In this rather long and wide-ranging Times of Israel blogpost, Dov Ivry has some very interesting things to say about the Jewish refugee problem and how it should be solved. He reminds us that the pro-Nazi Mufti of Jerusalem conceived a final solution for Jews in Arab lands. Appeasement of Arab claims will only bring forth the 'Fourth Reich'.
The whole question of refugees falls under Resolution 242 of the United Nation which states that the sides will resolve the refugee problem: both Jewish and Arab refugees. With Oslo the refugee issue was put on the table. That means any claims from Arabs, who are seeking lost property, have to be dealt within the framework of the settlement on the refugee issue. That’s the answer to the second part of this.
Of course as with everything else no progress has been made on the refugee issue and the fault lies entirely with the Arabs. There were 850,000 Jews stripped of everything run out of 10 Arab countries. Arabs who fled the fighting in Israel numbered upwards of 500,000. The Jews lost billions in property; some say $100 billion in today’s money — $21 billion alone in one neighborhood of Cairo. The Arab losses would not come to half of that. Israel, with very little resources, took care of its own. The Arabs, with money to burn from oil, put its refugees on the dole and the let UN take care of them on other people’s money. That’s old news.
The problem is this. Never in history since the dawn of time has a refugee been able to pass his status to the next generation. What normally happens is that a person moves from point A to point B where offspring is born. The offspring belongs to the state at point B; what status they give him has got nothing with the original state at point A. Some countries permit expats to pass on their citizenship to their children; some don’t. But refugees?
What the Palestinians have done is tried, and this is also a con, to pass refugee status down to the third and fourth generations. Now they are claiming some crazy figure of 5 million refugees and want Israel to accept them all under a “law of return.” That foolishness even more than the status of Jerusalem apparently was the straw that broke the back at the Camp David talks.
There are two ways to resolve the refugee problem. If they have 5 million refugees, then our side must have 7 million refugees by their definition – that would be probably include most of the Sephardi and Yemenite Jews in the world save those who were domiciled in Europe or elsewhere when the expulsions occurred. Israel is not going to allow 5 million people to swarm into its land nor would Russia or Argentina or anyone else so there has to be a financial settlement. Since the difference in value in property is $50 billion, according to some estimates, let the Arabs pay up and we’ll call the refugee problem fixed.
The other way to solve this is probably what is going to happen. Even those who were babies among the actual genuine refugees are in their mid 60s today so in another 10 or 20 years there just won’t be any refugees. Time will inter the problem. Or as Clinton once suggested, come up with a fund. If it is limited to actual refugees, it would be a good idea.
But if the Arabs want to be crazy then Israel has the right to charge interest on that $50 billion owned to the 7 million Jewish refugees, because once the Oslo talks started that constituted an admission by the Arabs that as per Resolution 242 there was a Jewish refugee problem and they were obliged to address it. Had they plunked down $50 billion the same day that would have been the end of it. But meanwhile that money is being used to bottle Coca-Cola in Egypt, growing crops, and for investments; it is not standing idle. They have to pay interest. In another few years they will owe us $100 billion and it will grow down through the ages.