Arab states should have welcomed refugees
Bassem Eid is absolutely correct in his analysis of the long-running conflict between Israel and the Palestinians (“After massacre at Jerusalem synagogue, Palestinians must confront the violence in our culture,” Feb. 10). Palestinian leaders have never attempted to prepare their people for life in a state co-existing with the nation-state of the Jews. The leaders’ view of a two-state solution has always been a Palestinian state from which all Jews have been banished and a Muslim-majority Israel, peopled by millions of “Palestine refugees” (so designated by UNRWA). It is estimated that no more than 30,000 Arabs who fled Arab-initiated violence in 1940’s Palestine are still alive; fully 95% of the nearly 6 million Palestine refugees were born in UNRWA camps. Arab and Palestinian leaders have told the refugees that they will remain in refugee limbo until they are allowed to return to the homes the refugees claim their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents … lost when Arab armies failed to prevent the emergence of the modern state of Israel. But the refugees have grown up seeing Palestinians honored and rewarded for killing Jews. Taking them in would be tantamount to the Jewish state committing national suicide.
One little-discussed aspect of this situation is that the Arabs deliberately created and have prolonged the statelessness of the Palestine refugees. As Eid points out, Arab violence created two refugee populations. More Mizrachi Jews were expelled from their homes in the Muslim countries of the Middle East and North Africa than Arabs had fled or been expelled from Palestine. Tiny Israel absorbed and uplifted 800,000 Mizrachi Jews, while rehabilitating Holocaust survivors, recovering from damages inflicted by Arab armies, and dealing with terror attacks launched from land illegally occupied by Egypt and Jordan between 1949 and 1967. Surely, the numerous Arab countries, covering a large swath of land and some oil-rich, should have easily absorbed the smaller number (400,000 to 700,000) of Palestinian refugees, who shared religion, language and culture with the citizens of many Arab countries. And those Arab states which had chosen to go to war instead of helping the Arabs of Palestine prepare for self-rule should have felt obligated to welcome the refugees.
Toby F. Block
A world of food
I always look forward to the Chronicle being delivered each week. Lately, the first thing I look for is Jessica Grann’s recipe. With all the controversy and negative things we read, it is such a pleasure to have something positive to see. I have been especially interested in her latest contributions, taking us on a culinary tour around the globe, from Tuscan white bean dip and Greek lemon rice chicken soup to Cuban black beans and French crepes. Her past recipes for goat cheese and mushroom quiche, and red lentil soup are two of my favorites. So I just want to thank Jessica for her inspiration and the Chronicle for sharing it. A global tour with no passport needed!