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Moïse Rahmani

Les Etats-Unis et le problème des refugiés du Moyen-Orient

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THE U.S. AND MIDDLE EAST REFUGEES

I) PRINCIPLES

Americans take great pride in a foreign policy that is based on principles of democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

As a member of the Quartet, and in light of the United States’ central and indispensable role in promoting a just Middle East peace, consideration must be given to the following principles:

a) As a country built on immigration, U.S. policy must reflect the special interest and responsibility that the United States has to protect the rights of all bone fide refugees; b)

When the issue of refugees is raised within the context of the Middle East, people invariably refer to Palestinian refugees, not former Jewish refugees forced to flee from Arab countries. In reality, there were two major population movements that occurred during the years of turmoil in the Middle East;

c) For any peace process to be credible, enduring, and constitute an end to the conflict and finality of all claims, it must address the rights of all Middle East refugees, including Jewish and other minority populations that were displaced from Arab countries; and

d) The legitimate call to secure rights and redress for Jews who were forced to flee Arab countries is not a campaign against Palestinian refugees; nor is it about initiating legal proceedings to seek compensation. It is an initiative to ensure that the plight of former Jewish refugees from Arab countries be placed on the international political agenda as a quest for truth and justice and that their rights be secured as a matter of law and equity.

II) POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE U.S.’ CONSIDERATION

1) To serve as a principled and credible interlocutor in the Middle East peace process, U.S. positions must be studiously balanced. It would not be appropriate, and would constitute an injustice, were the United States to recognize rights for Palestinian refugees without recognizing equal rights for former Jewish and other refugees from Arab countries.

2) The United States must ensure that all relevant bi-lateral and multi-lateral discussions, and documents, refer to the multiple refugee populations arising from the Arab-Israeli conflict and that any explicit reference to Palestinian refugees is balanced by a similar explicit reference to Jewish and other refugees from Arab countries.

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