refugees - Comment - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper
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    • Jonathan Rynhold
    • 16.12.10 | 09:29 (IST)

    The key point is correct, but it is worse than it appears. There remains a chasm between the minimum required by the mainstream Israeli Left on the refugee issue on the one hand and the demands of Fatah on the other. The Israeli Left is willing to concede to the Palestinians on the territorial issue and Jerusalem, but demands that the Palestinians a) give up on the 'right of return' to pre '67 Israel b) accept only a small number will be admitted to Israel - 10s of thousands c) that the Palestinians agree that this constitutes the end of Palestinian claims on the refugee issue and that they cannot re-open the question latter on. Fatah demands more than a 100 000 refugees and it refuses to abandon the right to continue to push for more refugees at a later date. True, Abbas was willing theoretically to say that future refugee immigration can only be 'by agreement with Israel' but this still allows a Palestinian state to keep the question alive, mobilize Israeli Arabs, Palestinians and the wider Arab world on the question with the aim of further revision with the long term goal of undermining Israel– given that these actors are almost 100% behind the principle of the 'right of return' – and that this is a core mobilizing myth of Palestinian and Arab nationalism – this is not unlikely. If and when such mobilization turns violent, this will put Israel under enormous international pressure to concede on an on-going basis, with Israel having lost the territorial cards it has to bargain against this scenario. If the Palestinians and international community wish to prove me wrong, they could either simply abandon the right of return in a clear way as Sari Nusseibeh did in his joint peace plan with Ami Ayalon, or they could accept that Israel has the right to hold on to a substantial bargaining chip – such as East Jerusalem and/or Ariel - until the Palestinians completely give-up on the right to demographic revisionism. At the same time the five permanent members of the Security Council could formally guarantee that they will actively oppose both Israeli territorial revisionism and Palestinian demographic revisionism.

    from the article: The Palestinians must not repeat their mistake of 1947
    First published 14:04 15.12.10 | Last updated 14:04 15.12.10
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