A conference on fostering “dialogue on global migration” should have been ideal for discussion of the anomalous situation of the Palestinian “refugees” (“Pro-BDS Voice Gets to Speak for Jewish Community,” Feb. 17). That the topic wasn’t addressed speaks volumes about the success of the Palestinian leadership’s “big lie.”

The Palestinian “refugees” are overwhelmingly descendants of Arabs who fled the 1948 Arab-initiated war against Israel’s rebirth. They are the only refugee group that is allowed (forced?) to pass refugee status from one generation to the next; the only refugee group whose situation is handled by the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine, rather than the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees; and the only refugee group whose leaders insist that the sole solution to their plight is for them to be given the homes that their forebears fled.

In rejecting the 1947 U.N. plan for the partition of Palestine (a region of the defunct Ottoman Empire), Arab nations said the Arabs of the region were “Southern Syrians,” not a distinct group deserving a nation of its own. However, after the war, nearly all the Muslim nations of the Middle East denied the Palestinian refugees, and their descendants, citizenship and economic opportunity.

Thus, while tiny Israel quickly absorbed and uplifted 800,000 Jews expelled from their homes in the Muslim Middle East and North Africa, a similar (probably smaller) number of Arabs who fled the Arab-initiated war have mushroomed into millions of people who have been kept in refugee limbo for nearly seven decades.

The fleeing Arabs should have been the most easily rehabilitated refugees in the world. They did not have to learn a new language, adapt to a new climate or adjust to a society with unfamiliar religious traditions. Unfortunately for them, their poverty was a useful propaganda tool, and the desire to destroy the Zionist entity was stronger than the obligation to care for the victims of the war that Arab nations had started.

Perhaps the saddest thing about this artificially prolonged tragedy is that the Palestinian leaders do not intend to grant citizenship to the “refugees” in any Palestinian state that may be established. The plan is to inundate Israel with millions of people who have been raised in societies that give the highest honors to people who have murdered Jews. Thus, the “two-state solution” would produce a Judenrein Palestinian state and a Muslim-majority state in which Jews would be, at best, second-class citizens.

— Toby F. Block, Atlanta

Unintended Refugee Facts

Ilise Cohen certainly delivered the expected, incoherent Jewish Voice for Peace message at that recent interfaith conference (“Pro-BDS Voice”).

Arabs were not kicked out during the Arab-initiated war to strangle the nascent Jewish state. Most fled ongoing warfare, heeding, as well, calls from Arab leaders to get out of the way of their incoming forces.

Nor do those many who remained “continue to live under refugee status in Israel.” How unusual that so many “refugees” should be represented in such lofty positions in the Israeli government, judiciary, diplomatic corps, academia, healing professions, etc. What a contrast that is to how those Arabs who fled to neighboring countries are still so poorly treated by their own people.

Yet Cohen unwittingly spoke some truths. Palestinians are “not treated like any other refugees,” nor have they been “allowed to escape.”

There is a separate U.N. agency, UNWRA, exclusively caring for them. Whether in the West Bank or Gaza, Lebanon or Syria, the few remaining refugees from that war and their now-multigenerational descendants remain confined to camps. When Israel proposed building new housing for them, that idea was rejected out of hand by the Palestinian leadership and condemned by the United Nations.

The world is now living with an immense refugee crisis. Monies that could be providing succor are instead still being squandered on a cohort that should long ago have been resettled but hasn’t, in pursuit of the continuing war against Israel.

— Richard D. Wilkins, Syracuse, N.Y.

Congress Must Be Diligent

Americans haven’t forgotten that the president of the United States still has not divested or released his tax returns and won the election because of Russian interference (then enacted an executive order to get rid of sanctions on Russia).

So instead of representing troubled constituents in demanding adherence to ethics, our senators and representatives are ignoring our requests, while Stephen Bannon (neither voted in nor vetted) sits on the National Security Council. To add insult to injury, a U.S. House committee voted to eliminate the Election Assistance Commission (the federal agency that makes sure voting machines aren’t hacked).

A little due diligence by our elected delegates would do wonders for calming Georgians and bringing this country together.

— Edith Fink, Sandy Springs

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