Myth of the “right of return”

09.17.03

Constitutional lawyer Yaffa Zilbershats offers a rebuttal to the Palestinian claim of a “right of return”, demonstrating that this so-called right exists nowhere in international law:

Palestinians refer to various human rights treaties to assert their right of return. They cite general human rights treaties such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966 which was ratified by Israel in 1991 and international legal sources dealing specifically with issues of citizenship and nationality law, refugee law and humanitarian law.

A careful study of those sources leads to a very clear conclusion that none of them imposes a legal obligation upon Israel to repatriate the Palestinian refugees.

[ . . . ]

Palestinians do not have a legal right to return to Israel. Any negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians should start from the understanding that this is the legal situation. The sole right possessed by the Palestinians is to obtain compensation. The parties should start discussions and negotiations regarding the amount of the compensation and the method of its payment.

This is what we refer to a lie being repeated so often, that people start believing it. Arab leaders spent decades telling the Palestinian people that it’s their “right” to return to their homes and villages (and presumably, to get rid of all the Jews currently living there). It would be a bitter pill for the Palestinian population to swallow to learn that this right does not exist. As such, negotiations often begin from the starting point that the refugee problem is somehow Israel’s to solve, even though Israel was the one attacked in the first place. This shifts the advantage in a negotiating situation immeasurably.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Hanthala 09.19.03 at 12:29 AM

“and presumably, to get rid of all the Jews currently living there”–not presumable at all. however, when you think about, if they did do that, they would be doing exactly what the Zionists did. that’s why i don’t support it…

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2 Hanthala 09.19.03 at 12:32 AM

“As such, negotiations often begin from the starting point that the refugee problem is somehow Israel’s to solve, even though Israel was the one attacked in the first place.”

the “refugee problem,” created by the invention of the state of Israel certainly is Israel’s problem and it bears responsibility for it. you also have to remember that the refugees began leaving their homes well before the neighbouring armies attacked and that’s why they attacked…ethnic cleansing.

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3 Jonny 09.19.03 at 3:10 AM

Hanthala Brother! You’re on a roll tonite.

So you reckon it was just coincidence that the arabs attacked Israel on the day Israel declared independence?

If they didn’t want the jews going to Israel, why’d they throw them all out of their countries?

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4 David H 09.19.03 at 4:59 AM

Jonny Jonny, don’t you know?

They didn’t throw my grandparents out of Syria, my grandparents voluntarily left behind all their property and friends and departed on their own… for the fun of it or something I presume.

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5 Jonny 09.19.03 at 8:14 PM

David H,

I have cousins (by marriage) from Morroco, so I know the story.

Actually, I think Morroco did offer to compensate jews for their property in about 1988, as far as I know they are the only country in the arab league to make such an offer. One of my Morrocon jewish friends, living in Sydney, went back to retrieve some of his property.

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