“Without bloodshed or bombs?” Invasion by another name.

East of Gaza City – “In the early hours of Friday, 85-year-old Umm Khattab Dolah and her grandsons headed towards Gaza’s eastern border with Israel. Once there, they joined masses of Palestinians who set up tents along the border, looking out at the other side, where the Israeli army was deployed. At least 70 percent of the two million people in the Gaza Strip live in refugee camps just a few kilometres away from their original homes and villages across the border, where Zionist armed groups forcibly displaced them seven decades earlier.” So begins an Al-Jazeera story March 30, 2018.  

I came here today to call for my right of return,” Dolah told Al Jazeera. Thousands of men, women and children on Friday made their way to the makeshift tent camps erected 700 metres away from the border with Israel.”

What “right of return?” Israel is a sovereign state now, built over those 7 decades by the families of those living there. What nation on earth was not built by displacing others? That includes all those nations whose sanctimonious hand-wringing over the fate of the “Palestinians” resulted in their giving billions to leaders who used the money to encourage suicide bombers, buy rockets for Hamas and fund Swiss bank accounts for themselves. Could they have not done for their people what Israel did–build decent housing, desalinization plants for water, reliable electric generation, drip irrigation for food–instead of funding death on both sides of the border?

So now that they have done nothing with those 70 years but tried to destroy Israel–making a mess of their own lives in the process–they are claiming a “right of return”? What would any nation existing today do, if suddenly tens of thousands of people tried to invade, claiming the land is really theirs? What is this based on? 

The idea for the Great March of Return was floated around several months ago. The main goal was for refugees to demonstrate their Right of Return, based on United Nations Resolution 194 adopted in December 1948. The resolution states that Palestinian refugees “wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date”.

Oh, okay, so now they wish to return to “their homes” and “live in peace with their neighbors?” After 70 years and countless rockets and suicide bombers? To homes that don’t exist? There are no neighbors in this conflict–only enemies. 

Ahmad Abu Artema, the main organiser behind the campaign, says he came up with the idea about the March of Return when he visited the border with Israel. “When I saw the beauty of our stolen lands, the trees and the picturesque nature of it all, I wondered: why are we trapped here in a coop?” he told Al Jazeera.  Why are you “trapped in a coop?” You guys made it that way. Why is Israel so “picturesque?” Israelis made it that way.

Abu Artema then posted a message on his Facebook page asking people whether they would be interested in a peaceful border protest. The majority of responses applauded the idea, which quickly gained traction and received the backing of Palestinian political parties in the Strip, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah and leftist parties. Oh gee, what could be more conducive to living peaceably than an idea backed by terrorist groups and murderers?

The international community has approved many resolutions, and it is time to approve the rights of the Palestinian people,” Abu Sharekh said. “Palestinian intellectuals, academics, civil society organisations, students and women all embraced the concept of the march as a peaceful movement, similar to Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement,” he continued. “Marches” occur within national borders, and when the marchers decide to cross the border, then what is it? How can an invasion be “peaceful?”

The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli land, sea and air blockade for more than a decade. Some 80 percent of the population is dependent on humanitarian assistance, while the Strip experiences regular power outages and high unemployment. It has been dubbed as the largest open-air prison, with Palestinians needing Israeli army permits to enter and exit the Strip. “We do not need negotiations or aid from the UN. The path is clear. We want to return back peacefully to our lands without bloodshed, tanks or bombs.” I sympathize with their plight, and believe that there is a peaceful way to integrate Palestinians into Israel. It starts with asking Israel, “how can I contribute to your future?” Or maybe, it starts with asking yourselves, “how can we convince Israel that we can be an asset rather than an enemy?” Claiming your “right of return” is about as far from the right attitude as possible–it is the attitude of someone who has fouled your own nest and covets what others have built, amid your “bloodshed and bombs.”

Author’s note: The following passage was added 5/22/2018, excerpted from Frontpage Mag, from an article THE REAL AGENDA BEHIND THE “RIGHT OF RETURN”. “In fact, the 1948-49 War of Independence produced not only Arab-Palestinian refugees, but even more Jewish refugees from Arab countries.  These Jewish refugees lived in their native Arab states long before the arrival of Islam.  However, unlike the Arab-Palestinian refugees, who were deliberately kept in refugee camps and denied citizenship in Arab countries, Jewish refugees from Arab states were successfully absorbed in Israel despite difficult economic conditions in the early years of the state.”

The following passage was added 5/26/2018, excerpted from the Wa. Post: The May 9 The World article “A modest opening for new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem” described what the Palestinians call the Nakba, or “catastrophe,” as the anniversary of the date on which Palestinians “lost their land when the Israeli state was created in 1948.” That is partially true: In the 1948 Israeli War of Independence, the Palestinians did in fact lose what was offered to them with the loss of the West Bank; the Palestinians did in fact lose what was offered to them with the loss of Gaza. But the dark little secret that the manipulative sentence left out was that the Palestinians lost the West Bank not to Israel but to their land-grabbing brethren Jordan. And they lost Gaza not to Israel but to their land-grabbing brethren Egypt. This set of facts is critical to assess what happened to the Palestinians and who is culpable. As most know, but The Post routinely omits, the war was started by the local Arabs and neighboring Arab countries. If the Palestinians had accepted the two-state solution of 1947, there would be no conflict today, and the two-state solution would be going on its 71st year.