Tuesday, May 13, 2008

  • Tuesday, May 13, 2008
  • Elder of Ziyon
We are in the midst of two solid weeks of "nakba" commemorations, each one further removed from reality than the last.

Yesterday, during yet another "nakba" celebration, PA prime minister Fayyad stated that the Palestinian Arab flight in 1948 was the "biggest tragedy of displacement in the modern era." (Ma'an Arabic) So I decided to do a quick check of the numbers of people who have been displaced in various wars and other events in the modern era, and compare them to the 711,000 Palestinian Arab refugees in 1948. Most numbers are from Wikipedia.

Event Year Number of refugees
Notes



Armenian 1915-21 1,100,000
Russian revolution 1917-21 1,500,000
Greece/Turkey 1923 2,000,000 Population exchange
Spanish Civil War 1939 500,000 Spanish Republicans to France
World War II 1939-45 7,000,000
Poland/Ukraine 1944-46 2,600,000 Population exchange
Potsdam conference 1945 12,000,000 Forced repatriation of ethnic Germans to Germany
Soviet Union 1945-47 2,500,000 Forced repatriation of Russians to USSR
Germany 1945-61 560,000 Flight from East to West Germany
India/Pakistan partition 1947 18,000,000 Population exchange
Palestinian Arabs 1948 711,000 UN count
Middle East Jews 1948-60 700,000 Arab countries to Israel
Korean War 1950-53 1,000,000
Algerian independence 1954-62 2,000,000 To Morocco, Tunisia
Pieds-Noirs 1962 900,000 Algeria to Europe
Bangladeshi Liberation War 1971 10,000,000 Bengalis to India
Sahrawis in Western Sahara 1975 150,000
Salvadoran Civil War 1975-82 1,000,000
Lebanese civil war 1975-90 900,000 Displaced from their homes
Khmer Rouge 1978-79 300,000 To US, Canada, Australia
Afghan War 1978-92 6,000,000 To Pakistan and Iran
Sri Lanka Tamils 1983-2008 800,000 to Europe and Canada
Kurds from Turkey 1984-99 378,000
Al-Anfal campaign 1986-89 1,000,000 Iraqi Kurds
Nagorno Karabakh 1988-89 750,000
Kashmir 1990- 300,000
Sudan war 1990? 930,000
Burundi 1990? 485,000
Democratic Rep. of Congo 1990? 462,000
Somalia 1990? 389,000
Russian Jews 1990-95 700,000 USSR to Israel
Persian Gulf War 1991 1,400,000 Iraq to Iran
Balkans 1991 2,700,000
Kuwait Palestinians 1991 400,000 expelled from Kuwait
Chechnya 1991- 2,000,000
Tajikistan 1992-97 500,000 Russians, excluding Jews who went to Israel
Abkhazia 1993 250,000
Rwanda 1994 2,000,000
Serbia 1999 1,000,000 Albanians
Darfur 2003- 2,500,000
Current Gulf war 2003-8 2,200,000 Iraq to Arab countries


The problem is not that there were so many refugees in 1948, although it is a significant number by any yardstick. The problem is that Palestinian Arab leaders and other Arab leaders, together with the UNRWA and so-called "human rights" organizations, have conspired to not only perpetuate the issue but even to exacerbate it.

By uniquely defining descendants of original Palestinian Arab refugees as refugees themselves, the "refugee" problem grown from 700,000 to over four million. Therefore, we see such nonsensical statement as this one from Human Rights Watch:
Palestinians are the world's oldest and largest refugee population, and make up more than one fourth of all refugees.
- a manifestly absurd statement, and one that serves to minimize the real refugee problems worldwide and give a single group preferred refugee status, generations after most of them are no longer refugees by any sane definition. The sheer number of displaced persons during the past hundred years is breathtaking, and in context the Palestinian Arab refugees from 1948 are barely a footnote.

Much larger refugee populations listed above have been forced to integrate and assimilate into the countries that they migrate to, but Arab countries who claim affinity with "Palestinians" have kept Palestinian Arabs separate and second-class.

No matter which historical narrative one believes, the 1948 refugee problem was indeed a disaster for Palestinian Arabs. But the fact that the problem still exists today is directly due to the conscious actions of their Arab neighbors and "supporters" for the past sixty years who want to see only one "solution" - destroying the State of Israel and replacing it with another giant refugee camp populated by people who mostly never lived there and who would be ecstatic to live as equals among their Arab brothers today.

Here's a nice litmus test to see whether people who claim to care about Palestinian Arabs: ask them if they would prefer to see millions of PalArabs in camps sixty years from now, or to have them become productive full members of the huge Arab world?

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون



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