I think Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday is one of the better interviewers among the various news channel hosts. He is prepared, and pushes pretty hard with everybody, though not in an obnoxious fashion. He chooses to remain the interviewer, and not become the story. Unfortunately, Wallace injected himself into an interview Sunday, with the use of language that can be best described as inflammatory and historically inaccurate.
In an interview with newly announced GOP Presidential candidate Herman Cain, Wallace asked a few questions about Cain's support of Israel.
He then asked him about the Palestinian right of return. When Cain seemed unaware of the issue, Wallace tried to clarify the issue for him that the right of return was for the Palestinians who were "kicked out" by Israel in the 48 war.
WALLACE: Do you think the Palestinian refugees, the people who were kicked out of the land in 1948, should be able or should have any right to return to Israeli land?
This statement is evidence that Wallace is unaware of the circumstances of the 1948 war, or the history of the refugees since that war.
The 1948 war began with Arab attacks the day the U.N. passed the partition resolution in November 1947, which was accepted by the Zionists, and rejected by the Arabs in mandate Palestine and the Arab nations. The war escalated when 5 Arab armies invaded in May 1948 when the British withdrew, with a goal of wiping out the Jewish presence. The most comprehensive histories of that period are in books by Benny Morris, and Efraim Karsh. Wallace might want to read them. About 600,000 Arabs abandoned homes in the war that went on for over a year. Very few of them were kicked out or driven out by the Zionists.
That did happen, but only in a few places. The great majority of the Arabs left due to other circumstances -- fleeing a war zone where hand to hand close range fighting was going on, or because they were encouraged to do so by the invading Arab armies, telling them to come back to their homes after the Zionists were eliminated. All the contemporary news accounts of the day, and statements by Arab leaders support this conclusion.
While this war was going on, an equal number of Jews in Arab countries -- Yemen, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and other Arab countries -- were driven from their homes and their countries. Most of the Jewish refugees moved to Israel, and were accepted as full citizens. None of them lingered in refugee camps for decades. The treatment of the Arab refugees by Arab nations was different. Many were never resettled, and many never obtained citizenship in their new countries. Many were never allowed to work, but were forced to remain in stagnant camps, funded by the UNWRA, where indoctrination of future generations consisted mainly of blaming Israel for their plight.
Of the 600,000 original Arab refugees, perhap 75,000 are alive today. Yet the Palestinians claim 5 million refugees. They do this because alone among the refugee populations of the world, the U.N considers descendants of the original refugees, whether 2nd, 3rd, or 4th generation, as refugees, even though they never even set foot in Israel in their lives. The Palestinians and Arab nations blame Israel for the plight of the refugees, but it is their cynical use of the refugee issue, that has kept alive a refugee population 63 years after a war, and embittered Palestinians from ever accepting a Jewish majority state of Israel.
The Palestinians want to flood Israel with five million "non-refugee refugees" in order to become a majority in Israel and change the character of the state. All the so-called foreign policy experts who have looked at ways to resolve the conflict, and all the U.S. Presidents who have spoken about the issue, including Obama on several occasions, have argued that Palestinian refugees would need to be resettled in a new Palestinian state, or in Arab countries, or Western countries, with some compensation provided, assuming a two state solution that ended the conflict could be achieved.
Calling for a right of return to Israel is part of a strategy to end the Zionist state, the same strategy that created the refugee situation in the beginning. There are consequences to starting wars and losing them.
Wallace might want to read up a bit, and then tell his viewers next week that his statement was incorrect.