“Some 700,000 Palestinians were expelled or fled their homes following the 1948/49 war, representing at least 80 percent of Arabs living in what became Israel. Like Al-Alem, more than half of those who live in Gaza today are either refugees or their direct descendants.
“Many of those displaced in 1948 thought that they’d be back home in a few days or weeks. But Israel has never allowed them to return and many have lived in poverty ever since. According to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), more than 80% of people in Gaza live in poverty now.
“Palestinians call that episode the Nakba, the Arabic word for catastrophe.”
“Palestinians are expected to allow rabid settlers to carry out what, by any measure, amounts to pogrom after pogrom and permit Israeli forces to carpet bomb, starve and dehydrate them to death because Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – and his avid champions in the fourth estate – says he can without restraint or remorse.
“Palestinians have no right of reply. They have to take it – again and again and again.”
“…This really turned and came to a head in 2007, when Hamas, after winning democratic elections in 2006, rose to power, and the Israeli authorities, along with the U.S., attempted to initiate a regime change operation, which facilitated a civil war between Hamas and Fatah and allowed Hamas to take over the Gaza Strip. Since then, Israeli authorities have actively embraced the idea that Hamas would be accepted as a governing authority in the Gaza Strip. Now, part of the calculus in that is because of Gaza’s 2 million Palestinians. This is a demographic issue. Israel wanted to sever the Gaza Strip from the rest of historic Palestine in order to reinforce its claim that it’s a Jewish-majority state. By getting rid of 2 million Palestinians, two-thirds of whom are refugees demanding return, Israel can claim to be both a Jewish state and a democracy and restructure what is its apartheid regime. Now, in order to do that, it acquiesced to maintaining Hamas in governance, and it claimed that it placed a blockade around the Gaza Strip because Hamas was in power. And obviously this was bought in the international community, using what we were just talking about, the idea that Hamas is a terrorist organization, axis of evil, and, therefore, that this blockade makes sense.”