Arab 'towns' or 'camps'?
When Israeli military forces proactively engaged Arab terrorists in Judea and Samaria a few weeks ago, it was commonplace to read in the media, even Jewish-oriented media, references to “Arab refugee camps,” like “the Balata refugee camp.” That must have pleased Mr. Arafat.
Why not “the Arab town Balata” or “Balata, the Arab-populated suburb of Nablus”?
Balata is not a camp, with its implications of tents or huts; it has four-story buildings. Its population has lived there for decades, comprising Arabs who moved from one area of Palestine to another, migrating within the same land.
Many, if not most, of Balata Arabs’ ancestors would have immigrated to Eretz Israel in the first half of the 20th century, drawn by jobs created by enterprising Zionists. They came from neighboring Arab states across open land frontiers, while British Mandate police controlled Jewish aliyah through seaports.
Balata is near Joseph’s Tomb, a site holy to Jews that was desecrated by local Arabs at the beginning of the Oslo War in autumn 2000.
Journalists and others who use the term “refugee camp” in place of neutral terminology play into Arab propaganda. It is easily avoidable.
If one does use the Arab-oriented terminology, then for symmetry, why not call every town in Israel that is populated mostly of Jewish immigrants from Middle Eastern and North African states a “Jewish refugee camp,” alluding to Jews who fled or were forced from racist Arab or Moslem communities and states?