Alexander Levkovsky on David Horowitz’s NewsReal Blog posts Another Look at the Problem of Refugees. He quotes Michael Steinhardt in the Wall Street Journal to summarize the problem:
Descendants of the Arabs who left their homes in 1948 now number in the millions. The Palestinians want these people returned to Haifa, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Israel says no, knowing this would spell the end of Israel as a Jewish state.
(Check out our category Israel and refugees for our many posts on the issue.)
All attempts to resolve that problem have failed – mostly, because of the stubborn and utterly unreasonable resistance on the part of the Arabs. But Mr. Steinhardt’s proposal (and many similar ideas) to cut this knot by employing a combination of monetary compensation and granting of citizenship to stateless Palestinians is worth considering seriously.
History provides convincing examples of how refugee problems have been successfully – although in most cases, painfully – resolved. For example, in the wake of World War II, untold millions of ethnic Germans were expelled from the territories they had lived in for centuries – from East Prussia, the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia, eastern provinces of Germany proper, Romania, Hungary, and Yugoslavia. They were all accepted by the two post-war German nations as full-right citizens.
Very few people nowadays are aware of the enormous flow of refugees after World War II. I knew about it because my maternal grandmother came to America from Konigsberg in East Prussia. That city became part of Russia after the war and was renamed Kaliningrad. Since the Soviet Union dissolved and Belorus became a separate country, Kaliningrad has not been physically connected to Russia, but it is still a part of Russia. I didn’t know my grandmother and have no connection with her family, but they must have been among the millions of Germans displaced from their longstanding homes and taken in by Germany.
So, Levkovsky says,
If Arab leaders do feel true compassion for the plight of their Palestinian brethren (as they invariably insist they do), and have sincere desire to put an end to their stateless existence, they can learn from very humane laws of granting citizenship that have been adopted by many nations: Armenia, Belarus, China, Croatia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Poland, Japan, France, India, Bulgaria, and many, many others.
He gives examples of a few of the laws adopted. Here is Lithuania’s:
From the Constitution of Lithuania, Article 32(4): “Every Lithuanian person may settle in Lithuania.”
Pretty simple, isn’t it? The problem is that (as Levkovsky knows), the Arab leaders have no desire whatsoever to put an end to their brethren’s stateless existence. Their desire is to keep the Palestinians in misery and stateless as a permanent weapon against Israel. I am glad to see that this proposal has been spreading around for a while, though at a less visible level than I’d like. It calls the bluff of the Arab politicians and shows them up for the hypocrites they are.