Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. (AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

In an effort to ensure that justice is delivered to those who deserve it, US Congressmen are seeking compensation for Jews banished from Muslim countries in any future peace deal with the Palestinians. 

US lawmakers have introduced a bipartisan bill in the House of Representatives on Wednesday that would require linking the settling of claims of Jewish refugees who fled from Iran and Arab countries after being expelled in 1948, and any future peace agreement with an Arab country.

If adopted, the bill would require “an annual report to Congress explaining what steps the Executive Branch has taken to address the issue of displaced Jewish refugees, detailing any assistance the United States has provided in this effort, and offering recommendations as to what more can be done to ensure that the interests of all refugees are considered as part of any comprehensive and credible Arab-Israeli peace agreement,” according to a statement issued by the two principle sponsors, Congressmen Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fl.). The bill is also co-sponsored by Congressmen Eliot Engel (D-NY), and Ted Poe (R-TX).

A number of groups, among them the World Jewish Congress, have in recent years lobbied for the issue of Jews driven out of Arab countries and Iran since Israel’s independence in 1948 to be taken up by governments and international organizations.

It is estimated that from the beginning of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War through the early 1970s, up to 1,000,000 Jews fled or were expelled from their ancestral homes in Muslim countries. 260,000 of those refugees reached Israel between 1948 and 1951 and comprised 56% of all immigration to the fledgling state. By 1972, their numbers had reached 600,000. Their assets, lost or confiscated, are estimated to be in the billions.

“In 1948, all Arab countries opposed the creation of the State of Israel, taking up arms against the newly established nation. This war dramatically changed the status of Jews and Jewish communities, which had existed in the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf region for more than 2,500 years. The Arab governments subjected hundreds of thousands of Jews to displacement, political marginalization, or property confiscation with no compensation. Given the United States’ central role in promoting a just Middle East peace, we must ensure that refugees of Arab countries and Iran are given equal attention. The Displaced Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries and Iran Act ensures that the interests of all refugees displaced as a result of the Arab-Israeli conflict are fairly considered in any final settlement of Arab-Israeli peace,” the bill reads.

By: United with Israel Staff