Friday, January 31, 2014

Kerry deal 'to compensate Jewish refugees'

 John Kerry (left) with Martin Indyk (photo: Martin Stern)

Update: MK Shimon Oyahon welcomes inclusion of compensation to Jewish refugees in Kerry peace deal framework (Israel National News)

Update to the Update: 'State Department officials cautioned that the process could take longer than a few weeks, and they said the issue of how to treat families of Jewish refugees had not been settled. '(New York Times)

Martin Indyk, lead US envoy in the peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, has reassured US Jewish leaders that Jewish refugees will received compensation under a final peace deal.

The Washington Post reports:

"Indyk also told the group that a final peace treaty could provide for compensation to Jews forced out of Arab countries after the founding of Israel in 1948. That would give descendants of those refugees living in Israel a potential financial stake* in a deal long assumed to also provide compensation for Arabs who left land in what is now Israel."

 Yediot Aharonot (Hebrew) reports: 

"The framework agreement will address  Palestinian refugee compensation, but for the first time there was also talk of compensation to Jewish refugees from Arab countries."

The reports corroborate an article in the Jerusalem Post where senior Palestinian official Yousef Abed Rabbo talks of a solution to the refugees problem - not  Palestinian refugees specifically.

Unconfirmed sources quote Indyk as stating that the US does believe that Jewish refugee compensation ought to be addressed, although the Palestinians could not be held responsible for compensating Jewish refugees.

However,  Israeli chief negotiator Tzipi Livni is reported as still firmly refusing to raise the Jewish refugee issue. The issue has been discussed notwithstanding.

Her reticence, exposed by Point of No Return, has caused concern among advocates for Jewish refugees and had led to MK Nissim Zeev tabling a motion to create a committee to monitor the implementation of a 2010 Knesset law. That law requires that compensation for Jewish refugees be on the peace agenda.

The impetus for the Knesset law came from the US. In 2008 the US Congress passed a resolution insisting that whenever Palestinian refugee rights are discussed, Jewish refugee rights must also be discussed.

*My comment: The expression 'potential financial stake' is an interesting one and suggests that the US is seeking to provide a financial incentive to the sector of the Israeli electorate most mistrustful of a peace deal - Jews from Arab and Muslim countries. However, compensation without Arab recognition of the Jewish refugee 'narrative' may not be enough. 

Report suggests Jewish refugees under discussion


Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

it is good that the Jewish refugee issue has been recognized. However, I would not trust anybody in the US White House or State Department. There is a lot wrong with this Kerry plan from several points of view.

Empress Trudy said...

Oh please. Kerry's 'solution' is to ask those Arab nations to pony up the money themselves in the name of good will and when they laugh him out of the room he'll declare another round of pressure on the Jews.

Sylvia said...

The Jewish refugee issue is in the same place it has been for years: it's part of the old Clinton proposal. It would have been odd for the Americans who are following the Clinton plan not to put it on the table this time around.
Now it's up to the parties to accept or reject it.

Heather said...

Why do I suspect this will turn out like a US class action suit wherein the lawyers/negotiators get the lions share of any proceeds, any claimants receive a pittance, and the issues is marked "resolved"?

Sylvia said...

What I think will happen - if there is a deal - is that the Palestinians will get most of East Jerusalem and in return they'll utter two words: "Jewish State".

Sylvia said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
malca said...

@Sylvia-- Here is another example of two words. Korean Americans are lobbying for school textbooks in the US State of Virginia to use "East Sea" instead of "Sea of Japan." In the meantime, Japan still cannot bring itself to apologize for enslaving Korean women during WWII.

Sylvia said...

At least they want to give it a neutral name rather than call it the Korean Sea, which could spell trouble down the road.

But it is true that geographic names strengthen both sense of ownership and acceptability of ownership.

Look at the Persian/Arabian Gulf. Which is it really? Those of us who grew up learning about the Golfe Persique in geography attribute it to Iran, just because that's the name it goes by. And only because it is widely known by that name Iran claims it today.

Same with the name "Arab" appended to the names of a few countries or regions. Only now do some of the countries realize that kids growing up in the world today believe that Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon to name just a few "belong" to Arabia or are part of it and many are seeking to get rid of the name. There is a drive at parliamentary level, for example, to drop the word Arab from the name "Union du Maghreb Arabe".

So as far as "Jewish State", personally I prefer Hebrew State since that's what it used to be called, but I can understand and appreciate the importance of having "Jewish State" accepted and widely used.