Just how concerned is Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas about his beleaguered Palestinian brethren in Syria? Apparently none-too-much considering the Fatah leader just rejected a conditional Israeli offer to allow Palestinian refugees residing in Syria to resettle in Gaza and Judea and Samaria. Abbas’ rationale is that accepting the Israeli offer will somehow nullify Palestinians’ claims of “right of return” to homes in Israel.
In other words, the Palestinian president has allowed his own people to remain in danger in Assad’s war-torn country over the possibility that it might undermine his leverage in using the old “right of return” card to uproot Jewish families from Israel and replace them with Palestinians.
There are a number of Palestinians who migrated to Syria in 1948 following the Arab-Israeli war that same year (a war that was, ironically, started by the Palestinians and their Arab cohorts). These “refugees” along with their decedents claim that they were driven from their homes and thus, have a right to return to the property they left behind some six-plus decades ago.
According to the AP, Abbas said he asked U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon last month to seek Israeli permission to bring Palestinians caught in Syria’s civil war to the Palestinian territories. The request came amid fighting at Yarmouk, the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Syria. Roughly half of the camp’s 150,000 residents have fled, according to a U.N. aid agency, AP reports.
Abbas then said that Ban was told Israel “agreed to the return of those refugees to Gaza and the West Bank, but on condition that each refugee … sign a statement that he doesn’t have the right of return (to Israel).”
“So we rejected that and said it’s better they die in Syria than give up their right of return,” Abbas stated.
It is not confirmed if Israel did in fact ask anyone to sign such a statement concerning right of return, but one thing is clear, the safety of those seeking to flee Syria was likely first and foremost in Israel’s mind as the Jewish State did not have to allow the refugees entry under any circumstance or condition in the first place. Their safety should have been Abbas’ first and foremost priority as well.
Israel has consistently — and rightfully — maintained that allowing anyone claiming “Palestinian heritage” into Gaza, East Jerusalem or Judea and Samaria could destroy the Jewish majority of their state. And they are right. With a Jewish population of only 6 million — just in the lead of New York City — there is real danger of the Jewish population becoming overrun by an even greater number of Arabs bent on their people’s destruction. Not to mention the fact that while not politically correct, it is a historical fact that Palestinians are in fact ethnic Jordanians, Syrians and Egyptians. Interestingly enough, none of those Arab countries seem at all interested in establishing a Palestinian state within their own vast countries, nor do they seem keen on the plight of their refugees in war-torn areas.