Tuesday, March 8, 2005


Right of Return is the basis for any compromise - Yehudith Harel

Israeli activist Yehudith Harel has written in the excellent article The need to recognize the Right of Return as the basis for any possible compromise in Kibush, Occupation Magazine that there is no sidestepping the major issue of Palestinian refugees and their rights. I post a brief excerpt:

Our people here do not understand the psychological and historical importance attributed by the Palestinians to the recognition of the Right of Return. There are many meanings attached to this recognition, but the most important one is that this recognition will re-institute them as legitimate owners and equal partners in this land and it will mean that the compensation they get is their right and not a charity `granted` to them by us because of our `generosity and good will`. They cannot and will not accept compensation as charity on a humanitarian basis. They can and will not allow their just cause to be reduced to a `humanitarian case` solved out of generosity by Israel and the International community. Only formal recognition of their rights can make the difference. It`s also a kind of `settling the account` with the Zionist movement and the 55 years long abuse of their `name`, the destruction of their society and heritage, the abuse of their rights, their suffering, the rewriting of history by us and dominating the International discourse in this respect.

Israelis refuse to recognize the ROR exactly because they are not ready to admit that we have historically wronged the Palestinians. Our people are not ready to assume our share of historical responsibility for this tragedy. While denying and negating this RIGHT and claiming that it does not exist, Israelis are protecting their hegemonic status and the self-righteous and self-declared, moral superiority of the Zionist movement over the moral and historical rights of the indigenous people of this country. Such an approach cannot open the way for reconciliation. To put the matter in very clear terms: The recognition of the ROR by Israel is not about the actual return of big masses of Palestinian refugees, as it has been clearly shown in the Shikaki research, but about settling a historical account between the Palestinian and Jewish national movements... Consequently it is the key to the door of reconciliation between the two peoples.


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