From UN Partition Plan (1947) to Annapolis Peace Summit (2007): Exclusion and Denial of Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries will Prejudice Authentic Negotiations...

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The Annapolis Conference, held on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the United Nations Partition Resolution of November 29, 1947, reminds us that the displacement of Jews from Arab and Muslim countries has, for the past 60 years, been expunged from the Middle East peace and justice narrative.

Jewish refugees from Iraq c.1951

a just settlement of the refugee problem

In the context of the upcoming Annapolis Conference, "The exclusion and denial of rights and redress to Jewish refugees from Arab and Muslim countries will prejudice authentic negotiations between the parties and undermine the justice and legitimacy of any agreement," stated a Declaration issued by Justice for Jews from Arab Countries (JJAC), a coalition 76 Jewish communities and organizations based in 20 countries.

On November 27, the United States will host Israeli Prime Minister Olmert, Palestinian Authority President Abbas, along with the Members of the Quartet, the Arab League, the G-8, the permanent members of the UN Security Council, and other key international actors.

The Annapolis Conference, held on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the United Nations Partition Resolution of November 29, 1947, reminds us that the displacement of Jews from Arab and Muslim countries has, for the past 60 years, been expunged from the Middle East peace and justice narrative.

As Canadian MP and former Justice Minister Irwin Cotler, stated: "Let there be no mistake about it. Where there is no remembrance, there is no truth; where there is no truth, there will be no justice; where there is no justice, there will be no reconciliation; and where there is no reconciliation, there will be no peace - which we all seek."

The following is the full text of the "Declaration to Annapolis" released by Justice of Jews from Arab Countries.

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FROM 1947 UN PARTITION PLAN TO ANNAPOLIS 2007

Rectifying a Sixty-Year Historical Injustice

Declaration to Annapolis Participants -Issued November 26, 2007

Whereas, during the 20th century, up to one million Jews were displaced from North Africa, the Middle East and the Gulf region, from communities in which they and their ancestors have lived for over 2,500 years;

Whereas, on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the United Nations Partition Resolution of November 29, 1947, and the Annapolis Peace Conference, the displacement of Jews from Arab and Muslim countries has, for the past 60 years, been expunged from the Middle East peace and justice narrative;

Whereas, the United Nations must bear express responsibility for the distorted Middle East narrative as, since 1947, there have been 126 resolutions on Palestinian refugees with never any reference to, nor any expression of concern for, the plight of the 850,000 Jews displaced from Arab countries;

Whereas, the massive violations of the human rights of Jews in Arab and Muslim countries were the result of state-sanctioned repression and persecution, including Nuremberg-like laws, that resulted in denationalization, forced expulsions, illegal sequestration of property, arbitrary arrest and detention, torture and the like, as documented in the recently released Report entitled 'Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries: The Case for Rights and Redress';

Whereas, this pattern of state-sanctioned repression of Jews in the Arab and Muslim countries was the result of collusion by the League of Arab States to persecute its own Jewish populations, as set forth in the Report;

Whereas, in the interests of justice and equity, the voice of Jews displaced from Arab and Muslim countries must be heard at the upcoming Annapolis Peace Conference;

Whereas, no just, comprehensive and lasting Middle East peace can be reached without "a just settlement of the refugee problem" which must include - along with the question of Palestinian refugees - recognition of, and redress for, the uprooting and displacement of Jewish communities from Arab and Muslim countries.

Wherefore, Justice for Jews from Arab Countries declares:

  •      That the time has come to rectify this historical injustice by restoring the plight and truth and justice of Jewish refugees from Arab and Muslim countries to the Middle East narrative from which they have been expunged and eclipsed these 60 years;
  •      That remembrance, truth, justice and redress for Jews displaced from Arab and Muslim countries be pursued, as mandated under human rights and humanitarian law;
  •      That in the interests of truth, justice and reconciliation, individual Arab and Muslim states, and the Arab League, must acknowledge their role and responsibility in the persecution and displacement of their Jewish populations;
  •      That in the interests of justice and equity, UN General Assembly resolutions include reference to Jewish refugees as well as Palestinian refugees;
  •      That the UN Human Rights Council - the repository of rights and redress under human rights and humanitarian law - address, as it never has, the issue of Jewish as well as Palestinian refugees;
  •      That pursuant to the principle of 'equal voice', the annual Nov. 29th commemoration, by the United Nations, of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People should be transformed into an International Day of Solidarity with all refugees created by the Israeli-Arab conflict, including Arabs, Jews, Christians and others;
  •      That during the upcoming Annapolis Peace Conference, and during any and all discussions on the Middle East by the Quartet and others, any explicit reference to Palestinian refugees should include also an explicit reference to Jewish, Christian and other refugees from Arab and Islamic countries.

The exclusion and denial of rights and redress to Jewish refugees from Arab and Muslim countries will prejudice authentic negotiations between the parties and undermine the justice and legitimacy of any agreement.

Let there be no mistake about it. Where there is no remembrance, there is no truth; where there is no truth, there will be no justice; where there is no justice, there will be no reconciliation; and where there is no reconciliation, there will be no peace.

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Stan Urman or Shelomo Alfassa
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