After an 18 month study, the Israeli government decided to demand $250 billion from seven Arab countries and Iran as compensation for property and assets left behind by the estimated 850,000 Jews who were forced to flee those countries following the establishment of the State of Israel 70 years ago. Included in the demand will be $35 billion dollars from Tunisia and $15 billion dollars from Libya. Also included will be Morocco, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Yemen and Iran.
“The time has come to correct the historic injustice of the pogroms (against Jews) in seven Arab countries and Iran, and to restore, to hundreds of thousands of Jews who lost their property, what is rightfully theirs,” Israel’s Minister for Social Equality, Gila Gamliel, said Saturday. “One cannot talk about the Middle East without taking into consideration the rights of the Jews who were forced to leave their thriving communities amid violence. All the crimes that were carried out against those Jewish communities must be recognized.”
The study is related to President Trump’s soon-to-be-revealed Middle-East Peace Plan since a 2010 Israeli law provides that any peace deal must provide for compensation for assets of Jewish communities and individual Jews forced out of Arab countries and Iran.
The Israeli claim counters a demand by the Palestinian Authority for over $100 billion in compensation from Israel for assets left behind by Arabs who fled or were forced to leave at the time of the establishment of Israel. These Palestinian complainants presented documentation to that effect to the United States a decade ago.
The Jewish refugees from the Arab countries never received any aid from the international community nor did they seek refugee status. Israel absorbed the refugees as long-lost brothers.
In comparison, the United Nations established the United Nations Relief and Works Agency as for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in 1949. Separate from the UNHCR which aids all refugees, UNRWA is the only region-specific aid organization giving aid solely to Palestinians. Also unique is the UNRWA granting refugee status to descendants of Palestinians in perpetuity. With an annual budget of over $1 billion, UNRWA is the largest agency of the United Nations, employing over 30,000 staff, 99 percent of which are locally recruited Palestinians. UNRWA has been accused of hiring known militants, perpetuating Palestinian dependency, demonizing Israel, and funneling money from Western governments to line the pockets of the Palestinian Authority and purchasing arms for terrorists. In August 2018 the United States stopped giving aid to UNRWA.
Hadashot News reported that the compensation would not be allocated to individual families, but would be distributed by the state via a special fund.