Mar. 25, 2019
Not long ago, I heard emeritus professor of Tel Aviv University Asher Susser give a talk on the Israel-Palestinian conflict. He came to the following conclusion: The conflict is insoluble because the Palestinians and Israelis have two irreconcilable narratives. And the Palestinians will never give up their so-called ”right of return.”
Yet as I pointed out to him, two sets of refugees arose out of the conflict: one Arab and one Jewish.
The Jewish refugee issue has been solved, but there was an incontrovertible (and irrevocable) exchange of roughly equal refugee populations between what is now Israel and the Arab world. Such exchanges happened in the India-Pakistan conflict, and between Greek and Turkish Cyprus.
End of story.
Professor Susser acknowledged that Israel would never accept five million Arab refugees (this number, uniquely among all other refugees in the world, includes the descendants of the original refugees). The responsibility, he said, should be shared with the Palestinians and the other Arab states.
Maybe the professor was playing Devil’s advocate, but his reply is one I have heard from Arab sources: What have the Palestinians got to do with Jewish refugees?
When I replied that the Mufti of Jerusalem embodied Palestinian antisemitism, inciting the 1941 Farhud massacre of the Jews in Iraq, the professor countered by saying the Mufti was just one man, and there were other causal factors behind the Farhud.
Yes, the Palestinian Mufti was just one man. But he was the de facto leader of the Arab world
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