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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

May 30, 2003

The right of return - of property

Gabirelle Goldwater posts this interesting piece. The loss to those Jews who fled or were forced from arab lands is immense, yet this is seldom if ever discussed when there is talk of The Right of Return and compensation.
Israel should raise the issue of property belonging to Jews from Arab countries in its negotiations with the Palestinians.

The settlements, East Jerusalem, water, the war on terrorism are all vital subjects in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. However, there is another crucial subject that will make or break any future settlement between the sides: the right of return. And financial and economic matters will play a key role on this subject.

For the Palestinians, at least at the declarative level, it is their cassus belli since 1948: the right of the refugees, whether voluntary or forced, from Israel1s War of Independence to return to their homes.

For Israel, both at the declaratory and practical levels, it is a matter of existence: the return of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to Israeli territory would undermine the country1s demographic balance to the point of threatening its Jewish majority within a generation or two.

Is there a way to bridge such a chasm?

On the face of it, the only solution would be Israeli financial compensation for the Palestinians1 conceding the physical right of return.

On this point, Israel must stand up and state categorically: We too have claims for compensation in exchange for conceding the right of return - those of the Jews from Arab countries.

But Israel does almost nothing to prepare for this critical point in the negotiations.

There is what to talk about. 3Globes2 investigations have found that private Jewish property in four Arab countries - Egypt, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon - amounts to $10 billion. [more]