Displaced Persons

The other day when I was awake in bed for a while, my thoughts went to the refugees from the Eastern Ukraine. I remembered pictures of women and children in Russian refugee camps. One woman had said she wanted to stay in Russia for a limited time only so that when the fighting stops she would be able  to go back to her home town in the Ukraine. Some people may have dual citizenship. These people are of course allowed to stay in Russia indefinitely, others would have to apply for permanent residency if they want to stay in Russia.

For sure it is not a very pleasant experience to have to live in a refugee camp for weeks on end. Who knows when there is going to be peace again in these places where Ukrainians are fighting the insurgents?

TIME FOR UKRAINE TO DIVIDE? The following is an extract of an article by Paul Sheehan in the Sydney Morning Herald from 2014, July 20th:

It is more than 20 years since the orderly, democratic, bloodless dissolution of Czechoslovakia took place on January 1, 1993, when the Czech Republic and Slovakia came into being as two sovereign nations. Like Ukraine, this was a nation divided with geographic neatness between language and ethnicity.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/time-for-ukraine-to-divide-20140720-zv19c.html#ixzz38LX5O0Np

 

Here is another example where a two state solution ought to be possible and why this did not happen so far:

This is taken from an ABC Australia National program called Rear Vision.

 

 

 

Israel, Palestine and the problem with the two-state solution

Tuesday 22 July 2014 4:51PM
Annabelle Quince

With Israeli troops on the ground in Gaza and casualties rising, international attention is once again focused on the Middle East peace process. The two-state solution is generally accepted as the blueprint to end the decades-old conflict, but intractable issues and deep mistrust remain on both sides, writes Annabelle Quince. 

If it wasn’t clear before this week, the Middle East peace process is in tatters. Israel has launched a ground invasion of Gaza, resulting in the deaths of more than 500 Palestinians and around 20 Israelis.

. . . . . .

 

‘The majority of the people in Israel do accept the notion of a Palestinian state, but we suspect that most Palestinians don’t accept the notion of a Jewish state. This is the problem,’ says Eiland.

‘Everybody understands that what Clinton proposed nine years ago is probably the only practical solution if we are based on the two-state solution. In other words, it is not only that the concept is well known, but also the details are well-known. So if it is so important to solve the problem, if the concept is acceptable and if the details are so well-known, what is the problem? Why both parties don’t sit together and sign an agreement, and here is the paradox, both parties don’t do it because this solution is not really desired by both sides.’

‘The maximum that the government of Israel, any government of Israel, can offer the Palestinians, is less, much less, than the minimum that any possible Palestinian leader can accept. The gap between both sides is much bigger than the way that it is perceived. Everybody is committed to say that he is committed to this solution, but no-one really, really means it.’

Which leaves the peace process where it is today, mired in mistrust and nearly a century’s worth of grievances, with the blood of both soldiers and civilians flowing once again.

Rear Vision puts contemporary events in their historical context, answering the question, ‘How did it come to this?’

14 thoughts on “Displaced Persons

  1. I think Israel has made a 2 state solution impossible with their extensive illegal settlement activity in the West Bank. If you look at where the settlements are located there isn’t enough contiguous Palestinian land in the West Bank – or connecting roads – to form a state. Add this to the obvious separation between West Bank and Gaza.

    In the end Israel is going to have to settle for the one state solution – and it will have to be a secular state because the Arabs outnumber them. I know Netanyahu thinks he can exterminate all the Arabs but this notion is ludicrous.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Stuart.
      I cannot fathom how a one state solution could work to every ones satisfaction. Justice for all concerned, how difficult this is to achieve. Would perhaps a new generation be more inclined to talk and make concessions to accommodate the other side? When the Arabs change their minds and start accepting that the state of Israel is going to continue to exist and finally do not do anything any more to undermine the existence of Israel but on the contrary find it in their hearts to stand up for it and protect it, well, when this can be achieved then hopefully from the Israeli side the land grabbing may stop, and making it difficult for a Palestinian to exist will stop too. If you regard your neighbour as a brother or cousin you are not likely for instance to withhold badly needed water from this neighbour so you can water your lawns!

  2. The pictures and news reports are heart-wrenching, but when men are convinced they are in the right and have weapons available to enforce their claims, it’s always the innocent – especially the children – who suffer. Israel would have collapsed years ago if it hadn’t retaliated aggressively to the attacks from its neighbours who are intent on destroying it. If you are fighting for survival, you don’t always fight fairly. There are many Russian families settled in Ukraine who have been there for decades and whose allegiance is clearly divided. A 2-state solution is not as easy as it sounds – India/Pakistan/Bangladesh is another example. Will we ever learn to live in peace with one another? Alas, I doubt it.

    1. Hi Cat, you say, will we ever learn to live in peace with one another? You are too right, this is the question. Love, respect, tolerance, this is what is needed. I mean, it is not as though we are not capable of all these emotions, but sadly the opposite is true too. We human beings are so emotional, aren’t we? If someone tells us, this is the enemy, we have to fight these horrible persons because they are not like us, what do we do? We got to learn to respect the others difference and their right to live on this earth the same we do. But what if they don’t respect us? So fighting starts again and again. Basically I think all we ever want is peace. Or are there people who cannot live without hating someone? I don’t know.

      1. Somewhere on my blog I have a poem I wrote years ago, “And still they kill” – I still feel the same helpless despair as one half of humanity seems determined to wipe out the rest.

      2. Cat, I ask myself why do people go as far as wanting to kill ‘the other’? The best that can happen to us humans is when century old ‘enemies’ become friends. Friendship is very important for the survival of mankind, isn’t it?

  3. I went once more to the above article by Annabelle Quince and am about to copy here a bit more from this article. I was interested in finding out how much land was given to Israel in 1947 and how little to the Palestinians, which was seen by the Palestinians as terribly unjust. Had it been distributed more equally maybe all this trouble that followed could have been prevented?

    ” . . . . in November 1947 the UN issued a partition resolution calling for the division of Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab, with a large area around Jerusalem to be administered internationally by the UN.

    ‘The larger part of the country, more than half, more than 50 per cent was to go to the Jewish minority, to the population of 33 per cent or 34 per cent of the population that was Jewish,’ says Rashid Khalidi, the Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University. ‘The smaller part of the country was to go to the overwhelming Arab majority. It was seen as terribly unjust by the Arabs and they therefore refused it.’

    British responsibility in Palestine ended on May 15 1948, the same day Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, proclaimed the independence of his state. Within hours, the new state was at war with the four Arab countries surrounding it. The fighting continued for six months. The Israelis lost the old city of Jerusalem and the West Bank of the River Jordan to Jordan, but managed to hold on to most of their territory elsewhere. The Gaza Strip, which was meant to be part of the Palestinian state, ended up in Egyptian hands, though it was never formally annexed.

    Israel ended up as a significantly larger country than it would have been had the borders of the UN partition plan been implemented, controlling about 78 per cent of the former Mandate, with the remaining 22 per cent being the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

    ‘Surprisingly enough, the Palestinians [did not claim] that they needed to have an independent state in the West Bank in Gaza,’ says Eiland. ‘So between ’48 and ’67 when this area was controlled by the Arab states, the notion of the creation of a Palestinian state was not even mentioned by the Arab people and by the Palestinians themselves.’

    Khalidi, however, disagrees. He points to the short-lived All-Palestine government in Gaza in the late 1940s, initially supported by the Egyptians.

    ‘Part of the problem was that Palestinian society was shattered by what Palestinians called the Nakba, the disaster of 1948,’ he says. ‘More than half of the Palestine population was driven from its homes, lost everything they owned, became refugees. The Palestinian Arab population was about 1.35 million; over 750,000 of those people became refugees in 1948.’

    The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) was founded in 1964 in order to create an independent State of Palestine. Today it holds diplomatic relations with 100 states and has enjoyed observer status at the United Nations since 1974. What the PLO originally proposed, in the words of Khalidi, ‘was a one-state solution, but it was a Palestinian state.’

    Things changed again in 1967, when Israel’s neighbours attacked it once more. This time, Israel won a quick and crushing victory, occupying both Gaza and the West Bank. With that military triumph, says the University of Connecticut’s Assistant Professor Jeremy Pressman, the reality of Israel’s permanence set in.

  4. All refugees around the world must be considered in a thoughtful and humanitarian light.
    The question that seems to be occuring more these days, is the amount of refugees that appear to have dual citizenship, most people have one.
    This makes me think that they are not true refugees due to their ability to shop around.
    Hopefully my thinking is wrong.
    Emu aka Ian

    1. On the contrary, Emu aka Ian, I hope your thinking is right! Still, even with dual citizenship, they are displaced persons who may have lost everything they owned in the country they and their forebears may have lived in for many years.
      Hoping Australia won’t get involved in any more wars: This is what I pray for. If it is a criminal matter, police actions should suffice. Why get involved in wars? Nobody wins in the end. It is so much better to work for peace, isn’t it?
      Yours sincerely,
      Uta

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