[Congressional Bills 110th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[H. Res. 185 Introduced in House (IH)]

  1st Session
H. RES. 185

  Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding the 
 creation of refugee populations in the Middle East, North Africa, and 
    the Persian Gulf region as a result of human rights violations.



                           February 16, 2007

    Mr. Nadler (for himself, Ms. Ros-Lehtinen, Mr. Crowley, and Mr. 
Ferguson) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the 
                      Committee on Foreign Affairs



  Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding the 
 creation of refugee populations in the Middle East, North Africa, and 
    the Persian Gulf region as a result of human rights violations.

Whereas armed conflicts in the Middle East have created refugee populations 
        numbering in the hundreds of thousands and comprised of peoples from 
        many ethnic, religious, and national backgrounds;
Whereas Jews and other ethnic groups have lived mostly as minorities in the 
        Middle East, North Africa, and the Persian Gulf region for more than 
        2,500 years, more than 1,000 years before the advent of Islam;
Whereas the United States has long voiced its concern about the mistreatment of 
        minorities and the violation of human rights in the Middle East and 
Whereas the United States continues to play a pivotal role in seeking an end to 
        the conflict in the Middle East and to promoting a peace that will 
        benefit all the peoples of the region;
Whereas a comprehensive peace in the region will require the resolution of all 
        outstanding issues through bilateral and multilateral negotiations 
        involving all concerned parties;
Whereas approximately 850,000 Jews have been displaced from Arab countries since 
        the declaration of the State of Israel in 1948;
Whereas the United States has demonstrated interest and concern about the 
        mistreatment, violation of rights, forced expulsion, and expropriation 
        of assets of minority populations in general, and in particular, former 
        Jewish refugees displaced from Arab countries as evidenced, inter alia, 

    (1) the Memorandum of Understanding signed by President Jimmy Carter 
and Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan on October 4, 1977, which states 
that ``[a] solution of the problem of Arab refugees and Jewish refugees 
will be discussed in accordance with rules which should be agreed'';

    (2) after negotiating the Camp David Accords, the Framework for Peace 
in the Middle East, the statement by President Jimmy Carter in a press 
conference on October 27, 1977, that ``Palestinians have rights . . . 
obviously there are Jewish refugees . . . they have the same rights as 
others do''; and

    (3) in an interview after Camp David II in July 2000, at which the 
issue of Jewish refugees displaced from Arab lands was discussed, the 
statement by President Clinton that ``There will have to be some sort of 
international fund set up for the refugees. There is, I think, some 
interest, interestingly enough, on both sides, in also having a fund which 
compensates the Israelis who were made refugees by the war, which occurred 
after the birth of the State of Israel. Israel is full of people, Jewish 
people, who lived in predominantly Arab countries who came to Israel 
because they were made refugees in their own land.'';

Whereas the international definition of a refugee clearly applies to Jews who 
        fled the persecution of Arab regimes, where a refugee is a person who 
        ``owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, 
        religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or 
        political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is 
        unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the 
        protection of that country'' (the 1951 Convention relating to the Status 
        of Refugees);
Whereas on January 29, 1957, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees 
        (UNHCR), determined that Jews fleeing from Arab countries were refugees 
        that fell within the mandate of the UNHCR;
Whereas United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 of November 22, 1967, 
        calls for a ``just settlement of the refugee problem'' without 
        distinction between Palestinian and Jewish refugees, and this is 
        evidenced by--

    (1) the Soviet Union's United Nations delegation attempt to restrict 
the ``just settlement'' mentioned in Resolution 242 solely to Palestinian 
refugees (S/8236, discussed by the Security Council at its 1382nd meeting 
of November 22, 1967, notably at paragraph 117, in the words of Ambassador 
Kouznetsov of the Soviet Union); this attempt failed, signifying the 
international community's intention of having the resolution address the 
rights of all Middle East refugees; and

    (2) a statement by Justice Arthur Goldberg, the United States' Chief 
Delegate to the United Nations at that time, who was instrumental in 
drafting the unanimously adopted Resolution 242, where he has pointed out 
that ``The resolution addresses the objective of `achieving a just 
settlement of the refugee problem'. This language presumably refers both to 
Arab and Jewish refugees, for about an equal number of each abandoned their 
homes as a result of the several wars.'';

Whereas in his opening remarks before the January 28, 1992, organizational 
        meeting for multilateral negotiations on the Middle East in Moscow, 
        United States Secretary of State James Baker made no distinction between 
        Palestinian refugees and Jewish refugees in articulating the mission of 
        the Refugee Working Group, stating that ``[t]he refugee group will 
        consider practical ways of improving the lot of people throughout the 
        region who have been displaced from their homes'';
Whereas the Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian 
        Conflict, which refers in Phase III to an ``agreed, just, fair, and 
        realistic solution to the refugee issue,'' uses language that is equally 
        applicable to all persons displaced as a result of the conflict in the 
        Middle East;
Whereas Egypt, Jordan, and the Palestinians have affirmed that a comprehensive 
        solution to the Middle East conflict will require a just solution to the 
        plight of all ``refugees'';
Whereas the initiative to secure rights and redress for Jewish and other 
        minorities who were forced to flee Arab countries does not conflict with 
        the right of Palestinian refugees to claim redress;
Whereas the international community should be aware of the plight of Jews and 
        other minority groups displaced from countries in the Middle East, North 
        Africa, and the Persian Gulf;
Whereas an international campaign is proceeding in some 40 countries to record 
        the history and legacy of Jewish refugees from Arab countries;
Whereas no just, comprehensive Middle East peace can be reached without 
        addressing the uprooting of centuries-old Jewish communities in the 
        Middle East, North Africa, and the Persian Gulf; and
Whereas it would be inappropriate and unjust for the United States to recognize 
        rights for Palestinian refugees without recognizing equal rights for 
        former Jewish, Christian, and other refugees from Arab countries: Now, 
        therefore, be it
    Resolved,  That--
            (1) for any comprehensive Middle East peace agreement to be 
        credible and enduring, the agreement must address and resolve 
        all outstanding issues relating to the legitimate rights of all 
        refugees in the Middle East, including Jews, Christians, and 
        other populations displaced from countries in the region; and
            (2) the President should instruct the United States 
        Representative to the United Nations and all United States 
        representatives in bilateral and multilateral fora to--
                    (A) use the voice, vote, and influence of the 
                United States to ensure that any resolutions relating 
                to the issue of Middle East refugees, and which include 
                a reference to the required resolution of the 
                Palestinian refugee issue, must also include a 
                similarly explicit reference to the resolution of the 
                issue of Jewish, Christian, and other refugees from 
                Arab countries; and
                    (B) make clear that the United States Government 
                supports the position that, as an integral part of any 
                comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace, the issue of refugees 
                from the Middle East, North Africa, and the Persian 
                Gulf must be resolved in a manner that includes 
                recognition of the legitimate rights of and losses 
                incurred by all refugees displaced from Arab countries 
                including Jews, Christians, and other minority groups.