Tuesday, February 21, 2017

How UNRWA Keeps Remaking Itself: Defining, Re-Defining and Re-Re-Defining Who Is a Palestinian Refugee

The Report of the Commissioner-General of UNRWA in 2007 indicates that
...The mission of UNRWA is to contribute to the human development of Palestine refugees in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic until a durable and just solution is found to the refugee issue. The Agency fulfills this purpose by providing a variety of essential services within the framework of international standards...

The Agency’s vision is for every Palestine refugee to enjoy the best possible standards of human development, including attaining his or her full potential individually and as a family and community member; being an active and productive participant in socio-economic and cultural life; and feeling assured that his or her rights are being defended, protected and preserved.

UNRWA is a global advocate for the protection and care of Palestine refugees. In humanitarian crisis and armed conflict, the Agency’s emergency interventions, and its presence, serve as tangible symbols of the international community’s concern and ultimately contribute to a stable environment.
This is UNRWA?

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

On The Palestinian "Option" -- Not The Right -- Of Return

There are many aspects to the issue of Palestinian Arab refugees, a problem that persists nearly 70 years after the 1948 War that created the current situation. One question is whether Israel is actually obligated to allow those Arabs back in.

In other words, do the Palestinian Arabs have a legal "Right of Return"?

That is the argument made by pro-Arab advocate Hussein Ibish and Electronic Intifada founder Ali Abunimah in The Palestinian Right of Return, an article they wrote together in 2001, using many of the basic arguments still being used to make the case.

They start with establishing a right according to international law -- and immediately run into a problem.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem Has Never Been An Easy Issue -- For Israel

It is 1967. What would become known as the Six Day War has begun and Menachem Begin, invited by Prime Minister Levi Eshkol to join an expanded emergency cabinet, has an idea.

There is a meeting in the basement shelter of the Knesset and the news is announced that Jordan has decided to join Egypt and Syria in battle. Begin and Labor Minister Yigal Allon suggest that the reaction to Jordan's shelling of Israel should be the liberation of the Old City of Jerusalem, lost in the 1948 War following a UN ceasefire. Begin urges quick action before a similar ceasefire again leave the city divided.

Moshe Dayan opposes the idea based on the human cost of expected house-to-house fighting in addition to the potential damage to Christian and Muslim holy places -- leading to a world-wide outcry against Israel and opposition to Israeli control over Christian and Muslim holy places. Instead, Dayan suggests it would be enough to just surround the Old City and wait for it to fall.

Friday, February 03, 2017

What Is It About "Israeli Settlements Are Not An Impedimet To Peace" That The Media Can't Understand?

It did seem like a straightforward statement by Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Israeli settlements:
“The American desire for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians has remained unchanged for 50 years. While we don’t believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace, the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful in achieving that goal. As the President has expressed many times, he hopes to achieve peace throughout the Middle East region. The Trump administration has not taken an official position on settlement activity and looks forward to continuing discussions, including with Prime Minister Netanyahu when he visits with President Trump later this month.”