Leen) is a very thoughtful person, and she will give anybody a fair hearing”

      Really? Is that why she dropped her “TROLL” accusation above? Go and check Vicki. Leen too accused posters above of Trolling. That does not sound to me like a thoughtful caring person who gives everyone a fair hearing. I looked at those whom she accused and I don’t agree that the term “Troll” is an accurate description of them.

      Reply to Comment
      • Leen

        When did I call someone a troll? someone’s comment made me laugh because it was true (the whole if the comments are any indicationg, the right love 972). I’ve been a regular reader of this site for 2 years, and most of the time from what I recall the comments came from a variety of people actually invoking substantial converstion. However I disappeared for a while and I came back and most of the comments were very right-wing-ish and there is little of the comments I used to see. I find it terribly ironic that most of the commentators are right-wing in speech and like to deflect blames and veer into irrelevant discussion to detract from the points above.

        Hey I’m expecting a wide range of comments, but I find it a bit ironic that the majority are right-wing in speech on a supposably liberal website.

        Reply to Comment
    16. Shmuel

      .

      “She’s not a war here.

      You may be, though.”

      Thank you Greg, I am so reassured now (not).

      You say she is not at war. Yet …

      - She managed to misrepresent what I said.

      - And not just misrepresent it but she did it in an offensive way.

      - She called me a racist.

      - She betrayed her bias by going into autopilot asserting that Leen gives everyone a fair hearing. Implying that I am the one who does not. Yet, earlier on, Leen called those of us who oppose her party line, trolls. Go check for yourself.

      Now Greg, just for the record, it is nice to see your collective loyalty to each other. First Vicky defends Leen, then you defend Vicky and asserting that I may be it war. But it would be nicer if you would be doing it with honesty rather than with the aim of putting down and belittling those who oppose your political views.

      But you know what Greg? I don’t really care, you guys don’t define me. I know what I am and what I stand for and what my real views are. And I also know the little games you people play. I know why you play those games. So you won’t be shutting me up until such time as I am ready to shut up.

      Reply to Comment
      • Leen

        Well I didn’t call anyone a troll. I merely laughed because someone said if the amoutn of comments were of any indication, the right loves 972.I don’t really think a troll would put so much effort and time as you do, tbh.

        Reply to Comment
        • Shmuel

          “Also, what are my party lines Shmuel?”

          Thats a hard one Leen. Let me guess, you must be an ardent Zionist, right?

          “I find it strange that you managed to dissect my party lines, that I apparently called you a troll, etc solely based on ‘haha, too true’”

          And I find it hard to believe that you pretend that was the only thing you said here.
          .

          Reply to Comment
          • Leen

            You were the one who said it goes against my party lines. If you’re not going to tell me, then I suggest you refrain from making assumptions.

            And again, I advice you not to make assumptions about me personally. If you wanted clarification about what the comment was intended to be, I gave it to you. Plus on a general note, I do not engage with trolls, but I engaged with you, therefore I do not think you are a troll.

            Reply to Comment
          • Shmuel

            Leen
            I answered your question on the party line. You are an anti Zionist. You just either ignored or did not understand my sarcasm.

            Now, back to more serious discussion if you want to continue that is. You said this:

            “Actually, as someone who has worked with children, if 2 children fight against eachother, you don’t separate them. You explain to them the situation and then you integrate them together, give them projects to work together, so they can benefit eachother. Not isolate them from eachother (ESPECIALLY if they are siblings, this wll only foster more hatred and animosity).”

            I agree but only up to a point. If it is obvious that the dislike and the fighting between the children is chronic (ongoing) then you would be irresponsible if you would not initially separate them. Sure, to solve the problem, you would then talk to them and teach them to get along.

            Now lets relate this to the Israel-Palestine war. Who is doing the reconciliation and how? Is it successful? I don’t get the impression that it is. There is just too much hatred on both sides. So the solution today is separation. The two state solution.

            A few generations from now? Maybe we will all learn to get along. Thats my view.

            Reply to Comment
          • Leen

            Shmuel, being an anti-zionist is not a party line. i don’t particularly have a choice. How can I support a movement that views me a demographic threat or wants to forecefully remove me from my own home?

            America is the one who took on the ‘parent’. Which to be honest is a terrible parent. I want both groups to go on reconciliation together in a neutral setting (say, Switzerland). Time and again a conflict is never resolved through ‘separation’, it is what is called a ‘negative solution’ (see the Balkan states). Most of the time, conflicts are suppose to have a ‘positive peace’ which includes cooperation and some form of integration (see France & Germany during the EEC).

            You cannot learn to get along if there is separation. This is why if say you look at Bosnia and Herzegovina, essentially two segragted societies, why there is animosity waiting to blow up. Segregation is unnatural. Many of Bosnian experts have attributed to the ongoing hatred to separation and lack of integration.

            Reply to Comment
          • Leen

            Also what in your view is a two state solution? I just need to remind you that population transfers are considered war crimes so I’ll be wary with endorsing a scheme that could invoke population transfers.

            Reply to Comment
          • Shmuel

            .
            First things first. The two state solution is two states for two peoples. Two sovereign independent states.

            Second. I am not advocating population transfers (didn’t you read my earlier comment?)

            Third, your Balkan example reinforces my point of view not yours. Remember Yugoslavia and what the fanatics on both sides managed to do to it and it’s hapless people? In Yugoslavia they wanted all the people with historic grudges to live together in peace and harmony. It was a very nice idea but did it work?

            Last but not least, you said this, Leen:

            “includes cooperation and some form of integration (see France & Germany during the EEC)”

            I have no problem with Jews and Arabs/Palestinians doing the same. In fact I am all for it. I bet though, the Arab nations and the Palestinian Arabs too would give the idea a cold shoulder. Why? Because you guys, just hate the idea of an independent non Arab non Muslim sovereign state in the Middle East. That’s my perception and that is the perception of most Israelis. And with good reason.

            Reply to Comment
      • Leen

        Also, what are my party lines Shmuel? I find it strange that you managed to dissect my party lines, that I apparently called you a troll, etc solely based on ‘haha, too true’. Do you even know what I was hahaing and too truing about? Apparently not.

        Reply to Comment
    17. Shmuel

      Talking about bias, Greg, you suffer from a healthy dose of it yourself. I asked you a question which you seem to be intent on ignoring. Here it is again:

      Given that you seem to be against the two state solution. Why do you accuse only Israel of apartheid for refusing to integrate the Palestinians of the West Bank into Israel but you absolve Jordan of the same charge?

      I’ll remind you again.

      - Jordan was the party that prevented the creation of a Palestinian state in 1948.

      - Historically, Jordan was part of Palestine. In fact, it represented 80% of historic Palestine by area.

      So the situation between Israel and Jordan in relation to the West Bank is very symmetrical.

      Just for the record, I am for the two state solution.

      Reply to Comment
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