Ghadafi's Generosity

Ghadafi is showing his generosity. Out of the goodness of his heart, he is offering the Jews compensation for what was forcibly taken from them and was rightfully theirs in the first place.

Gary Fitleberg

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Ghadafi is showing his generosity. Out of the goodness of his heart, he is offering the Jews compensation for what was forcibly taken from them and was rightfully theirs in the first place.

Muammar Ghadafi promised last month to compensate Jews who were forced out of Libya and whose properties were confiscated after his revolution and rise to rule in 1969.

"Any Jew whose home had been taken away has to be compensated or given his home back on the condition that he had not taken away the home of a Palestinian in Palestine," Reuters reported Ghadafi as saying.

There are always conditions and distinctions with cheaters, liars and manipulators.

"We have to separate between the Jews and Zionism; therefore, the Jews who were in Libya and whose properties were unjustly confiscated should be compensated... but those Jews who seized properties from Palestinians in Israel do not deserve compensation," he said. Ghadafi was speaking at a ceremony to mark the 35th anniversary of his revolution.

Hundreds of thousands of Jews were forced to leave their homes in Arab countries in the wake of Israel's War of Independence in 1948. Arab leaders have never responded to Jewish demands for compensation for lost property and assets. Ghadafi did not specify how much compensation former Libyan Jews could expect.

No one speaks of this "Forgotten Exodus" and "Right of Return" in all the peace negotiations, but rather the focus is on a fictitious "right of return" for a fictitious "Palestinian" people to a fictitious "Palestine". In reality and truth, the "Palestinians" are Arabs displaced from their homes in neighboring Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria who emigrated no earlier than the 1920s for the sake of economic prosperity to Jewish Palestine, today's Israel.

Ghadafi is no friend of Israel or the Jewish people. He has threatened the Arab League that they were not tough enough on Israel and that, as a result, he would leave the League. Instead, his recent action seems to be part of attempts to consolidate diplomatic and economic gains Ghadafi made since his announcement last December that Libya was abandoning its nuclear weapons programs.

Today, there are no Jews left in Libya. Hitler could not boast the same for today's Germany.

The Jews of Libya had numerous properties in that country, more than the Jews of other Arab states. Members of the Libyan Jewish community still have close ties with the Libyan authorities and are regarded by Tripoli as being a channel to the West and, to a certain extent, also to Israel.

Ghadafi's remarks can be seen as part of his efforts to get Libya re-accepted into the family of nations after years of isolation and economic sanctions. This began last year, when Libya renounced its program for weapons of mass destruction; and later, when Libya paid damages for the downing of a Pan Am plane at Lockerbie, Scotland, as well as for the downing of a French aircraft in the 1980s.

Ghadafi also last month asked the United States to have trust in him. "There is mutual distrust between us for historical reasons," he said. "We must overcome this."

Ghadafi's son, Seif Al-Islam, in a television interview five months ago, also said Libyan Jews could be compensated and that those in Israel should return to Libya because "it is their land, and the land of their ancestors."

This is not the first mention Ghadafi has made of returning Jewish properties. However, he has taken no practical steps to implement this.

Ghadafi's actions will speak louder than his words. Libya must offer the compensation for property rightfully belonging to the former Jewish residents of Libya without any strings attached, conditions or terms.