New Palestinian Poll Sparks Riot

Commentary on the News
Monday, July 21, 2003
Jack Kinsella - Omega Letter Editor

What if the Palestinians found out that they were conned by their leadership into fighting with Israel over something they never wanted in the first place? Three years ago, Jerusalem exploded with violence as Arafat kicked off the latest uprising using a pre-arranged 5 a.m. visit by Ariel Sharon to Temple Mount as an excuse. The Palestinians were whipped up by Arafat after he flatly rejected to accept victory for his side as offered at Camp David.

When Ehud Barak offered him everything he had been asking for, Arafat, frightened that he might lose his position as warlord by accepting Barak’s offer, added a new ingredient he knew Barak could not agree to. He demanded the ‘Right of Return’ (a lie repeated often enough that it is now a proper noun) for the alleged ‘refugees’ from 1948.

‘Refugees’ is another lie repeated until it is ‘truth’. Virtually all the ‘refugees’ are refugees by choice. They gambled and lost and now want their bets returned to them.

When Israel declared independence, it invited the Arabs in the region to join them. There are some who claim the Arabs were driven out by the Jews, and there are a few cases where that argument can be made, but by and large, those 'refugees' that fled, did so voluntarily.

The proof is that some Arabs DID remain, and are today Israeli Arab citizens. They enjoy the same rights as any other Israeli, including representation in the Knesset. If the Arabs were all driven out by the Jews, how did that happen?

The 'refugees' heeded the Arab countries massing to attack the fledgling Jewish State. They were encouraged to flee, and were promised their holdings back after the Jews were destroyed.

When the Arab states lost, the Arabs who fled hoping to return to a Jew-free Palestine became ‘refugees’. The fact that they chose their condition voluntarily is one of those historical facts that get lost in the retelling of the Big Lie.

So the ‘Right of Return For the Refugees’ has been the new war cry since Arafat turned down statehood three years ago. It has already become a major pothole in the roadmap for peace.

It seems to me that if the Palestinians were to give up statehood over an issue as intractable as the Right of Return, there would have to be a reason. The Arabs know Israel would never accept it. There are already 1.2 million Israeli Arabs in a country populated by 5.5 million Jews.

The alleged ‘refugees’ – plus their descendants – a key issue, number almost 4 million more. And the Arab side isn’t demanding a right of return for these ‘refugees’ to a new Palestinian state. They refuse to absorb what are fellow ‘Palestinians.’ To make the deal utterly unacceptable (thus guaranteeing a continuation of the conflict), the demand is a right of return to ISRAEL.

It is nothing less than a rewording of the original goal of replacing Israel with an Arab state.

I have gone to great lengths to refresh the overview here so you can see just how important the Right of Return really is to the peace process. Israel gave in to all the other impossible demands; statehood, even the division of Jerusalem. This is the only thing left the Arabs COULD demand -- short of a formal eviction of all Jews to New York.

Here’s where this all comes together. The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research just released the results of a poll conducted among Palestinian ‘refugees’ distributed almost equally between Jordan, Lebanon and the West Bank and Gaza. The poll was conducted according to accepted standards and has a margin of error of less than 3 percent.

The question was about the Right of Return from the viewpoint of those on whose behalf the two year intifada is being fought. Guess what! They don’t WANT to return! No kidding!

The question involved being granted full Israeli citizenship, living under Israeli laws and Israeli rule inside Israel’s Green Line. More than half would move to a new Palestinian state. 17 percent like it fine where they are now. 2 percent want to come to America. Less than ten percent would move to Israel if they were granted full citizenship and the ‘Right of Return’!

Arafat turned DOWN statehood over this. Thousands of Israelis and more thousands of Palestinians have been killed or horribly maimed over this. Entire Palestinian villages have been leveled over this. And it was all part of Arafat’s Big Lie all along.

Protestors gathered in Ramallah. They marched, and then they rioted in fury. But they didn’t march on the Ramallah compound of the architect of their misfortune when they heard they had suffered so much for a phantom issue.

Instead they stormed the offices of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, in effect, shooting the messenger because they didn’t like the message.

And Washington wants to give these guys a STATE?