Thriving, prosperous Jewish communities existed in the Middle East and North Africa about a thousand years before the rise of Islam and more than 2,500 years before the establishment of modern Arab nations. These communities, which extended from Iraq in the east to Morocco in the west, had a lively fabric of life and were influential in the local economies. Until the 10th century CE, 90% of the world's Jews lived in the areas of today's Arab countries.
At the end of the 1940's around 850,000 Jews lived in Arab countries (see table below). By 1967 most Jewish communities in these countries had disappeared, leaving a few thousand Jews spread over a wide area.
In 1946 with international expectation that a Jewish state was going to be established, the Arab League decided to boycott all Jewish citizens living in Arab countries. With the United Nations adopting the Partition Plan (November 1947) riots broke across the Arab world against Jewish communities. Jewish shops and synagogues were ransacked and burned, hundreds of Jews were killed and thousands were imprisoned.
With the declaration of the establishment of the State of Israel in May 1948, the Arab League's Political Committee convened and formulated recommendations for all Arab and Muslim countries which specified how to treat Jews in those countries. Among other things the document stated the Jews should be deprived of their citizenship as they were considered citizens of the newly established Jewish state. Assets were seized, bank accounts were frozen and property worth millions of dollars was nationalized. Jews were excluded from government ministries, restricted entry to public service causing many to lose their means of subsistence.
The anti-Jewish trend only increased over time, and an organized plan of oppression and persecution was implemented against them in Arab countries. Between 1948 and 1951, about 850,000 Jews were expelled or, forced out of Arab countries and became refugees. A two-way migration of populations began, along with the creation of two different refugee groups. The Arab nations, led by the Arab League, were responsible for creating Jewish and Palestinian refugees.
In 135 CE the Romans exiled the majority of the Jewish people after defeating the Bar Kochba revolt and renamed Judea “Palestina”. It then became part of the Roman province of “Syria Palestine” with the object of erasing the name ‘Judea’ from the map.
Leading up to Israel's independence in 1948, all those living in the British mandate of Palestine were called Palestinians. After 1967, when Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan, the ‘refugees’ living there and in the Gaza Strip called themselves Palestinians instead of Jordanian or Egyptian. The Arabs refer to to the area as“Filastin.” as they cannot pronounce the word Palestine in their native tongue. The word Palestine or Filastin does not appear in the Koran. The term peleset appears in the Jewish Tanakh no fewer than 250 times.
The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement was issued on August 18, 1988. The Islamic Resistance Movement, also known as the HAMAS, is an extremist fundamentalist Islamic organization. Its Covenant is a comprehensive manifesto comprised of 36 separate articles, all of which promote the basic HAMAS goal of destroying the State of Israel through Jihad (Islamic Holy War). ( For this reason it aims rockets at Israel; and trains militia. Items allowed in are strictly monitored to prevent weapon entry and components that can be used with/for weapons.)
The following are excerpts of the HAMAS Covenant:
Goals of the HAMAS:
'The Islamic Resistance Movement is a distinguished Palestinian movement, whose allegiance is to Allah, and whose way of life is Islam. It strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine.' (Article 6)
On the Destruction of Israel:
'Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.' (Preamble)
The Exclusive Moslem Nature of the Area:
'The land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf [Holy Possession] consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgment Day. No one can renounce it or any part, or abandon it or any part of it.' (Article 11)
'Palestine is an Islamic land... Since this is the case, the Liberation of Palestine is an individual duty for every Moslem wherever he may be.' (Article 13)
Gaza is controlled by a terrorist organisation called Hamas and, together with the West Bank Palestinian government, is beset by corruption. Entry/exit from Gaza is through two gates, one controlled by Israel the other by Egypt. What is allowed to enter/exit is strictly monitored to for example to control the entry of weapons and material with a dual use such as concrete which can be used for building and making tunnels. It is described by Gazans as being ‘under siege. If there was peace there would be no ‘controls’
The Palestinian refugee problem originated as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, when five Arab armies invaded the State of Israel just hours after it was established. During the ensuing war, 700,000 Palestinian Arabs fled their homes in the newly created state. Many did so voluntarily to avoid the ongoing war or at the urging of Arab leaders who promised that all who left would return after a quick Arab victory over the new Jewish state. Other Palestinians were forced to flee by individuals or groups fighting for Israel.
Of the Palestinians who left, one-third went to the West Bank (which was under Jordan’s control), one-third went to the Gaza Strip (under Egypt’s control), and the remainder to Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.The Arab nations refused to absorb these Palestinians into their population and they were instead settled into refugee camps. Only Jordan’s King Abdullah agreed to confer citizenship on the 200,000 Palestinian living in Jordan and the Jordan-controlled West Bank and East Jerusalem. In 1949, UNRWA, (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency) was created. The Arab governments refused to consider integration, insisting that it would undermine the refugees’ “right” to return to their homes in Palestine.
During the 1967 Six Day War, another estimated 250,000 Palestinians fled the West Bank and Gaza Strip with the arrival of Israeli forces. Some of these were people who had left their homes in Israel in 1948. These individuals are considered by the international community to be displaced persons, not refugees.
At the same time Jews who had lived in Arab countries for over 2,000 years fled and settled elsewhere. They were given citizenship and built new lives.
The 700,000 Palestinian Refugees of 1948 had grown to over 5,000,000 by 2015. There are also many Palestinians not registered with them
By 2082, it will be over 37,000,000, assuming the same growth rate - an increase of over 500,000 per annum.
The area occupied by Palestine refuges in Gaza is claimed to be the most densely populated area in the world. It is expected to grow by over 120,000 per annum so that by 2082 there will be over 9,000,000.
The 1960’s saw a civil war in Jordan. The very high proportion of Palestinian refugees created an organisation called Black September. Their defeat led to their expulsion to Lebanon, the Israeli invasion there and their eventual expulsion. No one wants this to happen again.
Two examples of how information is currently expressed are:
The Independent, a special report by Judith Miller and David Samuels Wednesday 21 October 2009
It is a cynical but time-honoured practice in Middle Eastern politics: the statesmen who decry the political and humanitarian crisis of the approximately 3.9 million Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and in Gaza ignore the plight of an estimated 4.6 million Palestinians who live in Arab countries. For decades, Arab governments have justified their decision to maintain millions of stateless Palestinians as refugees in squalid camps as a means of applying pressure to Israel. The refugee problem will be solved, they say, when Israel agrees to let the Palestinians have their own state.
fanack, Chronicle of the Middle East and North Africa October 2010, December 2016
According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), there were 10.97 million Palestinians worldwide in 2010. 4.11 million Palestinians were living in Palestine (37.5 percent); 1.36 million (12.4 percent) in Israel; 3.24 million (29.8 percent) in Jordan; 1.78 (16.3 percent) in the other Arab countries, especially in neighbouring Lebanon and Syria; and 626,800 (5.7 percent) in the rest of the world.
The Arab League decided that the Palestinian refugees should become a weapon against Israel and citizenship in Arab countries should not be offered to them.
An example of their problems is the electricity crisis in Gaza. Residents of the Hamas-controlled enclave are forced to cook, do laundry, recharge phones and computers with only 3-4 hours of power a day. Wealthy residents have their own power generators. the World Health Organization has been warned.that Hospitals in Gaza will face an almost total power blackout by the end of February 2018 unless funding is secured to keep emergency generators running, They are reliant on emergency generators for up to 20 hours a day. Medical staff have been forced to cut back on basic services such as equipment sterilisation and diagnostics. About 500,000 litres of fuel are required each month to sustain critical care.
(UNWRA) was formed in 1948 to look after Palestinian refugees.
It was thought it would be disbanded within a few years. it still exists 70 years later with 30,000 employees and a budget of over $1,000,000,000 per year mostly paid by Western countries with the Arab countries contributing little except for special projects. It has been called a semi-state by taking on functions such as education, health and the 58 refugee camps. It has over 30,000 employees for Palestinian Refugees while UNHCR has 10,800 employees to deal with the rest of the world.
UNHCR was formed in 1949 to look after refugees from the rest of the world. As of 30 June 2017 it has 10,966 staff. its annual budget rose to more than US$ 1 billion in the early 1990s and reached a new annual high of US$ 7.7 billion in 2017. It is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions, with 87 per cent from governments and the European Union. Only one per cent is from the from the UN budget. Its Annual Report shows there were 65.6 million forcibly displaced people worldwide, 22.5 million refugees (5.3 million under UNWRA), 10 million stateless people and that they resettled 189,300 people in 2016
Their definition of ‘refugee’ differs.
UNWRA it is heritable Refugee status to be inherited by descendants. This explains the expansion of UNWRA
UNHCR is not heritable Refugee status cannot be inherited by descendants.
Palestinians, especially Palestinian Refugees, have suffered from abuse and discrimination throughout the Arab world. Treated as second class citizens they have been/are barred from jobs, lost their home and been exiled from and refused admission to Arab countries.
The Syrian civil war will finish within the next few years. The country will be left in a state of destruction which will require international help, amounting to billions of dollars, for rebuilding and resettling. Conversations have started as to how this should be done. Parallel to this, rebuilding is required in Iraq and Yemen. This can mean a new life for Palestinian Refugees. Through settlement and citizenship in Arab countries they lose their description of ‘refugee’ and go from unemployment to employment. How this change can takes place is overlaid with politics and corruption and not with Palestine refugees.
______________________ FINANCE PALESTINIAN ECONOMY FACING FISCAL, PENSIONS CRISIS WORLD BANK Luke Baker,September 15, 2016
Foreign support to the Palestinian Authority has fallen by nearly 50 percent in the past three years, leaving the budget under severe strain and the pensions system close to collapse, the World Bank said on Thursday.
While the Palestinian Authority, overseen by President Mahmoud Abbas, has done well to reduce the deficit over the past decade, cutting it by 15 percentage points to 10 percent of GDP, external financial support has fallen even faster.
In 2013, foreign donors -- mainly the European Union and the United States -- provided direct budget assistance worth nearly $1.3 billion. This year, that figure is expected to be less than $700 million, leaving a large financing gap.
“The Palestinian economic outlook is worrying with serious consequences on income, opportunity and well-being,” said Marina Wes, World Bank country director for the West Bank and Gaza.
“Not only will it affect the Palestinian Authority’s capacity to deliver services to its citizens, it may also lead to wider economic problems and instability.”
Overall, the Palestinian economy is expected to grow at around 3.5 percent in the coming years. But the outlook is starkly different between the West Bank, where the Palestinian Authority is based, and Gaza, the blockaded coastal strip that has been run by the Islamist group Hamas since 2007.
Unemployment in Gaza stands at 42 percent and the territory is struggling to rebuild after a month-long war with Israel in 2014. Many international aid pledges have not been met.
By contrast, West Bank unemployment stands at 18 percent and the Palestinian Authority is doing a better job of managing spending and generating extra revenue from fees and taxes.
Yet the critical problem remains the financing gap. The Palestinian Authority is close to the borrowing limit from domestic banks set by the central bank and may have to resort to running into arrears with the pension fund and private suppliers to fill the gap, the World Bank said.
“The stock of arrears to the pension system is estimated at $1.6 billion -- and it threatens the viability of the overall pension system,” it said in its latest monitoring report.
“Arrears to the private sector currently stand at $590 million, which heavily weighs on the private sector’s ability to operate normally and is damaging for the economy.”
The World Bank said the only way to avoid wider economic problems for the 4.8 million Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza was for foreign donors to reverse the fall in support.
It also called on the Israeli government, which collects many taxes and fees on the Palestinians’ behalf, to explore ways of reducing the fiscal loss and reverting more of the revenue to the Palestinian Authority.
The theory of change states that regular change occurs in small steps (incrementalism). until they are no longer adequate. Major change is then required, for example as with product redesign and company reorganisation.
70 years have been spent on trying to resolve the Palestine Refugee issue with no results. Major change as to how this will be achieved is required so that the Palestinian Refugees, who wish to can be resettled as citizens of Arab countries This is just as Jewish Exiles from Arab countries, who wished to, were resettled in Israel
A BETTER MIDDLE EAST FUTURE BY COOPERATION INSTEAD OF OPPOSITION
What is the difference between Jewish exiles from Arab countries and Palestinian Refugees?
Jewish exiles were settled quickly and no longer exist as refugees.
After 70 years Palestinian Refugees have not been settled by Arab countries and are still called ‘refugees’ with no sign of resettlement.
Why are Palestinian Refugees and refugees from the rest of the world supported by different UN agencies?
Because UNWRA was established before UNHCR
SO WHAT CAN WE DO?
The principles of the plan to change the current situation as proposed by Shabtai Shavit are
1. The United Nations should decide to shut down UNRWA over the course of three years.
2. The 27 states that donate to UNRWA will establish a body whose role is to finance the resettlement of refugees, who choose to do so of their own free choice, in states around the world that accept migrants.
Many surveys conducted over the years show that, according to the statistical average, at least 50% of refugees were willing to resettle with financial support. A recent poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion during the period of June 16-24, 2014 (i.e., before Operation Protective Edge), covering a random sample of 1012 Palestinian respondents representing the various demographic groups of adult Palestinians (eighteen years and above) living in the “West Bank,” East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, showed that 70% of the Palestinians would like to emigrate if given the opportunity.
3. Donations from these states should be gradually diverted from their current goal of preservation alone, to the goal of resettlement. In other words, the funds should foster the transformation of refugees from parasites with no future to people who create and contribute to their families, communities and society—people who stand tall.
The name Palestine Refugee’ will vanish
Whether reparations would be payable to Jewish exiles and Palestinian refugees. If so, how this should be done.
An internal revolution that will create a government concerned about the well being of the citizens it represents and eliminate problems such as the severe electricity shortages, health care crisis, severe food shortage in Gaza and high unemployment and reliance on international donations
WILL THE BENEFITS OF COOPERATION SPREAD ? or
WILL THE PALESTINE REFUGEES FACE FURTHER DETERIORATION IN THE QUALITY OF THEIR LIFE ?
HOW WILL THE WORLD COMMUNITY FACE THE MAJOR GROWTH IN THE PALESTINIAN POPULATION ?
MARGINAL DIFFERENCES ARE GIVEN QUOTED FIGURES DEPENDING UPON SOURCE
WHAT IS IMPORTANT IS THE EFFECT OF THE HIGH PALESTINIAN GROWTH RATE AND ITS EFFECT ON THE FUTURE.
AN ARAB-CHRISTIAN DIPLOMAT AND ATTORNEY SPEAKS ABOUT ARABS, JEWS AND PEACE
Medisraelforfred 1 Oct 2014, 30.12 On September 27, 2014, at an event hosted by Med Israel for Fred (With Israel for peace) in the House of Literature, Oslo, was given by George Deek, an Arab-Christian who was the Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of Israel in Norway. The text has been excerpted due to space limitations.
A Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Provides the Best Economic Outcomes Jun 8, 2015
The Israeli economy stands to gain more than $120 billion over the next decade in a two-state solution, a possible resolution of the long-standing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Palestinians would gain $50 billion, with average per-capita income rising by about 36 percent.