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o, the “Freedom Flotilla 2” was more of a floptilla and the Flytilla barely got off the ground.  But, these failures won’t stand in the way of even bolder efforts to try to steamroll Israel’s sovereign borders.  Dropping any pretense that all these efforts are “humanitarian” we are now seeing a straight-on attack upon Israel’s right to exist.  Here are two coming on the horizon:

I. “SHIP YOUR LUGGAGE, RETURN TO PALESTINE”

The July 8th Palestine Telegraph reported that

A controversial plan has been set by 9 European groups, 1 in Canada and 2 in the US to send Passenger boats boarded by huge number of Palestinian Refugees to their homes in occupied Palestine known as ‘Israel’”

No hiding their intentions here: “occupied Palestine known as ‘Israel'” says it all.  Here are some other ideas gleaned from this article:

  • “The organizers said that they are considering hiring a private passenger jet which accommodates scores of Palestinian Refugees.”
  • “a fund has been allocated for the purpose of the activity. The sources refused to release their identities in order not to damage the plans.”
  • “The unique aim of the plan is the direction. The ultimate direction is not Gaza and not breaking the siege as in every time. However, it will be Israeli sea ports of Haifa and Ashkelon.”
  • They hope to board 20,000 “Palestinians of dual citizenship from Europe, US and Middle East.  The boats or airplanes will carry a combination of those refugees with European activists, MPs, journalists and activists.”

A brief comment:

Take note of the concept here of Palestinian refugees of “dual citizenship.”  According to international law, as defined in the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, one of the reasons a refugee’s status ends is when “he has acquired a new nationality, and enjoys the protection of the country of his new nationality.”

This is true for all refugees except Palestinians.

When wars produce refugees the humanitarian thing to do should be obvious: settle refugees as soon and as safely as possible.  But, this has not been the case with the 1948 Palestinian refugees, and their descendants.  Instead, for political reasons, they fall under a completely different legal jurisdiction, that of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) whose operationa­l definition­ (here) for Palestinian refugees is:

“Palestine refugees are people whose normal place of residence was Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948, who lost both their homes and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict.” 

UNRWA’s definition of a refugee also covers the descendants of persons who became refugees in 1948.  From UNRWA’s web site:

“The descendants of the original Palestine refugees are also eligible for registration. When the Agency started working in 1950, it was responding to the needs of about 750,000 Palestine refugees. Today, 4.8 million Palestine refugees are eligible for UNRWA services.”

This definition of perpetual refugee status applies to no other refugee population, not to  any of the over 100 million refugees in the world since Word War II that have fallen under the jurisdiction of the UNHCR.  And, not even to the nearly one million Jews forced out of their homes in ten Arab countries who are the “forgotten refugees” of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Most of these Mizrahi or Sephardi Jewish former refugees and their descendants are Israeli citizens, hold no other nationality and certainly their children and grandchildren know of no other home.

Much more on this topic in later posts.  Meanwhile…

II. GLOBAL MARCH TO JERUSALEM – 29TH NOVEMBER 2011

There is a plan afoot to try to organize one million people to march on Israel’s four land borders (Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon) with the aim of marching into Jerusalem, to “pray.”

This plan was revealed obliquely by Paul Larudee in a July 8th Oakland Tribune article where he wrote:

organizers hope for 1 million participants in a peaceful November 2011 march to Jerusalem that will not respect Israel’s borders and checkpoints… The demonstrations are no threat to Israel’s security, but the potential damage to its credibility is quite real.

And, in a blog post dated yesterday, Larudee wrote:

Two more land convoys are currently on their way, and a million-person non-violent march to Jerusalem is being organized. A challenge by air is still under consideration, though different (and cheaper) than what was previously envisioned.”

How Mr. Larudee (who partners with Hamas and receives medals of honor from them, see here) thinks one million demonstrators marching on Jerusalem with no intention of respecting Israel’s borders is “not a threat to Israel’s security” is beyond my power of imagination.  Armed or not, I would call that an invading army. Any sovereign state from whose territory such a march would originate would likely be responsible for a casus belli, potentially igniting a major regional war.

Is there any reason to persist in calling these folks “humanitarians” and “peace activists”?

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