So here’s the thing–there are currently calls for Israel to admit Syrian refugees. Now, to be sure, Jewdar has sympathy for the refugees. And Jewdar is no great fan of Netanyahu. But this time around, we agree he should keep the refugees out of Israel itself. However, we think he’s wasting a golden opportunity. Way back in the day when it still seemed like there might be a chance for peace, Arafat threw a giant wrench in the works by demanding a right of return for Palestinian refugees and their descendants. It seems to Jewdar that Netanyahu can make a case both for offering refuge and putting the spotlight on the Palestinian Authority. Netanyahu should announce that he’s willing to admit refugees descended from the 1947-49 Palestinian exodus to settle in the West Bank–indeed, he’s willing to admit them permanently. Of course, in order to create these permanent settlements, he would need to work with the PA, and to get their blessing. In the best of circumstances, this would be a perfect opportunity to do something good (provide homes for refugees) and do something practical (get the PA and the refugees to de facto reject a Right of Return. If, as is more likely, the PA rejects the offer, it least offers Israel the ability to say “We tried to do something,” and foist the blame on the PA. Of course, all of this would require far more imagination on the part of Netanyahu than he has heretofore demonstrated. What do you think the chances are that the PA will take the opportunity to demand Israel let refugees into Israel proper?
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