Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Turning the 'right of return' into reality

Myths perpetuated by Israel as to why the "right of return" is impossible are easily debunked when looked at logically.


Ben White

"After years of marginalisation in the peace process, the Palestinian refugees are back on centre stage.

On May 15, Nakba day, the refugees forced their way on to the news agenda; in the past two weeks, Israeli and Palestinian leaders have been compelled to comment on what has always been so much more than a "final status issue"....

One myth is that the "creation" of the Palestinian refugee "problem" (a euphemism for ethnic cleansing) was a consequence of the Arab countries' war with Israel. This claim was undermined - almost despite himself - by Israeli historian Benny Morris, who though joining the attack on Abbas' op-ed, noted that 300,000 Palestinians had lost their homes before 15 May 1948.

In fact, as serious historians and research have shown, Palestinians left their homes and villages through a combination of attacks, direct forced removals, and fear of atrocities.....

A discussion on what implementing the right of the return would look like is taking place. There is the long-standing work of Salman Abu Sitta and the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC), as well as studies by Badil and Decolonising Architecture Art Residency. Recently, the Israeli group Zochrot published in their journal Sedek a fascinating collection of articles on realising the return.....

There can be no doubt that the obstacle to a resolution of this central injustice is the insistence on maintaining a regime of ethno-religious privilege and exclusion.

After 63 years of dispossession, the refugees have been once again revealed to be at the heart of the issue, for it is they who best exemplify what it means to create and maintain a Jewish state at the expense of the indigenous Palestinians."

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