Monday, December 04, 2006

Barak in Black

On Saturday, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak was in Vancouver as a keynote speaker at the Schara Tzedeck Synagogue. His appearance was vociferously opposed by a crowd of pro-Palestinian protestors gathered across the street. I support Mr. Barak's right to speak and the synagog's right to invite him to do so as protected free speech and religious expression. I also support the Palestinian protesters right to gather across the street and oppose his message. Democratic dialogue is often noisey and unruly. It is not the appearance of Mr. Barak that has me blogging this morning, but his message - at least as it was reported this morning by CKNW radio.

Apparently Mr. Barak sees a crucial role for Canada in the middle east peace process - which he hopes will include a Palestinian state. In his vision of the future however, after hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians cease, Canada would be a perfect new home for all of the displaced Palestinians. I am assuming Mr. Barak is refering to the decendents of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who fled Israel during the 1948 war and were denied repatriation afterwards. This is a sticky issue for the middle east peace process because the decendents of these refugees now number in the millions and if repatriated enmass would pretty much spell the end of the Jewish state. But the right of return has been a key issue with the Palestinians from the beginning and remains a critical point of contention as there is little room for either side to compromise on this issue. It appears that Mr. Barak's solution is to export the Palestinian refugees to Canada. I suppose this is because Canada has such a spotless history in its handling of displaced indigenous people. Palestinian reservations anyone? Perhaps we can abduct their children and put them in residence schools?

4 comments:

EX-NDIP said...

The real story . . . the Arabs, living in Palestine in 1948 were told to leave the UN newly created state of Israel . . . by Syria, Egypt, Jordan et al . . . because the armies of the above-mentioned states were coming to drive the Jews into the sea. The State of Jordan was created bythe British for the arabs in the area. Those who left Israel sat on the Gaza Strip waiting to go back to Israel and reclaim the land for themselves . . . but they are still waiting. The Arab states have lost numerous wars to Israel, the only democracy in the area, and found it beneficial to leave these unfortanates to sit for many decades, instead of taking them to Jordan or Egypt.
These wonderful so-called palestinians today . . . teach their children to hate, read from a book that says Jews are "pigs and monkeys" and blow up women and children in school busses and pizza parlors. The average age of Arabs in the palestinanian area is less than 16 years of age, most are uneducated except in the art of terrorism.
Your knowledge of history is appaling. Mark Twain went through the area about 100 years ago . . he said that there was vertually no one there. The population of Jersulem 100 years ago was mostly Christian. Before 1967 there was no palestinian flag, there has never been a State of Palestine, there were Palestinian Jews as well as Arabs before the state of Israel was created in 1948, but there has never in history been a Country of Palestine . . . the area was named Palestina 2000 years ago by the Roman Emperor.

CoteGauche said...

ex-ndip

Take a deep breath and re-read what I wrote before you knee-jerk attempt to re-educate me with your talking points.

I tried to confine my short historical perspective to facts, rather than interpretations. The fact is, hundreds of thousands of Palestians were displaced by the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. It is true that they were encouraged to flee by Israel's neighbours. It is also true that they were denied repatriation by Israel. Feel free to correct me if I have misstated any facts so far.

It is also true that there has never been a Palestinian state. This is not because Palestinians have not lived in the area for millenia, but because the region has been occupied and administered by foreign powers for over 2000 years (Babylonian, Assyrian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Persian Caliphate, European Crusaders, Mamluk Sultinates, Ottoman and British). After the first world war, the British made conflicting committments to both the Jews and Palestinian Arabs to create both Jewish and Palestinian states in the same area. In the end, they failed at both. The partition of Palestine was unworkable, and only ensured the conflict which came within hours.

Regardless of the history of the conflict, the fact remains that there are several million Palestinian refugees, dispossed of their homes and living in exile. They may have left at the urging of Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria, but they were denied the right of return by Israel. BTW - in case you were unaware, the right of return for refugees following a conflict is a basic human right and a UN resolution that Israel has been in violation of for 50 years. It is also true that Lebanon, Syria and the PLO have encouraged the refugees to remain in over crowded camps rather than integrate them in order to keep the right of return front and centre in the conflict. The truth is that both sides have used refugees as pawns in this conflict.

I am not saying there is an easy solution to the Palestinian refugee problem. However for Barak to suggest that the solution is to export Palestinians enmass to Canada is outrageous.

Anonymous said...

Holy crap, my head is still spinning.

That colony of white dudes with the big guns beating back the sea of brown folks are the indigens?! A brief reality check ex-ndp: the vast majority of Israelis are European jews with no lineage or history with the ancient Hebrews but for a religious claptrap.

Israel, the only democracy? The state who grants citizenship based on religion? I seem to recall elections in Lebanon. I also recall the Carter Center heaping praise on the Palestinian election process as among the best they've monitored. But then they were made quick to realize the difference between real democracy and the version the West wanted to spread in the region.

As for suicide bombers, one easy and effective solution is to give them the same F-16s, Apaches, guided missiles that the IDF routinely uses against Palestinians. I'm certain they would gladly relinguish their bomb belts for the latest US aresenal. There is no less terror from a missile strike in a crowded market than from a suicide bomb in a night club.

Anyone who cannot see the moral flaw in proposing the re-settling of displaced Palestinians in Canada is just another Israel right or wrong zealot. And discussion with these types are pointless.

CoteGauche said...

The resettlement of Jewish refugees in palestine following the second world war was a moral issue that the British obstructed and opposed. The repatriation of Palestinian refugees is no less a moral issue that Israel has obstructured for 50 years.