Info Graphic from the Christian Science Monitor.
Filed under Uncategorized
Tagged as israel, palestine, peace talks, settlements
We could also ask why Palestinian Arab terrorism against Israel and its citizens and its hate campaign against Jews and the Jewish state have continued for 20 years against the Oslo Accords.
We could also ask the Palestinian Arabs do they think it was foolish of them to reject three previous offers of a two-state solution dating back to 1937 when they were accepted by the Jews.
We could also ask the Palestinian Arabs why they are dragging their feet in coming to a settlement with the Israelis.
My fear is that when Israel’s pledge to release more than a 100 Palestinian Arabs, including those who have murdered innocent civilians and children, has been fulfilled the Palestinian Authority (PA)will quit the talks and blame it all on the Israelis.
We could also ask why these killers are being feted as Palestinian Arab heroes on their release from jail and given a lump sum by the PA with the money coming out of Western aid.
Arutz Sheva’s website reports today that Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister MK Zeev Elkin (Likud) said the time had come to solve the issue of high housing prices in Jerusalem which, he argued, was causing Jewish residents to leave the city.
Elkin stated: “In the last few years, the Jewish population has grown in Jerusalem at a greater rate than the Arab rate, but the percentage of Jews in the city has dropped because so many are leaving the city. The reason for this is the high housing prices and the lack of places to work. If we don’t solve these problems, Jerusalem will not remain Jewish.”
Earlier this month Housing Minister, MK Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) decried a freeze on building in the capital he said had been imposed by international pressure. He said there had been no new building authorized in Jerusalem for two years.
Israel’s population now tops eight million and homes have to be built somewhere. The San Remo Treaty granted the future state of Israel the right to settle Jews between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea provided the rights of existing communities were not affected.
There are those who say this irrevocable treaty has been replaced but they cannot name the treaty or when San Remo became defunct.
The website of British Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) contains this article, headlined ‘UNRWA: an obstacle to peace?’ written by Dr. Einat Wilf, a Senior Fellow with the Jewish People Policy Institute. She served as a member of the Knesset for the Labour Party and Independence from 2010 to 2013.
One of the greatest obstacles to peace, and certainly the least acknowledged, is the perpetuation of the Palestinian refugee problem and the inflation of its scale by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). Whereas the actual number of Arabs who could still claim to be refugees as a result of the Arab-Israeli war of 1947-1949 is today no more than several tens of thousands, the number of those registered as refugees is reaching 5 million, with millions more claiming to have that status.
Since the Second World War the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has been responsible for the welfare of all refugees in the world and has assisted in their resettlement and relocation – so that nearly all of them are no longer refugees – with one exception: the Arabs from Palestine. By contrast, UNRWA, the organisation created specifically to handle the Arab refugees from Palestine from the 1947-1949 Arab-Israel war, has collaborated with the Arab refusal to resettle the refugees in the areas where they reside, or to relocate them to third countries. Worse, UNRWA has ensured that the refugee issue only grows larger by automatically registering descendants of the original refugees from the war as refugees themselves in perpetuity, For Palestinians, uniquely, refugeeness is an hereditary trait.
For several decades UNRWA has been engaging in an act of bureaucratic self-aggrandisement, inflating the numbers of those in its care, ensuring the growth of its budget. If the descendants of the Arab refugees from the Arab-Israeli war were treated like all other refugees, including the Jewish ones, they would not quality for refugee status because almost all of them (upward of 80 per cent) are either citizens of a third country, such as Jordan, or they live in the places where they were born and expect to have a future such as Gaza and the West Bank. The Palestinians born in the West Bank and Gaza are not fleeing war and are not seeking refuge. They are considered citizens of Palestine by the Palestinian Authority itself, just like all other Palestinians born in these territories. No other people in the world are registered as refugees while being citizens of another country or territory. Moreover, if the European Union has adopted the policy that Gaza and the West Bank are territories to be allocated to Palestine – and some EU countries already recognise Palestine as a state – then it makes no sense for it to argue that people who were born and are living in Palestine are refugees from… Palestine.
The remaining 20 per cent of the descendents, who are not Jordanian citizens or citizens of the Palestinian Authority in Gaza and the West Bank, are inhabitants of Syria and Lebanon who are by law denied the right to citizenship granted to all other Syrians and Lebanese. Yet, UNRWA does nothing to fight for the right of these Lebanese and Syrian-born Arabs to citizenship, collaborating in their discrimination and the perpetuation of their refugee status.
Why does this matter for peace? Because if millions of Arabs who are citizens of Jordan and the Palestinian Authority, or inhabitants of Syria and Lebanon, claim to be refugees from what is today Israel, even though they were never born there and never lived there, and demand that as a result of this refugee status they be given the right to relocate to Israel (‘the right of return’), then the whole basis for peace by means of two states for two people crumbles. If Israel with its 6 million Jews and more than 1.5 million Arabs has to absorb between 5 and 8 million Palestinians then the Jews will be relegated again to living as a minority among those who do not view them as equals; the only country in which the Jews are a majority and can exercise their right to self-determination would be no more.
Even more absurd is that UNRWA is funded by countries who support two states for two peoples. The United States, the EU, Canada, Japan and Australia fund 99 per cent of UNRWA’s annual budget of over $1 billion, whereas the 56 Islamic countries who supposedly grieve for their Palestinian brethren supply only a few million dollars.
If the policy of Western countries towards the Jewish settlements in the West Bank were to take its cue from their policy towards the Palestinian refugees as shaped by UNRWA, it would go as follows: ‘Go ahead Israel, build as many settlements as you want and keep expanding them in perpetuity. We will accept the settlements as a natural expansion of Israel. We will even support the expansion effort financially. Don’t tell the settlers that they will ever need to leave their homes, teach them that it is their legal right to be there. We trust that when the day comes to negotiate peace with the Arab world you will do so in good faith and in a way that guarantees the existence of a sovereign and contiguous Arab state in Gaza and the West Bank.’
As it stands right now the policy of Western countries towards UNRWA is precisely that – it is essentially telling the Arab world: ‘Go ahead and keep inflating the numbers of refugees in perpetuity by registering descendants of refugees as refugees themselves. Register them as refugees from Palestine even though they were born and are living in the Palestinian Authority. Allow them to maintain both a refugee status and citizenship from a third country. Keep telling them that even though they were born in Gaza and Ramallah, they are actually from Ashdod and Ashkelon and can realistically expect to live there soon. Keep them in a discriminated-against state in Syria and Lebanon, where their basic human rights are denied, just so they can keep the conflict alive. We trust that when the day comes to negotiate a final settlement with Israel, you will do so in good faith in a way that guarantees the coherence and existence of a Jewish state.’
If the first policy appears preposterous to Western governments who support peace by means of a two-state solution, then so should the second. If Western countries truly want to remove obstacles on the road to peace they cannot condemn the growth of settlements on one hand and condone the manufactured growth of the number of refugees on the other. Either both the growth of settlements and the inflation in the number of refugees should be treated as obstacles to peace, or neither should be. Moreover, whereas Israel has demonstrated time and again that for peace with Egypt – and for much less than peace in Gaza and the northern West Bank – it will ruthlessly and effectively uproot settlements, the Palestinians have yet to demonstrate that they are willing to take even the smallest steps to give the refugee issue its true and proper proportions.
If the West truly wants to promote a coherent policy that supports a two-state solution and does not favour one side over another, it should use its power as the financial supporter of UNRWA to steer its practices along a more constructive path. The welfare, education and health services provided by UNRWA could continue and even be expanded, but their provision should be based on need, not refugee status.
In Gaza, where there is no Israeli presence and which is clearly part of Palestine, the continued registration of Palestinians living in Palestine as refugees should be discontinued. In the West Bank, in the areas under Palestinian Authority control, the funds currently going to UNRWA should go to the Palestinian Authority for the provision of services, while the designation of the citizens of the Palestinian Authority as refugees should also be discontinued. Finally, outside the West Bank and Gaza, UNRWA’s work should be merged with that of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and operate on the same basis as all other refugees in the world, with efforts directed at securing the equal rights of the descendants in Lebanon and Syria where they were born and have lived their entire lives.
A first effort in this direction was taken in 2012 when the US Senate, acting on the initiative of Senator Mark Kirk, introduced an amendment to the budget bill, requesting that UNRWA report ‘on the number of refugees that it services separate from their descendants.’ The US Senate Appropriations Committee asked for nothing more than information and transparency in reporting in return for the 250 million dollars of US taxpayers money that it supplies UNRWA annually. It did not ask for aid to be cut. It did not call for cessation of services to the millions of descendants; it only asked for transparency in numbers. Even though the amendment did not go through, given that the budget bill as a whole did not move forward, the US Senate sent out a powerful message for peace in that the attainment of a two-state solution cannot be congruent with UNRWA’s practice of inflating the number of refugees. And if the EU wants its recent stringent steps against Israeli settlements to be taken as genuine efforts to keep the two-state solution alive as the path to peace, it must pursue policies that address all obstacles to peace.
I’m sure the visitors of this website have noticed the hasbara tactic of totally ignoring the question while posting up some of the stupidest and inane comments possible.
Palestinian Arabs throughout the Gaza Strip are getting calls from the Israeli army warning them against helping Hamas, and suggesting that the terror group cared nothing at all for the well-being of local residents.
A pre-recorded Arabic message passed on to a news agency, told them: “The Israeli army warns you against obeying the orders of the terrorist Hamas or having any contact with it. Know that Hamas is spending millions of dollars on tunnels used for hostile and terrorist acts against the state of Israel. This money should have gone to infrastructure, education and health projects.”
Meanwhile Yuval Diskin, former head of Israel’s internal security, says the stage is set for an “Arab Spring” uprising among the Palestinian Arabs, particularly in Gaza. He maintains they “are realizing that the state they aspire to achieve is growing more distant and understand that the economy is no longer something that they can take comfort in.”
As someone who campaigns for the validity of the 1922 San Remo Treaty, which gives Israel the right to settle Jews anywhere between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea, I see the bullying of the nations against the Jewish state for its legitimate plans to meet the shortage of homes, particularly for young families.
“No country in the world takes orders from other countries where it can build and where it can’t,” says Israeli Housing Minister Uri Ariel. “We will continue to market housing and build in the entire country … This is the right thing at the present time, for Zionism and for the economy.”
The Toronto Transit Commission in Canada has banned proposals for an anti-Israel ad campaign on buses and subways because the “Disappearing Palestine” ads were misleading.
“Our legal opinion,” a spokesman said, “is that there has never been a finding by any international court or tribunal with respect to the illegality of loss of land, and by making that statement, it potentially could cause discrimination or advocate hate towards a specified group, in this case Israelis and/or the Jewish people.”
The official said the ads contained similar language, maps and the line “illegal under international law.”
What the maps did not conveniently show was the nation of Jordan, hived off from nearly 78 per cent of Palestine under the British Mandate. To the best of my knowledge this country has not disappeared. The majority of Jordan’s citizens are Palestinian Arabs.
The League of Nations sanctioned the re-creation of a Jewish state so that persecuted Jews could return to live in safety in the land of their forefathers.
In the past, Jews have agreed to a two-state solution in though it meant a loss of land for them. On each occasion Arabs have rejected the plans.
Tens of thousands of Palestinian Arabs not only rely on jobs in the Jewish settlements, but actually appreciate being able to work for Jewish-owned businesses.
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