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    The Arab world is not without its enlightened voices. From today’s MEMRI site, here are excerpts from a stunning piece by Saudi columnist Yousef Nasser Al-Sweidan on the so-called “right of return” of Palestinians:

    It is patently obvious that uprooting the descendents of the refugees from their current homes in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and other countries, and returning them to Israel, to the West Bank, and to Gaza is a utopian ideal and [a recipe for] anarchy. More than that – it is an idea that cannot be implemented, not only because it will upset the demographic [balance] in a dangerous and destructive manner, and will have [far-reaching] political, economic and social ramifications in such a small and constrained geographical area, but [mainly] because the return [of the refugees] stands in blatant contradiction to Israel’s right as a sovereign [state], while the Palestinian Authority lacks the infrastructure to absorb such a large number of immigrants as long as the peace process… is not at its peak…”

    As for how we got to this pass, Al-Sweidan continues:

Clearly, the refugee problem is mainly the result of cumulative mistakes made by the countries where [the refugees] live… such as Syria and Lebanon, which have isolated the refugees in poor and shabby camps lacking the most basic conditions for a dignified human existence. Instead of helping them to become fully integrated in their new society, they let them become victims of isolation and suffering… Later, the worst of all happened when Arab intelligence agencies used the Palestinian organizations as a tool for settling scores in internal Arab conflicts that probably have nothing to do with the Palestinians…

“The Israelis, on the other hand, were civilized and humane in their treatment of the thousands of Jewish refugees who had lost their property, homes and businesses in the Arab countries, and who were forced to emigrate to Israel after the 1948 war. The Israeli government received them, helped them, and provided them with all the conditions [they needed] to become integrated in their new society…



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