The right of return is alive and well TWO COMPLEMENTARY words have become an integral part of the Palestinian narrative for the last 60 years:
Al Nakba and the right of return. They represent two sides of the same coin: one is the original sin and the other is the atonement for it. Al Nakba is the largest, most carefully planned and longest ethnic cleansing operation in modern history.
The population of 530 towns and villages have been expelled in 1948, removing 85 per cent of the Palestinians in the land that became Israel. Those who did not suffer this fate in the remaining part of Palestine are now in the grip of the most brutal, longest and only occupation in the world. Continue reading
For the first time, Israel has embarked on a plan to sell the land of the 1948 Palestinian refugees (92% of Israel) to Jewish individuals. Clearly this is in violation of international law. It will also make the refugees’ return and compensation more difficult technically.
An end to exile
The initial euphoria of great expectations associated with the peace process in September 1993 has quickly subsided. With hindsight, there was no reason to expect such a happy solution for the 100-year Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the last 50 years of which have been soaked in blood, usually Palestinian.
The Israeli side has not given an inch on its basic premise: the confiscated Palestinian land, which comprises 92 per cent of Israel’s area, will not be returned to its rightful owners, and the inhabitants of 532 villages and towns who were expelled by Israeli forces in 1948 — now known as Palestinian refugees — will not be allowed to return home. On the other hand, these Palestinian refugees, now numbering five million, who have endured 50 years of wars, destitution and exile, refuse to accept this diktat and insist on their right to return home. Continue reading
The Feasibility of the Right of Return The Israeli-Palestinian/Arab conflict has arisen because of the Israeli conquest of Palestine in 1948 and the expulsion of its people in order to accommodate newcomers from overseas. The struggle is therefore about land taken and people expelled. The Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe, holocaust) has no equal in modern history. A foreign minority expels the majority of the inhabitants of a country, occupies their land, obliterates their physical and cultural landmarks in a military campaign that is planned, armed, manned, and is financially and politically supported from abroad.
Half a century later, there are 4,600,000 refugees, expelled from 532 localities, without a home, identity or a certain future. Their plight shook the foundation of the Middle East, toppled practically every neighbouring Arab government or removed its leader, caused five major wars and innumerable attacks. After 50 years of strife, it is abundantly clear that there can be no peace without them, and that they have no wish to go anywhere except Palestine. The yearning to return to the homeland is the core of the Palestinians’ psyche. It is this unrelenting determination which has driven them to maintain a monolithic structure across many countries of refuge. Continue reading