The Pope’s planned March 21 visit to the UNRWA refugee camp of Deheishe, just south of Bethlehem, portends disaster.
The Pope’s intention in his visit to the camp is rooted in his genuine identification with any and all human suffering.
However, Palestinian Affairs correspondent Danny Rubenstein of HaAretz has written extensive reports on how the Catholic Church’s Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and Bethlehem, Michele Sabbah, in coordination with Yassir Arafat and the Palestinian Authority, has organized buses to transport thousands of Arab refugees to participate in a rally that will be held in the presence of the Pope that will call for the “right of return”.
Indeed, the PA has erected a three-story monument outside of Deheishe in the shape of the full map of Palestine, and dubbed it the Palestinian “Yad Vashem”, to equate the plight of Palestinian Arab refugees with that of the Jews who were murdered during World War II.
It is no coincidence that the Pope will visit the real Yad VAshem the next day.
The demand that Arab refugees return to their 1948 villages is in accordance with the biennally ratified UN resolution #194 that continues to confine 3.5 million Arab refugee camps to “temporary shelters” for the past fifty two years, under the premise and the promise of their “inalienable right of return” to villages which have been supplanted by Tel Aviv, Tzfat, Haifa, Ashkelon and more than two hundred kibbutzim and moshavim.
Interestingly enough, the Catholic Relief Agency helped to construct more than 1300 homes on a hill near Nablus for Arab refugees to move into during the mid-1980’s. That hill of homes stands empty, because of a 1985 UN resolution that forbids Israel from moving Arab refugees out of their temporary shelters, since this would violate their “inalienable right of return” to the homes that they left in 1948. UNRWA placed guards at the foot of the hill to prevent these homes from being taken by UNRWA refugee camp residents.
The hope and vision of the peace process was that the Palestinian Authority would absorb the refugees in their state-in-the-making.
Instead, the PA’s first act of legislation in 1994 was that UNRWA refugee camp residents must be absorbed in the pre-1967 boundaries of the state of Israel, and that the PA would deny any assistance to the UNRWA camps to help them in the improvement of their deteriorating housing, since all Arab refugees must be absorbed in the places that they left in 1948. The Palestinian Liberation Army has meanwhile established bases in each of the UNRWA Arab refugee camps, to prepare refugee residents to take back their homes by force, if necessary.
These preparations have been made with the logistical support and encouragement of the Palestinian Authority and the Latin Patriarch.
The campaign for the Palestinian Arab refugees to return to their homes will therefore be launched in the presence of the Pope, and convey the impression of sacred Papal endorsement for the Palestinian Arab program for the “right of return”.
In short, a genuine Papal Pilgrimage that was planned to express deepest empathy for human suffering will be used by Michele Sabbah and Yassir Arafat to advocate the dismemberment of the state of Israel.