Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Arab media noticing Israel's Jewish refugees

Al Quds quotes an Israeli Foreign Ministry report from last month about Jewish immigrants from Arab countries:

Up until the present day, an injustice was done to the Jewish refugees from Arab and Muslim countries. Their property rights and their historic justice were abandoned.

During various efforts and talks in pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians, negotiators have overlooked an important element pertaining to the Arab-Israeli conflict - the uprooting of around 850,000 Jews living in Arab nations, the loss of their assets and property, and the difficulties they underwent upon migrating to Israel and their absorption.
But the part they highlighted was this part:
Close to half of Israel's Jewish citizen's today, including their descendents, came from Arab countries.
This is a remarkable statistic.

The MFA's point:
There should be a joint solution between the Arab countries and the international community in order to provide compensation for both Palestinian and Jewish refugees. In order to achieve this goal an international fund will be created that will be based on President Clinton's suggestion from 2000 and the Congress resolution 185 from 2008 in which Israel will also take part, even only in a symbolic way.

This fund will also compensate the countries that had already been working on absorbing and rehabilitating refugees; amongst others Jordan and Israel (retroactively) and perhaps Lebanon if it is willing to rehabilitate the descendants of Palestinian refugees in its territory. Here we should emphasize that the basis for compensation will be the value of assets of the refugees at the time, which according to research was much greater on the Jewish side than on the Palestinian side.

The fund will also deal with the issue of Jewish property that is still in the hands of Arab and Muslim countries, however the so-called Right of Return will not be relevant as the Jews are not interested in returning to the places from which they were deported from.

The State of Israel will not accept the principle of a Palestinian "right of return" but will prefer to provide compensation by an authorized third party. This demand has historic precedents as in the case of Cyprus.

... The Palestinian refugees will be rehabilitated in their place of residence just as the Jewish refugees were rehabilitated in theirs - Israel. There should be an immediate discontinuation of the perpetuation of the Palestinian refugee issue.
However, there is a reason that the almost throwaway sentence highlighted by Al Quds is critically important.

It completely destroys the Arab narrative that Israel is a colonialist entity.

If half of Israel's citizens are from the Middle East, then Israel is not an artificial European colonialist state as the Arab world likes to define it. Israelis are as likely as not to be descended from Jews who lived in the Middle East for centuries.

Of course, even if 100% of Israel's citizens were European Jews, it would not be colonialist either. But this statistic is a much more visceral argument against every stereotype Arabs try to ascribe to Israel, and it is important to highlight the fact that - even after the massive aliyah of Russian Jews in the 1990s - nearly half of Israeli Jews are native to the region by any definition.