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Old 28.04.2010, 23:41
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Re: European jewish call for reason

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Jordan is the only exception. However I'm sure you know the reason why Arab nations don't want to give them citizenship, or indeed why many Palestinians don't wish it either. Quite simply its because by accepting citizenship they weaken their case for a right of return. Israel and the UNHCR/UNWRA has an obligation (respected or not) towards the generations of Palestinians made Stateless post 1948, but an Egyptian with a Palestinian grandfather has effectively given up their claim.
But don't you think individual Palestinians should have the choice to decide whether or not they wish to apply for citizenship in a neighbouring Arab country, rather than having it decided for them, for ideological reasons, by the government of that nation?

Furthermore, given that most Palestinians around today weren't even born when Israel was created, insisting on a right to return to a country which was lost in the time of their fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers is, surely, putting principle before common sense. If they return to their ancestral lands, then what? The olive grove is covered in a housing development, the orange orchard has a factory on it and Grandpa's little stone house is nowhere to be seen.

I know I keep coming back to Northern Cyprus, but as a successor state of the Ottoman Empire, subject to a violent occupation resulting in the death and displacement of much of its indigenous population, there are enough parallels to the Palestine/Israel situation to make it useful for comparison: I was sitting on a plane, returning from Cyprus a few days after the Ledra Street checkpoint had been opened to Cypriots for the first time since 1974, when I got chatting to my neighbour, a Greek Cypriot from North London. The day before her flight, she had returned to her house, which she hadn't seen since she'd been forced to flee with her family 30 years before. When she got there, she found that the house in which she had grown up was occupied by a Turkish family which had come to Cyprus as colonists. She had been horrified to see the home she loved so much in the hands of invaders, outsiders, foreigners. It was, as you can imagine, a deeply emotional moment for her.

The Turkish family invited her inside and offered her tea. She looked around at the walls that were so familiar to her in memory, yet so strange to her in reality, adorned with faded photographs of people she didn't know and framed tapestries of verses from the Koran where before had been icons of the saints. As she sat in the kitchen, looking around her, she came to realise that the house was no longer hers, and could never be hers ever again. She knew that she couldn't erase thirty years of history, even if the United Nations were to insist that the occupiers had to leave and return her property to her.

One can never go back. Palestine is lost forever. Reparations may be possible, but the land and property will never be returned.

Until that sad fact is acknowledged, there can never be peace there.
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