Israel’s 60th Birthday


Israel 60: Let the refugees return by Dave

Edith Garwood – “Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations fail because the root problem has not been addressed”

Sixty years ago, more than 700,000 Palestinians were forced from their homes, not knowing where they were going, not knowing when they would return. This displacement of over half of the indigenous inhabitants of Palestine created the largest and oldest refugee population today and is the root of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. This tragedy is called Al Nakba in Arabic.

We are often told the Palestinians fled of their own accord, but British and Israeli archives opened in the late 1970s tell a different story. The indigenous Arabs — Muslim, Christian, secular — were systematically driven out of areas desired for a new Jewish state.

Jews fleeing anti-Semitism in Europe started migrating to Palestine in the mid-19th century. The United Nations, attempting to quell conflicts between indigenous inhabitants and the new immigrants, proposed dividing the area.

Jewish immigrants accepted it, but the Arab side rejected it as unjust as it gave 55 percent of the land to the new immigrants while they were only one-third of the population and owned only 7 percent of the land at the time.

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