Of course, there has not ever been a country called "Palestine" and the overwhelming majority of the 4.5 million "refugees" to which Lyon refers have never stepped foot in the territory in which their grandparents and great-grandparents may have resided for two years between June 1946 and May 1948 (the official UNRWA definition of a Palestinian refugee). But hey, the Arabs and their acolytes at Reuters never let the facts get in the way of a good ole appeal to pity:(Reuters) - Like the crowds of Palestinian refugees who rattled Israel's border fences this week, Subhia Loubani yearns to return to the homeland she had to flee when the Jewish state was created in 1948.
Even though, unlike most of them, she has a brand-new house.
Loubani, 72, received a key last month to one of the first few homes built by UNRWA, the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, in north Lebanon's Nahr al-Bared camp, which was utterly destroyed in fighting nearly four years ago.
Still, she said, given a chance, "I'd leave the house and go to Palestine, my country. I can't forget Palestine."
Sunday's border protests, in which Israeli gunfire killed at least 13 people, were a reminder that the plight of 4.5 million Palestinian refugees, often ignored in interim peace deals, lies at the core of an Arab conflict with Israel that has reverberated across the Middle East and beyond for decades.
Note that at 49 years of age, Jihad Awad was not born until fourteen years after the Arabs living in the territory fled following the advice of those like Azzam Pasha, secretary-general of the Arab League, who in preparation for the 1948 invasion of Israel notoriously boasted:"When I left Nahr al-Bared, I felt I was leaving Palestine again," said the elderly widow, recalling that collective trauma known to Palestinians as the Nakba, or national catastrophe, whose anniversary was marked by the border rallies on May 15.
Loubani, only four years old in 1948, says her father had carried her from the village of Saasaa across the frontier into nearby Lebanon and a future of blasted dreams and despair.
The word nakba also springs easily to the lips of Jihad Awad, 49, a shoe-seller among the first refugees to be rehoused. "There's no worse catastrophe than this," he said of his family's flight from Nahr al-Bared and their wrecked home.
Try as they may, Alistair and Jihad will not win any sympathy from us."This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the crusades".