Thursday, December 01, 2011
Hurray for Ron Prosor, Israel's new ambassador to the UN. For the first time in a long time, he made an explicit mention of Jewish refugees from Arab countries in a hard-hitting speech on the occasion of the 64th anniversary of the passing of UNGA Resolution 181 approving the Partition plan for Palestine. Prosor contrasts how they were absorbed into Israel as full citizens, while Arab countries trampled on the Palestinians' 'inalienable rights'. (With thanks: Eliyahu)
"On November 29, 1947, the United Nations voted to partition then British-Mandate Palestine into two states: one Jewish, one Arab. Two states for two peoples. The Jewish population accepted that plan and declared a new state in its ancient homeland. It reflected the Zionist conviction that it was both necessary and possible to live in peace with our neighbors in the land of our forefathers.
"The Arab inhabitants rejected the plan and launched a war of annihilation against the new Jewish state, joined by the armies of five Arab members of the United Nations.
"One percent of Israel’s population died during this assault by five armies. Think about that price. It would be the equivalent of 650,000 dying in France today, or 3 million dying in the United States, or 13 million dying in China. As a result of the war, there were Arabs who became refugees. A similar number of Jews, who lived in Arab countries, were forced to flee their homes as well. They, too, became refugees.
"The difference between these two distinct populations was – and still is – that Israel absorbed the refugees into our society. Our neighbors did not. Refugee camps in Israel gave birth to thriving towns and cities. Refugee camps in Arab Countries gave birth to more Palestinian refugees.
"We unlocked our new immigrants’ vast potential. The Arab World knowingly and intentionally kept their Palestinian populations in the second class status of permanent refugees.
"In Lebanon for many years and still today, the law prohibits Palestinians from owning land – and from working in the public sector or as doctors and lawyers. Palestinians are banned from these professions. In Kuwait, the once significant Palestinian population was forcibly expelled from the country in 1991. Few remain. In Syria, thousands of Palestinians had to flee refugee camps in Latakia last August when President Assad shelled their homes with naval gunboats.
"In the vast majority of Arab Countries, Palestinians have no rights of citizenship. It is no coincidence that the Arab World’s responsibilities for the “inalienable rights” of these Palestinians never appear in the resolutions before you."
Read speech in full