They Say, We Say: The UN has ways to resolve refugee problems when it wants to

They Say We Say We know that pro-Israel does not mean blindly supporting policies that are irrational, reckless, and counter-productive. Pro-Israel means supporting policies that are consistent with Israel's interests and promote its survival as a Jewish, democratic state.

You've heard the arguments of the religious and political right-wing, and so have we. They've had their say. Now, we'll have ours.

Go HERE for all installments of APN's "They Say, We Say"

What about refugees? (Palestinian and Jewish)

They Say:

If the Palestinians were treated like any other "refugee" population, the refugee issue would have disappeared years ago. The UN has ways to resolve refugee problems when it wants to - in this case, though, it doesn't want to.

We Say:

The uniquely political nature of the Palestinian refugee problem means that none of the options available under UNHCR would work.

UNHCR's first preference is always to return refugees to their original homes. With respect to Palestinian refugees, whose original homes, for the most part, are inside Israel, this is an option that would be unacceptable to Israel.

UNHCR's second preference is to settle refugees permanently in their current country of residence. This option is opposed, with varying degrees of vehemence, both by the Palestinian refugees and by the countries hosting the largest numbers of them - Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan - each of which have their own domestic political calculations in mind.

UNHCR's third preference is to settle refugees in a third country. However, third countries cannot be forced to accept Palestinian refugees, and outside of the scope of a broader political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is unlikely that all or even most Palestinians would willingly leave, or that third countries would welcome them.

UNHCR does not have the authority to impose any of these options - it can neither force refugees to go anywhere, nor can it force any country to accept them.