The Right of Return Revisited

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When a Palestinian public opinion researcher was attacked in his office by his fellow Palestinians recently, it was news. The reason? His findings questioned the importance of the Right of Return. From before Camp David. From before Oslo. From before the Six-Day War, all the way back to the founding of the Israeli state in blood and battle in 1948, the right of return has defined modern Palestinian identity, an identity that sometimes seems to be wholly based on being a refugee.

Four million Palestinians claim this right. But if they all returned to Israel, what would happen to the unique character of the Jewish state? And you thought getting agreement on Jerusalem and Israeli settlements was going to be tough. Going Home, the Palestinian’s Right of return.


Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland

Benny Morris, author of Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist–Arab Conflict, 1881–2001;Gaber Suliman, Palestinian refugee, living in Lebanon.