Thursday, July 29, 2010

Israel Compiling Evidence For Compensating Refugees (Updated: Arab Response)

Actually, while there are Arab organizations doing exactly that for Arabs who claim to have been forced to leave in 1948, the Israeli government has officially started to compile information for over 1 million Jews who were forced to leave Arab countries
A new department set up by Ministry of Pensioners Affairs to manage the legal claims of Israeli Jews of Middle Eastern descent who lost their property when they left countries throughout the region has begun collecting information.

The office will help identify, locate and seek compensation for the assets of the more than one million Jews who came to Israel from Iran, Iraq, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon and Syria.

The initiative follows a law approved earlier this year by the Knesset requiring the compensation of Jews from Arab countries and Iran to be included in any peace negotiations.

...Following the establishment of the state, most Muslim states declared or supported war against Israel, and the status of Jews in these countries became threatened.

According to estimates by the United Nations and a number of civil society organizations, during Israel’s first decade about 265,000 Jews left Morocco, 140,000 left Algeria, 135,000 left Iraq, 120,000 left Iran, 103,000 left Tunisia, 75,000 left Egypt, 63,000 left what is now Yemen, 38,000 left Libya, 30,000 left Syria and 5,000 left Lebanon. More than half a million additional Jews have left these countries since.
As history has shown, Jews have done somewhat better job finding homes for their refugees than what the Arabs have been able willing to.

UPDATE: Yedioth Aharonot ran this story, and also covered the response to it in the Arab world:
...The Yedioth article was widely run in a number of newspapers and was cited in many Arab websites. Among the news outlets that ran the article are: Egypt's al-Akhbar, the Palestinian News Agency, the website Syria News, and Egyptian el-Fagr, and others.

"The media coverage throughout the Arab world proves that the citizens of the Arab countries are also aware of the injustice done to Jews from Arab and Islamic countries," said Deputy Minister Nass.
One Arab country has already refused to compensate Jews who fled:
The article published in Yedioth Ahronoth covering the Ministry of Pensioners' Affairs initiative to sue Arab states for the restitution of property and assets left behind by Jews fleeing the countries to Israel has resonated in the Arab world. Algeria, in particular, has said that it will not honor a request for restitution.
When you think about it, if the Arab world were to actually agree to compensate Jews who were forced to flee Arab lands and leave their property behind--if the Arab world were to agree to do that, it would raise all kinds of questions about the Arabs they deserted to living under the UNRWA.

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