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

May 04, 2003

Yehoshua on the 'Right of Return'

With the Palestinian demand for 'Right of Return' back in the news, I dug this out of the MEMRI archive. In the March 31, 2000 issue of Ha'aretz, prominent Israeli leftist A.B. Yehoshua argues against the Palestinian demand. I recommend you to read the whole thing, but here are some excerpts.

On the difference between a 'refugee' and a 'displaced person,' Yehoshua notes:
Those who fled, and those who were expelled, both Jews and Palestinians, cannot accurately be called refugees, but rather displaced persons, for there is an essential difference between the two terms. A refugee is a person who has fled or been expelled from the land of his birth; a displaced person is someone who has fled or been expelled from his home, but remains within the bounds of the territory of his homeland ... the Palestinians did not call their uprooted people displaced persons.
On the contrary Palestinian demand for both a return to homes and a homeland:
...they wanted to go home, literally. Thus, they sentenced themselves to a life of humiliation and poverty; a welfare existence without any basic rights. The refugees in Syria, Lebanon and Egypt were not even granted citizenship, so as not to detract from their clamor to return. But there is no returning home for the displaced persons and refugees of 1948, and there cannot be such a return. There can only be a return to the homeland, and sometimes this may be truly possible.
While he argues for a Palestinian state, Yehosua concludes by saying, "the Palestinian state must be recognized when the time comes as the homeland to which, and only to which, all those defined as Palestinians by the Palestinian constitution will be allowed to return."