Friday, December 28, 2007

The Palestinian Right Of Return--Who Would Come?

For that matter, would anyone come.

Hillel Halkin's essay, The Peace Planners Strike Again, appears in the January 2008 issue of Commentary Magazine. There, Halkin asks:

Where in Israel would the families of refugees go if their “right of return” were recognized? The poorer would end up in Israeli Arab slums hardly more congenial than the “refugee camps” they reside in now. The wealthier would find that their present homes in Amman or Damascus are grander than anything they could afford in Haifa or Jaffa. None would be returning to family property, and all would be choosing to live in a Jewish state whose customs are alien and where they might be discriminated against in various ways. How could this, rather than financial compensation or resettlement elsewhere, be the preferred option of most Palestinians?

And in fact it is not. The same polls that show a large majority of Palestinians vehemently supporting the “right of return” to Israel, a country that few of them have ever been in, report that not many are interested in “returning” there themselves. As in the old Jewish joke that a Zionist is a Jew who gives money to a second Jew in order to send a third Jew to Palestine, the average Palestinian would like another Palestinian to exercise the “right of return” for him

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