John Kerry (left) with Martin Indyk (photo: Martin Stern)
Update: MK Shimon Oyahon welcomes inclusion of compensation to Jewish refugees in Kerry peace deal framework (Israel National News)
Update to the Update: ‘State Department officials cautioned that the process could take longer
than a few weeks, and they said the issue of how to treat families of
Jewish refugees had not been settled. ‘(New York Times)
Martin Indyk, lead US envoy in the peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, has reassured US Jewish leaders that Jewish refugees will received compensation under a final peace deal.
The Washington Post reports:
“Indyk also told the group that a final peace treaty could provide for
compensation to Jews forced out of Arab countries after the founding of
Israel in 1948. That would give descendants of those refugees living in
Israel a potential financial stake* in a deal long assumed to also
provide compensation for Arabs who left land in what is now Israel.”
Yediot Aharonot (Hebrew) reports:
framework agreement will address Palestinian refugee compensation,
but for the first time there was also talk of compensation to Jewish refugees from
The reports corroborate an article in the Jerusalem Post where senior Palestinian official Yousef Abed Rabbo talks of a solution to the refugees problem – not Palestinian refugees specifically.
Unconfirmed sources quote Indyk as stating that the US does believe that Jewish refugee compensation ought to be addressed, although the Palestinians could not be held responsible for compensating Jewish refugees.
However, Israeli chief negotiator Tzipi Livni is reported as still firmly refusing to raise the Jewish refugee issue. The issue has been discussed notwithstanding.
Her reticence, exposed byPoint of No Return, has caused concern among advocates for Jewish refugees and had led to MK Nissim Zeev tabling a motion to create a committee to monitor the implementation of a 2010 Knesset law. That law requires that compensation for Jewish refugees be on the peace agenda.
The impetus for the Knesset law came from the US. In 2008 the US Congress passed a resolution insisting that whenever Palestinian refugee rights are discussed, Jewish refugee rights must also be discussed.
*My comment: The expression ‘potential financial stake’ is an interesting one and suggests that the US is seeking to provide a financial incentive to the sector of the Israeli electorate most mistrustful of a peace deal – Jews from Arab and Muslim countries. However, compensation without Arab recognition of the Jewish refugee ‘narrative’ may not be enough.