: The Palestinian Return and Right of Return—No Deal!By
: Michael Warschawski Published in
: Alternative Information CenterDate of issue
2 July 2008Topic(s) addressed
: Commentary Abstract
Before dealing with the topic of the Palestinian refugees and the Right of Return, I would like to say a few words following the interesting remarks of my friend Omar Barghouti on the issue of “one democratic state.” In my opinion, the core of our discussions should not be about solutions and models, but values and rights. In that perspective, one has to unequivocally reject the very idea (and existence) of a Jewish state, whatever will be its borders. For a Jewish state (in the demographic sense of the concept) necessarily implies the drive for exclusion and expulsion. Any ethnic (or confessional) state considers the non-dominant ethnicity as a threat, and aspires to its disappearance through more or less violent means. As former Yugoslavia and Rwanda have tragically shown, ethnic states are always both the cause and the result of mass-expulsions and massacres, and the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1947-1949 is one among many examples of that historical phenomenon.
Our conception of democracy is based on a state of and for all its citizens (and refugees), with no discrimination based on ethnic, national or religious belonging, a state where all the cultural or national groups comprising its society are treated in an equal manner.
Ultimately, a Jewish state is also a tragedy for the Israeli Jews, as it implies a closed society, doomed to decline as all closed societies throughout history. The development of civilizations has always been the result of openness, inter-and multi-culturalism and exchange. Moreover, the drive to maintain the “ethnic purity” of its state renders the Israeli society a paranoid entity. Fighting the “Jewish State” conception and institutions is a duty, independent of the political structure of the solution we defend.
Let’s address the issue of the Right of Return, the core issue of the so-called Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In the last decade, a new approach to deal with the issue of Palestinian refugees has been suggested, primarily by the Zionist Left. It is a sort of compromise based on the separation between the Right of Return and the actual return of refugees. According to this “compromise,” Israel will repent its sins of 1948 and formally recognize the Right of Return of the Refugees, and, in exchange, the Palestinians will renounce their Right of Return. What a deal!