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April 1, 2015 / 12 Nisan, 5775
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The Main Obstacle to Peace

“A Palestinian refugee never moves out of his camp except to return home.”
Arafat Jesus

Photo Credit: Yori Yanover

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About the Author: Rachel Avraham is a news editor and political analyst for Jerusalem Online News, the English language internet edition of Israel's Channel 2 News. She completed her masters degree in Middle Eastern Studies at Ben-Gurion University. The subject of her MA thesis was: "Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings in the American, Israeli and Arab media."


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3 Responses to “The Main Obstacle to Peace”

  1. The "Right of Return" violates the UN Charter and is illegal.

  2. Rachamim Dwek says:

    First, Benny Morris shouldn’t be taken seriously by anybody seriously delving into this amazingly complicated geopolitical gordian’s knot. For the sake of brevity, any interested reader can dig through loads of academic criticism over Morris’ work, or should I say “early work” since after apprently having a severe crisis of conscience Morris completely reversed his earlier thesis of Israeli culpability and while insisting that the manifold charges of Blood Libel he has made against Israel are still correct, that the Palestinians are in fact culpable since any rational entity would treat them the same way. In other words, Morris went absurd to bizarre, and then some.

    That said, the Morris’ cited figure of 700,000 Palestinian refugees generally is cited by a plethora of sources. The truth is far different. On October 18th, 1948, the UN Acting Mediator for Palestine stated that there were 472,000 Palestinian refugees but that they calculated that the total by the end of 1949 (when the official Armistice Agreement would be signed) could not possibly exceeda little more than 500,000 and this included all refugees, not just those registered for benefits with the UN. Then, considering that this included all refugees generated west of the Jordan River- not just from what would soon become the Greenline- the 500,000-plus figure shrinks significantly. (Source-“The Progress Report of the Acting Mediator for Palestine, Submitted to the Secretary General for Transmission to the Members of the United Nations- Supplement to Doc A/648 Part III,” Section 5(c), under the heading, “The Current Situation”).

    If we examine relevant data we find that no more than 270,000 of that total number could have possibly been generated from within the Greenline. Of course this never gets discussed with both sides approaching the issue as if Israel would absorb refugees originally from Khan Younis and from Jenin.

    As for a Right of Return, Israel already offered this institutionally at Lausanne but Palestinians rejected the offer out of hand. On an individual basis all Palestinians with verifiable ties to territory within the Greenline are eligible for return via immigration. Omar Barghouti, the mouthpiece for the BDS-IAW movements- ironically- is a perfect example of this. Born in Qatar, raised in Egypt, in 1991 he and his family immigrated to Israel based upon that pre-1948 connection and were given citizenship.

    Reparations were paid by Israel institutionally at Lausanne, and on an individual basis are considered on a case by case basis up until the present. In addition, all liquid assets were returned to their legal owners in 1956.

    The Palestinian demand for a Right of Return is mere propaganda and as the author correctly noted, Jewish Refugees from Arab and Islamic Lands far outnumber the Palestinian refugees and yet unlike their Palestinian counterparts, there is no rejection of assimilation nor demands for financial or materiel benefit as one still finds amongst Palestinian refugees- and perhaps more importantly, their descendants.

    The League of Nations in 1920 envisioned a Population Transfer of Jews from the Arab lands coming to the Levant, and Arabs in the Levant- “Palestinians”- would leave and reside in Syria and in other Arab Nations. In effect, what took place wasn’t far from that- albeit through unofficial channels.

    Palestinians need to accept the fact that Israel will never grant this irrational demands. Time to grow up and see about fashioning a life for themselves wherever they now reside.

  3. Until so called "Palestine" became Israel it was no better than a desert with a few green areas here and there. The Al Aqsa mosque was overgrown and unkempt. The Ottoman Empire showed little interest in the area, Jordan didn't really exist. As Loren states 'the Arabs Right to Return' violates the UN Charter and is illegal. Unfortunately the US and current UN administration are to weak to remind Islam of this fact.

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