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No Right of Return for the other refugees


"Right of Return" for Palestinian refugees is an issue that is used by organizations like Al-Awda and Badil to block the progress of peace negotiations. For the refugees themselves, it is a real enough issue. They lost homes and businesses in 1948. Many have keys to their houses in "Palestine," houses that no longer exist.

There are probably about 4 million Palestinian refugees. The "Return" of all Palestinian refugees to Israel, with their descendants, would of course mean the end of the Jewish state. The Palestinians insist that they have a right to return to their homes under international law, though such repatriation was not allowed for refugees in other conflicts.

There are other refugees of the Israeli-Arab conflict, however. Over 600,000 Jews fled or left Arab countries, under coercion or willingly, following the creation of the State of Israel. Iraqi Jews were "allowed" to leave in 1949 and 1950, but had to leave all their property behind. Can they return to Iraq and claim their property? Not yet, according to the latest deliberations of the Iraqi Governing Council.

They too have their personal stories, their "keys" that were left behind, as Israel Bonan, a refugee from Egypt, tells us. For his family, it was clothes pins. The question he asks, is whether we will let the clothes pins and the keys that can never really be reconstituted be an obstacle to peace forever.

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Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000206.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

by Moderator @ 02:22 PM CST [Link]


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Replies: 2 comments

When I was in Palestine in 1946 only 30% of the British Mandate was Jewish and of these over half had been born in other countries. Army comrades were murdered by Israeli terrorists.

Posted by British Army Sergeant @ 03/10/2004 11:47 PM CST

When I was in Palestine in 1946 only 30% of the British Mandate was Jewish and of these over half had been born in other countries. Army comrades were murdered by Israeli terrorists.

Posted by British Army Sergeant @ 03/10/2004 11:47 PM CST

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