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Monday, November 10, 2008

EU MP's may support 'resettlement' of 'Palestinian refugees'

Well, maybe the Messiah has come after all.

A group of European parliamentarians met in Brussels over the weekend to deal with the politically charged question of whether UNRWA money should be used to 'resettle' 'Palestinian refugees' outside the Arab world.
A gathering of hundreds of European parliamentarians who support Israel concluded over the weekend in Paris with a politically loaded discussion on the rehabilitation of Palestinian refugees - one of the most sensitive issues facing Israeli and Palestinian negotiators.

The debate, part of a conference sponsored by the Brussels-based European Friends of Israel, came amid a groundswell of parliamentary activity around the world, including in the US and Canada, to reroute funding from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the mammoth UN body that deals with Palestinian refugees and their descendants, towards the resettlement of some of the refugees and their descendants in third countries.

The session, which was hosted by the Israel Allies Caucus Foundation, the international arm of the Knesset's Christian Allies Caucus, included addresses by European parliamentarians as well as by MK Benny Elon of the National Union-National Religious Party and MK Amira Dotan of Kadima. The two co-chair a new Knesset caucus on the rehabilitation of Palestinian refugees.
For those who are unaware, 'Palestinian refugees' are treated differently than any other group of refugees that has existed in the modern era. And that's why they still exist more than sixty years after the State of Israel was founded.
Much of the focus at Friday's discussion centered on the difference between UNRWA and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR), the main UN body that handles all other refugees around the world.

While UNRWA's 25,000-strong almost exclusively Palestinian staff care for 4.5 million Palestinian refugees and their descendants, the UNHCR employs a staff of around 6,300 people to help nearly 33 million people in more than 110 countries. [You think maybe UNRWA is perpetuated to give jobs to 'Palestinians'? That's not the only reason, but it's something that the world ought to look into. CiJ]

The event also dwelt on UNRWA's definition of Palestinian refugees, which includes not only the refugees themselves, but also their descendants, which critics say only serves to perpetuate the refugee crisis.

"We are asking why the UNHCR has the mandate to solve the problem of refugees and UNRWA does not," Elon said. "There are cynical political reasons to maintain the status of the refugees."

UNRWA has repeatedly said that the issue of Palestinian refugees can only be resolved in the context of a future peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.
And here's the hope and change?
UNRWA concedes that the size of the refugee problem is made bigger - but not prolonged - by the UN's inclusion of the descendants of the Palestinian refugees, but insists that this is how the UN deals with refugees all over the world.

"We can learn from the UNHCR how to shift power energies and money to find tools that are already there," said Dotan, who praised UNRWA's humanitarian and educational work for the Palestinians in her address, but suggested following the success of UNHCR.

She noted that UNRWA Commissioner-General Karen AbuZayd is slated to address the Knesset caucus, after a summer event was postponed due to scheduling conflicts.

"The root of the problem is that these people are refugees because those who are dealing in the industry of hate are misusing them," said Paulo Casaca, a member of the European Parliament from Portugal.

"They are kept on a hate-machine," he said. "Instead of helping the refugees we are helping those who want to [use] the refugees against the State of Israel," he said.

"The EU has a moral obligation to examine the root of the problem instead of throwing money at the problem, as we have in the past," said Hannu Takkula, a member of the European Parliament from Finland.

"We have to start this discussion, because the system is not working," he added. "The problem for many is a lack of information."
Let's hope this hope and change doesn't prove to be illusory.


At 9:01 AM, Blogger Niko said...

I know Hannu Takkula. He is moral man and friend of Israel. I have huge respect for him.

At 11:04 AM, Blogger Findalis said...

I have always been a supporter of the 2 state solution. The PalArabs can have Michigan and New Jersey. The Jewish People can have New York, Illinois, Florida, California and Israel.

In my solution, if the PalArabs then start lobbying rockets at their neighbors, the US government would have the right to wipe them out. Just like they did to the Indians.

At 12:09 PM, Blogger DemoCaster said...

I just came from a talk by Caroline Glick in America. She claims that the Israeli public isn't receiving the center-right wing narrative of Jihad against Israel because of the lack of a Hebrew language, news blogosphere. Or what little there is, doesn't have a frame of reference for a Zionist perspective. What is the true situation? The Nefesh Blog gathering looked pretty crowded to me. All English?

At 3:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wishful thinking.

At 5:04 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


The Nefesh b'Nefesh bloggers convention was nearly all (if not all) English speaking bloggers. Caroline is 100% right. My Hebrew is good enough to understand a blog written in Hebrew but not really good enough to write one. And there is no comparison between my Hebrew typing and my English typing. I suspect that many Anglo bloggers are in the same situation.

At 5:04 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


P.S. Where did she speak? I'm in Boston for another ten days or so, and would love to hear her speak.

At 7:16 PM, Blogger DemoCaster said...

She's in San Diego today. Maybe email her for schedule? Do you know & connect with Augean Stables / Second Draft's Richard Landes at B.U.?

At 7:22 PM, Blogger DemoCaster said...

Is there really no political Hebrew blogosphere? Why not? What can be done?

At 7:33 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


Richard Landes is a friend of a friend (actually the father of a friend of a friend) and spends most of his time in Israel as I understand it.

Yes, there really is no Hebrew speaking blogosphere to speak of. There are chat rooms. I think Israelis are afraid of blowing their anonymity by posting online. You really can be fired or have your career impeded for political reasons in Israel.

I once had a run-in with a boss in the late 90's because I had a Traveler's Prayer from Arutz Sheva (now Israel National News) up in my car. The Traveler's Prayer is about as innocuous as you can get and I had it on a sticker on my glove compartment. Arutz Sheva was widely seen by the Left as having 'incited' Rabin's assassination. That boss was miserable to me ever after and I was gone from that job within about a year.

At 3:00 AM, Blogger Freedom Fighter said...

Yo Carl..
I admit I get a certain grim delight out of the idea of resettling these 'refugees' outside the Arab world, but why should these creeps get a pass?

These people, just like the almost 1 million Jews ethnically cleansed from the Arab world after 1948 are refugees because of a war the Arabs caused.

With all the money they've stolen since they expropriated millions of dollars of American property by 'nationalizing' an oil infrastructure they could never have built for themselves and created OPEC, why can't they be expected to clean up their own garbage?

I'm just sayin'..

At 3:55 AM, Blogger DemoCaster said...

Not to mention the cultural hasbara they'd achieve by evangelizing anti-Zionism/Semitism among their welcoming European neighbors.

If you think Jew-hatred simmers in Europe now without them (50% of anti-Jewish hate crimes are by Muslims), just wait til the brainwashed militant Islamist cancer cells metastisize throughout the European body.

Until they have been resocialized with a verifiable respect for a safe Israel, better keep them quarantined.

At 5:18 AM, Blogger Lydia McGrew said...

But aren't most Israelis (Jewish Israelis anyway, which is the only set I'm concerned about here) fully literate in English? Why should it matter if there is no Hebrew blogosphere so long as there is an English blogosphere and they have access to it and can participate in it, anonymously or under pseudonyms if necessary?


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