Various surveys and newspaper columns by leading journalists revealed that most Israelis are pleased by US President Donald Trump’s moves to delegitimize the Palestinian refugee issue.
Amnon Lord, who writes for the free daily newspaper Israel Hayom, hailed Trump for “continuing his policies that break old concepts and stick to the truth.”
Ben-Dror Yemini, a columnist for Israel’s largest paid daily newspaper, Yediot Ahronot, echoed the sentiment: “After almost 70 years of the large refugee scam, the time for change has come.”
Trump announced last week that he will be cutting all US funding of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), established solely to address the Palestinian refugee issue, though in its decades of existence all it has accomplished is to multiply the number of Palestinian refugees by taking the unprecedented step of making that status hereditary.
According to Trump, the history books and the rules of status applied to every other refugee population, there should be no more than 500,000 genuine Palestinian refugees today.
Even that number irks many Israelis, who note that a similar number of Jews were forced to flee surrounding Arab nations between 1948-1972, and not one of them was ever recognized by the UN as a refugee, nor was a special agency established to address their needs.
The bottom line is that Trump wants to conclude a peace deal, and, unlike previous American presidents, he understands that no Israeli government will ever be able to sign an agreement that involves opening the Jewish state to five million new potential Arab citizens. That’s why, along with control of Jerusalem, the Palestinian “right of return” has been one of the major sticking point in peace negotiations for decades, even when left-wing Israeli governments were in power.
But the Palestinian leadership most assuredly does not see things Trump’s way, and has vowed to turn to the United Nations to block the American administration’s new policy.
Of course, there is little the UN can do to prevent Trump from cutting off American funding for UNRWA, or his diplomatic pressure on allied nations to do the same.