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Regarding the establishment of Israel, was it morally justifiable to displace the Arabs in the creation of a Jewish state? And is it proper to say that Israel is "occupying" their land? How does one go about determining whose land it really is?

I am wondering what objective facts of reality would sanction the displacement of indigenous people from the land they inhabit, and if that's a violation of their property rights.

asked Jul 31 '14 at 03:31

user890's gravatar image


edited Jul 31 '14 at 14:42

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦

There have been a number of previous Questions and Answers on this website that pertain to this question, either directly or by way of the same underlying principles (tags: israel, property):

The basic Objectivist principle of national sovereignty is stated in the topics of "National Rights," "'Collective Rights,'" and "Self-Determination of Nations" in The Ayn Rand Lexicon.

The question as stated doesn't appear to add anything new to these previous discussions and references.

answered Jul 31 '14 at 21:43

Ideas%20for%20Life's gravatar image

Ideas for Life ♦

My understanding of the history was that Arabs were not displaced by the creation of the Jewish state. Israel does not ban Arabs from living there (currently 20% of Israelis are Muslim Arabs), and when Israel was created its creation did not displace any Arabs. Yes, there were many Arab refugees from Israel after it was created, but their leaving was not caused by the creation of the Jewish state. Rather the Arab refugees are directly attributable to a civil war that broke out when the UN adopted a resolution urging the creation of Israel--a civil war that was begun by Arabs who were upset with the resolution and thus started attacking Jews. The Arab refugees who were "displaced" were displaced by the war, not by the creation of the Jewish state. If the civil war had not been started, presumably no Arabs would have had to leave Israel (although some might have left voluntarily rather than stay in a Jewish state).

As for Israel "occupying their land", the Palestinians as a whole cannot claim ownership of anything. Only individuals own land, not a whole ethnic group. To the extent that any individual Palestinians had their property rights violated, then they should have a legal redress. See my answer here for a discussion of whether Palestinians rights were violated by Jewish settlers. If it can be proved that someone owned a piece of property and that it was improperly taken away from them by force, then the person should either be able to have the property returned or be otherwise compensated--the proper redress would be depend on the facts of the case, ensuring that all interested parties (including innocent third parties who may have subsequently purchased the property) have their rights protected.

As for "what objective facts of reality would sanction the displacement of indigenous people from the land they inhabit", this is not a clear question. "Displacement" is a slippery word, which might encompass both rights violations (e.g., expulsion by means of force), and non-rights violations (e.g., people leaving because they don't like the new neighbors). Further "the land they inhabit" is also slippery--are we talking about specific land that an individual owns, land that is being temporarily occupied by people (but not necessarily owned by anyone), or an entire region that is claimed by an entire tribe or ethnic group (which would be an invalid collective-rights claim). Obviously, if a settler violates an individual indigenous person's rights by forcibly taking property the individual indigenous person owns, that is wrong. However, the indigenous people as a whole cannot claim an entire region to themselves, and if a settler simply moves into that region and occupies un-owned land, then there has been no rights violation.

answered Oct 08 '14 at 11:27

ericmaughan43's gravatar image

ericmaughan43 ♦

edited Oct 08 '14 at 11:52

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Asked: Jul 31 '14 at 03:31

Seen: 1,538 times

Last updated: Oct 08 '14 at 11:52