Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.
For too long, Palestinian claims concerning the number of Arabs displaced from their homes in the course of Israel’s 1948 War of Independence have been accepted with little or no attempt at verification.
Today there are nearly five million official refugees served by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East, known as UNRWA, though according to Daniel Pipes, only about one percent fit the definition of “people whose normal place of residence was Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948, who lost both their homes and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict.”
The other 99 percent, says Dr. Pipes, are descendants of those refugees, or what he calls “fake” refugees. Yet the so-called right of return is widely portrayed in terms of the five million figure and provides the Palestinians with great leverage in any negotiations. Language proposed by Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) for insertion in the 2013 foreign appropriations bill would bring a breath of fresh air on the issue by requiring the U.S. government to confirm just how many Palestinians currently served by UNRWA are actually refugees.
As Pipes notes in an article in National Review, the Kirk amendment requires the State Department to inform Congress about the use of the annual $240 million U.S. donation to UNRWA for servicing Palestinian “refugees.” Sen. Kirk has said that Congress has to be told how many Palestinians qualify as “refugees” and how many are merely descendants of those refugees.
It should be noted that by UNRWA’s own count, the number of Palestinians who describe themselves as refugees has climbed from 750,000 in 1950 to five million today. And as one commentator has observed, “the refugee issue has been an immovable obstacle in round after round of negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians.”
Predictably, the State Department has been less than supportive of the Kirk initiative, with a spokesman confirming that “the U.S. government supports” the principle of recognition of “descendants of refugees as refugees.”
Anyone who can count recognizes the implications of the refugee issue. Even Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas had admitted that asking the Jewish state to repatriate five million Palestinians “would mean the end of Israel.”
The Kirk amendment will not solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But by addressing a significant shibboleth it will diminish important ill-gotten Palestinian leverage, and in that sense represents an important step in the right direction.
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
Polls indicate that the Palestinians are much more against a two state solution than the Israelis.
Turkey and Iran the 2 regional powers surrounding the ISIS conflict gain from a partial ISIS victory
Emigration from Israel is at an all-time low, far lower than immigration to Israel from Europe.
Do you seriously think that as you kidnap our children we should medically treat and help yours?
Sometimes collective action against the heinous acts of the majority is not enough. The world should not only support the blockade of Gaza; it must enforce the dismantling of Hamas.
The Arab Spring has challenged Jordan with the task of gradual reform with regard to its monarchy.
Israel offered Syria the entire Golan Heights, only to find that the Syrians were demanding MORE!
Israeli hasbara too can be described at best as pathetic, at worst non existent.
A ‘good news’ story from the Nepal avalanche disaster to warm your heart. Take out your Kleenex.
Journalists see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as morality play: Israel=evil; Palestine=innocent
Warsaw Ghetto: At its height, the Nazis walled in some 500,000 Jews within the1.3 square mile area.
While police officers face dangers every day on the job, Jews also face danger in their daily lives.
Carter developed a fondness for Arafat believing “they were both ordained to be peacemakers by God”
If Hamas is ISIS, the world asks, why didn’t Israel destroy it given justification and opportunity?
That key is the disarming of Hamas and the demilitarization of Gaza – as the U.S., EU, and others agreed to in principle at the end of Operation Protective Edge.
Given the vitality of Hamas, Israel can hardly rely on the commitments, even if sincere, of PA President Mahmoud Abbas for its security.
Is the president oblivious to polls saddling him with some of the lowest presidential popularity rankings in recent history?
There is not even a hint of recognition that Hamas deliberately fires rockets at civilian targets in Israel while storing arms and rocket launchers among its own civilians in Gaza.
No one with any sanity would dream of rationalizing or justifying the depredations perpetrated on the Arab world by ISIS.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/counting-palestinian-refugees/2012/05/31/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: