What is the “Right of Return” and What is its Significance?
The “Right of Return” is the name of the interpretation given by the Arab states and the Palestinians to UN General Assembly Resoluton 194, which was passed December 11, 1948. This resolution states that “...the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so...and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return...” (most of the homes, however, do not exist today). Needless to say, at no time since 1948 was credible evidence provided of refugees willing to return and live at peace with their neighbors.
In practice, the “Right of Return” is not a right anchored legally but rather based on a distorted interpretation of Resolution 194. This interpretation relies on one sentence from the entire resolution, which refers to a number of possible solutions, which also include repatriating the refugees. In addition, one must remember that the UN General Assembly resolutions are merely recommendatory and carry no weight in international law.
In addition, one must remember that this interpretation has no real legal precedents throughout history, and was never implemented in other cases of post-war refugees.
The fulfillment of the “Right of Return” and the return of over 4.5 million Palestinian refugees into Israel means the elimination of the State of Israel as a Jewish state and a severe blow to the right of the Jewish People to self-determination.
For over 60 years, UNRWA has placed the notion of the “Right of Return” at the center of its activities. This fact has created serious problems on a number of levels:
♦ Damage to the legitimacy of the State of Israel as a Jewish state.
♦ Violation of the human rights of the Palestinian refugees themselves.
♦ A considerable contribution toward fomenting terrorism, which leads to casualties and
property damage among Israeli civilians.
♦ A considerable contribution toward thwarting the chances of a successful peace process
and a viable two-state solution.
♦ Thwarting the chances of peace creates a situation in which a significant part of the Israeli budget
must be allocated perpetually to security needs, at the expense of social-civilian issues, such as
education, housing, health, etc.
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