House Members Introduce Bill to Ensure Resolution for Jewish Refugees

WASHINGTON, DC – A group of bipartisan lawmakers are taking action on the issue of Jewish refugees from Middle Eastern, North African, and Gulf countries, making sure a resolution is included in any future Israel-Palestinian peace accord.

On Wednesday, Reps. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and Ted Poe (R-TX) introduced the “Displaced Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries and Iran Act,” requiring the President to report to Congress on federal actions to ensure that any future Arab-Israeli peace accord will also address the issue of Jewish and other refugees displaced from Arab countries and Iran.

Another twelve members of the House signed on as co-sponsors.

The bill builds on legislation passed unanimously in 2008, which required an annual report to Congress explaining what steps the Executive Branch has taken to address the issue of displaced Jewish refugees. The report would detail any assistance the United States has provided in this effort, and offering recommendations as to what more can be done to ensure that the interests of all refugees are considered as part of any comprehensive and credible Arab-Israeli peace agreement.

“In 1948, all Arab countries opposed the creation of the State of Israel, taking up arms against the newly established nation,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement. “This war dramatically changed the status of Jews and Jewish communities, which had existed in the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf region for more than 2,500 years. The Arab governments subjected hundreds of thousands of Jews to displacement, political marginalization, or property confiscation with no compensation. Given the United States’ central role in promoting a just Middle East peace, we must ensure that refugees of Arab countries and Iran are given equal attention.”

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