Friday, January 03, 2003

Arab Reparations for Jewish Expulsions?

Since the foundation of the State of Israel about 900,000 Jews were forcibly expelled from their homes in Arab lands. Since the 1970s about 12,000 claims have been made by Jews whose property was taken. Included in these land claims are some previously agricultural plots that today compose most of the downtown area of Tripoli, capitol of Libya. These claims have been widely seen as a counterbalance to palestinian claims that are expected to be a part of any negociated solution to the current situation.

But now it appears that some of these claims will actually be paid. The mega-insurance company AXA seems ready to consider the payment of claims to properties that were insured at the time they were taken. The factual basis of these claims not disputed, so it seems that a few families that were lucky enough to have kept their paperwork and insurance policies all these decades might finally be seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.

Don't confuse these claims with the claims of Arabs who previously lived in lands that are today part if Israel. First, they left their property voluntarily, or at the urging of their own religious leaders, prior to the commencement of warfare against the nascent Jewish State. After the war concluded, with Israel the victor, these lands became, under international law, spoils of War, and therefore, they were seized legally. This is not to be confused with hostile citizens running Jews out of their homes in Arab countries, while their governments and police either did nothing or actively participated in these pogroms. And never forget that the majority of the lands that make up the State of Israel were legally purchased from their rightful owners by the early Zionists in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.