The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
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.
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On his shloshim, I want to discuss a term I’ve heard countless times about Rav Aharon: Gedol HaDor
After obsequious claims of devotion to Israel, Obama took to criticizing Israel on peace process
Mr. Obama, Israeli voters have democratically chosen to apply Israeli sovereignty over Judea&Samaria
Ronen Shamir’s just the latest tenured Leftist convicted of sexual misconduct with his own student
NY Times precious front page ink is only reserved for portrayals of Israel as the aggressor.
Although I loved law school, I doubted myself: Who would come to me, a chassidish woman lawyer?
American Jews who go gaga for Obama are first and foremost “Liberals of the Mosaic Persuasion”
“Illinois is the first state to take concrete, legally binding action against the BDS campaign”
Many books have supported the preferability- not to be confused with desirability- of the status quo
Consider the Pope’s desperation, reading daily reports of the slaughter of Christians by Muslims
The contrast between a Dem pretending to love Israel & a Dem who truly loves Israel is CRYSTAL CLEAR
Pentecost, derived from the Greek word for 50, is celebrated 50 days after Easter.
U.S and European demands for the creation of a Palestinian State in the West Bank is world hypocrisy.
We take a whole person approach, giving our people assistance with whatever they need.
“Let’s get something straight so we don’t kid each other…[the Iranians] already have paved a path to a bomb’s worth of material,” said Mr. Biden. “Iran could get there now if they walked away in two to three months without a deal.”
The president is unwilling to cede any of what he considers his exclusive powers in the area of foreign policy and has struggled mightily to keep the Senate away from any role in the kind of deal to be negotiated.
A committed Religious Zionist, he was a sought-after adviser on Zionist affairs around the world.
More important, Mr. Obama is simply acceding to Iran’s position on the timing of the lifting of sanctions.
For our community, Mrs. Clinton’s foreign policy record will doubtless attract the most attention. And it is a most interesting one.
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