A great solution to the Palestinian refugee problem
Posted by Judy K. Warner on July 18, 2008
A member of the Israeli Knesset (parliament) has suggested that members of the European Union resettle Palestinian refugees within their countries, reports the Jerusalem Post.
Meretz MK Yossi Beilin on Thursday called on European countries to declare how many Palestinian refugees and their descendants they would be willing to absorb as part of any future peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.
“It is important that we know now how many Palestinian refugees [third] countries are willing to absorb, so that when we get to the critical moment [of a peace agreement] we will be prepared for such an eventuality, and be able to carry it out,” Beilin said in an interview with The Jerusalem Post.
The dovish lawmaker made the remarks one day after he told a group of European ambassadors at a closed-door meeting of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that each of their countries needed to decide what their quota would be for absorbing Palestinian refugees and their descendants.
A spokesman for the EU said it was “premature” to respond to such a proposal at this time.
Beilin is described as “dovish.” A “right-wing” member of the Knesset said the issue of the refugees should be dealt with now, not as part of a peace agreement.
“It has been a big mistake not to deal with the issue of the Palestinian refugees,” said [Benny] Elon, who advocates dealing with the issue head-on for humanitarian reasons.
A cornerstone of the hawkish parliamentarian’s recent diplomatic initiative includes dismantling the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the mammoth UN body that deals with Palestinian refugees and their descendants, and resettling the Palestinian refugees into countries outside of Israel, in keeping with long-standing Israeli government policy that an influx of refugees would demographically damage Israel’s character as a Jewish state.
I’m all for Elon’s suggestion to dismantle the UNRWA. At the same time, I think all Israeli government officials, of whatever political persuasion, should join Beilin’s call for a committment by EU countries. Most of these countries frequently indulge in moral grandstanding about the Palestinians, while they vilify Israel. Let’s see how many are willing to take in these “refugees” who by a large majority support the most horrendous terrorist acts and have voted extremist politicians into power. Or is it only Israel who is supposed to welcome these moral degenerates?
In fact, here’s another idea. Why don’t Berkeley, Ann Arbor, Cambridge Massachusetts, Madison Wisconson and similar communities offer to take some Palestinians?
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