Jared Kushner’s Peace Proposal Would End the Palestinian Refugee Problem

The U.S. “Peace to Prosperity” plan, unveiled at the Bahrain conference last week, calls for putting $50 billion toward improving the economic situation of the Palestinians; of this, over half is to be disbursed in Gaza and the West Bank, while the remainder would be divided among Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt—to be spent on descendants of Palestinian refugees living in the first two countries, and Gazans resettled in the last. From this part of the plan, Raphael Bouchnik-Chen sees an attempt to integrate these Palestinians into the countries where they live, and end their anomalous status as permanent “refugees”:

The Trump administration is pursuing the goal of changing the Palestinian experience from that of a society of miserable “refugees” into that of a prosperous society. . . . Kushner’s concept has a historical precedent. On June 15, 1959, the UN secretary-general Dag Hammarskjold presented a resettlement initiative. Hammarskjold assumed there were means available for the absorption of the refugees into the economy of the Arab region, and asserted that the refugees would be beneficial to their host countries by providing the manpower necessary to those countries’ development. He proposed that the program be financed by oil revenues and international funds up to $2 billion.

In 1959, [the Arab League] claimed that acceptance of the UN secretary general’s plan, with no guarantees, would have been tantamount to giving up [Palestinians’] economic and political rights. The Arabs accused Hammarskjold of exceeding his legal limits, and faulted him for ignoring the fact that the economic issues were the result of the political conflict. Addressing the economic question also separated the refugee problem from the conflict as a whole, which, so it was argued, was one of nationhood.

While the Palestinian Authority has responded similarly to the most recent initiative, notes Bouchnik-Chen, one thing has changed since 1959:

Saudi Arabia’s moderate position on the Kushner initiative . . . could suggest that the kingdom is behind it. In 1959, it was the Saudi ambassador to the UN (and future PLO chairman) Ahmad Shukeiry who categorically rejected the Hammarskjold plan. . . . He called the idea of economic integration of the refugees “irrelevant and inadmissible” [and] warned that unless Israel was forced at that year’s session (1959) to accept complete repatriation of the refugees, 80,000,000 Arabs “from Casablanca to the Persian Gulf” were ready and eager to go to war with the Jewish state.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at BESA Center

More about: Donald Trump, Jared Kushner, Palestinian refugees, Peace Process, Saudi Arabia

 

How European Fecklessness Encourages the Islamic Republic’s Assassination Campaign

In September, Cypriot police narrowly foiled a plot by an Iranian agent to murder five Jewish businessman. This was but one of roughly a dozen similar operations that Tehran has conducted in Europe since 2015—on both Israeli or Jewish and American targets—which have left three dead. Matthew Karnitschnig traces the use of assassination as a strategic tool to the very beginning of the Islamic Republic, and explains its appeal:

In the West, assassination remains a last resort (think Osama bin Laden); in authoritarian states, it’s the first (who can forget the 2017 assassination by nerve agent of Kim Jong-nam, the playboy half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur?). For rogue states, even if the murder plots are thwarted, the regimes still win by instilling fear in their enemies’ hearts and minds. That helps explain the recent frequency. Over the course of a few months last year, Iran undertook a flurry of attacks from Latin America to Africa.

Whether such operations succeed or not, the countries behind them can be sure of one thing: they won’t be made to pay for trying. Over the years, the Russian and Iranian regimes have eliminated countless dissidents, traitors, and assorted other enemies (real and perceived) on the streets of Paris, Berlin, and even Washington, often in broad daylight. Others have been quietly abducted and sent home, where they faced sham trials and were then hanged for treason.

While there’s no shortage of criticism in the West in the wake of these crimes, there are rarely real consequences. That’s especially true in Europe, where leaders have looked the other way in the face of a variety of abuses in the hopes of reviving a deal to rein in Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program and renewing business ties.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Politico

More about: Europe, Iran, Israeli Security, Terrorism