Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Nakba delegitimised Israel

In his article in the 'Guardian' on Thursday Antony Lerman reaches the conclusion that: "The continued denial of the Palestinians' human and political rights is the most effective way of delegitimising Israel." However, although he is not wholly wrong here, we only need to have a more serious look at the Reut Institute's Building a Political Firewall Against Israel's Delegitimisation to discover that the Zionist state has from the very beginning delegitimised itself. 

According to the Reut Institute, to all extensive purposes Israel bases its legitimacy on UN General Assembly Resolution 181 from the 29th November 1947 and this is indeed what confers on Israel any legitimacy which the state might have. Yet, conveniently the only mention in the Institute's report of Resolution 194 is in the context of its being complied with representing one of the demands of the "Boycotts, Divestments, and Sanctions Movememt" (BDS). Indeed, it might very well be that there are many Palestinians who would be more than happy to accept the Zionist state in the borders accorded it by Resolution 181. All the more so, as this would still mean that they could return to those family homes that their grandparents and great grandparents were forced to leave during the ethnic cleansing that was the "Nakba".

As is invariably the case when Zionists argue, opinion is presented as fact. However, apart from resolution 181, it is very difficult to find any real legitimate argument for the oxymoronic "Jewish Democracy" and even resolution 181 appears very much a case of Israel's apologists referencing the law when it suits them to do so but ignoring it when it doesn't. For instance, in an implicit reference to Resolution 194 the Reut Institute tells us that "the call for the right or return of Palestinian refugees to Israel based on the so called 'accepted norm of international law' only applies to Palestinian refugees and not to Germans, Bulgarians, Turks, Greeks, or Jews. It is interesting how they dig up arguments from anywhere and everywhere when it suits their cause and do we have a Zionist "plaidoyer" for the right of Germans to return to the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Serbia and elsewhere? Of course, even if they were to do so they would be residing in a country where they would be in a minority as would any Greek, Turk, Bulgarian or Jew who was allowed to return to their ancestral home. Moreover, neither the population exchanges between Greece and Turkey in 1923 and those other population exchanges that took place on the Balkans, nor the German refugee problem after 1945 constituted an ethnic cleansing in the sense that it left people with no home to go to. The reality is, whether they like it or not, they have built their state not only on someone else's land but on someone's potential homeland. Of course, the fact also remains that there is no UN resoluton to address the population exchanges of 1923 and 1945.

Finally, it is worth pointing out that apart from its mention of resolution 181, the Reut Institute's reporrt is constructed on opinion rather than fact. For example, we are, once again, confronted with the "dormant anti-Semitism" and "diminished memory of the holocaust" accusations and while I am tempted to say that the Palestinians have nothing to do with the holocaust and, indeed, those who are forcing the Palestinians from their land, who are murdering and maiming them, are closer to the "KZ" "Kapos" than those who perished in Auschwitz, Treblinka, Majdanek and elsewhere, it would be better just to return to the legal arguments. When we do this we might discover that while there is a case for Israel based on UN Resolution 181, that case is only valid once, at least, UN General Assembly Resolution 194 and UN Security Council Resolution 242  have been implemented. A map of Israel in according to the 1947 UN partion plan has been added to the post and it is this that the Palestinians should be negotiating with Israel along with their right of return.

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