Increasingly, this argument has become the response of many Israelis and Zionists to the Palestinian Right of Return. Slowly, but surely, the argument that Palestinians left their homes based on their free will (click here to read our response) has been losing ground to newly discovered historical facts, thanks to Israeli revisionist historians, who based their research on declassified Israeli and Zionist archives.
It's misleading to compare the population transfer that occurred in the aftermath of WW II to the one that came upon the Palestinian people for the following reasons:
- It's true that population transfer occurred in Europe in the aftermath of
WW II, however, it was
neither politically motivated nor enforced by armed might. It should be noted that
many Displaced Persons (D.P.) refugee camps sprang up all over Europe soon after
the war. However, that was mostly done for economic and not for political reasons. Soon after the war, Europe's economy and infrastructure
were devastated, and to stabilize it the U.S. sponsored the Marshal Plan
to help Europe
Non-politically motivated population transfer was and still is happening around the world, and it is not restricted to Europe only. On the other hand, "transferring" a whole minority (actually, in the case of Palestinians it was the 2/3 majority that was "transferred" by the "Jewish minority") to achieve political objectives is nothing but sheer TERROR. If this is not accepted, then,
What were the war crimes perpetrated in Bosnia and Kosovo?
Why, when Slobodan Milosevic used such excuses, was he condemned and tried as a war criminal?
Since "population transfer" allegedly occurred in Europe during WWII, and it's excusable for the "Jewish minority" in Palestine to use such forced "transfer" of a people in order to become the majority, then:
Why the same excuse can't be used by the Slavic majority to "transfer" the "unwanted" Albanian Muslim minority?
- Soon after the 1948 war, the Palestinian people lost almost everything they owned, such
as farms, businesses, buses, factories, railroads, boats, banks, ... etc.,
and above all, they lost their
political and civil rights. Note that none of the European
nations (such as the German, French, Greek, Bulgarian, Serbian, Romanian, etc.
nations) had their political, economical, and civil rights removed. What's fundamentally unique about what happened to the
Palestinian nation is that their political, civil, and economic rights as a people have been all
removed in favor of the "Jewish minority".
- Assuming that forcible population transfer really occurred
in Europe, the questions which beg to be asked are:
Should such policies be the norm, or the exception?
If the alleged forcible population transfer really happened in Europe, is it excusable to practice such polices?
Is "forcible population transfer" a war crime?
- Assuming for the moment that the act of forcible population transfer is not a war crime, then
Would you condone such practices against other people?
If the conundrum has not been yet comprehended, then would you accept such policies against the Jewish citizens of Russian, Poland, Germany, ... etc.?
It's worth noting that when Israel tried Adolf Eichmann for atrocities committed as a Nazi leader, it included charges of forcible expulsion (ethnic cleansing) which was classified as a war crime and a crime against humanity.
It should be emphasized that, even prior to the population transfer which resulted from WW II, the Zionist leaders were keen on creating a "Jewish State" based on a "Jewish majority" by mass immigration of Jews to Palestine, primarily European Jews fleeing from anti-Semitic Tsarist Russia and Nazi Germany. When a "Jewish majority" was impossible to achieve, based on Jewish immigration and natural growth, Zionist leaders (such as Ben Gurion, Moshe Sharett, Ze'ev Jabotinsky, and Chaim Weizmann) concluded that "population transfer" was the only solution to what they referred to as the "Arab Problem."
Year after year, the plan to ethnically cleanse Palestine of its indigenous people became known as the "transfer solution". David Ben-Gurion, the first Israeli Prime Minister, eloquently articulated the "transfer solution" as follows:
- In a joint meeting between the Jewish Agency Executive and Zionist Action
Committee on June 12th, 1938:
"With compulsory transfer we [would] have a vast area [for settlement] .... I support compulsory transfer. I don't see anything immoral in it." (Righteous Victims p. 144).
- In a speech addressing the Central Committee of the Histadrut on December
"In the area allocated to the Jewish State there are not more than 520,000 Jews and about 350,000 non-Jews, mostly Arabs. Together with the Jews of Jerusalem, the total population of the Jewish State at the time of its establishment, will be about one million, including almost 40% non-Jews. such a [population] composition does not provide a stable basis for a Jewish State. This [demographic] fact must be viewed in all its clarity and acuteness. With such a [population] composition, there cannot even be absolute certainty that control will remain in the hands of the Jewish majority .... There can be no stable and strong Jewish state so long as it has a Jewish majority of only 60%." (Expulsion Of The Palestinians, p. 176 & Benny Morris p. 28)
- And on February 8th, 1948 Ben-Gurion also stated to the Mapai Council:
"From your entry into Jerusalem, through Lifta, Romema [East Jerusalem Palestinian neighborhood]. . . there are no [Palestinian] Arabs. One hundred percent Jews. Since Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans, it has not been Jewish as it is now. In many [Palestinian] Arab neighborhoods in the west one sees not a single [Palestinian] Arab. I do not assume that this will change. . . . What had happened in Jerusalem. . . . is likely to happen in many parts of the country. . . in the six, eight, or ten months of the campaign there will certainly be great changes in the composition of the population in the country." (Expulsion Of The Palestinians, p. 180-181)
- In a speech addressing the Zionist Action Committee on April 6th, 1948:
"We will not be able to win the war if we do not, during the war, populate upper and lower, eastern and western Galilee, the Negev and Jerusalem area ..... I believe that war will also bring in its wake a great change in the distribution of Arab population." (Expulsion Of The Palestinians, p. 181)
- Click here for more "Transfer" (Ethnic Cleansing) quotes from Zionist leaders.
Often Israelis and Zionists view WW II population transfer as a legal precedent, however, when asked to put up the details, they fail to come up even with one example which is not already a war crime. On the contrary, after considering the compulsory population transfer that Josef Stalin perpetrated against the people of the Caucasus during WW II, the truth cannot be more of a paradox. In 1943-44, Stalin ordered the whole population of the Caucasus to be expelled to Siberia as a collective punishment for their collaboration with the Nazis. However, the same people were allowed to return home in 1958 when the scale of the war crime became known to the Soviet premier at the time. So if the people of the Caucasus were allowed to return to their homes under Communist rule, how come Palestinian refugees cannot use this return as a legal precedent to return to their homes, farms, plantations, businesses, boats, banks, ports, ...etc. under Israeli rule?
Finally, it must be emphasized that the "Jewish people", of all peoples, should deplore such lame arguments. Ironically, European Jews were the first victims of politically motivated population transfer (Ethnic Cleansing), and it's the ultimate hypocrisy when Israelis and Zionists use such an excuse to practice and promote Ethnic Cleansing. If such war crimes were practiced against Jews in the past, that's no excuse to practice or attempt to justify similar war crimes against the Palestinian people.