Refugee Resettlement Watch

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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15 Responses to “A great solution to the Palestinian refugee problem”

  1. […] a bill to bring more Iraqis to the USFather kills daughter in Georgia–was it an honor killing?A great solution to the Palestinian refugee problem « Brian Mosely, Shelbyville reporter, receives award for […]

  2. acorcoran said

    Here is a Lebanese blogger who says no to Palestinian refugee resettlement in that country—go to Great Britain he says: http://lebanoniznogood.blogspot.com/2008/07/great-britain-wants-palestinian.html

  3. acorcoran said

    See this additional commentary on the subject here: http://www.lompocrecord.com/articles/2008/07/12/opinion/071308b.txt

  4. […] the first ‘gem’, there is a report that Yossi Beilin, a Member of the extreme leftist Meretz party in […]

  5. judyw said

    The reason Palestinian “resettlement” is connected with a peace agreement is that the Palestinian policy is the destruction of Israel. Now would you agree to the creation of a country next to yours that is sworn to destroy you? In negotiations for peace agreements in the past, Arafat claimed to the West that he had removed the clause about the destruction of Israel from Palestinian policy, but he told the Arabs that he had not removed it and it still stood. When the Palestinians decide they truly want peace they can have it in an instant, and their own country, too. They prefer terrorism. I don’t think the majority of the Palestinian people feel this way now, but they don’t have any say in things; and since they elected the terrorist group Hamas to lead them they are not likely to get peace any time soon.

  6. Mark said

    Well, the Israeli Knesset member quoted above referred to the “Palestinian refugees”, so I wasn’t able to infer that he was talking about one group of Palestinian refugees (in the West bank) but not another (those in or leaving Iraq). What I don’t get is why he would connect the need for Palestinian “resettlement” with some future peace agreement. A future peace agreement would no doubt result in the simultaneous founding of a Palestinian state; therefore resettlement would no longer be needed. Palestinians all over the Middle East would head back to a new Palestinian state.

  7. judyw said

    Mark, I think we’re at cross purposes. This post was about the Palestinian “refugees,” the descendants of the Arabs who left Israel in 1948 and who live in the West Bank and Gaza. You’re talking about the Palestinian refugees — the actual refugees who were living in Iraq, who left because they were so unpopular among their fellow Iraqis after Saddam fell. They can go back to the West Bank, as you say, or Gaza. We frequently post about the “refugees” so I assumed you knew what the post was about. As I say, just search for our posts on Israel in our search function.

  8. Mark said

    The “camps” I had referred to were the refugee camps on the Iraq, Syria border.

  9. Mark said

    The Knesset member’s opinion referenced above suggests resettlement to western nations. So the reasonable assumption for the average readier without extensive knowledge of the long and convoluted Israeli/Palestinian conflict is that resettlement to Western countries is a good solution. How would we get that it’s supposed to be a form of punishment to European countries for not agreeing with Israel? I admit I don’t have extensive knowledge on this particular refugee issue, but a conversation here is all about learning through conversation I had assumed. I believe I asked earlier where these specific Palestinian refugees from Iraq had come from – the current Israel, the West Bank, Gaza strip, all of the above? No one answered, so I still don’t know. It’s sort of an important piece of information because refugees are returned to homelands if possible. If not, e.g. Israel refuses to take Palestinian’s could the Palestinian refugees return to the West Bank? Are the Israelis refusing that as well? You tell me. I don’t see how that could be valid since Israel doesn’t seem to have any intention of annexing the West Bank. Most likely the West Bank will become a Palestinian state in the future won’t it?

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  11. judyw said

    Mark,

    Do you actually know anything about the Palestinian situation? Your remarks do not indicate that you do.

    The Palestinians live in Gaza and the West Bank. They do not live in actual “camps” although many like to refer to them as such to make their plight seem worse than it is. Mostly they live in towns. They have been offered their own state, but their leadership (Yasser Arafat) preferred to make up reasons not to accept this offer because he preferred to keep killing Israelis and keep the Palestinians in an uproar hoping they would destroy Israel.

    They should have been taken in by neighboring Arab states long ago. But the Arabs pressured the United Nations to set up a separate refugee agency for the Palestinians whose aim was not to resettle them but to keep them in camps forever, or pending the destruction of Israel. Therefore there has been no pressure for any country to take them in. They are simply used as a political weapon against Israel.

    For these political reasons,the most rational solutions to the Palestinian refugee problem cannot be implemented. The European nations have swallowed the Arab propaganda whole, and seem to think it would be a good idea for Israel to take them all in, or to make a single state in which Arabs would be a majority. Yossi Beilin’s challenge to the European nations is a way of pointing out this hypocrisy: the European nations certainly don’t want these people, but they expect Israel to take them in, guaranteeing its own destruction.

    I suggest you use our search function and put in “Israel.” If you read some of the posts that come up you will have a much better idea of what the situation is.

  12. Mark said

    If they were born in a refugee camp, and the claim is that they have therefore lost any right to their homeland, then they are not from anywhere. Refugee camps are generally placed out in the middle of nowhere, and no one in them is integrated into the country that camp happens to be in. The community should return to their homeland unless that is not feasible. I assume this website would be all for that since resettlement to the US is never really advocated (many it was advocated once or twice, and for very small numbers of refugees?), or is the new idea to keep all displaced refugees forever in refugee camps? If they can’t go home without being murdered (who do we fear the murderers will be?), then in my humble opinion I think that the richer Arab/Muslim nations should be accepting them, and if not, the US should be asking those same nations at the UN why they are being so irresponsible. Let’s talk to those other potential killers as well.

  13. JSBolton said

    Resettle them in Africa; hostiles like that don’t belong in any half-civilized place even.
    To suggest that they can be ‘settled’ is even an insult. I would rather wish epidemics of lethal disease on people I hate, than palestinian ‘settlements’. Once you know something of a population like that, you will never be able to treat as sincere an adult who speaks of the equality and brotherhood of all mankind. What about the palestinians?

  14. judyw said

    The current Palestinian refugees come from where they are now. There are very few who were born anywhere else, since their ancestors left in 1948. “To return home” is a political statement that has no meaning in reality.

  15. Mark said

    An important piece of missing info here is where the Palestinian refugees came from. Israel? Jordan? Occupied territories? The wisdom of the policy on helping refugees to return home when it is safe is the same reason that all refugees shouldn’t be resettled to third countries. Resettlement should be the last resort when other options are exhausted.

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