A shortened version with footnotes was first published in Algemeiner, the longer version is published here with the author’s consent.
STARTING TO SET THE PALESTINIAN ISSUE RIGHT
When a new administration comes in it can often have some rapid successes with relatively simple measures. The Trump administration could achieve this with some acts concerning decades of Palestinian misbehavior and misleading propaganda.
One such rapid step could be if the US administration told the Palestinian Authority that no more funds will be made available unless it changes all names of streets and institutions named after those who planned murders of American citizens or carried them out. Palestinian Media Watch can undoubtedly supply the administration with a list of relevant names. The following examples come from its documentation.1
Abu Iyad was the head of the Black September terror movement. Among the terror acts he planned was the murder of two American diplomats. A sports stadium in Tulkarem, financed by USAID, was named after him.
Abu Jihad, a founder of Fatah and deputy to Yasser Arafat planned the 1978 attack on a bus on the Israeli coastal road, in which 37 civilians –among which were killed. The American photographer Gail Rubin, was the first victim of the Palestinian murderers. In 2010 a square was named after Abu Jihad in Ramallah.
Dalal Mughrabi was a member of the terror group which committed the coastal-road bus murder. She personally killed Rubin. A square in Ramallah, a girls’ school, and a kindergarten in Hebron are just a few of the places where her name has been glorified. USAID, through ANERA (American Near East Refugee Aid) funded renovations of the school.
The impact on Palestinian society if the Palestinian Authority executes this name change would be significant. The Palestinian public would understand that there is no longer an attitude of anything goes with a new US President who respects his country. As an aside, at the end of the Obama presidency, the U.S administration transferred more than 200 million dollars to the PA. Those involved should have known about the Authority honoring of murderers of Americans. It is a legitimate question why the Obama administration did not care about this.
A next step could be for the American administration to request the change of names of all streets and institutions which are named after murderers of Israeli civilians. The Trump administration is against terror, so why support those who honor terrorists. On that occasion the PA could also be told to change everything named after Saddam Hussein, which includes a public square in Jenin and a school in the West Bank village of Yaabad.
If the PA would refuse to eliminate the names of those who killed Americans, the United States could not only discontinue all funding to them; it could also pressure other NATO countries to stop funding an entity which honors the killers of Americans. Quite a few countries would have difficulty refusing such an eminently reasonable request.
Yet another simple step would be if some key figures in the new administration would regularly mention that the number of 5 million Palestinian refugees has a totally distorted base. There is no logic to use a special definition for Palestinian refugees. Instead the usual definition of the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR should be used. There are at most 50,000 Palestinians who meet this definition, which is: a refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war, or violence. Minors or dependents can apply for “derivative refugee status” but are not given refugee status according to UNHCR.2 Most of today’s Palestinian refugees are descendants of refugees.
Furthermore, as resettlement in a refuge state is one of UNHCR’s stated goals,3 refugee status no longer applies once a person “is recognized by the competent authorities of the country in which he has taken residence as having the rights and obligations which are attached to the possession of the nationality of that country.”4 In contrast, UNRWA’s goals and services do not include any resettlement of Palestinian refugees.5 Many Palestinians are already settled in other countries such as Jordan,6 or even considered citizens by the Palestinian Authority, yet still retain refugee status under UNRWA.7
The already difficult Palestinian-Israeli negotiations for an agreement are made impossible by looking away from the fictitious Palestinian refugee claim and perpetuating Palestinian refugee status.
Many more examples of what can be done with little effort to expose Palestinian misbehavior can be added to the above. These proposals should please a business-oriented administration like the Trump one, as they bring — in business terms — a high return on a small effort; the dream of all investors.