Re-settling Palestinian refugees

In today’s Haaretz, it is reported that former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said that former US president George W. Bush promised that the US would grant citizenship to 100,000 Palestinians as part of an agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

It has always seemed to me that the US should do something like this to ease an agreement. However, it is much harder to imagine President Obama overcoming domestic opposition to such an agreement than it might have been for Bush.

The Haaretz article also quotes Olmert claiming that the Palestinians did not object to a series of security assurances Israel demanded and the Bush administration accepted during talks.

4 thoughts on “Re-settling Palestinian refugees

  1. “Hey, who minds,” says Glenn Beck. “The US has 300 million people, we can always fit a few more. Why, I congratulate President Obama on this initiative to help settle the Israel/ Palestine conflict.”

  2. Did the Palestinians ask for this, or was it just a preemptive attempt at buying them off?

    I don’t think it would work very well. If offered in return for giving up land claims (essentially, stop being a Palestinian and start being an American) I don’t think it would be accepted. If it didn’t have that condition, you would get 100000 rather wealthy Palestinians (by Gaza/West bank standards) who would work hard to get land in Israel/Palestine one day, somehow.

  3. Harald, US history is built upon people giving up their former nationality for the promise of a better life here, so why not those Palestinians who now reside, but are not permitted citizenship in, Arab countries? Obviously, no one is going to force anyone to resettle here (nor is the US going to accept anyone who is a security risk). Just as obviously, none but a token number of these second and later-generation Arabs of the land that became the Jewish state after 1948 will ever be granted a right to become citizens of Israel (nor will “Palestine” again include the land on which their parents or grandparents once lived.) In these respects it is a constructive proposal, as compensation for the fact that the creation of a Palestinian state can’t resolve all refugee claims. It would be better if the Arab states would grant citizenship to those who desire it, but so far that looks highly unlikely. (Why are so many still living in “refugee camps” after 60 years–a question that is not asked often enough.) I assume most will “return” to the Palestinian state, but not all will want to, or realistically be able to.

  4. Many years ago, I had a stab at writing a play (to be titled “Boundless Plains”, a sardonic reference to a line in “Advance Australia Fair”) about an alternate history where a postwar Australian govt had settled two million Jewish refugees in the freshly-created State of “New Zion”. I never got it finished before the contest closed, and then Michael bloody Chabon got in first with The Yiddish Policemen’s Union (set in Alaska rather than northwestern Australia. Moral: seize the day…

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