I do not have a solution to the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians. That has baffled better minds than mine. I don’t think as my friend John Burgess did that it can be solved by paying the Palestinians to give up the so-called “right of return”.
I wanted to give you a few quotes on the subject to chew on. The first is from Moshe Dayan from an address published in 1969 by Ha’aretz:
We came to this country which was already populated by Arabs, and we are establishing a Hebrew, that is a Jewish state here. In considerable areas of the country we bought lands from the Arabs. Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you, because these geography books no longer exist; not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. Nahalal arose in the place of Mahalul, Gevat — in the place of Jibta, Sarid — in the place of Haneifs and Kefar Yehoshua — in the place of Tell Shaman. There is no one place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.
The second is from Abdulaziz, founder of the modern Saudi state, from the first meeting between a Saudi head of state and an American:
After discussing the progress of the war, and expressing his confidence that Germany would be defeated, F.D.R. stated that he had a serious problem in which he desired the King’s advice and help; namely, the rescue and rehabilitation of the remnant of Jews in Central Europe who had suffered indescribable horrors at the hands of the Nazis: eviction, destruction of their homes, torture and mass-murder. He, F.D.R., felt a personal responsibility and indeed had committed himself to help solve this problem. What could the King suggest?
Ibn Saud’s reply was prompt and laconic: “Give them and their descendants the choicest lands and homes of the Germans who had oppressed them.” F.D.R. replied that the Jewish survivors have a sentimental desire to settle in Palestine and, quite understandably, would dread remaining in Germany where they might suffer again.
The King said that he had no doubt the Jews have good reason not to trust the Germans, but surely the Allies will destroy Nazi power forever and in their victory will be strong enough to protect Nazi victims. If the Allies do not expect firmly to control future German policy, why fight this costly war? He, Ibn Saud, could not conceive of leaving an enemy in a position to strike back after defeat.
In a few minutes, F.D.R. returned to the attack, saying that he counted on Arab hospitality and on the King’s help in solving the problem of Zionism, but the King repeated: “Make the enemy and the oppressor pay; that is how we Arabs wage war. Amends should be made by the criminal, not by the innocent bystander. What injury have Arabs done to the Jews of Europe? It is the ‘Christian’ Germans who stole their homes and lives. Let the Germans pay.” Once more, F.D.R. returned to the subject, complaining that the King had not helped him at all with his problem, but the King, having lost some patience, did not expound his views again, beyond stating (with a note of rony in his voice) that this over-solicitude for the Germans was incomprehensible to an uneducated bedouin with whom friends get more consideration than enemies. The King’s final remark on the subject was to the effect that it is Arab custom to distribute survivors and victims of battle among the victorious tribes in accordance with their number and their supplies of food and water. In the Allied camp there are fifty countries, among whom Palestine is small, land-poor and has already been assigned more than its quota of European refugees.
I encourage you to read the entirety of the monograph from which that passage was taken. I’ve linked to it before; it’s a fantastic primary source.
The third is from Harry Truman (same source):
Finally, Mr. Truman summed up his position with the utmost candor: “I’m sorry, gentlemen, but I have to answer to hundreds of thousands who are anxious for the success of Zionism; I do not have hundreds of thousands of Arabs among my constituents.
I am very sensitive to the charge of anti-Semitism. Some of my favorite relatives are Jewish. If anything I’m Semophilic. I am, however, skeptical that the U. S. should give full-throated support to a state in the Middle East insistent on maintaining its Jewishness (or being an Islamic state, for that matter). I don’t think we should support religious states at all.