[Congressional Bills 112th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[H.R. 6242 Introduced in House (IH)]

112th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                H. R. 6242

 To direct the President to submit to Congress a report on actions the 
 executive branch has taken relating to the resolution of the issue of 
                  Jewish refugees from Arab countries.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                             July 31, 2012

   Mr. Nadler (for himself, Ms. Ros-Lehtinen, Mr. Berman, Mr. Poe of 
    Texas, Mr. Crowley, and Mr. Turner of New York) introduced the 
 following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
 To direct the President to submit to Congress a report on actions the 
 executive branch has taken relating to the resolution of the issue of 
                  Jewish refugees from Arab countries.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. FINDINGS.

    Congress finds the following:
            (1) Armed conflicts in the Middle East have created refugee 
        populations numbering in the millions and comprised of peoples 
        from many ethnic, religious, and national backgrounds.
            (2) Jews have lived mostly as a minority in the Middle 
        East, North Africa, and the Persian Gulf region for more than 
        2,500 years.
            (3) The United States has long voiced its concern about the 
        mistreatment of minorities and the violation of human rights in 
        the Middle East and elsewhere.
            (4) The United States continues to play a pivotal role in 
        seeking an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict in the Middle East 
        and to promoting a peace that will benefit all the peoples of 
        the region.
            (5) United States administrations historically have called 
        for a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem.
            (6) The Palestinian refugee issue has received considerable 
        attention from countries of the world while the issue of Jewish 
        refugees from the Arab and Muslim worlds has received very 
        little attention.
            (7) A comprehensive peace in the region will require the 
        resolution of all outstanding issues through bilateral and 
        multilateral negotiations involving all concerned parties.
            (8) Approximately 850,000 Jews were displaced from Arab 
        countries since the declaration of the State of Israel in 1948.
            (9) 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, by--
                    (A) 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'';
                    (B) 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
                    (C) 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.''.
            (10) On April 1, 2008, the House of Representatives passed 
        House Resolution 185, expressing the sense of the House of 
        Representatives that--
                    (A) 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, 
                including Jews, Christians, and other populations, 
                displaced from countries in the Middle East; and
                    (B) the President should instruct the United States 
                Representative to the United Nations and all United 
                States representatives in bilateral and multilateral 
                fora to--
                            (i) 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 refugees from Arab countries; 
                        and
                            (ii) 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 groups.
            (11) 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).
            (12) On January 29, 1957, the United Nations High 
        Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), determined that Jews fleeing 
        from Arab countries were refugees who fell within the mandate 
        of the UNHCR.
            (13) Subsequently, in a second UNHCR declaration, Dr. E. 
        Jahn of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner 
        stated, on July 6, 1967: ``I refer to our recent discussion 
        concerning Jews from Middle Eastern and North African countries 
        in consequence of recent events. I am now able to inform you 
        that such persons may be considered prima facie within the 
        mandate of this Office.''.
            (14) 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 the following:
                    (A) On November 16, 1967, the United Kingdom 
                submitted a draft of Resolution 242 (S/8247) to the 
                United Nations Security Council. This United Kingdom 
                draft called for a just settlement of ``the refugee 
                problem''. The Soviet Union submitted its own draft of 
                Resolution 242 (S/8253) to the United Nations Security 
                Council four days later which restricted the just 
                settlement to only ``Palestinian refugees''.
                    (B) On November 22, 1967, the United Nations 
                Security Council unanimously approved the draft of 
                Resolution 242 advanced by the United Kingdom. It thus 
                rejected the limitation proposed by the Soviet Union 
                and accepted the broader notion of a ``just settlement 
                of the refugee problem'' arising out of the Middle East 
                conflict to include Palestinian and Jewish refugees.
                    (C) 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, 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.''.
            (15) 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''.
            (16) 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.
            (17) Israel's agreements with Egypt, Jordan, and the 
        Palestinians have affirmed that a comprehensive solution to the 
        Arab-Israeli conflict will require a just solution to the 
        plight of all refugees.
            (18) Israel's long-standing position in support of the 
        rights and claims of Jewish refugees from Arab countries and 
        Iran is well-established:
                    (A) On September 28, 1969, Israel adopted 
                Government Decision number 34, in which it set up a 
                special, temporary department in the Ministry of 
                Justice to gather facts and evidence regarding property 
                expropriated and persecution perpetrated on Jews in 
                Egypt, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.
                    (B) On March 3, 2002, Israel adopted Government 
                Decision number 1544, in which it reaffirmed Government 
                Decision number 34 and expanded it to include Jews who 
                left all Arab countries and Iran.
                    (C) On December 28, 2003, Israel adopted Government 
                Decision number 1250, in which it reaffirmed Government 
                Decisions number 34 and 1544 and directed the 
                Department for the Rights of Jews from Arab Countries 
                in the Ministry of Justice to continue collecting 
                information on property expropriated and persecution 
                perpetrated on Jews in Arab countries, create a 
                centralized database of this information, and publish 
                this information to encourage parties to come forward.
            (19) Recently, in February 2010, the Israeli Knesset 
        adopted a law preserving the rights for compensation for Jewish 
        refugees who originated from Arab countries and Iran. According 
        to this law, the Israeli government and its prime minister are 
        instructed to raise the issue of compensation for private and 
        communal property during negotiations.
            (20) The initiative to secure rights and redress for Jews 
        who were forced to flee Arab countries does not conflict with 
        the right of Palestinian refugees to claim redress.
            (21) All countries 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.
            (22) An international campaign has been proceeding in some 
        20 countries to record the history and legacy of Jewish 
        refugees from Arab countries.
            (23) A just, comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace cannot be 
        reached without addressing the uprooting of centuries-old 
        Jewish communities in the Middle East, North Africa, and the 
        Persian Gulf.
            (24) It would be inappropriate and unjust for the United 
        States to recognize rights for Palestinian refugees without 
        recognizing equal rights for Jewish refugees from Arab 
        countries.

SEC. 2. REPORT.

    Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, 
and every two years thereafter, the President shall submit to Congress 
a report on the following:
            (1) Actions the executive branch has taken to fulfill the 
        sense of the House of Representatives, as contained in 
        paragraph (2) of the first section of House Resolution 185 (as 
        passed the House of Representatives on April 1, 2008) and 
        described in section 1(10)(B) of this Act.
            (2) Actions the executive branch has taken to use the 
        voice, vote, and influence of the United States to ensure that 
        any statements that include a reference to the required 
        resolution of the Palestinian refugee issue by the Quartet on 
        the Middle East, which includes the United Nations, the United 
        States, the European Union, and Russia, must also include a 
        similarly explicit reference to the resolution of the issue of 
        Jewish refugees from Arab countries.
            (3) Assistance the United States has provided to Israel to 
        help it accomplish its goal that the interests of Jews 
        displaced from Arab countries are considered in any final 
        settlement of the Middle East refugee question that is part of 
        any comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace.
            (4) Recommended actions that would ensure that the 
        interests of all refugees displaced from Arab countries, 
        including Jews, Christians, and other groups, are considered in 
        any final settlement of the Middle East refugee question that 
        is part of any comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace.
                                 <all>