(This essay by Robert Fulford, writing in the National Post, is required reading for anyone who truly wants to understand the political dynamics which keep the Palestinian “refugee” myths going strong.)
Refugees? Canadians, even if their families have lived here for centuries, know something about refugees. We know Hungarians, we know Vietnamese, we know many others. We admire their energy and their accomplishments. Observing them can be a bracing lesson in human tenacity under adverse circumstances.
But that pattern doesn’t cover Palestinian refugees. They are a special case. For many reasons, various populations across the planet are displaced; only the Palestinians cling to their “refugee” status decade after decade. They present themselves as helpless victims of Israeli aggression. They await rescue– as they have been awaiting it for three generations, since Israel was founded in 1948. Members of other history-battered groups choose to live by an urgent ethic: Get up, get going, make a new life. Palestinians have a different approach: Sit down, wait, stay angry till the world provides for you.
Andrew Roberts, a much-admired British historian, raised the issue of Palestinian refugees in a speech excerpted in the National Post on Tuesday. He argued, correctly, that Arab governments “are rich enough to have economically solved the Palestinian refugee problem decades ago.” The 5,000 or so members of the Saudi royal family could probably handle it by themselves.
Why haven’t they done so? They much prefer to let Palestinians remain poor. Every wretched, ill-fed and ill-housed Palestinian can be used as a living rebuke to Israel.