First, some house-keeping from my first post. It's important to note that many Israelis were and are not refugees from Europe, but refugees from other parts of the Middle East, so Helen Thomas's remarks about Poland are also factually misleading.
Secondly, when I wrote that the construction of the state of Israel was morally justified, I did not mean to say that everything that happened in that construction was morally justified. I am not going to go into the historical debate about the flight of Palestinians (or nakba) in 1948, but Benny Morris's view that a small minority of Palestinian Arabs were literally forced out or cleansed, and that vastly more were terrified out of their homes by acts of terror, including a massacre, and a propaganda war, seems consistent with the available historical evidence. Israel's subsequent refusal to let the bulk of them return, after promising to, is best described by Morris:
In retrospect, it appeared that at Lausanne was lost the best and perhaps only chance for a solution of the refugee problem, if not for the achievement of a comprehensive Middle East settlement. But the basic incompatibility of the initial starting positions and the unwillingness of the two sides to move, and to move quickly, towards a compromise born of Arab rejectionism and a deep feeling of humiliation, and of Israeli drunkenness with victory and physical needs determined largely by the Jewish refugee influx doomed the 'conference' from the start. American pressure on both sides, lacking a sharp, determined cutting edge, failed to budge sufficiently either Jew or Arab. The '100,000 Offer' was a classic of too little, too late.
This toxic mixture of "Arab rejectionism" and "Israeli drunkenness with victory" rings throughout the decades down to today. Which brings me to the question I ended my last post with: why, given the looming threat of Iran, and the profound demographic crisis from within, is the Israeli government and the American Jewish Establishment so rigidly opposed even to a mere freezing of illegal Jewish settlements on the West Bank as a prelude to final status talks?
More to the point: Why has Israel responded to the emergence of an American president with the willingness to devote political capital from Day One and some credibility with the Arab and Muslim world as negatively and as angrily as they have?
Let's recap Israel's actions, under two different governments, in the period since Obama was elected.