Some nut seems to think that Israel desperately wants to hang on to all its charming Palestinans

We were puzzled when a reader sent us an article from the Christian Science Monitor bearing the following headline “Risking Israel’s Ire, US Takes 1,350 Palestinian Refugees.” The subheadline explained:

The US is generally reluctant to resettle Palestinians, but these are refugees from Iraq who have been targeted since the invasion.
The article goes on to explain that the Palestinians in Iraq, who were “treated well under [Saddam] Hussein,” have been “targeted by Iraqi Shiites,” and it says that “some critics” in America oppose allowing pro-Saddam Arabs to immigrate–although the only such critic quoted is anti-immigration activist Mark Krikorian.

What got our attention, though, was the bit in the headline about “Israel’s Ire.” What reason could Israel possibly have to object to this humanitarian gesture? As it turns out, the article offers no evidence whatever of the imputed Israeli irefulness. Author Patrik Jonsson has no quotes from Israeli officials, and the only passage that even remotely touches on an Israeli position is this:

The US reluctance to accept Palestinians is because it “doesn’t want the refugee program to become an issue in its relationship with Israel,” says a diplomat in the region, who requested anonymity because he is not cleared to talk to the press. But these Palestinians, he says, will be processed as refugees from Iraq.

Note what the anonymous diplomat does not say. He does not say that the decision to admit Palestinians from Iraq is likely to arouse ire, or any other reaction, from Israel. In fact, he distinguishes “these Palestinians” from those residing in the disputed territories for the purpose of his statement about refugee policy and U.S.-Israel relations.

Moreover, he doesn’t say that the Israelis would object to America’s admitting Palestinians from the territories as refugees. Maybe they would, but it’s hard to see why. The presence of a large population of Palestinian “refugees”–whom Arab countries (except Jordan) refuse to resettle–is a problem for Israel.

Thus, as Seth Lipsky has argued, Palestinian immigration to the U.S. would be very much in the Jewish state’s interest. If the U.S. “doesn’t want the refugee program to become an issue in its relationship with Israel,” maybe it is because it doesn’t want to be pressed into admitting more Palestinians.

In any case, the notion that America is “risking Israel’s ire” by admitting Palestinians from Iraq seems to be a figment of the imagination of whoever wrote the Monitor’s headline.