Analysis News

right of return

  • Resource: Surveying Palestinian identity in the homeland and diaspora

    A new survey by the BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, a non-profit organization that works to defend and promote the rights of Palestinian refugees, attempts to understand how youth of Palestinian heritage (third or fourth generation of displaced Palestinians) identify with their ancestry. BADIL conducted a survey focusing on identity and social ties among Palestinian youth residing in Mandate Palestine (West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and Israel), Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. The results reveal that between 55 to 70 percent of the respondents in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon regard themselves as Palestinians; 45 percent of Palestinian citizens of Israel regard themselves as…

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  • Unifying diaspora: Palestinian youth reassert their national identity

    A new survey demonstrates that Palestinians teens across the world (including in Israel and the occupied territories) have strong ties to their national identity, despite the fact that most of them have never set foot in their homeland.  By Amjad Alqasis We came to this country which was already populated by [Palestinian] Arabs, and we are establishing a Hebrew, that is, a Jewish State here. Jewish villages were built in the place of [Palestinian] Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these [Palestinian] Arab villages, and I do not blame you, because these geography books no longer…

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  • Thousands join Palestinian March of Return on Israeli Independence Day

    The annual March of Return brought approximately 7,000 people to the destroyed village of Khubeizy on Israel's Independence Day. The march, which went through village lands and debris, now a national park, ended with a rally in which speakers called for the implementation of UN Resolution 194, recognizing the Palestinian refugees' right of return, and for the release of political prisoners. The march was organized by the Association for the Defense of the Rights of the Displaced People (ADRID), and was attended mostly by Palestinians with Israeli citizenship (dubbed "'48 Palestinians") and a few Jewish Israeli activists. Aside from the…

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  • Key Hamas leader accepts 1967 borders, embraces pragmatism

    An interview with a key Hamas figure in al-Monitor published Friday explores a pragmatic potential and a shift in tactics for the movement. ‘Pragmatic’ is certainly the word interviewer Shlomi Eldar, one of Israel’s top television reporters covering Palestinian affairs, wants readers to remember. His subject is Dr. Ghazi Hamad, currently Deputy Foreign Minister of the Hamas leadership in Gaza, heads the “pragmatic wing” of Hamas and the interview is all about the changes of policy, external relations, and possibly even ideology. Three specific points are worth noting, two internal and one related to Israel: First, in the context of…

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  • Displaced Palestinians return to village after 64 years

    The third generation of the displaced community of Iqrit decided that they'd had enough of waiting for authorities to allow them to return to their village lands, taking matters into their own hands. Last August, they set up their base in a room adjacent to the old church and haven't left since. In 1948, the Christian Orthodox village of Iqrit surrendered to the IDF without a fight. When soldiers ordered residents to leave for two weeks for security reasons, considering the village is extremely close to the Lebanese boarder, nobody thought twice about it. Three years later, in July 1951,…

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  • A real alternative? Tzipi Livni is far worse than Netanyahu

    Despite her direct responsibility for two wars which took the lives of 2,000 civilians, and her uncompromising, hawkish positions during negotiations with the Palestinians, Tzipi Livni is still considered an acceptable choice for the Israeli 'peace camp.' It is time for the public to stop believing the lies.  By Idan Landau On November 27, 2012, Tzipi Livni announced that she will be running for the upcoming elections as part of the newly-foundd Hatnua party, which presents itself as a diplomatic alternative to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The party seeks to promote the peace processs wth Palestinian Authority and supports two…

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  • My people, who say yes to death

    A survey conducted in Gaza this September showed that a majority of its residents would prefer Fatah to Hamas if elections were held. Early this month President Mahmoud Abbas spoke again of a two state solution and even hinted at compromising on the right of return. What could Israel do in light of this but start a war? Israel can't deal with peace. It has become a war machine, and I'm not referring only to its over-militant decision makers and those who take their orders. Decades of media bias and dogmatic education managed to turn its citizens into a blinded…

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  • The resonance of Abbas' statements on the right of return

    Netanyahu called them a bluff, but Peres, Barak, Olmert and Livni called them 'brave.' With luck, they could be a catalyst for shaking things up around here.   To Israelis who genuinely support the two-state solution, Mahmoud Abbas' interview on Channel 2 last Friday was remarkably far-reaching and courageous, especially what he said about the right of return. Referring to Safed, the Galilee town his family and other Palestinian residents fled during the 1948 war, he said in English: It is my right to see it, but not to live there. This enraged Palestinians; thousands of Gazans protested and burned…

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  • Letter from Jerash, Jordan: A visit to the Gaza Refugee Camp

    The writer shares snippets of life from the Palestinians living in the refugee camp in Jordan - from the longing for  a home unknown, to reservations about the 'Arab Spring'  reaching them. Dispatch from Jerash.  By Munir Atalla Last month I worked at the Gaza Refugee Camp in Jerash, Jordan.  The camp is home to about 24,000 Palestinian refugees who left the Gaza Strip in 1968.  Most of the families living there were also displaced in 1948, meaning that they have lost their homes twice in one lifetime.  The majority live on less than $2 a day.  About a quarter live on less than…

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  • The first Mr. Hasbara: Mike Wallace's 1958 talk with Abba Eban

    On the country's 10th birthday, Israel's ambassador to Washington touched on issues that remain on the political agenda half a century later: His government's territorial ambitions, the refugee problem and Israel's expectations of the American Jewish community. Mike Wallace, the legendary host of 60 minutes who passed away on Saturday, interviewed in 1958 Israel's ambassador to the United States, Abba Eban. It's an interesting viewing: Eban was the original Mr. Hasbara, unmatched in his mastery of languages and ability to relate to audiences around the world. Many of his talking points, readers may notice, are repeated by Israeli spokespeople to…

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  • Beyond statehood: Resolving the Nakba, avoiding segregation

    The discourse of segregation that envisions two units, one Arab-free and one Jewish-free, has worrisome implications for democracy and the relations between the two peoples. The Palestinian right of return must be part of a larger vision for the region, in which the regimes belong to all their citizens.  By Muhammad Jabali Anybody claiming that state actions are legitimate from a perspective of power should be careful about the logic he legitimizes. For, according to this logic, the power and destruction of others is an essential and necessary part of a nation’s self-definition. This logic not only portrays past violence…

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  • Bernard Avishai on the "right of return" and other rights

    Professor and author Bernard Avishai published an article in Harper's Magazine that sparked a +972 debate on  Zionism. Here, in a post that originally appeared on his blog, he responds to some of the charges against his positions that have since been sounded in the blogosphere. By Bernard Avishai At bottom, the question my Harper's piece tries to answer is deceptively simple and by no means relevant to the Palestinian right of return alone. It is this: how can a democratic state, a commonwealth of free citizens, be reconciled with the right of citizens, collectively, to sustain national distinction? How is an…

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  • How is Zionism different from other forms of nationalism?

    Nationalism is inherently illiberal in its distinction between citizens and non-citizens. But are all nationalisms equally illiberal? And should we hold Israel to different standards than other countries that claim to be liberal democracies? By Sean Lee Two of my colleagues make the point that it is not only Zionism, or Jewish nationalism, that is illiberal, but rather nationalism in and of itself. I think that there is a lot of truth in this, especially given that much modern nationalism is rooted in 19th century European nationalism, which was decidedly illiberal in the way we define liberalism today. What I…

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