Leila Hilal critique of the Ayalon refugee video

Posted: February 21, 2012 by Rex Brynen in Israel, peace process
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Leila Hilal—co-director of the Middle East Task Force at the New America Foundation, and a very considerable expert on the Palestinian refugee issue—has a lengthy piece in The Atlantic today discussing the video on the Palestinian refugee issue released in December by (Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister) Danny Ayalon. Not surprisingly, she doesn’t like it:

Ayalon’s video series simplifies and distorts the conflict with the hope of manipulating public perceptions in favor of rightist Israeli views. His attack on UNRWA was repeated at a high-level meeting of the UNHCR in Geneva days after the video was posted. And it comes at a time of heightened Congressional hostility to humanitarian aid to Palestinians (on top of a general scrutinizing of foreign aid), risking further support for this faltering agency that even Israel has recognized as being an important tool for conflict management. Whether Ayalon’s criticism is part of the traditional Israeli narrative on the refugee question or signals an intention to escalate attacks against the UN agency, his extremist interpretations and misrepresentations of the historical record and international law are a dangerous addition to the discourse on the conflict.

Read the full article for to see her point-by-point critique.

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