Legal Reports Produced by JJAC
Legal Bases for the Rights of Jewish RefugeesExcerpts from 2007 report entitled: "Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries: The Case for Rights and Redress" (http://www.justiceforjews.com/jjac.pdf) which documents the legal arguments for the legitimate rights of Jews displaced from Arab countries.
A) United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
On two occasions, in 1957 and again in 1967, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) determined that Jews fleeing from Arab countries were refugees who fell within the mandate of the UNHCR.
"Another emergency problem is now arising: that of refugees from Egypt. There is no doubt in my mind that those refugees from Egypt who are not able, or not willing to avail themselves of the protection of the Government of their nationality fall under the mandate of my office."B) UN Resolution(s)
--Mr. Auguste Lindt, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Report of the UNREF Executive Committee, Fourth Session - Geneva 29 January to 4 February, 1957.
"I refer to our recent discussion concerning Jews from Middle Eastern and North African countries in consequence of recent events. I am now able to inform you that such persons may be considered prima facie within the mandate of this Office."
--Dr. E. Jahn, Office of the UN High Commissioner, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Document No. 7/2/3/Libya, July 6, 1967.
On November 22nd, 1967, the Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 242, laying down the principles for a peaceful settlement in the Middle East. Still considered the primary vehicle for resolving the Arab-Israel conflict, Resolution 242 stipulates that a comprehensive peace settlement should necessarily include "a just settlement of the refugee problem." No distinction is made between Arab refugees and Jewish refugees. (See further, Appendix A)
The international community's intention to have Resolution 242 include the rights of Jewish refugees is evidenced by the UN debate, as discussed by the Security Council at its 1382nd meeting of November 22, 1967. The international community adopted a resolution with generic language that does not restrict the "just settlement of the refugee problem" merely to Palestinian refugees. This was the intent of the Resolution's drafters and sponsors. (See attached, page 4: UN Resolution 242": "Just Settlement of the Refugee Problem")
Moreover, Justice Arthur Goldberg, the United States' Chief Delegate to the UN, who was instrumental in drafting the unanimously adopted U.N. Resolution 242, has pointed out that:
"A notable omission in 242 is any reference to Palestinians, a Palestinian state on the West Bank or the PLO. The resolution addresses the objective of 'achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem.' This language presumably refers both to Arab and Jewish refugees, for about an equal number of each abandoned their homes as a result of the several wars…." (1)C) Multilateral Initiatives
- The Madrid Conference, which was first convened in October 1991, launched historic, direct negotiations between Israel and many of her Arab neighbors.
- The Road Map to Middle East peace currently being advanced by the Quartet (the U.N., EU, U.S., and Russia also refers in Phase III to an"agreed, just, fair and realistic solution to the refugee issue", language applicable both to Palestinian and Jewish refugees.
Israeli agreements with her Arab neighbors allow for a case to be made that Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinians have affirmed that a comprehensive solution to the Middle East conflict will require a "just settlement" of the "refugee problem" that will include recognition of the rights and claims of all Middle East refugees:
- Israel - Egypt Agreements
Article 8 of the Israel - Egypt Peace Treaty of 1979 provides that the "Parties agree to establish a claims commission for the mutual settlement of allfinancial claims." Those claims include those of former Jewish refugees displaced from Egypt.
- Israel - Jordan Peace Treaty, 1994
- Israeli-Palestinian Agreements, 1993-
E) Recognition by Political Leaders
" Former U.S. President Bill Clinton made the following assertion after the rights of Jews displaced from Arab countries were discussed at 'Camp David II' in July, 2000 (From White House Transcript of Israeli television interview):
"There will have to be some sort of international fund set up for the refugees. There is, I think, some interest, interestingly enough, on both sides, in also having a fund which compensates the Israelis who were made refugees by the war, which occurred after the birth of the State of Israel. Israel is full of people, Jewish people, who lived in predominantly Arab countries who came to Israel because they were made refugees in their own land".
- Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, after successfully brokering the Camp David Accords and the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty, stated in a press conference on Oct. 27, 1977:Palestinians have rights… obviously there are Jewish refugees…they have the same rights as others do."
"A refugee is a refugee and that the situation of Jewish refugees from Arab lands must be recognized. All refugees deserve our consideration as they have lost both physical property and historical connections. I did not imply that the claims of Jewish refugees are less legitimate or merit less attention than those of Palestinian refugees."
Appendix A: UN Resolution 242: "Just Settlement of the Refugee Problem"
At the United Nations, on November 22nd, 1967, the Security Council unanimously adopted, Resolution 242, laying down the principles for a peaceful settlement in the Middle East.
Still considered the primary vehicle for resolving the Arab-Israel conflict, Resolution 242, stipulates that a comprehensive peace settlement should necessarily include "a just settlement of the refugee problem". No distinction is made between Arab refugees and Jewish refugees. This was the intent of the Resolution's drafters and sponsors.
On Thursday, November 16, 1967 the United Kingdom submitted their draft of Resolution 242 [S/8247] to the UN Security Council. The UK version of 242 was not exclusive, and called for a just settlement of "the refugee problem." Just four days after the United Kingdom submission, the Soviet Union's U.N. delegation submitted their own draft Resolution 242 to the Security Council [S/8253] restricting the just settlement only to "Palestinian refugees" [Para. 3 (c)].
On Wednesday, November 22, 1967, the Security Council gathered for its 1382nd meeting in New York at which time, the United Kingdom's draft of Resolution 242 was voted on and unanimously approved.(3) Immediately after the UK's version of 242 was adopted, the Soviet delegation advised the Security Council, that "it will not insist, at the present stage of our consideration of the situation in the Near East, on a vote on the draft Resolution submitted by the Soviet Union" which would have limited 242 to Palestinian refugees only.(4) Even so, Ambassador Kuznetsov of the Soviet Union later stated: "The Soviet Government would have preferred the Security Council to adopt the Soviet draft Resolution…" (5)
Thus the attempt by the Soviets to restrict the "just settlement of the refugee problem" merely to "Palestinian refugees" was not successful. The international community adoption of the UK's inclusive version signaled a desire for 242 to seek a just solution for all - including Jewish refugees.
Moreover, Justice Arthur J. Goldberg, the US Ambassador to the United Nations who was seminally involved in drafting (6) the unanimously adopted Resolution, told The Chicago Tribune that the Soviet version of Resolution 242 was "not even-handed."(7)
He went further, in pointing out that:
"A notable omission in 242 is any reference to Palestinians, a Palestinian state on the West Bank or the PLO. The resolution addresses the objective of 'achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem.' This language presumably refers both to Arab and Jewish refugees, for about an equal number of each abandoned their homes as a result of the several wars…." (8)
(1) Goldberg, Arthur J., "Resolution 242: After 20 Years", published in Security Interests, National Committee on American Foreign Policy, April 2002.
(2) Remarks by Secretary of State James A. Baker, III before the Organizational Meeting for Multilateral Negotiations on the Middle East, House of Unions, Moscow, January 28, 1992.
(3) Security Council Official Records - November 22, 1967 - S/PV.1382 - Paragraph 67
(4) Security Council Official Records - November 22, 1967 - S/PV.1382 - Paragraph 117
(5) Security Council Official Records - November 22, 1967 - S/PV.1382 - Paragraph 117
(6) Transcript, Arthur J. Goldberg Oral History Interview I, 3/23/83, by Ted Gittinger; Lyndon B. Johnson Library. March 23, 1983; Pg I-10
(7) "Russia stalls UN Action on Middle East." The Chicago Tribune. November 21, 1967 pg. B9
(8) Goldberg, Arthur J., "Resolution 242: After 20 Years." The Middle East: Islamic Law and Peace (U.S. Resolution 242: Origin, Meaning and Significance.) National Committee on American Foreign Policy; April 2002. (Originally written by Arthur J. Goldberg for the American Foreign Policy Interests on the occasion of its twentieth anniversary in 1988.)
"The Jews and Palestine" by the former prime minister, published in 1923