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Desmond Tutu is a great and admirable man without doubt. His sympathy for the Palestinians and his efforts to help solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are commendable. It is therefore a shame that he decided to do this by promulgating a falsehood. One that causes more harm than good to the cause of peace.
The Arabs did not pay a price for the Holocaust.
Certainly, we could speculate that if it were not for the Holocaust, fewer nations would have said yes to the 1947 partition plan -- a plan which was never actually implemented -- nor did any of these countries do anything to implement. However, we could also argue that since there was already a sizable Jewish minority in Palestine, the idea of partition was hardly far fetched. We could also speculate that perhaps less European Jews would have emigrated to Israel/Palestine if it were not for the Holocaust. However we could also argue that there would have been six million more Jews who could have emigrated. We could likewise speculate that some countries would not have recognized Israel after the 1948 war if it were not for the Holocaust. But then again, many countries and regimes are recognized by world governments all the time.
In any case, it would be mostly speculation anyway. The Holocaust did happen, and this was the only extent to which the Palestinians 'paid the price' for it. Everything else that happened to the Palestinians did not happen because of the Holocaust
The Palestinians did not reject the partition plan because of the Holocaust.
They did not attack the Jewish community in Israel/Palestine because of the Holocaust, nor did they lose the war and become refugees because of it.
The Palestinians did not 'pay the price' of the Holocaust when they were placed in refugee camps by Arab governments, nor was their occupation first by Jordan and Egypt and then by Israel the price of the Holocaust. The bill for that should go to the Arab governments who dealt with the refugees and who sought to make war against Israel in 1967.
Similarly the deaths of Palestinians in Jordan in Black September and in Lebanon in the 70s and 80s had nothing at all to do with the Holocaust and everything to do with the actions of the PLO in those countries.
Neither was it the Holocaust that caused Palestinians to use plane hijacking. The Holocaust did not start the first or second Intifada or initiate suicide bombings or fire Qassam rockets from Gaza against civilians. None of these things nor their effect on the Palestinians were in any way 'payment' for the Holocaust. Nor were the Oslo Accords, the Camp David Summit, the withdrawal from Gaza and the relative quiet enjoyed now by Palestinians in the West Bank.
All of these things were the result of actions taken by the Palestinians, by the Arab countries and by Israel. I do not absolve Israel from responsibility for its sins and mistakes anymore than I absolve the Palestinians for theirs. It is time for all sides take responsibility for their actions and for the effort to find a realistic solution to this conflict rather than use the Holocaust as an excuse for their problems.
Desmond Tutu is a great and admirable man, but he would do well not to promote this falsehood about the Holocaust. Rather than contribute to ending the conflict, it keeps it alive by allowing the Palestinians to view themselves as the passive victims of events that had nothing to do with them. Instead they simply expect that Barack Obama or Desmond Tutu will somehow 'repay' them the 'price' of the Holocaust and force Israel to accept their terms for ending this conflict, namely the elimination of Israel. Desmond Tutu would do better if he left the Holocaust alone and called on both sides to take responsible actions to bring peace to both nations.
Original content is Copyright by the author 2009. Posted at ZioNation-Zionism and Israel Web Log, http://www.zionism-