Last updated on: 5/15/2008 | Author:

Does the Right of Return Imply the Destruction of Israel?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)


This site was archived on Aug. 3, 2021. The two-state solution is no longer the most popular solution among the jurisdictions involved. A reconsideration of the topic is possible in the future.

PRO (yes)


Benny Morris, PhD, Professor of History at Ben-Gurion University, in a Feb. 21, 2002 Guardian article titled “Peace? No Chance,” wrote:

“The real issue, the real litmus test of Palestinian intentions, is the fate of the refugees, some 3.5-4 million strong… If the refugees are allowed back, there will be godawful chaos and, in the end, no Israel… The right of return is the wedge with which to prise open the Jewish state.”

Feb. 21, 2002


Efraim Karsh, PhD, Head of Mediterranean Studies at King’s College, University of London, in the Dec. 2001 / Jan. 2002 Boston Review commentary titled “A Trojan Horse?” wrote:

“In their internal political discourse (albeit excluded from addresses to Western audiences), Arabs have made no secret of their perception of the ‘right of return’ as a euphemism for the destruction of Israel through demographic subversion.”

Dec. 2001 / Jan. 2002


Ariel Sharon, Former Israeli Prime Minister, was quoted in a May 7, 2003 Jerusalem Post article “Sharon: Palestinian ‘Right of Return’ off the Table”:

“The right of return is a recipe for the destruction of Israel.”

May 7, 2003


Gamal Abdel Nasser, Former Egyptian President, in a Sep. 1, 1960 interview with the Swiss Newspaper Neue Zuercher Zeitung, stated the following:

“If the refugees return to Israel, Israel will cease to exist.”

Sep. 1, 1960


Amos Oz, founder of the Peace Now movement, in a Jan. 5, 2001 Guardian commentary titled “Doves Should Re-examine Their Perch,” wrote:

“Implementing the Palestinian ‘right of return’ amounts to abolishing the Jewish people’s right to self determination. It will make the Jewish people a minor ethnic group at the mercy of Muslims, a ‘protected minority’, just as fundamentalist Islam would have it. It would mean eradicating Israel.”

Jan. 5, 2001

CON (no)


Rashid Khalidi, PhD, Director of the Middle East Institute at Columbia University, in a Winter 1992 Journal of Palestine Studies article titled “Observations on the Right of Return,” wrote:

“[T]he very idea of the return of significant number of Palestinians to their villages and towns, or indeed to any parts of Palestine, touches on deep-seated fears among Israelis regarding the legitimacy and permanence of the entire Zionist enterprise, as well as the Arab-Jewish demographic balance within Palestine. It may turn out that in practice this is not as serious a question as it initially appears, as most Palestinians were born after 1948, and may well prefer not to exercise their right of return to their original homes (the majority of which in any case no longer exist).”

Winter 1992


Alain Epp Weaver, Representative for Palestine to the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), in a Mar. 2, 2001 Christian Century commentary titled “Right of Return (Palestinian Arabs to Israel),” wrote:

“The return of refugees need not mean a new exodus of Israeli Jews. But it would require a rethinking of what Israeli academic Ilan Pappe has called ‘Israeli ethnocracy’.”

Mar. 2, 2001


The Palestine Solidarity Committee/Seattle in a joint position statement with Palestine Information Project, and posted on its website (accessed Apr. 10, 2007), wrote:

“Many people do not believe that any ethnic group has the right to guarantee an ethnic majority in a nation-state, and therefore do not believe that Israeli Jews have the right to demand a perpetual Jewish-majority state. However: even those who support a Jewish majority in Israel should be able to accept the Palestinian Right of Return, since acceptance of this right will not necessarily overturn the Jewish majority in Israel.”

Apr. 10, 2007


Ali Abunimah, founder of Electronic Intifada, in a Mar. 27, 2001 Haaretz commentary titled “Fears of Destruction Are the Obstacle,” wrote:

“It offends me, not just as a Palestinian, but as a human being when I hear Israelis say that living in the same country with other human beings is tantamount to ‘destruction’ just because those people are not Jews. As a Palestinian, I find nothing repulsive about living with Jews or Israelis, nor would I consider it the ‘destruction’ of my state whether it was called ‘Israel’ or ‘Palestine.’ But the condition for such peaceful coexistence is that we live together as equals with the same rights and responsibilities.”

Mar. 27, 2001