Rivlin: No Selective Justice for Refugees
Knesset Speaker Reuvan Rivlin said that the so-called Arab refugee problem is smaller in scale than the parallel Jewish refugee problem.
Rivlin spoke at the Knesset on Monday at a conference arranged by the Organization of Jews of Arab Descent.
“While Israel is constantly under attack around the world,” Rivlin said, “regarding its approach to the Palestinians and the Palestinian refugees, the world must remember that historic justice cannot be allowed to be selective and one-sided. The fact is that since 1948, Israel has absorbed over a half-million Jewish refugees – and they, too, have rights and demands and financial claims.”
“This matter must be an inseparable part of all negotiations regarding the future of this region,” Rivlin said.
“Even if we accept the higher estimates regarding the number of [Arab] refugees,” Rivlin noted, “which range from a half-million to one million – the number of Jews living in northern Africa and the Middle East before 1948 was more than one million… The same is true with the monetary demands: If the [Arab] refugees’ property was estimated at $4 billion in today’s money, the property of the Jewish refugees is estimated at $6 billion.”
“Historic justice demands its own,” Rivlin continued. “We will not be able to ignore the thousands of Jewish refugees as if they never existed. The Saudi peace initiative includes a clause requiring the ‘finding of a just solution for the Palestinian refugee problem’. Justice cannot be selective.”