What Is the "Right of Return"?


General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
The United States Congressional Research Service (CRS), in a Oct. 10, 2003 Issue Brief for Congress titled "Palestinians and Middle East Peace: Issues for the United States," provided the following:

"Palestinians argue that paragraph 11 of U.N.G.A. [United Nations General Assembly] Resolution 194 of December 11, 1948, states that the Arab refugees have a choice between returning to the homes now in Israel that they left during the 1947-1948 war, or receiving compensation for the lost property.

Israel argues that the Arabs abandoned their property voluntarily, and that the international community should provide funding for resettling the Palestinian refugees in Arab countries.

Arabs claim the Jews drove them from their homes in 1948-1949. Some Israelis counter with a claim for compensation for property abandoned by Jews who left or were driven from Arab countries in the aftermath of the 1948-1949 war.

Israel claims that allowing Palestinian refugees to return to homes left in 1948-1949 or 1967 will destroy the Jewish nature of Israel.

Palestinians claim the right of return is a matter of justice encased in international law.

The argument may be one of perception rather than physically moving a number of Palestinians into Israel: by accepting the right of return, Israel may be accepting blame for forcing the refugees out of their homes in the first place, and the Palestinians may be more interested in such a confession of guilt than in the actual return to abandoned properties."

Oct. 10, 2003 - Congressional Research Service (CRS) 

British Broadcasting Corporation News (BBC), in a Feb. 18, 2003 article titled "Right of Return: Palestinian Dream?," offered the following account:

"There are more than 3.7 million Palestinian refugees in the Middle East and many more worldwide - and they want the right to go home. The Palestinians say their diaspora - uprooted from their homes ever since 1948 and scattered around the globe - is the greatest and most enduring refugee problem in the world. Whether they will be allowed to return to the land that used to be called Palestine is, and always has been, one of the main obstacles to progress in the Middle East peace process...

Palestinian assertions of the right of return for themselves and their descendants are based both on a moral standpoint, claiming the refugees' rights to return to homes from which they have been displaced, and on a number of resolutions issued by the United Nations. At the heart of these is General Assembly Resolution 194 of December 1948. It states that Palestinian 'refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practical date.'"

Feb. 18, 2003 - British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)