Ben Gvir's moral bankruptcy and misleading maps

Calls for the wider region to solve Israel’s persistent problem are misplaced and reveal the depth of misunderstanding among its right-wing politicians

Ben Gvir's moral bankruptcy and misleading maps

Israeli officials and activists are increasingly using social media to call for what they see as a final solution for the security of Israel: the expulsion of Palestinians from Gaza.

Itamar Ben Gvir, Israel’s minister of internal security, told the US administration that displacing Palestinians from Gaza is a "just and moral solution”.

His allies frequently display a map of Arab countries, arguing that the expansive region could easily accommodate an additional few million Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza.

They attempt to cast Arab nations' refusal to accept them as proof that neighbouring states dislike Palestinians or that these states are selfish for not taking them in when they have taken in refugees from other countries.

The truth of the matter is that Arab nations have historically taken in hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees during various stages of the conflict with Israel, notably in 1948 and 1967.

The stagnation of resolving the Palestinian issue has led to significant tensions between Palestinians and host countries, with notable incidents occurring in Jordan in September 1970 and Lebanon from 1975 to 1982.

It is, therefore, understandable why Arab countries would be apprehensive about receiving yet more Palestinians into their lands.

Palestinians in Arab countries and the diaspora engaged in armed struggle in 1965 and bore the brunt of the issue until Israel expelled the Palestinian Liberation Organisation from Beirut in 1982. The expulsion of Palestinians has never pushed them to abandon their quest for liberation.

The expulsion of Palestinians has never pushed them to abandon their quest for liberation.

Misleading maps

Israeli maps depicting Arab countries as a single, unified entity are misleading. This portrayal implies a level of political unity and decision-making far from reality.

Since gaining independence, Arab nations have struggled to achieve minimal political, economic, and security cooperation. Some even restrict entry to citizens from other Arab states, with or without visas. Given these circumstances, assuming that such countries already grappling with internal problems can accept and integrate millions more refugees is implausible.

They overlook the fact that local Arab identities often take precedence over the broader narrative of Arab brotherhood, unity, and shared destiny. Activating these distinct identities invariably leads to inter-Arab conflicts, some of which continue to smoulder.

Ironically, the concept of Arab unity, propagated by nationalist regimes since the 1950s, has backfired. Now, it is the Israelis, particularly those like Itamar Ben Gvir, who demand this unity to absorb Palestinians into the wider Arab world.

To advocate for the eviction of individuals from their homes is a violation of international law and will only likely to lead to further violence.

Violation of international law

Contrary to the assertions of Ben Gvir and his allies, the forced expulsion of Palestinians fundamentally violates international law. To advocate for the eviction of individuals from their homes is only likely to lead to further violence.

There are established rights in many countries for people to defend their property, as shown by the "Stand Your Ground" laws in some US states that permit lethal force.

Advocating expulsion adds to the discrimination against Palestinians on racial grounds, which is recognised by various international human rights organisations and is the true root of violence and moral conflict.

Individuals like Ben Gvir and his fellow far-right politician Bezalel Smotrich call the foundations of accepted ethics into question with their oversimplifications, distortions and denials. They seek control of complex issues that overwhelm the capacity of their narrow perspective.

The fate of millions should not depend on the flawed politics and faulty decision-making that such people create.

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