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Why the 30,000 Remaining Palestinian Refugees From '48 Morph Into 5 Million

US Politics & Gov't  (tags: America, Obama, Abbas, Palestinians, corruption, dishonesty, ethics, government, lies, Palestinians, politics, propaganda, terrorism, usa, terrorist )

- 1825 days ago -
The Times of Israel reported today that, during his meeting with Barack Obama last Monday, Mahmoud Abbas not only refused to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, but reiterated his refusal to abandon the so-called "right of return" for Palestinian "refu


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Gillian M (218)
Sunday March 23, 2014, 12:14 pm
The Times of Israel reported today that, during his meeting with Barack Obama last Monday, Mahmoud Abbas not only refused to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, but reiterated his refusal to abandon the so-called “right of return” for Palestinian “refugees”.

To understand why Abbas continues playing the “refugee” card, a brief look at how the world’s refugees are treated is necessary.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is the UN agency responsible for aiding all the world’s refugees - “all” the world’s refugees, that is, except for the Palestinians. The tens of millions of actual refugees this agency aids receive initial assistance – which often entails helping to resettle them in a new state – and then they are no longer refugees.

According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) – the UN agency which deals exclusively with Arabs of Palestinian descent – ‘Palestinian refugees‘ are defined as “persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict.” And, the number of Palestinian refugees from the ’48 war who are still alive – out of the initial 711,000 or so – is estimated to be roughly 30,000. However, due to UNRWA’s expansive definition of who qualifies for “refugee” benefits – which includes the children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren of Palestinian Arabs who may have once lived in Historic Palestine – over 5 million Arabs of Palestinian descent are considered “refugees”. This means that 99 percent of their clients are NOT in fact refugees.

Remarkably, under UNRWA’s bizarre rules, even Arabs of Palestinian descent who are citizens of other Arab states – such as Jordan – are still considered “refugees“.

(Additionally, given that there are 30,000 actual Palestinian refugees, and UNRWA has a payroll of 29,000 employees, the ratio of UNRWA employees to actual refugees is nearly 1:1. In contrast, UNHCR, which handles roughly 43 million refugees throughout the world, has a payroll of only 7,685.)

Keep this mind when reading the following passage from Karma Nablusi’s op-ed at ‘Comment is Free’ titled Despite the cruelties heaped on them, Palestinian refugees’ spirit has not broken, March 21:

The only thing heard nowadays about the majority of the Palestinian people – those made refugees in the Nakba of 1948 – is that they must consider themselves and their fate entirely forfeited. Surrendering their right to return to the place they were expelled from – the most basic right every refugee has under international law – is apparently a given.

However, there is no such “right of return” enshrined in international law – and certainly no such right afforded to descendants of refugees.

When Nablusi, Mahmoud Abbas and most Palestinian advocates speak of the so-called ‘right of return‘ in international law for 5 million Palestinians, they’re possible referring to an amorphous passage from the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which says ”No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country”.

Or, more likely, they’re alluding to UN General Assembly Resolution 194 – a non-binding resolution from December 1948 which reads in part:

This Resolution established a Conciliation Commission for Palestine and instructed it to “take steps to assist the Governments, and authorities concerned to achieve a final settlement of all questions outstanding between them.” Paragraph 11 deals with the refugees: “The General Assembly … resolves that the [48] refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.”

Regardless of the proper interpretation of 194 regarding the status of the 30,000 remaining refugees from 1948, there appears to be no serious legal argument which would support the inclusion of the descendants of Palestinian refugees, those who were never Israeli citizens or residents – which, again, constitutes 99 percent of the total Palestinian “refugee” population.

Such an expansive definition would, if applied universally, guarantee the right of millions of descendants of Jewish refugees to ‘return’ to the Arab nations from which they were expelled.

Given that UNRWA and the international community refuses to resettle this population into their host countries in the Middle East where most have lived for generations – and Palestinian leaders won’t allow them into the future state of Palestine - there will likely be no end anytime soon to the ‘refugee crisis’.

As one study projects, if descendants maintain their current status, the number of “refugees” in 2050 will reach 15 million.

If those truly inspired by a desire to reach a two-state deal would honestly grapple with finding a just resolution to the problem of 30,000 Palestinian refugees from the 1948 War, a solution could easily be found.

However, if we fail to challenge the fabricated figure of 5 million, then, even when the last actual Palestinian refugees from ’48 have passed on, Palestinian leaders (and activists provided a forum by sympathetic media groups) will still have an endless supply of ‘refugees’ to bludgeon Israel, and thus stymie a possible peace agreement – all of which helps to explain the position of the Palestinian President at the White House last week.

Gillian M (218)
Sunday March 23, 2014, 12:18 pm
The first link is : TV report: Abbas said ‘no’ to Obama on 3 core peace issues

Rejecting Kerry framework, Palestinian leader reportedly told US president he won’t recognize ‘Jewish Israel,’ abandon ‘right of return,’ or commit to ‘end of conflict’

OOn his trip to Washington this week, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rejected US Secretary of State John Kerry’s framework document for continued peace talks with Israel, and issued “three no’s” on core issues, leaving the negotiations heading for an explosive collapse, an Israeli TV report said Friday.

Abbas “went to the White House and said ‘no’ to Obama,” Channel 2 news reported, quoting unnamed American and Israeli sources.

Specifically, the report said, Abbas rejected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s demand that he recognize Israel as a Jewish state. He also refused to abandon the Palestinian demand for a “right of return” for millions of Palestinians and their descendants — a demand that, if implemented, would drastically alter Israel’s demographic balance and which no conceivable Israeli government would accept. And finally, he refused to commit to an “end of conflict,” under which a peace deal would represent the termination of any further Palestinian demands of Israel.

Israel has indicated that it may not release a fourth and final group of Palestinian prisoners at the end of this month, as agreed to when the current talks began last July, if Abbas does not first agree to extend the talks beyond their scheduled cessation next month. Since Abbas rejected the Kerry framework for extending the talks, the TV report said, the negotiations were now heading for an “explosion.”

Abbas returned on Thursday from the US, having held talks with Obama on Monday, and was met at his Ramallah compound by hundreds of cheering supporters.

“We carried the deposit, and we are guarding the deposit,” Abbas told those supporters somewhat cryptically. “You know all the conditions and circumstances, and I say to you that capitulating is not a possibility.” Abbas did not specify what he meant by the “deposit.”

During Monday’s meeting in Washington, Obama told Abbas that he would have to make tough political decisions and take “risks” for peace, as would Netanyahu. Abbas, for his part, reiterated his rejection of Israel’s demand that its status as a Jewish state be enshrined in a future peace accord, asserting that previous Palestinian recognition of Israel was sufficient.

“Everyone understands the outlines of what a peace deal would look like,” Obama said, describing an agreement that reflected the pre-1967 lines with agreed land swaps.

Sitting next to the president, Abbas spoke through a translator, thanking Obama for the opportunity to come to the White House and for the “economic and political support the US is extending to the Palestinian state so it can stand on its own feet.”

He outlined the Palestinian positions for negotiations, including “working for a solution that is based on international legitimacy and also the borders — the 1967 borders — so that the Palestinians can have their own independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital and so that we can find a fair and lasting solution to the refugee problem.”

On Thursday, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry notified Abbas that it is prepared to apply for full membership in international institutions if Israel fails to complete the fourth and final release of Palestinian prisoners jailed before the signing of the Oslo Accords, scheduled for March 29.

Israel agreed to release 104 such prisoners in four stages over the nine-month negotiating period, in return for a Palestinian commitment not to apply for membership in international bodies.

A number of Israeli cabinet members, including Economy Minister Naftali Bennett and Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon, have publicly opposed the final release, which the Palestinians want to include 14 Israeli citizens, something Israel has rejected.

. (0)
Sunday March 23, 2014, 12:24 pm
How do you negociate peace with such a man?

. (0)
Sunday March 23, 2014, 12:58 pm
You don't and you don't accept the bloated claims of UNWRA either. The fact is that the Palestinian Arabs are of Syrian and Egyptian descent who fled at the urging of Egypt and Jordan and Syria back in 1948. They forfeited their claims by doing so. Possession as they say is 9/10s of the law. Let Gush Katif not be forgotten or the lesson learned from the "palestinian" behavior in destroying something that could have benefitted them for years.
Any UN organization is suspect in my book due to overall malfeasance and misconduct over the years. I feel the same way about many of the so called charitable foundations too. The corporatists are profiting at both ends while increasing global suffering.
BTW I have no time for apologists or other useful idiots regardless of ideology or religion.

Gillian M (218)
Sunday March 23, 2014, 2:16 pm
Michael, the Arabs refused to take any land in Israel before it came into existence thereby negating any claim at all. The Palestinians do not have any legal right, moral or legal, to any land in Israel. The 30,000 Palestinians left alive who may have a claim should be looking at Jordan which is land stolen from Israel and given to Arabs so they would have a better claim there. Gaza should never have come into existence.

Sue Matheson (79)
Sunday March 23, 2014, 3:02 pm

patrica and edw jones (190)
Sunday March 23, 2014, 5:56 pm
Why oh why is Obama still not seeing the writing on the wall? In other words - perhaps he agrees with Abbas and this is just a token gesture on his part?

Stan B (123)
Sunday March 23, 2014, 10:07 pm
The only solution is a one state solution and that's Israel.

Shil O (0)
Monday March 24, 2014, 1:52 am
Negotiate with abbas and his replacement will say it has nothing to do with him
Liars all

David C (80)
Monday March 24, 2014, 1:14 pm
spam flagged and who will be brave, strong and honest enough to realize that people are people and to give each other a chance.....

Monday March 24, 2014, 1:20 pm
Classic taqqiya and kitman - an expert applies his "skill".

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Monday March 24, 2014, 3:09 pm

Why are the peace talks not going anywhere ... except like all the ones before ... in the dust bin of history? A different look ... seems like a repeat of the Lausanne Conference in spring 1949 where the peace talks failed because "of the intransigence of Israel" (see UN Doc of the Conference).


Israel-Palestine talks: the balance sheet so far

US desperate to keep futile peace process show on the road a little longer

By Jonathan Cook in Nazareth

For the first time since the US launched the Middle East peace talks last summer, the Palestinian leadership may be sensing it has a tiny bit of leverage.

Barack Obama met the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, in Washington last week in what Palestinian officials called a “candid and difficult” meeting. The US president hoped to dissuade Abbas from walking away when the original negotiations’ timetable ends in a month.

The US president and his secretary of state, John Kerry, want their much-delayed “framework agreement” to provide the pretext for spinning out the stalled talks for another year. The US outline for peace is now likely to amount to little more than a set of vague, possibly unwritten principles that both sides can assent to.

The last thing the US president needs is for the negotiations to collapse, after Kerry has repeatedly stressed that finding a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is imperative.

The US political cycle means Obama’s Democratic Party is heading this autumn into the Congressional mid-term elections. A humiliating failure in the peace process would add to perceptions of him as a weak leader in the Middle East, following what has been widely presented as his folding in confrontations with Syria and Iran.

Renewed clashes between Israel and the Palestinians in the international arena would also deepen US diplomatic troubles at a time when Washington needs to conserve its energies for continuing negotiations with Iran and dealing with the fallout from its conflict with Russia over Crimea.

Obama therefore seems committed to keeping the peace process show on the road for a while longer, however aware he is of the ultimate futility of the exercise.

In this regard, US interests overlap with those of Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Israel has been the chief beneficiary of the past eight months: diplomatic pressure has largely lifted; Israeli officials have announced an orgy of settlement building in return for releasing a few dozen Palestinian prisoners; and the White House has gradually shifted ground even further towards Israel’s hardline positions.

The Palestinians, on the other hand, have nothing to show for their participation, and have lost much of the diplomatic momentum gained earlier by winning upgraded status at the United Nations. They have also had to put on hold moves to join dozens of international forums, as well as the threat to bring Israel up on war crimes charges at the International Criminal Court.

Abbas is under mounting pressure at home to put an end to the charade, with four Palestinian factions warning last week that the Kerry plan would be the equivalent of national “suicide”. For this reason, the White House is now focused on preventing Abbas from quitting next month – and that requires a major concession from Israel.

The Palestinians are said to be pushing hard for Israel’s agreement to halt settlement building and free senior prisoners, most notably Marwan Barghouti, who looks the most likely successor to Abbas as Palestinian leader.

Some kind of short-term settlement freeze – though deeply unpopular with Netanyahu’s supporters – may be possible, given the Israeli right’s triumph in advancing settlement-building of late. Abbas reportedly presented Obama with “a very ugly map” of more than 10,000 settler homes Israel has unveiled since the talks began.

Setting Barghouti free, as well as Ahmad Saadat, whose Palestine Liberation Organization faction assassinated the far-right tourism minister, Rehavam Zeevi, in 2001, would be an even harder pill for the Israeli government to swallow. Cabinet ministers are already threatening a mutiny over the final round of prisoner releases, due at the end of the week. But Israeli reports on 23 March suggested Washington might consider releasing Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, possibly in return for Israel freeing more Palestinians, to keep the talks going.

Simmering tensions between the US and Israel, however, are suggestive of the intense pressure being exerted by the White House behind the scenes.

Those strains exploded into view again last week when Moshe Yaalon, Israel’s defence minister, used a speech to lambast Washington’s foreign policy as “feeble”. In a similar vein, he infuriated the White House in January by labelling Kerry “obsessive” and “messianic” in pursuing the peace process. But unlike the earlier incident, Washington has refused to let the matter drop, angrily demanding an explicit apology.

The pressure from the White House, however, is not chiefly intended to force concessions from Israel on an agreement. After all, the Israeli parliament approved this month the so-called referendum bill, seen by the right as an insurance policy. It gives the Israeli public, raised on the idea of Jerusalem as Israel’s exclusive and “eternal capital”, a vote on whether to share it with the Palestinians.

Washington’s goal is more modest: a few more months of quiet. But even on this reckoning, given Netanyahu’s intransigence, the talks are going to implode sooner or later. What then?

Obama and Kerry have set out a convincing scenario that in the longer term Israel will find itself shunned by the world. The Palestinian leadership will advance its cause at the UN, while conversely grassroots movements inside and outside Palestine will begin clamouring for a single state guaranteeing equality between Israeli Jews and Palestinians. Israel’s vehement and aggressive opposition on both fronts will only serve to damage its image – and its relations with the US.

An unexpected voice backing the one-state solution emerged last week when Tareq Abbas, the Palestinian president’s 48-year-old son, told the New York Times that a struggle for equal rights in a single state would be the “easier, peaceful way”.

Bolstering Washington’s argument that such pressures cannot be held in check for ever, a poll this month of US public opinion revealed a startling finding. Despite a US political climate committed to a two-state solution, nearly two-thirds of Americans back a single democratic state for Jews and Palestinians should a Palestinian state prove unfeasible. That view is shared by more than half of Israel’s supporters in the US.

That would constitute a paradigm shift, a moment of reckoning that draws nearer by the day as the peace process again splutters into irrelevance.

(A version of this article first appeared in The National, Abu Dhabi. The version here is published by permission of Jonathan Cook.)


Eleonora Oldani (37)
Monday March 24, 2014, 3:10 pm

Sorry - for unknown reason the publishing date of this article went missing: it was published on March 24, 2014

Past Member (0)
Monday March 24, 2014, 10:17 pm
Thank you Gillian, you are so right!

I 100% agree with the article. UNWRA is the main reason that there is no peace between Palestinian Arabs and Israelis.

The article forgot to mention, that UNWRA budget ensures that the "Palestinian Refugees" are The World Best Paid Refugees Ever and Forever, and that budget is not coming from OIL $$$ of Saudi Arabia.

UNWRA budget comes from our taxes, all several billions yearly. This is why European and America leaders are unhappy: they are getting tired of paying to 5 MILLION of fake refugees.

And as the payments to the "refugees" increase when more kids are born, no wonder that the birth rate in Gaza was the highest in the world! - Kids are pre-paid by UNWRA. If this nonsense continues, soon the number of "Palestinian Refugees" will reach 50-100 MILLION, and comprise the third of the whole Arab population in the World.

UNWRA is the largest scam, executed on Earth so far.

Past Member (0)
Tuesday March 25, 2014, 3:24 am
Perhaps some of the basic health services should include birth control efforts.

Panchali Yapa (26)
Tuesday March 25, 2014, 9:59 am
Thank you

. (0)
Wednesday March 26, 2014, 7:35 pm

Past Member (0)
Wednesday March 26, 2014, 10:39 pm
Thank you

Klaus Peters (14)
Thursday March 27, 2014, 8:32 am
A really sensitive subject I am not qualified to comment on.

Alejandro San Lazaro (27)
Friday March 28, 2014, 8:12 pm

Past Member (0)
Sunday March 30, 2014, 4:01 am
Agreed Stan B. The Palestinians wanted Palestine and they got Palestine. Now they want Israel??? Nothing is enough for these people. Leave Israel alone!

Past Member (0)
Sunday March 30, 2014, 4:10 am
And the main reason there is no peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis is because the Palestinians don't want peace! They want Israel eradicated. It's that simple.

Jaime Alves (52)
Monday March 31, 2014, 1:10 am
Leave Israel alone, the palestinians dont want peace they want Israel.!!

Colin Hope (201)
Tuesday April 1, 2014, 3:34 am
What a bloody mess...... all these years and ...........................??

Gillian M (218)
Tuesday April 1, 2014, 12:21 pm
And again Eleonora blames Israel and ignores the fact that Abbas does not want to negotiate. Abbas says that he wants peace, in English, in Arabic a few days later he laughs and says that he does not want peace.

Abbas refuses to accept Israel, his authority teaches children to hate Israel by TV and at school. Hamas holds summer camps for 8 year olds teaching them to use real weapons to kill Israelis. This is a war crime but the UN and the rest of the world like to ignore this.
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