Friday, August 24, 2012

Arab Media Furious Over Compensation For Jewish Refugees From Arab States

A Jewish immigrant, Ein Shemer immigrant's
 camp (1/9/1950). Credit: Facts of Israel
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon has been pushing a plan for a September summit at the UN to address the issue of Jewish refugees from Arab countries. In particular, the summit would bring up the question of property rights of those Jewish refugees who were forced to flee Arab countries following the re-establishment of Israel. Many see the issue of Jewish refugees from Arab countries as a bargaining chip to counter the Palestinian Arab demand for refugee compensation.

The Arab press has attacked the idea of compensating Jewish refugees:

  • Sky News' Arabia channel aired a feature on the issue under the headline: "Israel's campaign for property compensation for Jews from Arab countries." It included a senior official at the Foreign Ministry claiming UN Security Council Resolution 242 focused on justice for refugees in general, and nor specifically Palestinian or Arab refugees.

  • The Sky News reporter noted the "Israeli campaign comes at a time when Palestinians are trying to achieve observer status in the UN."

  • According to Hanna Issa, a Palestinian expert on International Law: "The minute Israel felt there was a decision pressuring it to recognize Palestinian rights, it raised the Jewish problem at an international level so that the matter of Palestinian refugees would be put at the same level as the matter of Jewish refuges, but the issue is baseless."

  • Hamad al-Muad who has written dozens of articles and books on Israel and the right of return said in an interview that "Palestinian refugees are not responsible for the property of Jews from Arab countries. They didn't take control of it and the issues of Palestinian property and Jewish property cannot be exchanged."

  • al-Muad also claimed "Israel is trying to claim that Arab countries expelled Jews so they are responsible for compensating them for their lost property. The reality shows that Israel was the one encouraging them to emigrate and created gangs and movements in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt and Morocco to ease Jewish immigration."
The only one of the above comments remotely relevant is the last claim, a repetition of an old canard to which Ayalon has responded:
"There is no basis to this fallacious claim that Jewish organizations pressured refugees into leaving, and even if they did do so, it does not mean they (the Jews) should have been forced to leave everything behind while having their citizenship revoked and being murdered in pogroms."
Read the whole thing.

Among the Arab countries that seem to be taking notice are Egypt and Algeria. Egypt claims that following the 1971 revolution, Jewish property now belongs to the state. An Algerian newspaper writes that it seems Israel really might demand compensation for Jewish refugees.

Let's hope Algeria is right.

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