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Tuesday, June 24, 2003

from The Peace Encyclopedia

regarding Arab refugees
"As a goodwill gesture during the Lausanne negotiations in 1949, Israel offered to take back 100,000 Palestinian refugees prior to any discussion of the refugee question. The Arab states, who had refused even to negotiate face-to-face with the Israelis, turned down the offer because it implicitly recognized Israel's existence.

Despite this, on humanitarian grounds Israel has since the 1950's allowed more than 50,000 refugees to return to Israel under a family reunification program, and between 1967 and 1993 allowed a further 75,000 to return to the West Bank or Gaza. Since the beginning of the Oslo process Israel has allowed another 90,000 Palestinians to gain residence in PA-controlled territory.

Arabs who lost property in Israel are eligible to file for compensation from Israel's Custodian of Absentee Property. As of the end of 1993, a total of 14,692 claims had been filed, claims were settled with respect to more than 200,000 dunums of land, more than 10,000,000 NIS (New Israeli Sheckels) had been paid in compensation, and more than 54,000 dunums of replacement land had been given in compensation. Israel has followed this generous policy despite the fact that not a single penny of compensation has ever been paid to any of the more than 500,000 Jewish refugees from Arab countries, who were forced to flee from the Arab/Muslim world, to Israel."

- by Alexander Safian, PhD, CAMERA (The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America), published in The Peace Encyclopedia.

The UNRWA defines a "Palestinian refugee" as any Arab who said they resided in [the British Mandate for] Palestine for at least two years prior to May 1948 and was displaced a result of the war in 1948-9. The definition is an expansive one and takes in all of the refugees' offspring.

In 1949, there were 730,000 Arab refugees. There are now 4 million.

According to the UNRWA, as of 30 June 2002:

There are 1.7 million registered refugees in Jordan.

There are 626,532 registered refugees in Judea and Samaria, "West Bank," controlled by Jordan 1948-1967, and by Israel since 1967.

There are 878,977 in the Gaza strip, controlled by Egypt 1948-1967 and by Israel since 1967.

There are about 400,000 registered refugees each -- in Lebanon and Syria.