Foreign Policy revealed e-mails written by Jared Kushner and his staff that are so radical and insane, they could only have been concocted by Israel itself. If so, then there are not three parties which are part of the negotiation for the Deal of the Century. But only two parties. The Trump administration and the Israelis are one. This is not a dialogue of equals or negotiation among equals. Rather it is an exercise in capitulation. The Israelis and Americans aren’t trying to persuade the Palestinians to come to the table or accept the plan. They’re attempting to bludgeon them into accepting it.
Remember what happened after World War I, when France wanted revenge against Germany and imposed conditions for surrender that were so onerous that Germany was practically bankrupt. Look what that led to? Do we really want to go there? Not that Palestine is as powerful or central a player as Germany was then. But bullying an entire nation leads to anger, resentment and rage. Rage leads to violence. It happened in Nazi Germany. That is how Hitler came to power. Do we want Palestine to explode like a powder keg?
Tonight’s outrage involves a blatant attempt by Jared Kushner to destroy UNWRA and eliminate the UN status accorded to millions of Palestinians who are Nakba refugees and their direct descendants. THe e mails expose his plan not just to reduce funding for the UN relief agency which feeds and educates Palestinian refugees, but to eliminate it completely:
“It is important to have an honest and sincere effort to disrupt UNRWA. [It] perpetuates a status quo, is corrupt, inefficient and doesn’t help peace.”
In its place, Kushner proposes that the Arab countries which currently house these refugees would absorb them permanently. In return, wealthy Arab oil states would pay Jordan, Lebanon and Syria for doing Israel’s dirty work. This approach is one advocated for decades by the Israeli far-right, who’ve long declared that the solution to the Palestinian problem lies in Jordan. In effect, they’ve eliminated Palestine and replaced it with Jordan. Frankly, I can’t see King Abdullah relishing the prospect of offering full citizenship to every Palestinian refugee in his kingdom. Especially after the 1970 Black September in which his father, King Hussein murdered thousands of PLO supporters after they mounted a failed coup against him.
It’s nice work for Kushner if you can get it: it gets Israel completely off the hook. Instead of being burdened with responsibility for the 1-million Nakba refugees it created, it will have no responsibility at all. The problem will be off-loaded onto the Arab states themselves, who had no hand in creating the refugees to being with.
Henceforth, there will be no Palestinian refugees. Thus, the Right of Return would be abrogated. No Palestinian would have any right to his homeland. His home will be wherever s/he and his family took refuge.
The e mails reveal the absolute and dangerous delusions under which Kushner labors:
“Our goal can’t be to keep things stable and as they are. … Sometimes you have to strategically risk breaking things in order to get there.”
Who knew Kushner was a Leninist? Some attribute to him (apparently apocryphally) the famous phrase: “you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.” One wonders how many Palestinians will have to be “broken” before Kushner discovers he’s made a right mess of things and gives up?
Make no mistake, this is an all-out assault on Palestinians in the guise of a peace plan. The goal is to eliminate Palestinians entirely. As such it is monstrous and must be strenuously opposed.
Another bright light in the Trump administration had this innovative thought:
Victoria Coates, a senior advisor to Greenblatt, sent an email to the White House’s national security staff indicating that the White House was mulling a way to eliminate the U.N.’s agency for Palestinian refugees.
“UNRWA should come up with a plan to unwind itself and become part of the UNHCR [U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees] by the time its charter comes up again in 2019,” Coates wrote.
She noted that the proposal was one of a number of “spitball ideas that I’ve had that are also informed by some thoughts I’ve picked up from Jared, Jason and Nikki.”
Doesn’t it just warm the cockles of your heart that a junior Trump appointee is treating the fates of 5 million Palestinian refugees like spitballs thrown around a junior high school classroom?
Many of these noxious ideas originated with Israel’s far-right government. Here a foreign ministry spokesperson falsely claims that the UN treats Palestinian refugees more favorably than any others in the world:
Strohmayer said that Palestinians are the only population that is able to transfer its refugee status down through generations.
But wait. Surprise, surprise. It’s not true:
In an internal report from 2015, the State Department noted that the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees “recognizes descendants of refugees as refugees for purposes of their operations.” The report, which was recently declassified, said the descendants of Afghan, Bhutanese, Burmese, Somali, and Tibetan refugees are all recognized by the U.N. as refugees themselves.
But these lies take on a life of their own when spread by Israeli leaders. Here’s a tweet today from Yair Lapid, the leader of a major opposition party (he touts himself as a moderate, though he’s anything but):
ביטול מעמד הפליטים הפלשתינים מוצדק, הכרחי והוגן. כבר שנים אני מדבר על כך בכל פורום בינלאומי אפשרי. לא ייתכן שהפלשתינים הם העם היחיד בעולם שבו אפשר להיוולד בפריז או בקטאר ולקבל בירושה מעמד של פליט. אין 5 מיליון פליטים פלשתינים. זו אחת ההונאות הגדולות בהיסטוריה.
— יאיר לפיד Yair Lapid (@yairlapid) August 4, 2018
The elimination of refugee status for Palestinians is justified, necessary and proper. For years now, I’ve been saying this in every possible international forum. How is it possible that the Palestinians are the only people in the world for whom its possible to be born in Paris or Qatar and inherit refugee status? There are not 5-million Palestinian refugees. This is one of the greatest frauds in history.
Lapid, a slick Hollywood-handsome former newscaster, isn’t bright enough to recognize the irony in this claim. Today, a Jew can be born in any country in the world and when he makes aliyah to Israel he becomes a citizen automatically. This is even more valuable than granting refugee status. Because the Law of Return immediately confers upon you enormous benefits in order encourage your successful absorption into Israeli society. A Palestinian refugee gets no such benefits, unless getting ones meal from a UNWRA soup kitchen constitutes a benefit.
Imagine if Germany refused for generations to recognize Holocaust survivors as legitimate victims. Then when they finally reluctantly agree to offer reparations they only do so to living Holocaust survivors. If they’ve already died (as the vast majority have), their descendants get nothing. How convenient it would be to kill 6-million Jews, then wait 70 years before you acknowledge responsibility for your crime; and then only do so regarding living survivors. Every Jew in the world, with Bibi Netanyahu shouting loudest, would denounce this as an outrage. And the world would unite against Germany.
The irony here is lost on Israelis. As is typical, they routinely deny to Palestinians what they accord to themselves as a matter of course.
If you would like to donate to UNWRA to support its vital work on behalf of Palestinian refugees, do so here.
Deir Yassin says
“Frankly I can’t see King Abdullah relishing the prospect of offering full citizensip to every Palestinian refugee in the kingdom”
Most Palestinian refugees in Jordan already have full citizenship. I quote UNRWA (where we work: Jordan):
“More than 2 million* registered Palestine refugees live in Jordan. Most Palestine refugees in Jordan but not all have full citizenship””
* latest number is 2.175.491 registered
The Palestinian refugees in Jordan are divided into various group: 1. Refugees from 1948, 2. Displaced from 1967, 3. Refugees from 1848 then displaced from 1967, 4. The Gaza Strip.
There’s a long report made by UNRWA, with case studies: inside the camps an average of 85% are Jordanian citizens, outside the camps around 96%.
One has to remember that the West Bank was Jordanian from 1948 to 1967, and Palestinians thus obtained full Jordanian citizensship, though they now live in Jordan as Jordanian citizens they of course still have the Right of return.
Many Palestinians have been stripped of their Jordanian citizenship though, it’s off topic here but HRW has articles dealing with that.
These slippery arguments by the Israeli right wing keeps us alert. Their “brilliance” get absorbed by those who look for their talking points/marching orders in social media, the media and at the dinner table. These are tricky ways try to get Israel out of the looming unhappy ending of the “status quo” as it creeps forward on the ground on various fronts (now the law, the embassy move, the marches, the violence). This has been changing the Israel that was and was once upon a time into some other place entirely. This is after years of suppression repression military occupation.
It’s amazing how when arguing with this POV, how thoughts of Palestinians as actual people, not to mention their losses and suffering are missing. To make these arguments one needs to think only of one’s own kind and myopically of survival and at that , short term. These are desperate twisted and faulty points, fantasy ideas that disregard basic morality (universal and religious). In so doing they reverse who is the victim and justify war, disproportionate destruction of life and property, land. I have come to- if this is good for one side, then why isn’t it okay for the other to respond however they can? But it’s argued it’s the other side that is violent by nature and all the other bad traits humans have: nasty criminals who like to live in rubble. Get rid of them so we can have a happy life.
This sounds like a collective PTSD that has taken hold for years now, second and third generations post Holocaust.. Were that diagnosable, we would have to excuse and treat it (somehow). I don’t excuse it.because this is nurtured, fear mongered and voted up. Israel will feel the effects strongly.
You claim the different status of other refugees is “Surprise, surprise. It’s not true” or ” these lies take on a life of their own when spread by Israeli leaders” but even your source says “is not entirely true” which means it is mostly true.
The facts are – refugee status cannot be inherited for no refugees other than Palestinians. Your source says “recognizes descendants of refugees as refugees for purposes of their operations.” which neither of us knows what it means. Defiantly not much as it was “recently declassified”.
To say someone lied, when all you found is some unclear exception, is a stretch.
Richard Silverstein says
@ Josh: I’m not sure why this is difficult for you: “for the purposes of operations” means that if you are a direct descendant of someone who is a refugee, the UN will treat you as a refugee and offer you the services it offers a first generation refugee. And this applies not just to Palestinians, but all other longstsanding refugees. There now, was that difficult?
This is not an “unclear exception” as this is standard practice of the UN , which is the main international agency dealing with refugees. To make up a definition favorable to Israel and declare it legitimate is foolish since you will be the only ones accepting your artificially contrived definition.
BTW, if Israel had ever made a good faith effort to resolve this issue when the original expellees were alive, you might have an argument favoring cutting off their descendants. But since Israel has adamantly refused to do so, to now decide that refugee descendants are excluded is not only self serving and hypocritical, but heinous.
Richard – you base all of that on one line in an article? Find a more reliable source before calling people liers on established truth.
For your question about Israel, do you really mean Israel should have let Arabs back in 1948? you know there was a big war and Arab leaders threatened to throw the Jews into the Mediterranian. It would have been suicidal to do so.
How come all other refugees are being resettled except for Palestinians that are not allowed to resettle in neighboring countries even if they want to? How come Palestinians who earn a new citizenship can still be considered refugees? This is an exception! (“He has acquired a new nationality, and enjoys the protection of the country of his new nationality”)
How can Palestinians get the exception? Because miraculously, they are the only refugees in the world who have their own organization and definition. Why was it necessary?
Palestinians are the only refugees in the world that aren’t helped to be resettled and by that, the suffering of their status is being prolonged. Why can’t they be resettled and still fight for their homeland? Because it isn’t heartbreaking enough? well, that’s cold.
Richard Silverstein says
@ Josh: I don’t want to continue this conversation ad nauseam. Please read my comment rules carefully. You offer your argument one time and don’t repeat yourself. That avoids me having to explain to you why your argument was wrong the first time and didn’t improve the second time you said essentially the same thing. So do not comment further in this thread.
If you are using a proxy server, do not do so. You are using multiple IP addresses and I view this with great suspicion. I suspect you are trying to conceal your identity. Whatever you are trying to do I urge you to use a single IP address, the real one used by your local ISP.
When a State Department report notes the UN definition of for refugees that is not “one line.” That is an entire report, part of which is quoted in the story to which I linked. The State Department and Foreign Policy are impeccable sources. And I do not appreciate you calling them unreliable. That smacks of bad faith.
Absolutely, Israel expelled 1 million Palestinian residents of the country. It did so because it wanted to reduce the Palestinian population. If you expel an indigenous population during a war you MUST permit them to return afterward. That is part of the Geneva Convention. If you don’t you are violating international law. Do please stop the nonsense of throwing Jews into the Mediterranean. First of all, they are Israelis, not Jews. Using the word Jews is way to gin up further anti-Semitism hysteria, which I do not tolerate here. Second of all, Israel had little doubt it would win the 1948 War, which was why Ben Gurion declared independence. Had he not been confident of victory he would have held off the declaration until he felt confident. Ben Gurion was no fool. Nor did he gamble with the fate of his state. He acted when he was reasonably sure of the outcome.
I have no idea what this means, and it is an outright falsehood.
Palestinians have taken refuge in other countries. That’s not resettlement, as no one helped them resettle. They fled to these countries, and many of these countries either don’t want them or live with them in constant friction. It is not other Arab states’ responsibility to solve a problem Israel caused.
This too is false. There are NGOs supporting all manner of ethnic and national refugees from various countries. The UN too supports many different refugees of different ethnicities and nationalities. There are 5 million Palestinian refugees. It’s one of the largest such groups in the world and spread over many countries in the region. That is why there is a separate UN agency to support them. And the definition of refugee is standard according to the UN and it applies whether you are Palestinian or Rohingya or Kosovar or Rwandan.
I deeply resent you as an Israeli, whose country created these refugees arguing that they aren’t refugees or don’t deserve international relief. I am putting you on a very short leash. I find your comments disgusting and offensive. Think about the Holocaust survivors who resettled in Israel. Would you permit someone to argue that they weren’t refugees, that they didn’t deserve relief, or shouldn’t have international agencies offering them assistance? You’d find this offensive and rightfully so. All refugees deserve sympathy and support, not skepticism and cold-heartedness. This blog is not a venue for such offensive sentiments.
I call your bullshit, buddy. There are refugees all over the world who no one is helping. LEt’s take the Rohingya as but the latest example.
Consider this your first warning. Any further comment rule violation will result in moderation.
About the IP – I have no idea what are you referring to. Maybe the fact I’m using cellular data changes the IP but even at home, most people get new IP whenever they restart their router or whenever there are problems with connection.
The UN has two refugees organizations, UNRWA for Palestinians and UNHCR for the rest of the world. If you think this is coincidental, I have a bridge to sell you.
Richard Silverstein says
@ Josh: The UN has 2 refugee organizations because UNWRA deals with the world’s longest running refugee crisis. One which spans four countries housing those refugees and 5 million refugees. THere is probably no other refugee situation more long-running or complicated in terms of administering aid. And the reason for this is solely on Israel and no one else.
[Comment deleted: I told you clearly not to comment in this thread again. You decided to ignore me. As I warned you, you are now moderated. Read and follow the comment rules or you will be banned for your next violation.]
Where did you “told you clearly not to comment in this thread again”?
Do you even try and pretend to have an actual debate?
Richard Silverstein says
“Any further comment rule violation will result in moderation” – are you kidding me? That is your clear warning not to comment again.
So I guess you answered my question, you don’t even pretend.
Richard Silverstein says
What is it about that sentence that you do not understand??
My grandparents had to flee Iraq because their lives were at stake on the count of them being Jewish, yet I get no refugee status nor any assistance from the UN. It also doesn’t seem likely to me that we will ever get an Iraqi citizenship or get any form of compensation for the money, homes and possessions they had to leave behind.
Instead, my grandparents and their families settled in the US and in Israel and started new lives for themselves. I’m grateful that they did not fixate on this notion of refuge and forced me to live my life as a victim.
But you know, whatever… I guess if you’re a Palestinian than you have different priorities…
Richard Silverstein says
@ papok: Your parents didn’t register as refugees. You have to register to become a refugee. The UN didn’t refuse to recognize them.
It is very hard for me to believe that a child of refugees doesn’t recognize and empathize with the fate of all refugees. You’re so obtuse you refuse to understand that the situation your family faced is different than the one Palestinians face. For example, where can Palestinians flee to? How many can get to the U.S.?
Yes, some lucky ones have come here or to Europe. But they are the lucky ones. What about the unlucky ones living in a hell hole in Lebanon or Syria or Gaza? Are they lucky enough to make it out? And if they aren’t, would you blame them for that? Would you say they just have “different priorities?” How callous.
You can emphasize with someone but still think they should act differently. Instead of holding on the notion of returning to a lost home in Jaffa or Jerusalem you can focus your goals (and money, a lot of money) on bulding a better future. Gaza doesn’t have to be hell, even if you think Israel is to blame on most of the situation in Gaza (I don’t, but you might), you have to be very self destructive to spend millions of dollars digging tunnels in order to attack civilians, or to smuggle and build missiles for the same purpose, you have to be very self destructive to kill hundreds of you political rivals…
Richard Silverstein says
@ Papok: I don’t think it’s for you or anyone else to tell Palestinians they should get over the crime committed against them. There were 1-million Palestinians expelled from Israel en masse. That is a major crime of epic proportions. You can’t just tell them all to get over it & get on with their lives. They will live with this trauma for generations, if not longer.
Israel is fully to blame for the hell that is Gaza. Of course it doesn’t have to be. If Israel removed the siege, recognized Palestine as a state and treated it just like any other state it could be an engine of innovation and commerce; or if Gaza was absorbed into a single unitary state. But it can’t, due to Israel’s wretched illegal treatment.
Tunnels are not dug to attack civilians. They are dug to defend their homeland from Israeli invasion. An entirely legitimate enterprise. And if Israel wants Hamas to stop digging tunnels to Israel it should stop invading Gaza. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander I’m afraid.
I’m tired of your hasbara. These ridiculous points you attempt to make have been rebutted here before countless times. I hate having to repeat myself. So don’t make me do it.
Tonja Hamel says
Papok. Sorry for the fleeing situation. But did your grand parents had to flee Iraq but are among the ones who are languishing to come back home?
Or were them among the ones scared by zionists with bombing campains of jews in arabian countries so they could loudly “you are unsafe !! Resettle in israël!!
To keep feeding the mass immigration of jews that the zionist project has designed from the beginning to be able to expel and replace the local population
David Grün aka Ben Gourio stated in 1944 :
Zionism is a TRANSFER of the Jews. Regarding the TRANSFER of the
[Palestinian] Arabs this is much easier than any other TRANSFER. There are Arab states in the vicinity . . . . and it is clear that
if the [Palestinian] Arabs are removed [to these states] this will improve
their condition and not the contrary.”
‘Hasbara’ aside, the central assertion here is that the original Palestinian refugees, and all of their decendents, have been kept refugees and not resettled/absorbed due to a political, rather than humanitarian decision. Pragmatically, if humanitarian considerations were actually at play, it could have been settled long ago by the Arab and Western world, like every other refugee crisis everywhere. .
Do you not acknowledge this?
Richard Silverstein says
@ DrS: You’re just making the same argument others have made. Remember what I said about not repeating what others have said here? So once again for the third time, Israel created the refugee crisis. It is responsible for solving it. No one else is. No one else has any responsibility to remove that burden from Israel. Neither the western world nor Arab states have any obligation to accept these refugees. They are refugees from Israel. International law declares they must return to Israel, unless they themselves choose not to do so.
As for “hasbara aside,” it cannot be set aside. What you and Josh and Papok are doing is intrinsically hasbara. It cannot be set aside. It’s at the heart of everything you do.
Do not comment further in this thread.
They are not refugees from Israel because they never lived in the state of Israel! Their grandparents might be refugees, also not from Israel, but from the British mandate on Palestina (a land settled both by Jews and arabs) or from Jordan.
The state of Israel will never agree to let millions of Palestinians descendants live in Israel because it just doesn’t make sense, it’s in contradiction with the very nature of a Jewish state! And keeping this notion alive, secrafising so many lives for this imposible notion, refusing to any other agreement, it’s just the essence of stupidity and evilness.
Richard Silverstein says
This is not only blatantly false, it is offensive. I do not permit lies and fraud to be spouted in the comment thread. Palestinians are indigenous to Israel. They lived in Israel before the State was founded. Just because Israel expelled them does not mean it gets to declare they were never citizens of the state. I am deeply offended you would offer such a disgusting, immoral argument. I am putting you on a first-warning basis. If you make similar claims in the future you will be moderated.
Well, isn’t that nifty. An Iraqi Jew argues that it doesn’t make sense for Palestinians to be offered justice for their suffering. Well, that must make you an expert on the subject. Who are you to judge what makes sense or not? In fact, implementation of the Right of Return for Palestinian expelees would make perfect sense if you believe in justice (which you don’t).
Even if you accept the premise of a Jewish state, which is problematic, there is no law saying that a Jewish state can’t permit Palestinians to return after their ethnic cleansing. There is not even a law saying a Jewish state must have a Jewish majority. But if you question the notion of a Jewish state and believe that a state may have both Palesitnians and Jews as citizens and offer each equality, then ROR makes perfect sense.
Once again, I find this claim offensive. To deny justice to Palestinians is itself evil.
You are done in this thread. Do not publish another comment in it. And if you decide to publish comments in other threads remember to read and respect the comment rules. If you don’t, you have been warned…
Tonja Hamel says
I wonder why Papok didn’t answer me about these Iraqi jews going back home in irak as soon as possible (but whining his grand parents didnt have refugee status) would he have hard time to explain that what can/should be granted to jews in what they call arabe state can not be granted to palestinians in a jewish state..?
Same i wish i could i have “debate” over Your point Mr Silvertein that it is a mess Israël created so under laws it has to clean it. And that this idea about letting palestinians being gobbled up by neighbouring countries had already been exposed even before the création of Israël.
Well not surprising coming from propagandists.they arent interested in honest debates. Evil at best.
I just want to tell Mr Silverstein that i found you very patient with thème.
And wanted to thank you forr your good honest hard work. And for your humane (and articulated) opinions.
Richard Silverstein says
@ Tonja: Thanks!
You keep talking about justice like it’s something that can be measured and determined to be true or false. What qualifies as justice for one man in injustice to the other.
And you can stop threatening me with bans on commenting, I have no disre to comment if there is no real debate so this will probably be my last comment anyway.
I’m not sure I understood your question, but if I did then the answer is that my grandparents did had to flee from real danger (my grandmother told me that some neighbors stood guard in shifts to protect them, but that wasn’t enough).
I don’t think any one from my family have a wish to live in Iraq, but I’m sure my grandmother would very much like to be confensaited for the loss of possession.
Richard Silverstein says
Indeed it can. That’s why nations have laws and why there are international laws of war. There are ratified standards of justice. So no, I’m afraid you can’t substitute your bastardized defintion for the real thing.
That is precisely the choice that Palestinian expellees demand: either to return to their homes or be compensated for their ethnic cleansing at Israel’s hands.
Gimme a break. Enough with the whining. There are tens of thousands of comments on this site from hasbaroids like you. You’re nothing special. You can comment here or not. But if you violate the comment rules your stay will be short. The length of stay is up to you.
This is what you get when the dumbest guy ever was elected US President and his moron son-in-law is allowed to make “Middle Eastern policy”: the most Right-wing nihilistic Israeli ideas “somehow” gain currency. I hope that Jeremy Corbyn is elected PM and turns the cold-shoulder on Israel, and that more governments in Europe follow suit so that the Israeli government knows this is serious and they can’t brush it off like if every African nation did it or all the nations of Central and South America. Israel should be forced to a bargaining table, but the US cannot have anything to do with it because of the second US-Iraq war, our backing of the present Egyptian junta, our endless support for Saudi Arabia (no matter how much Yemeni blood is on their hands) and how closely our government is interwoven with the Israeli one.
Elizabeth Cohen says
“Kushner’s plan” should really be called “Kushner’s Implementation” in a quasi Esther-like scheme via Trump’s admin. because the notions underlying are nothing new: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBYKuqlzePE
Agree with everything as always.