Perhaps Israel Should Allow the Return of Palestinian Refugees—If UNRWA Doesn’t Object

Since 1948, the plight of those Arabs who fled during Israel’s War of Independence has been used as a diplomatic tool against the Jewish state. To make sure the problem does not go away, the UN—in contrast to its policy regarding every other refugee group—holds refugee status for this particular group to be heritable. Jerold Auerbach argues that it is time to end what has always been a “charade”:

The number of Arabs who abandoned Palestine has long been disputed and—the better to blame Israel—vastly inflated. The New York Times, for example, repeatedly revised the fictitious refugee number upward: 870,000 (1953), “nearly 906,000” (1955), 925,000 (1957), “nearly a million” (1967). But according to [the historian] Efraim Karsh’s meticulously documented research, the total number of Palestinian refugees in 1947–48 was between 583,121 and 609,071. A terrible tragedy to be sure, and one for which the Arab nations that waged war to annihilate the fledgling Jewish state must bear responsibility. But it was, as Karsh pointedly writes, “a self-inflicted tragedy.”

In 1949 the United Nations Relief and Works Administration (UNRWA) was established to support Arabs “whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period of June 1, 1946 to May 15, 1948.” A laudable endeavor at its inception, over time it has become a farce. As though refugees never die, thereby inevitably reducing the number of beneficiaries, UNRWA (by its own calculation) now provides assistance to more than 1.5 million “refugees” and their descendants. Last August the Trump administration had the good sense to halt UNRWA funding. By then there were as many UNRWA employees as living Palestinian refugees.

Israel certainly can—and arguably should—invite the return of some 30,000 genuine Palestinian refugees, a number guaranteed to decline over time. The only objections, ironically, are likely to come from UNRWA and its Arab minions. They desperately need Palestinian “refugees” to sustain their unyielding public-relations war against Israel and, perhaps more important, to protect UNRWA bank accounts that assure their own salaries. But it is long past time to close this fraudulent charade that lacerates Israel for crimes that it did not commit.

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Read more at Algemeiner

More about: New York Times, Palestinian refugees, UNRWA

 

The New Iran Deal Will Reward Terrorism, Help Russia, and Get Nothing in Return

After many months of negotiations, Washington and Tehran—thanks to Russian mediation—appear close to renewing the 2015 agreement concerning the Iranian nuclear program. Richard Goldberg comments:

Under a new deal, Iran would receive $275 billion of sanctions relief in the first year and $1 trillion by 2030. [Moreover], Tehran would face no changes in the old deal’s sunset clauses—that is, expiration dates on key restrictions—and would be allowed to keep its newly deployed arsenal of advanced uranium centrifuges in storage, guaranteeing the regime the ability to cross the nuclear threshold at any time of its choosing. . . . And worst of all, Iran would win all these concessions while actively plotting to assassinate former U.S. officials like John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, and [his] adviser Brian Hook, and trying to kidnap and kill the Iranian-American journalist Masih Alinejad on U.S. soil.

Moscow, meanwhile, would receive billions of dollars to construct additional nuclear power plants in Iran, and potentially more for storage of nuclear material. . . . Following a visit by the Russian president Vladimir Putin to Tehran last month, Iran reportedly started transferring armed drones for Russian use against Ukraine. On Tuesday, Putin launched an Iranian satellite into orbit reportedly on the condition that Moscow can task it to support Russian operations in Ukraine.

With American and European sanctions on Russia escalating, particularly with respect to Russian energy sales, Putin may finally see net value in the U.S. lifting of sanctions on Iran’s financial and commercial sectors. While the return of Iranian crude to the global market could lead to a modest reduction in oil prices, thereby reducing Putin’s revenue, Russia may be able to head off U.S. secondary sanctions by routing key transactions through Tehran. After all, what would the Biden administration do if Iran allowed Russia to use its major banks and companies to bypass Western sanctions?

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Read more at Dispatch

More about: Iran nuclear deal, Russia, U.S. Foreign policy