When you're not serious about negotiations, you ask for the moon and you get two advantages: You have a built-in excuse not to budge from your position or, if you lower your demand, you can claim great sacrifice and insist on being rewarded. That is the Palestinians' position regarding the “right to return.”
The Palestinians are not the first population to become refugees. Many wars have resulted in the displacement of millions of people since World War I. Case in point: On the eve of Israel's War of Independence there were nearly 900,000 Jews living throughout the Arab world, some dating back 2,600 years. These Jews were expelled and their assets seized by Arab governments. In all, 700,000 Jews were welcomed and absorbed by Israel.
Conversely, the 650,000 Palestinians who were encouraged by their leaders to make room for the invading Arab armies were never accepted nor absorbed by their Arab brethren. Palestinians are considered second-class citizens in most Arab countries, and are denied citizenship and property ownership in order to perpetuate their tragic fate. The Arabs know too well that Palestinian refugees remain the most effective weapon against Israel.
The United Nation Relief Work Agency estimates there are 3.8 million Palestinians today worldwide, which means that every Palestinian is de facto a “refugee.” However, the 1949 Geneva Conventions do not recognize the right of return, and the 1951-1967 convention relating to the status of refugees makes no mention of descendants - so the status is not inherited. Moreover refugee status is inapplicable to a person who has acquired a new nationality.
What nation, after consistently winning wars started by hateful neighbors, is expected to enter peace negotiations under the continued threat of daily violence? Israel is again held to a different standard and the Arabs' intransigence and aggression are rewarded.
The lifting of sanctions against Iraq has freed up its oil revenues so that the United States and Britain can use them in the reconstruction. But the reconstruction will be mostly done by several large American corporations like Halliburton and Fluor.
In other words, our taxpayer dollars have been used to devastate Iraq to the tune of $25 billion so that we can steal the oil money and give it to large corporations. As Oliver North said about the Iran-contra deals, “What a neat idea.”
It was really about the oil, wasn't it?
In regard to LeBron James' $90 million Nike contract, I will give a lot of thought before purchasing any overpriced items produced in Third World countries by poorly paid workers.
DONALD C. WENSLOW
I was most amused by LeBron James' Nike deal. To quote his agent, “It truly came down to which company LeBron was most comfortable with. Up until the end, I thought we were going with Reebok.” Yeah, right!
Reebok offered $75 million. Nike offered $90 million.
Who would I likely be most comfortable with?