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Olmert: U.S. Was Prepared to Take 100,000 Palestinian Refugees

donsutherland1

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In an indication that the U.S. was willing to take strong substantive steps to facilitate an Israeli-Palestinian agreement, former Prime Minister Olmert indicated that the U.S. had been prepared to accept 100,000 Palestinian refugees as U.S. citizens. CNN reported:

The United States under President George W. Bush was prepared to take in 100,000 Palestinian refugees as part of a Middle East peace deal, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Sunday.

"The United States was ready to take in 100,000 refugees as citizens of the United States," Olmert said, in what may be his most revealing comments to date about negotiations with the U.S. and the Palestinians when he was prime minister.


In the end, if a deal on refugees is to be made, it will have to accommodate the core needs of all parties. That will require:

1. Ability of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to relocate to the new Palestinian state.
2. Financing to make the move possible.

The ability of a share of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to have a chance to relocate to third countries (e.g., the U.S.) could, in theory, provide an added inducement to a deal on refugees, as some refugees might welcome such an option.
 

expandmymind

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The ability of a share of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to have a chance to relocate to third countries (e.g., the U.S.) could, in theory, provide an added inducement to a deal on refugees, as some refugees might welcome such an option.
I actually think that this was a pretty decent idea. But the overall deal offered was never really going to work. The deal was hashed through in an attempt by both Bush and Olmert to quickly have their go at the 'peace process', with Bush nearing the end of his campaign and Olmert up on corruption charges (if it is indeed the same deal I'm thinking of). In other words, it wasn't anywhere near the Clinton Parameters.

But we must look at the situation in context before we are to judge whether or not this may be a good idea for the affected Palestinians (which may likely be the case for many of the refugees who have often been treated brutally by their Arab 'hosts'. Things have improved over the years though - albeit slowly).

Would they be happy to resettle on land that isn't in British Mandate Palestine - either Israel or the Occupied Territories? I'm not so sure. For European Jews it had to be Palestine. The location of their 'National Home' was certainly the main issue for Zionists, for they were offered other land, elsewhere, and refused - so how can we be sure that Palestinian refugees would feel any different? And why should they not be afforded the same luxury? After all, they still have living memory (and first hand memories passed down) of their home being these lands. Would it really be fair to expect them to settle for land that is not their own, when Palestine was once theirs (even though their people, the Arab Palestinians, have been continually occupied through the centuries), not too long ago? When the people who are now Israelis largely had no memories or legitimate claim to the land more than a Biblical prophesy?

To condemn any refusal of this deal would be of the highest double standard in my opinion, if we are to look at the situation in the proper, required context.
 
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donsutherland1

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I actually think that this was a pretty decent idea. But the overall deal offered was never really going to work. The deal was hashed through in an attempt by both Bush and Olmert to quickly have their go at the 'peace process', with Bush nearing the end of his campaign and Olmert up on corruption charges (if it is indeed the same deal I'm thinking of). In other words, it wasn't anywhere near the Clinton Parameters.
Actually, even as the Olmert proposal was rushed to completion, it went beyond President Clinton's parameters on some dimensions e.g., amount of territory that would have been granted to the Palestinians.

Would they be happy to resettle on land that isn't in British Mandate Palestine - either Israel or the Occupied Territories? I'm not so sure. For European Jews it had to be Palestine.
Just so there is no confusion, the U.S. proposal created an additional option for 100,000 Palestinian refugees and their descendants who did not wish to retain residence in their host countries nor wanted to move to the new Palestinian state. There was no mandate whatsoever that those refugees had to choose the U.S. IMO, most refugees and their descendants will likely prefer either to remain in their host countries (seeking improved rights/opportunities) or move to a new Palestinian state.

To condemn any refusal of this deal would be of the highest double standard in my opinion, if we are to look at the situation in the proper, required context.
The refugee inducement was one component of a broader package that had been offered. Clearly, as debates/discussions in this forum have shown, there are strong differences of opinion on whether the Palestinians should have accepted the Barak offer. As that debate has been waged almost ad nauseum, there is little to be added on that broader discussion. What is new is that there was a detail that could well serve as a sweetener in helping resolve the refugees issue in the current round or future rounds of negotiations.
 
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