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Can $5 Billion Holocaust Litigation Show the Way to Palestinian Reparations?

With Sec. John Kerry re-engaging in Middle East peace negotiations, the thorny issue of cash for refugees returns to the fore

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Mohammed Abu Yussef al-Affendi, a 67-year-old Palestinian refugee in the Dehaishe Refugee Camp, displays the original key and title deeds to the home his family abandoned when they fled their village of Deir Aban during the 1948 Israeli War of Independence. (David Silverman/Getty Images)
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John Kerry has been re-engaging in Middle East peace negotiations, which will—if he can get them off the ground—kick the collection of age-old hornets nests of the conflict. One such nest has, while the Obama Administration was resting quietly, received some attention in academic circles: the question of reparations for Palestinians for property lost in 1948.

In the world of New York Jewish politics, reparations for Palestinians gets tied to reparations for Jews. At a luncheon in December hosted by the American Jewish Committee, Burt Neuborne—the nationally renowned civil liberties defender, NYU law professor, and lead counsel in Holocaust litigation against Swiss banks—explored the topic of reparations for Palestinians in front of a group of influential lawyers (the luncheon was by invitation only). The talk was titled “Discussion on Lessons From the German Slave Labor Litigation: A Framework for Resolving International Human Rights Cases.” Neuborne suggested using the model that he and Stuart E. Eizenstat, deputy secretary of the Treasury in the Clinton Administration, deployed in the late 1990s to obtain compensation for World War II slave laborers from the industries that benefited from that labor, including Deutsche Bank, AG, Siemens, BMW, Volkswagen, and Opel. The deal, which is described in Eizenstat’s book Imperfect Justice: Looted Assets, Slave Labor, and the Unfinished Business of World War II, collected funds for claimants into a foundation monitored by a board that was independent of the governments involved. Victims applied to the fund for a maximum and predetermined amount.

The 1999 agreements differed in crucial ways from the one brokered in the early 1950s between the Israeli and German governments. In 1952, Germany furnished the equivalent of $13 billion dollars to the state of Israel (in 1956, reparations money from Germany represented fully 87 percent of the state’s income). Economic concerns were a crucial factor. At first, many opposed the reparations—indeed, saw them as a betrayal of the victims; reparations seemed tantamount to forgiveness. In the end, Israel’s dire economic situation overcame the outrage, argues University of Pennsylvania political scientist Ian S. Lustick. “A crucial element in moving Israeli leaders toward direct negotiations with Germany was the severity of Israel’s economic circumstances,” he writes in a 2005 essay diplomatically titled “Negotiating Truth: The Holocaust, Lehavdil, and Al-Nakba”; “Closed discussions within the Israeli Foreign Ministry in late 1949 and 1950 focused on the importance of using Germany’s need for Israeli goodwill, while that need still existed, to gain access to substantial economic resources.”

Conversely, the agreements brokered by Eizenstat, who is now a partner at Covington & Burling, and Neuborne, had a twofold purpose: to get money from the accused, which would be encouraged to pay by the limit imposed on the foundation, and to avoid a situation where outstanding judgments for billions of dollars would keep German, Swiss, Austrian, and French trade out of the United States by putting an end to court cases brought by individuals against the private industries that had benefited from slave labor during the war. “The Holocaust victims and others injured by the Nazis, many of whom were now U.S. citizens, were particularly deserving of some justice at the end of difficult lives,” Eizenstat writes in Imperfect Justice. “There were also traditional foreign policy concerns. Without American involvement, U.S. relations with friendly countries and close allies would be negatively affected by the lawsuits and the threats that surrounded them.”

“But there was another reason,” he writes: domestic politics. “Even the most sophisticated Europeans fail to appreciate that U.S. foreign policy is a unique and complicated mixture of morality and self-interest,” he wrote. Edgar Bronfman, “the billionaire head of the World Jewish Congress,” urged the president and the first lady to look into this matter and use their considerable power to put pressure on the issue. The foundation meant that individuals would no longer be able to sue the industries or the countries that house them, effectively serving to “lift a cloud over their companies doing business in the United States,” Eizenstat writes in the introduction. It also meant that individual plaintiffs had to settle for a maximum recovery amount, which in some cases was far lower than they would have gotten had they pursued the case. It was a case of the individual sacrificing for the benefit of the collective.

A lump sum of $5 billion was set up in a foundation called “Remembrance, Responsibility, and the Future,” from which applicants could receive either $2,500 or $7,500, depending on the severity of their slave labor. In the case of Austria, Eizenstat said on the phone recently, a $210 billion fund was set up to pay reparations for property, and each applicant could get a maximum of $2 million. “We didn’t know how many people would apply,” Eizenstat said. Twenty-thousand people applied, and that was how they determined how much each would receive.

“The nice thing about the model,” Neuborne said on the phone, “is that it takes government out of the process. All the stakeholders are represented in the foundation’s board. Because it is an independent entity for reparations money, the source and the amount are negotiable.”

In a phone interview, I asked Eizenstat what he thought of using Neuborne’s idea, to use “Rememberance, Responsibility and the Future” as a model for Palestinian reparations. “The issue of slave labor is not applicable to the Palestinians, but the situation in the Middle East does come close to the Austrian case with its focus on lost property,” Eizenstat said. “Reparations would only be applicable at the summation of a political process of land for peace,” at which time, “this would be an elegant way of solving that issue without the right of return.”


In connecting via analogy Holocaust litigation with Palestinian reparations, Neuborne comes close to the literal version of that idea proposed by Israel’s first Foreign Minister, Moshe Sharett. In 1952, Lustick notes in in his article, Sharett suggested “transferring some of the money [from German reparations] to the Palestinian refugees, in order to rectify what has been called the small injustice (the Palestinian tragedy), caused by the more terrible one (the Holocaust).”

But rather than transferring some of the money from German reparations to compensate Palestinian refugees, a third refugee group has entered the picture to complicate the matter further, according to Michael R. Fischbach, a professor of history at Randolph-Macon College who has written extensively on reparations. He says that since the early 1950s, the Israeli government claims that the question of compensating Palestinian losses must be balanced against losses incurred by a different refugee group: the 800,000 Jewish refugees to Israel, fleeing mid-20th century Islamic prosecution and expulsions. This idea came to fruition when President Clinton proposed at Camp David that an international fund be established to pay claims to both Palestinians as well as Jews who fled Arab countries. Israel would pay into this fund but would not be responsible for it. Rendering the compensation of these two groups—Palestinians and Jewish refugees from Arab countries—co-dependent, was called “linkage.”

A few NGOs have recently made this claim more visible, such as Justice for Jews From Arab Countries, which seeks to educate people about refugees from Arab countries. JJAC’s director, Stanley Urman, wrote a doctoral dissertation in which he argued that the United Nations has treated Jewish refugees from Arab countries and Palestinians differently—the bias leaning in favor of Palestinians. “It’s a core issue of recognition,” Urman said. “One million Jews were displaced, and it is important that their story is not lost.” I asked him if their suffering should be equated with that of the Palestinians, to which Urman responded, “No. All suffering is unique. But both populations are refugees under international law, and they were both made so by the same conflict: The Arab-Israeli conflict. The peace fund is an equitable approach to resolving the question of compensation,” Urman said, though he believes a Truth and Reconciliation Commission is also in order.

And more recently, even Congress has gotten on board with the idea of parity between the two refugee populations. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Republican Congressman, sponsored a resolution in 2008 that was passed by the House in which “any resolutions relating to the issue of Middle East refugees, and which include a reference to the required resolution of the Palestinian refugee issue, must also include a similarly explicit reference to the resolution of the issue of Jewish refugees from Arab countries.” Nadler is now at work on “bi-partisan legislation, H.R. 6242, that calls on the Administration to report to Congress on its progress in pursuing justice for Jewish refugees from Arab countries,” according to a September press release.

But linking Palestinian reparations and recognition with that of Jews from Arab Countries is a political act with very real political consequences. “Equating the refugees from Arab countries with Palestinian refugees means that Israel is off the hook,” Fischbach told me. “It means that there was a big Middle East reallocation, or population exchange, and just as those Jews will not be going back to their homes in Iraq or Syria, so too, it is implied, these Palestinians will not be returning to their homes. How can they? Their villages are gone.” It’s not about the money, Fischbach said. “Equating these two populations of refugees deflates the moral claim of the Palestinians, which is what it is designed to do. This is political football.”

The PLO has always been against linking the two groups of refugees, as are most Palestinians, Fischbach said: “Their thinking is, we’re not accountable for what those countries did, so why should we pay? Don’t negate our right of return because of something Iraq did.”

“I’m all for people getting reparations for what they suffered,” Fishbach added, “but what links these two issues? You have to wonder, why now?” Fischbach asked. “Where was everyone 30, 40 years ago?”

Nor is it even clear it would work. “For Palestinians, by and large it would not be acceptable to take money,” Amjad Alqasis, legal advocacy coordinator of the Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency & Refuge, told me. “First we would need the state of Israel to acknowledge that an atrocity happened and that it continues to occur in the displacement of Palestinians, the confiscation and destruction of their property, and the building of settlements. This is not just a historical problem, but it is linked to today, an ongoing process,” he said. Furthermore, Alqasis says, it is crucial that the question of monetary reparations be detached from the possibility of refugees returning. “If they are only offered money, it is not a fair discussion. But a wide range of possible reparations must be offered, such that refugees have the choice to return or to accept reparations.”

“Israel has been offering money to Palestinians since 1948,” said Eitan Bronstein, director of the Israeli organization Zochrot, which seeks to make Israelis aware of the events of 1948 from the Palestinian perspective. “Since 1948, Israel has had the policy to pay individuals if the individual signs a paper that says, ‘I have no more demands.’ They pay per dunam. But they do not pay at market rate, though nobody knows how much they do—it’s top secret. It’s also a sensitive topic among Palestinians, a few of whom have accepted the money due to economic pressures,” he said. “Money is not a real acknowledgment. It’s not enough. It’s part of the solution, but it must be part of a choice. Otherwise, offering money is not the moral option.”

Bronstein believes that fewer than 1 million Palestinians would choose to move back should they be granted the right of return and thinks more would visit and enjoy owning land.

Indeed, in 2003, the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research released a survey that showed that when given a choice between the option to “stay in the Palestinian state that will be established in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and receive a fair compensation for the property taken over by Israel and for other losses and suffering” and the option to “receive fair compensation for the property, losses, and suffering and stay in host country receiving its citizenship or Palestinian citizenship,” 38 percent of residents of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip opted to receive compensation and statehood, and 0 percent opted for compensation without statehood. Interestingly, 33 percent of Palestinians living in Jordan opted for compensation without statehood. The survey estimated that “the number of refugees wishing to move from Lebanon and Jordan to the Palestinian state in an exercise of the right of return would be 784,049.” Perhaps most crucially, only 33 percent of the refugees polled, estimated to be the equivalent of 373,673 individuals, including refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, and Lebanon, stated a wish to physically relocate to land currently inside Israel.

The individuals who applied to Eizenstat’s foundation signed away their right to any future claims, which is why Neuborne believes that this model would work for Palestinian reparations. “My sense is, if you’re going to deal with a refugee problem, you have three options. You can ignore it, which is unfair and politically unrealistic. Or, you can give the right of return, which Israel wouldn’t accept and which would be unjust, because it would unbalance the Jewish state, which would eliminate it as a Jewish refuge. Or, you can give some portion the right of return, and some portion reparations. I can’t think of a single instance in the history of the world where a country has agreed to the right of return where it would mean that country was swamped, erased as a political institution.”

When I told Neuborne the results of the survey, in which only 700,000 Palestinians actually claim to desire to return, he said, “Oh, that’s perfect! The foundation could negotiate that cap, and the rest would be granted restitutions. The administrative body would decide.”


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DevilInPgh says:

A slight correction to your article: Jerry Nadler is a Democrat, not a Republican.

JehudahBenIsrael says:


The term brings internal conflicting memories among the Jews of Israel to mind: to receive the blood-stained money from the Germans or not.

On either side of the divide one could name political parties from the left and the right. The essence of the question was: should we, Jews, received funds from those who set out to annihilate us, and managed to extinct the lives of a third of our people in some of the most brutal ways?

By contrast, when we talk about Arabs’ demand for reparations we deal with the demand of the aggressors, not the victims, to receive money for that which they have lost after having attempted to bring about Israel’s demise and the “cleanse” the Jewish people’s ancestral homeland of its Jews.

Hence, when anyone is out to compare, I beg you, for the sake of intellectual honesty, also contrast.

And the contrast between the two cases is the equivalent of day and night!!

    JehudahBenIsrael says:

    P.S. The Arabs’, in 1947 to 1949, attempted to extinct any possibility of Israel’s proclamation as an independent state, and then to bring about its demise. To do so the Arabs renewed the war-of-attrition-through-terror against the Jewish population of the Land, and then set out – a coalition of five regular Arab states armies – to bring about Israel’s demise. In the process of this aggressive action, some 300,000 to 700,000 Arabs fled their homes and properties. Most remained within the boundaries of the country, in places such as Samaria, Judea, the Jordan Valley, Gaza and the Galilee, hence should only be treated, legally, as displaced persons. The rest crossed the lines and found refuge in enemy countries, e.g. Lebanon, Syria.

    As a result of the same aggressive act by the Arabs, some 850,000 to a million Jews were actually expelled by the Arab countries. Most of these Jews, who left behind, in countries such as Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Morocco, Tunis, Egypt, their entire wealth, found refuge in Israel and became an integral part of Israeli society.

    The Arabs have never considered compensating the 850,000 Jews for their losses. Thus, on what basis should we, Jews, consider compensating the Arabs for their losses that came as a direct result of their own aggressive behavior…??

      Eric Furman says:

      Dear Jehudah

      I agree and disagree with you.

      1. Jews were expelled from Arab lands, during and after the war of independance, and yes international pressure is needed to compensate those refugees who lost their property and wealth, but to tie this to preposed compensation to that of Palestinian Arabs, as part of an overall peace settlement is wrong.
      Do not for moment compare the moral consience of Israel and the Jewish people with that of Lybia, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and Yemen where there is civil conflict, terrible loss of life, starvation and depravation.
      2. Do you not think that the Palestinians have had a raw deal from their leaders, both before and after the war of independance, and please do not be niave to believe that during the war of independance that Israeli forces were not complicit in the evacuation of Palestinian villages.
      Given both of these points then the Palestinians deserve compensation, but it will never happen as a two state solution has been on the table for 65 years, before the question of settlements, before a five / ten fold increase in the number of Palestinian refugees or their desendants ( depending on which figures you take ).

        JehudahBenIsrael says:

        No, the Palestinian Arabs didn’t have a raw deal at all!!

        Palestine – a territory, not a nationality, state or a people, mind you!! – was legally partitioned back in 1921/22. Based on that legal partition by the League of Nations whose act was then adopted by the UN and etched into the UN Charter, Article 80, 1945, the Arabs received 77% of Palestine, while the Jews only 23% of it.

        But, the Arabs, or rather Muslim-Arabs to be precise – no, not Christian-Arabs or Druse-Arabs, mind you!! – couldn’t accept the fact that a sovereign nation-state of the Jewish people would exist on ANY parcel of land of the Jewish people’s ancestral homeland, and, incidentally, they still can’t accept it. Hence, they set out to see to it that a Jewish state doesn’t come about and the Land is “cleansed” of its Jewish population. They lost in their attempt, and now they are paying the price.

        Why should the victim of their campaign, the Jews, compensate them?

          whatnot says:

          oh yeah, wheel out your ‘ancestral’ claptrap, and voila! Palestine is ‘a territory, not a nationality, state or a people’!! so just like Israel was for a few thousand years? isn’t it ironic, all this fascism in a Freudian slip.

          JehudahBenIsrael says:

          Why is it a form of fascism to point to facts and analyse reality in a rational way? Why, for instance, doesn’t the poster tell us: What is the Arab name of the land in question? Reality is: There isn’t. The name the Arabs use, philistin, is a derivative of Palestine, a name coined by the Roman with the explicit intent of erasing all traces of Jewish existence in the Jewish people’s homeland after the Jewish revolt against the Romans, 135 CE (AD). And, the evidence goes on. Nevertheless, the international community opted to partition the land. While Palestine/EretzIsrael has consisted of Jews, Arabs, Circassians, Armenians, Greeks, Roma (Gypsies), etc., it has divided the Land between the two predominant groups: Arabs and Jews. The Arabs received 77% of the territory of Palestine/EretzIsrael; and, the Jews were assigned 23% of it, the latter located between the Jordan River and the Med. Sea.

          If the Arabs were ready to accept international law and abide by it; they would have saved us many wars, many thousands of dad and injured, and would be able to be part of the ushering of peaceful life to the benefit of all. But, the Arabs – Muslim-Arabs to be precise – have opted to harness the 7th-century-based ideology instead…, hence the Arab Israeli conflict.

          whatnot says:

          dont try your ‘international community’ on me, a cabal of Imperialist leftovers, with its bogus ‘international law’ of zero legitimacy. if it wasnt for corrupt colonial powers, you’d still be roaming all over the place just like you got used to, and by the way, I trust all those Middle Eastern Jews were consulted about, and subsequently rooted for the establishment of this nuclear ghetto theme park, why don’t you lot build a higher fence around yourselves so we hear less about your denial.

          Beatrix17 says:

          Palestine was the name the Romans gave to Israel and it was a territory for 2,000 years under Roman, Ottoman and English rule. The only question is why the Arab Palestinians think they have more right to a nation than the Jewish Palestinians.

          The UN set up two nations. The Jewish Pals set up a nation and the Arab Pals didn’t. Now for some reason the Arabs think they have a right to the Jewish nation, probably because the Jewish Pals changed their name to Israelis and the Arabs continue to call themselves Pals. Other ignorant people support them.

          whatnot says:

          oh the UN, with the likes of US amb. Rice barking like mad, and doesn’t the ‘international community’ and ‘international law’ come in handy when applied to illegal Zionist settlements in the West Bank, oh thow in a blockade too, from oppressed to oppressor in no time, and they still got the nerve to moan.

      Eric Furman says:

      Dear Jehudah

      I agree and disagree with you.

      1. Jews were expelled from Arab lands, during and after the war of independance, and yes international pressure is needed to compensate those refugees who lost their property and wealth, but to tie this to preposed compensation to that of Palestinian Arabs, as part of an overall peace settlement is wrong.
      Do not for moment compare the moral consience of Israel and the Jewish people with that of Lybia, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and Yemen where there is civil conflict, terrible loss of life, starvation and depravation.
      2. Do you not think that the Palestinians have had a raw deal from their leaders, both before and after the war of independance, and please do not be niave to believe that during the war of independance that Israeli forces were not complicit in the evacuation of Palestinian villages.
      Given both of these points then the Palestinians deserve compensation, but it will never happen as a two state solution has been on the table for 65 years, before the question of settlements, before a five / ten fold increase in the number of Palestinian refugees or their desendants ( depending on which figures you take ).

      Wchelsea25 says:

      Jehudah, I couldn’t agree with you more. And to Mr. Furman below:

      The world has always been more comfortable with the subservient, Jew; the merchant, scholar, and farmer who walks head down. The world demonizes Israel because Israelis are powerful fighters and defenders of their democratic nation. For the first time in thousands of years, Jews are first-class citizens in a nation–their own. And, despite thousands of years of persecution, Jews consistently take the moral high ground. That is who they are: moral, compassionate, accomplished. And still, Jews acquiesce to wrong-headed world opinion. The numbers speak strongly: 15 million Jews in world of 6 billion.

      The pity card always works and the Arabs have played it beautifully for 65 years. Never mind that there are a quarter of a billion Arab Muslims, never mind that that Arabs create textbooks that teach their children to hate Jews, never mind that Arabs have been persecuting Jews for thousands of years, never mind that Arabs have been the aggressor since Israel became a state, and above all never mind that they oppress their own valuable human capital. They are pitiful, right?

      Might I also add that there is no such thing as a refugee after (the biblical) 40 years? After three generations does any Jew yen to return to Poland, Hungary, or anywhere in Europe? The problem for the Palestinians is that no Arab nation wants them. Perhaps they need to look into themselves to find out why.

      All of this is emotional, and simplistic even. However, the only real question that remains is the perennial: Is this good for the Jews?

Rich says:

What about reparations for Jews who had to flea Arab lands since 1947.

DSarna says:

How can any Jew favor – or even raise the issue -reparations for Arabs absent corresponding reparations for Jews? Most fair-minded people are in favor of mutual. compensation. Only insecure and self-hating Jews can be in favor of unilateral compensation.

PhillipNagle says:

G-d save us from lawyers.

Beatrix17 says:

So far as I know only Holocaust survivors and not their descendents received reparations.

The Israeli War for Independence was 65 years ago. People old enough to own land (21) would be at least 86. A Palestinian who was in his infancy then would today be at least 65. Do you think people this old have a desire to move to a strange land where the culture, language, dominant religion, and society are all as unfamiliar as modern Israel would be to them?

It’s understandable that many Palestinians would prefer Israel to the UN camps although the camp culture is Arabic, but few of these people are refugees.
They are the descendents of refugees.

Israel owes reparations to landowners and should give them the choice of financial reparations or the right of return. And even elderly people today who were born in Israel should have the right of return. But under no circumstances should every single Palestinian descended from Palestinians who left Israel be allowed the “right of return” nor should people be financially compensated unless they lost a home, livestock or other valuable property. These were the only people who lost anything. For the others, leaving Israel simply meant living under Arab auspices rather than Israeli.

    whatnot says:

    well it didn’t stop your Zionist folk moving back after all those thousands of years, so keep riding your high horse you ignorant £$%^&*

      Beatrix17 says:

      You’re even braver in your animosity when you’re talking to a woman aren’t you?

      Palestine was Israel. Some Jews came back. Some never left. Once the UN created two states one for the Jews and one for the Pals, the Jews had a right to welcome back whomever they wanted. Some Jews are even willing to allow back the Arabs who left during the War for Independence—the Arabs who were forced out by the war, and the ones who left to get out of the way of the Arab soldiers who wanted to kill Jews.

      Israel doesn’t owe the West Bank and Gaza to the Palestinians. Jordan and Egypt never cared when they had the land. And some Israelis are wisely reluctant to grant a state to a group of people so overwhelmingly propagandized and so filled with hate and self pity, but I think the Israelis will do for you what your own leaders haven’t done and will give you a state of your own.

      And once the Palestinians have their own nation, I want you to start catching up to the Jews in art, literature, science, business and philosophy. Once you produce your own Einstein, Freud, Salk and Chagall, , then maybe you will have the right to criticize the Jews.

        whatnot says:

        oh dear, and you are? ‘art, literature, science, business and philosophy’, you want some literature, go to your national library and read all the Palestinian liibraries looted from abandoned Palestinian homes, and why didn’t your Einstein move to Palestine when Nazis kicked in, oh, he preferred that another colonial outpost that is the USA, ever wondered why? why don’t all the Yank Jews move to their cherished nuclear heaven, or is it somehow more convenient to yap from afar, a pack of hypocrites.

          Beatrix17 says:

          Maybe because the English wouldn’t let anyone into Palestine. Have you ever read a history book? Einstein was later offered the Presidency of Israel.

      pushedoffthederech says:

      you know, even if someone would want to agree with some of what you say, whatnot, you are a skanky POS and obviously a vicious antisemite, so ESAD f*&*^&%head

        whatnot says:

        touché !!! I’ll have to go to to have a look at that lovely picture of two toddlers with ‘Arabs out’ graffitti in the background, so much philosophy, art, science in one image, do keep up you fascist $%^&.

Hershl says:

To the victor goes the spoils.

We were attacked seven times by Muslims intent on not only stealing our land but also annihilating us. The Grand Mufti, may his name and memory be blotted out, worked hand and hand with Hitler during the war.

We owe the Arabs absolutely nothing.

They are getting everything they so richly deserve; self immolation, backwardness, fanaticism and, to top it all off, lunatic Islamists who will assure them a future in hell.

It couldn’t happen to a nicer group of people.

Boleslaw Bierut says:

How about Arabs paying Jews reparations for lost lives and property taken over after Jews were kicked out of Arab lands? I bet it’s more then any palestinian claims.

Eric Furman says:

Perhaps I did not make myself clear.

The argument is acedemic, as there will never be a two state solution, because neither side will accept. I think you misunderstood what I said, if the settlements are the problem, then what was the problem to a solution before the settlements existed to the two state solution ?

Wchelsea25, how can you write about a time limit to the national aspirations of the Palestinians, when every Jew who calls himself a Zionist, and every supporter of Israel believes in the law of return, believes Israel is the historical, cultural, religious and legitimate homeland of the Jewish people, and that right assails itself after 2,000 years.

Mr DSarna.
I simply stated that the issue of a settlement should there be one ( which will not happen in our lifetime ) does not need to be further complicated by linking the loss of Jewish property in Arab lands, and I am neither insecure nor self hating.

I quote Ehud Barak when he entered peace negotiations with the PLO in 2000

Every attempt [by the State of Israel] to keep hold of this area [the
West Bank and Gaza] as one political entity leads, necessarily, to
either a nondemocratic or a non-Jewish state.Because if the Palestinians vote, then it is a binational state, and if they don’t vote it is an apartheid state.”

What Ehud Barak offered will never be offered again, and even then the PLO said no, and why ?, because the Palestinian leadership don’t want a solution, not then, not before, not now.

The oil rich Arab states could solve the refugee problem, they won’t because it doesn’t suit them. Israel in the main manages very well without a solution, it’s a wonderful and wonderious country- just spare a thought to those displaced people, who have been betrayed by everyone including their own leadership

lukelea says:

Not having read the article yet the answer to the question is Yes. Or rather, No. Yes, reparations — compensation, is a better word — are a necessary part of any final deal. But no, $5 billion is not nearly enough and in any case it is Europe (with American assistance perhaps), not Israel that must pay it. What is required is an ongoing package of aid in the form of investment, free public education, universal healthcare, old-age assistance, etc. sufficient to establish a rough parity in living standards in any future Palestinian state and Israel whose continuance would be contingent upon the Palestinians abiding by the terms of any final settlement that is worked out with Israel.

Unless there is something in it for the ordinary Palestinian man on the street no deal will ever be made. But the moral dimension is equally important. Think about it. It was European anti-Semitism that drove the Jews out of Europe and it was European statesmen who decided to solve their “Jewish problem” by giving someone else’s land away. If A pushes B into C, who is responsible for the damages to A?

Though you can criticize the details Israel has basically done nothing wrong. They’ve done what they have to do and they are justified by the right of self-preservation, the most fundamental right of all.

The Palestinians on the other hand have been wronged and therefore have a justified sense of grievance and humiliation. Put yourself in their shoes. Unless this wrong is acknowledged and blood money is paid (by the West) peace will never come.

Let me add that it might be necessary for Europe and the US to give all Palestinians duel citizenship and thus the right to emigrate to the West if they choose. There may not be enough real estate in Gaza and the West Bank to accommodate them all. Also, compensation in the form of wage subsidies could follow them where ever they live — on the east bank of the Jordan for instance.

This the kind of thinking the next generation is going to have to do ten or twenty years from now.

Now that I’ve pontificated I will shut up and read the article.

whatnot says:

this is the most fickle fallacy, to compare Palestinians who had nowhere to go because they suddenly found an uber-neighbour wanting for more room, with Jews from across the Middle East who were incited, if not cargoed, to make their long-awaited journey to Israel by some Zionist US-sponsored cheerleaders.

    Beatrix17 says:

    No where to go except their own homeland. Palestinian leaders choose continued war over establishment of a homeland offered by the UN and are continuing to do that with the West Bank and Gaza offered by Israel.

      whatnot says:

      ‘offered’? sweet charity, they ‘offered’ what they took by loot.

herbcaen says:

The comparison of reparations to the Palestinians from Israel to that of the Jews from germany is obscene.

Arty Cohn says:

How much in reparations do the Palestinian Arabs owe Israeli citizens for the 65 years of terrorism they have inflicted.

UryV says:

Several issues spring to mind after reading this article, Included:

a) Who pays into the fund?
Assume that both parties, Palestinians and Israelis, agree to paying into a
compensation fund. The Palestinians claim “we didn’t do it” (expel the Jews
from Arab countries). So these countries should pay (at the very least, the seven
who attacked Israel on May 15, 1948). Will they? And what about others such as
the Gulf countries, which have been funding terror for two generations? Will
they too?

b) Who is a refugee? The Palestinians are the only set of hereditary refugees. We are now into the third generation of refugees. Also, assuming 600.000 left and there are now 5.000.000 (as some Palestinians claim), this gives us – over 65 years – a population increase rate of 3.3% per year, every year (8.3 times over the period). To compare, Egypt had a 2.8% rate in the eighties (their peak) and is now at 1.9% (
Somebody ought to the Palestinians math.

c) Who pays the Jews from Arab countries who came to Israel? Presumably, Israel, from its (notional) contribution to the common fund. But unlike the Arab refugees who were dumped into camps by their Arab brothers, there to live lives of squalor, desperation and violence, the Jews who came to Israel benefited from a coordinated absorption effort by the State and Jewish institutions. This effort was far from perfect and riddled with injustices and prejudice – yes. But nobody starved, nobody lived on the street, and the descendants of those immigrants (not refugees – “Jewish refugee” has been an oxymoron for 65 years) are now a vibrant and crucial component of Israeli society. So – should the absorption expense be deducted from compensation for lost property? Should we feed a generation of lawyers?

d) Which brings us to the opinions of Prof. Neuborne. Leave aside,
for a moment, the unbearable ease with which he views a massive settlement of
Palestinians in Israel (How many could he put up in Westchester, Connecticut,
the Upper East Side, or wherever it is that he lives?). Prof. Neuborne’s
opinions need to be viewed through a “green prism”:

I am not vouching for what NY magazine writes; it’s not my place. But think of the possible motivations behind his statements.

Guy Schoemann says:

“They pay per dunam. But they do not pay at market rate,” Very clever statement! Do you intend to equate the value of sand dunes, malaria stricken swamps, rocky wasteland, with the present industrial areas, high tech office buildings, highway crossroads, drained and irrigated orchards? 90% of Arabs before 1948 were poor illiterate sharecroppers, day laborers living in mud huts or tents, shephards working for their landlords, some 20 families (who are still in power in the P.A.), who already had sold out 60% of agricultural areas to the KKL. Only 15% of the area of the mandatory Palestine was registered in the Tabu, 85% being desert or wasteland. Would you like to equate the losses of this poverty stricken crowd with the assets some 900,000 Jews, who were running key industrial and trading activities in arab countries, were stripped off as they had to leave forcibly to save their lives? If any financial compensation was required by Arabs, it should be balanced by a cautiously calculated evaluation of both asset losses.

Binyamin the Prophet says:

This whole discussion is silly babbling.
From the Times of Israel (a right-wing rag):
Headline — Deputy Defense Minister: This government will block any two-state

From the mouth of Danny Danon. Here are he money quotes:

“The deputy minister said “there is no majority for a two-state solution” among the 31 lawmakers that make up the Likud-Yisrael Beytenu Knesset faction.”

“Asked whether Netanyahu truly is in favor of a two-state solution, Danon replied that the prime minister tied the creation of a Palestinian state to conditions he is
certain the Palestinians will not agree to. “He knows that in the near future
it’s not possible.” ”

And the best one: “The international community can say whatever they want, and we can do whatever we want,” he said.

All this talk about a “peace agreement” is in the category of how stupid do they think the goyim are. (And they are idiots, but not total morons.)

Whenever Israel says “peace”, what it means is “surrender.”

pushedoffthederech says:

Whatnot is a troll. no one needs to be a troll whisperer and no one needs to feed a really hard-core antisemite who is so full of hate he is excreable. So why are we feeding him? Reasonable people know the deal. Haters on both sides, whatnot from the Arab side and our own haters deserve each other. The real problem is that the politicians, British, Israeli, Arab, French, etc. etc. etc. all let the moderates get murdered or silenced and only fed the extremes. And when you feed the sick extremists, you destroy the people who want peace. AND THAT WAS THE PROBLEM THEN AND THAT IS THE PROBLEM NOW. THE ONLY PEOPLE POLITICOS CATER TO ARE THE LUNATICS ON BOTH SIDES, WHILE THE REST OF US JUST TRY TO DUCK AND GET ON WITH OUR LIVES. So a pox on all extremists.

    whatnot says:

    oh dear, I trust you don’t read Grass, not even before ‘that’ poem? let me quote you a verse:

    Report by UN rights group finds Israeli police and army guilty of torture and abuse of children in occupied West Bank.

    now calling me an ‘antisemite’ ‘from the Arab side’ you show true comic potential, so why don’t you go entertain your troops you deluded Yank from another non-state built on loot and genocide, with new overlords crying blue murder high on a mix of superiority complex and siege mentality.


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