The ‘Right of Return’ Is No Bargaining Chip

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Alan Dershowitz recently penned an article for The Jerusalem Post in which he relates a candid conversation had with Palestinian prime minister Salaam Fayyad. The context of the discussion regarded the most difficult compromises Israel and the Palestinians would need to make to forge an “enduring” peace.

In Fayyad’s words: “Each side has a major card to play and a major compromise to make; for Israel, that card is the West Bank, and the compromise is returning to the 1967 lines with agreed-upon adjustments and land swaps; for the Palestinians, that card is ‘the right of return,’” and, according to Fayyad, this demand would need to be dropped.

This basic give-and-take paradigm has dominated the Israeli-Palestinian negotiating process for decades: if Israel retreats to the ‘67 borders and the Palestinians give up the preposterous “right to return,” then peace would be but a hop, skip, and a jump away.

What has seemingly been ignored, however, is what such a development would tangibly entail for the lone Jewish State in the world. In other words, what would happen if the Palestinians did, in fact, finally give up their bogus “right”?

According to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in his sensational and effective rebuke of U.S. President Barack Obama’s Mideast policy at the White House last month, “The Palestinian refugee problem will…be resolved in the context of a Palestinian state but certainly not in the borders of Israel[.]”

Sounds good.

The Palestinians flock to “Palestine,” the Jewish State retains its sovereignty — Israel wins!

Or does she?

The problem with this scenario is that it is a recipe for complete disaster.

In effect, this would involve the resettlement in the infant state of “Palestine”—which will lack any semblance of a self-sustaining economy (and will therefore be devoid of basic social services), and be half-governed by a radical Islamic terrorist organization bent on Israel’s destruction—of nearly five million poor, undereducated, unemployed Palestinians. Moreover, these ex-“refugees” will have spent the majority of their existence being indoctrinated to believe that it is their inherent right to return, en masse, not to “Palestine” but rather to Israel, so as to wipe out the lone Jewish State in the world.

Given these “stable” circumstances, is it rational to consider this prospect a plausible “solution” for Israel? Are we to expect that these five million individuals, further influenced by the pervasive anti-Semitic Palestinian culture and the genocidal convictions of Hamas, will be contented to, in a systematic fashion, assimilate into “Palestine,” thereby suppressing the longing—their raison d’etre—to reconnect with their “heritage” by re-occupying the land of their forefathers, the property “stolen” from them by insidious Jews?

As evidenced this previous May 15th, known to Palestinians as “Nakba Day”— the yearly commemoration of the “catastrophe” of Israel’s birth—when thousands of belligerents raided Israel’s border, and attempted to illegally infiltrate the Jewish State. Not the West Bank, mind you, or any other imagined “occupied” territory. The notion of a peaceful Palestinian “return,” even to “Palestine,” is a pipedream, a distortion of reality, a dangerous lie.

There would be absolutely no way to contain such a process—chaos—nor its future ramifications.

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  • Yitzhak Moshe

    A more sensible proposal would be the "return" of the "refugees" to those portions of Israel which might be transferred to palestine for portions of the west bank that are transferred to Israel. In that way, they would be able to say that they returned.
    The west bank could in fact make a viable country, if only the citizens would concentrate on nation building rather than revenge. In any case the "refugees" would be a greater danger inside Israel than outside.

  • Brian GC

    Excellent analysis, but only to friends of Israel.
    To those who have been taught to hate Israel it will have no effect except to increase hatred for all who support the Jews.
    For those in the west who hate Israel it will be counted, not as truth, but Zionist propaganda.
    Israel will never do anything right in the eyes of these people unless she lies down and dies.
    That is not going to happen, so it is inevitable we will see MAJOR conflict there sometime soon. I would suggest keeping an eye on the rise of Muslim Brotherhood power politics.

  • Philippe

    A very good analysis,indeed. If at least Dr Salam Fayyad or other people like him were in charge there – intelligent, pragmatic, and not filled with hatred.
    Perhaps, another possibility for Palestinians might be to consider a West Bank – Jordan federation, since very many Palestinians now live in Jordan. Obviously, the king would not like this, but Palestinian majority may decide it's time for him to go too.