Tuesday, February 16, 2010

'Justice cannot be one-sided': Knesset speaker

The Arab refugee problem was smaller than the Jewish problem, Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin said at yesterday's prestigious reception to mark the passage of the bill safeguarding the rights of Jewish refugees, reports Israel national News. Others attending were U.S. Congressman Mr. Eliot Engel, executive director of Justice for Jews from Arab countries Stanley Urman, Former justice minister and member of the Canadian Parliament Prof. Irwin Cotler, former minister Mr Rafi Eitan, Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Rabbi Eli Yishai, Minister Benny Begin, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, Deputy Finance Minister Rabbi Yitzhak Cohen, and Immigration and Absorption Committee chairman Lia Shemtov, and representatives of organisations of Jews from Arab countries.

“While Israel is constantly under attack around the world,” Rivlin said, “regarding its approach to the Palestinians and the Palestinian refugees, the world must remember that historic justice cannot be allowed to be selective and one-sided. The fact is that since 1948, Israel has absorbed over a half-million Jewish refugees – and they, too, have rights and demands and financial claims.”

“This matter must be an inseparable part of all negotiations regarding the future of this region,” Rivlin said.

“Even if we accept the higher estimates regarding the number of [Arab] refugees,” Rivlin noted, “which range from a half-million to one million – the number of Jews living in northern Africa and the Middle East before 1948 was more than one million… The same is true with the monetary demands: If the [Arab] refugees’ property was estimated at $4 billion in today’s money, the property of the Jewish refugees is estimated at $6 billion.”

“Historic justice demands its own,” Rivlin continued. “We will not be able to ignore the thousands of Jewish refugees as if they never existed.

Read article in full

Hiller Fender has this second report in Israel National News:(with thanks: Lily)

In April 2008, the U.S. Congress approved Resolution 185, supporting rights for Jews from Arab countries and stating that whatever rights are granted to Palestinian refugees in any future Israeli-Arab accord must be similarly accorded to Jewish refugees from Arab countries.

"We should have acted even before the US Congress," MK Ze'ev said after the conference, "but certainly now that the U.S. has recognized that the Jews and Arabs must be treated the same, certainly we should recognize that the Jews were robbed and were banished from their homes."

"In Damascus, we left all our property behind, including public and private property," one woman said at the conference. Another woman from Morocco said that the Arabs stole "our jewelry from off our necks," and another from Egypt said, “My grandfather owned two six-story buildings, and he wasn’t allowed to take a thing; we had to leave with just the clothes on our backs…”

Writing in a 2007 report published by the JJAC, Minister Cotler explained, "Let there be no doubt about it: Where there is no remembrance, there is no truth; where there is no truth, there will be no justice; where there is no justice, there will be no reconciliation; and where there is no reconciliation, there will be no peace.”

Read article in full

1 comment:

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

The link below should lead to a web page on which you can click over the photographic image of the 16 February issue of Maqor Rishon [the daily edtion]. When you enter the photographic reproduction of the 2-16-2010 issue, scroll down to page six for a report in Hebrew on the conference at the Knesset on rights of Jews from Arab lands. The title of the report is:
זכות השיבה" לפליטים היהודים"