“He asked me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’” (Ezekiel 37:3)
On May 14, 1948, in fulfillment of many prophetic Bible verses, Israel was re-established once again as the Jewish homeland (see Amos 9:14–15; Deuteronomy 30:3–5; Ezekiel 4:3-6, 37:10–14, 37:21–22; Isaiah 66:7–8; Jeremiah 3:18, 16:14–15, 24:6).
It was a miracle of history, since no nation has ever been destroyed and then re-gathered to an ancient homeland almost 2,000 years later and re-established as a nation.
When Israel declared itself as an independent state, however, it was attacked by the armies of Arab nations (Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, as well as volunteer soldiers from Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Pakistan, Sudan and other countries).
“Before she goes into labor, she gives birth; before the pains come upon her, she delivers a son. Who has ever heard of such a thing? Who has ever seen such things? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children.” (Isaiah 66:7–8)
They boasted they would “push the Jews into the sea.” These nations advised Palestinian Arabs to leave while they removed the Jews from the Land.
But, in yet another miracle, Israel repelled the invaders (see Leviticus 26:3, 7–8).
Today, the world struggles with one of the aftermaths of the Arab aggression against Israel—the “Palestinian refugee problem.”
Many believe that Israel should simply absorb the five million descendants of the Arabs who fled Israel.
Others believe there should be a second state created for the Palestinians instead.
And although a two-state solution is not a new idea, it is an idea that has been rejected several times by Palestinian Arabs themselves.
The Two-State Solution
Contrary to Arab claims, Israel did not create the Palestinian refugee problem.
In 1947, when the United Nations voted in favor of creating independent Jewish and Arab states, Jewish leaders agreed to the two-state solution, but the two-state solution was rejected by the leaders of the Arab community, including the Palestinian Arab Higher Committee.
When Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria, etc. subsequently attacked Israel, a huge refugee problem was created.
An estimated 820,000 Jewish refugees were expelled from the Arab countries that went to war with Israel.
Many of these Jewish refugees had roots going back thousands of years in the Arab lands of their birth.
They were forced to leave without their property or assets, sometimes with little more than the clothes on their back.
Today, Israel’s Jewish population is mixed with Jews from Arab countries and Jews from Europe, America and the rest of the world. Even the stories of the Jews in the Bible include Moses in Egypt, Esther in Iran (Persia), Daniel in Iraq (Babylon). The Jewish people have always lived in what is today called the Arab Lands.
The Refugee Problem Today
The United Nations estimates that there were about 711,000 Palestinian refugees by September 1949, with 160,000 Arabs remaining in Israel; however, estimates vary greatly between sources.
Today, an estimated 30,000 of the original Palestinian refugees are still living, which the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) defines as any Arab who had lived in Israel for the two years prior to 1948.
However, their descendants number close to five million!
If Israel were to absorb these five million descendants, it would effectively destroy the tiny Jewish State that has less than six million Jewish citizens and almost two million Arab citizens.
Then there would suddenly be about seven million Arabs and less than six million Jews.
Already, there are forces within Israel demanding that Israel get rid of things like the national anthem and the Israeli flag because their Jewish nature does not reflect Israeli Arab citizens.
The Arabs and their allies do not want Israel to be a Jewish state.
They want the Biblical land of Israel to become another Arab Islamic country in the Middle East, and the hardliners would want it to be a country with Islamic sharia law, where Judaism could not be practiced.
This would effectively change the entire atmosphere of Israel to that of an Arab country, and the Jews of this world would once again no longer have a place of their own where they can be secure. The Temple would not be rebuilt, and the Sabbath and other Jewish activities would be banned.
And although this might be the will of man, it is not the will of God.
“This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that He will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites.” (Joshua 3:10)
Palestinian Countries of Origin
The exodus of Arabs during the War of Independence in 1948 was largely caused by the Arab High Executive who urged Arabs to leave.
These Arab leaders spread rumors exaggerating Jewish atrocities, instilling fear in the hearts of Arabs until they fled their homes.
The Arab leaders’ plan was to kill all Jews and allow the Arabs to return following the conflict. It was poor planning.
Thousands of wealthy Arabs left before the war, returning to their country of origin. Thousands more responded to the call of the Arab leaders to get out of the path of the advancing armies, while many more left to avoid being caught in the crossfire of battle.
Many of the Palestinian refugees, however, were not really from “Palestine” at all. They were migrant workers who had come to the area during the previous century from such countries as Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Sudan, Algeria and Libya.
During the Ottoman Period (1299–1923) and after its collapse when the region was assigned to the British (1923–1948), thousands of Arab workers were brought in to work on the infrastructure of Palestine.
Many Arabs were also drawn by improved conditions and opportunities caused by the growth of Jewish businesses.
During this same time, Jewish immigration had been severely limited by British restrictions barring their entry into the country. At the height of these restrictions, the Jewish People were fleeing Nazi Germany and being denied entry to their historical, Biblical homeland.
Meanwhile, illegal immigration on the part of the Arabs was ignored.
Misrepresenting the Refugee Problem
Today, the Palestinian refugee problem is deliberately misrepresented in order to undermine Israel’s position and create support for the claim of a Palestinian “right of return,” with the hope of eventually destroying the Jewish state.
The truth is that the refugee problem is truly the responsibility of the Arabs.
If the Arab leaders had accepted the original partition plan there would now be an Arab state alongside Israel.
Another issue is the fact that the Arab countries in which the refugees currently reside refuse to grant them citizenship.
Astoundingly, about a third of Jordan’s six million people are of Palestinian Arab origin.
This April, Jordan—the country that conquered Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and East Jerusalem in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War—announced a move to revoke the Jordanian citizenship of Palestinian Authority and PLO officials (Jerusalem Post).
A statement by Jordan’s government justified stripping Jordanian citizenship saying that it was aimed at “’preserving the Palestinians’ national identity and paving the way for their return to Palestine.”
Sadly, the Arab countries in which the descendants of Palestinian refugees currently live prefer to use them as an excuse to attack Israel, rather than to absorb them.
In contrast, the nearly one million Jewish refugees who entered Israel from Arab countries were quickly provided with housing, jobs, and education, despite tremendous financial strain on Israel’s economy.
Today, these Jews represent a significant portion of the Biblical nation with leaders in government, the military, and the business sector.
“Lift up your eyes and look around; all your sons gather and come to you. As surely as I live, declares the Lord, you will wear them all as ornaments; you will put them on, like a bride.” (Isaiah 49:11)
Aid to the Palestinian Refugees
Recently, Dr. Jonathan Schanzer of the US-based think tank The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies reported that the actual number of those Palestinians displaced in 1948 who are still living today stands at approximately 30,000. (Times of Israel)
This finding has led to an amendment to an appropriations bill by the US Senate Appropriations Committee.
Known as the Kirk Amendment, it requires the US State Department to report on how many of the five million Palestinians currently receiving assistance from UNRWA are in fact people who were physically displaced from their homes in Israel or the occupied territories, and what portion represents their descendants.
As a major supporter of the United Nations, the US Congress feels that it has the right to know how its money is being spent. The US contributes about a fourth of UNRWA’s $1.23 billion annual budget for Palestinian refugees.
An International Concern: The False “Right of Return”
“The Lord will have compassion on Jacob; once again He will choose Israel and will settle them in their own land. Aliens will join them and unite with the house of Jacob.” (Isaiah 14:1)
When the British Mandate ended in 1948, the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine specifically mentioned the creation of a Jewish state and an Arab state, even though the Arabs turned it down. It wouldn’t be the last time they’d turn it down.
“In recent years, the Palestinians twice refused generous offers by Israeli prime ministers to establish a Palestinian state on virtually all the territory won by Israel in the Six Day War,” Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu said last spring during his speech to the US Congress. “They are simply unwilling to end the conflict.
“And I regret to say this: They continue to educate their children to hate. They continue to name public squares after terrorists. And worst of all, they continue to perpetuate the fantasy that Israel will one day be flooded by the descendants of Palestinian refugees,” the Israeli Prime Minister said.
In response to this Palestinian fantasy, noted Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz wrote: “The ‘right of return’ is a claim made by the Arab nations that Arab residents of Israel who were driven out of their homes in the course of the 1948 Independence War should be allowed to return.
“But as Michell G. Bard has explained in his work Myths and Facts: A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict, many Arabs left by choice preferring to adhere to promises of the invading Arab armies that if they evacuated their homes, they would return after the war to their own homes as well as those of their Jewish neighbors.”
Interestingly enough, in spite of the evidence that only about 30,000 of the original refugees remain alive today and that the 5,000,000 claimed by UNRWA is misleading, the US administration continues to support Palestinians’ hopes to demographically destroy the Jewish state by an overwhelming influx of Palestinians.
In line with this, the US State Department objected to the Kirk Amendment saying that any attempt to determine the number or status of refugees is “unhelpful and destabilizing” and that such issues must be resolved through negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.
Criticizing the amendment, Deputy Secretary of State Tom Nides wrote in a letter to the congressional committee: “This proposed amendment would be viewed around the world as the United States acting to prejudge and determine the outcome of this sensitive issue. … The Department of State cannot support legislation which would force the United States to make a public judgment on the number and status of Palestinian refugees.”
But should Israel allow the return of Arab refugees as a part of a peace settlement?
Speaking of this, Israeli journalist Gil Ronen commented: “The re-admission of the refugees would be the equivalent to the admission to the US of nearly 70,000,000 sworn enemies of the nation.”
When God spoke to the Hebrew people at Horeb as recorded in Deuteronomy, telling them to possess the land of their enemies, that great task was still before them.
“The Lord our God said to us at Horeb, ‘You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Break camp and advance into the hill country of the Amorites; go to all the neighboring peoples in the Arabah, in the mountains, in the western foothills, in the Negev and along the coast, to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, as far as the great river, the Euphrates. See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the land the Lord swore he would give to your fathers—to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—and to their descendants after them.’” (Deuteronomy 1:6–8)