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Exile and Return

The Israeli, Palestinian, and American contributors to this volume consider the catastrophic failure of the Oslo peace process and the years of bloody violence that ensued.

Exile and Return
Predicaments of Palestinians and Jews

Edited by Ann M. Lesch and Ian S. Lustick

2005 | 368 pages | Cloth $55.00 | Paper $27.50
Political Science / Anthropology
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Table of Contents


1. The Failure of Oslo and the Abiding Question of the Refugees
—Ian S. Lustick and Ann M. Lesch

2. Commemorating Contested Lands
—Laleh Khalili
3. The Right of Return versus the Law of Return: Contrasting Historical Narratives in Israeli and Palestinian School Textbooks
—Elie Podeh
4. Social Capital and Refugee Repatriation: A Study of Economic and Social Transnational Kinship Networks in Palestine/Israel
—Sari Hanafi

5. Considerations Toward Accepting Historical Responsibility
—Elazar Barkan
6. Negotiating Truth: The Holocaust, Lehavdil, and al-Nakba
—Ian S. Lustick

7. The Palestinian IDPs in Israel and the Predicament of Return: Between Imagining the Impossible and Enabling the Imaginative
—Amal Jamal
8. No Refuge for Refugees: The Insecure Exile of Palestinians in Kuwait
—Ann M. Lesch
9. The Vision of Return: Reflections on the Mass Immigration to Israel from the Former Soviet Union
—Ze'ev Khanin

10. Palestinian and Mizrahi Jewish Property Claims in Discourse and Diplomacy
—Michael R. Fischbach
11. Arab Jews, Population Exchange, and the Palestinian Right of Return
—Yehouda Shenhav
12. Palestinian Refugee Property Claims: Compensation and Restitution
—Salim Tamari

13. Truth and Reconciliation: The Right of Return in the Context of Past Injustice
—Nadim H. Rouhana
14. The Visible and Invisible in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
—Ilan Pappé
15. Reflections on the Right of Return: Divisible or Indivisible?
—Gershon Shafir

List of Contributors

Excerpt [uncorrected, not for citation]

Introduction: The Failure of Oslo and the Abiding Question of the Refugees
Ian S. Lustick and Ann M. Lesch

The Oslo process failed to bring peace between Israelis and Palestinians. That much is clear. The bloody years that ensued following the collapse of the Camp David II summit in the summer of 2000 have reminded everyone of what the costs of failure are. A vigorous debate has developed over exactly why that effort failed, and there seems to be plenty of blame to go around: stinginess, presumptiveness, and ineptitude on the Israeli side; lack of imagination and inflexibility on the Palestinian side; and poor planning and execution on the American side. But the dramatic failure of the summit also demonstrated just how close it is possible to get to a workable compromise between the demands of the Israeli state and Palestinian nationalism. Most observers agree that follow-up discussions between Israelis and Palestinians, culminating in the Taba talks of December and January, brought the two sides excruciatingly close to agreement on the terms of a treaty. Indeed, the Geneva Initiative, signed in 2003 by Labor and Meretz leaders and ranking Palestinian officials, closely follows the Taba ideas and the "Clinton parameters" of January 2001 and stands as a remarkable testimony to the continued possibility of a negotiated solution.

It is significant to note that both at Taba and in the Geneva negotiations the most sensitive issues were those pertaining to the problem of the Palestinian refugees and issues linked to that problem. The problem has cast its shadow over all efforts to imagine or implement a comprehensive settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and over the years much has been written on the subject. Scholars have documented and evaluated the extent of the problem and discussed efforts to ameliorate the plight of the refugees (Peretz 1958; Hadawi 1988; Kubursi 1996; Schiff 1995). Legal scholars have asked about the implications of international law (Lapidoth 1986; Quigley 1998; Takkenberg 1998) for its analysis and treatment. Analysts of Arab-Israeli political and military relations have investigated the role of the refugees and the refugee issue in subsequent conflicts (Plascov 1981; Morris 1993; Sayigh, 1997). Others have focused on the suffering of refugees and their yearning to return (Sayigh 1979; Ghabra 1987; Peteet 1994; Zureik 1997); and the predicament of refugees who remained inside the borders of Israel but without rights to return to their villages (al-Haj 1988; Rubinstein 1979). Sociological and political studies of the political behavior and attitudes of refugee populations in various Arab countries are also available (Ghabra 1987; Brand 1988; Nakhleh and Zureik 1980). In addition, considerable efforts have been devoted to imagining what specific kinds of schemes for the solution to the problem might be feasible (Arzt 1997; Brynen 2000; Gazit 1995; Peretz 1993). Most recently real breakthroughs have been made via surveys of Palestinian refugee attitudes (Shikaki 2003); and careful archival assessments of lost property and confiscation issues (Fischbach 2004). This research has helped establish the resiliency of Palestinian refugee aspirations and the scale and complexity of the compensation issue, while highlighting often-ignored intricacies, variation, and nuances in their demands.

However, with some exceptions (Kelman and Rouhana 2000), there is a striking absence of scholarly work that poses the question of the past and future of Palestinian "exiles" in ways that are consistent with the perceived vital interests and essential categories of thought of both Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews. Accordingly, there is both a high scholarly and public policy priority on the development of formulas, categories, and approaches to questions pertaining to refugee return that can be used by both Palestinian and Israeli leaders to convince their peoples that the agreement being sought will destroy neither the state that Israeli Jews have built, nor the deep yearnings for vindication and/or return that lie at the emotional core of the Palestinian struggle. The project that produced this volume is an attempt to lay the intellectual infrastructure for such efforts. We have sought new ways of framing and conceptualizing the key issues — morally and politically — so as to make the many detailed and clever options for calibrating the implementation of "refugee return" relevant to those who would seek to sign a comprehensive political agreement.

Over the last two decades crucial resources for moving forward in this area have been produced as a result of the indefatigable efforts of scholars afforded access to Israeli state and army archives. The result of this work, along with the appearance of uncensored memoirs by leading participants in the 1948 war, such as the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (1979), has been a much more sophisticated and detailed understanding of the events of that year. Complementing and mostly validating findings of a few earlier researchers (Gabbay 1959; Nazzal 1978; Childers, 1961), these scholars document the predominant role played by violence, force, and intimidation on the part of Jewish forces in the transformation of more than 700,000 Palestinian Arabs into Palestinian Arab refugees (Morris 1987, 1990; Pappé 1994; Masalha 1992; Palumbo 1987). Segev (1986) and Morris (1986) also emphasize the subsequent and systematic enforcement of Israel's immediate decision to bar the return of refugees to their homes.

In very direct ways, this research made itself felt at Camp David and in other Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. On the Palestinian side, it may have helped reinforce the memories of refugees and the commitments of their descendants to the principle of return, narrowing the maneuverability available to Palestinian leaders seeking a "practical" two state solution focused on the West Bank and Gaza. On the Israeli side, it meant that Palestinian positions on this issue could not convincingly be rebuffed by reference to the claims, now widely acknowledged to be without foundation, that in 1948 Israel's primary policy was to try to convince Arabs to stay, that force was not a significant factor in the production of the mass exodus, and that Arab leaders bore the main responsibility for the tragedy as a result of radio broadcasts in which they, supposedly, ordered the Palestinians to flee.

The result of this increase in the quality of generally available historical knowledge has contributed toward moving discussion of the refugee question into new areas. At Taba, and at Geneva, the sides went beyond arguing about legal issues or the numbers of refugees who should or could return and under what circumstances. They also discussed questions of culpability, public acceptance of moral responsibility, and the possibility that truth and/or apology could play a role that might enable an agreement less just than might otherwise be the case. In addition to negotiating over specific arrangements for limited implementation of Palestinian refugee return, the sides explicitly argued about alternative wordings for the public statement which Israel would make characterizing the origins of the refugee problem and either its regret, its pain, its responsibility (shared or otherwise), and/or its apology.

It is often suggested that any consideration of the Palestinian Arab refugee question must be accompanied (and "balanced") by consideration of the fate of Jews who left Arab countries, often as a result of persecution, following the creation of the state of Israel. We do consider the fate of Jews in Arab countries and the related status of these Israeli Mizrachim (Easterners, as they generally now prefer to be named) an important issue. But instead of relying on this comparison as a means of establishing a principle of equivalence, symmetry, or balance (an objective we reject if pursued for its own sake), we offer a fresh perspective-one which we believe has a much better chance of serving as a basis for reciprocal appreciation of the imperatives and outlooks of the two sides.

Rights of Return and the Mutuality of Terror
It is not an exaggeration to describe Jewish Israelis as terrified at the prospect of a return of Palestinian refugees to Israel. What for Palestinians is an elementally just request, that they be allowed to return to homes and communities from which they have been excluded for more than fifty-five years, is a nightmare for Israeli Jews. The Israeli imagination of Palestinian return is dominated by images of an uncontrolled and open-ended process leading to the demographic, cultural, and political submergence of Israel as a Jewish state and, ultimately, the disappearance of the Land of Israel as a place where a Jewish society and polity could thrive.

It is one of the innumerable ironies of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that the terror of Israeli Jews at the effect a mass immigration of self-styled returnees would have on their country is strikingly similar to the fear that animated Palestinian opposition to the Zionist movement's project in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Palestinian Arabs opposed the central demand of Zionism, for unlimited immigration of Jews, because they imagined that such a mass immigration of self-styled returnees would transform the country unacceptably, making it virtually uninhabitable as a space for the development of an independent Palestinian society and polity. And just as most Zionist representatives in the pre-1948 period rejected the dire warnings of Palestinian leaders as self-serving and hysterical portrayals of a future that would instead be marked by coexistence between Jews and Arabs, so too do Palestinians now reject as hysterical and self-serving the expressed fears of Israelis that the return of Palestinian refugees would destroy Israel or end opportunities for Jews to live happily in the country.

In the pre-1948 period, Palestinians heard Zionist reassurances about the prosperity they would enjoy as a result of Jewish immigration and statehood as absurd or disingenuous. Now Israeli Jews hear Palestinian reassurances, about the manageable impact of implementing the right of Palestinian Arab return, in exactly the same way. In short, the historical experiences of Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs provide each people with emotional, psychological, and analytic access to one another's most hopeful and most fearful states of mind. By thinking carefully about itself each side can understand the other better. For each side knows exactly what it is like to see one's own return as unthreatening and the other's return as terrifyingly threatening. For example, Israelis need look no further than their own fears about the implications of Palestinian return to lands inside Israel to appreciate the intensity of the fears and resentments aroused among Palestinians at what Israeli settlers in the West Bank and Gaza have seen as their return to those portions of the ancient Jewish homeland.

For the project that resulted in the papers contained in this volume it is important to note that drawing analogies between the two peoples' experience does not serve as a technique for discovering or proving moral or political equivalency or for erasing or obscuring the enormous differences in the experiences, motivations, and programs of action of the two peoples. But as the issue of the Palestinian refugees emerged in the wake of the failure at Camp David in 2000 as perhaps the single most difficult issue preventing a peace agreement between the two sides, it was clear that new thinking on the issue was desperately required-thinking that would go beyond detailed, important, but ultimately technical formulas for lotteries and fast vs. slow track applications for immigration permits. In this context the idea of comparing rights and practices of return in Zionism and Palestinian nationalism presented itself as a general framework for posing and developing fresh approaches to political, psychological, moral, and economic aspects of the problem.

It is significant that the contributions to this volume do not rehash familiar debates about refugee return as it may relate to legal questions of the texts of United Nations resolutions or of applicable international law. Nor are these studies focused on exactly what happened in 1948 — such as how many Arabs were expelled by force and how many by intimidation; how many left out of panic and how many in response to Arab leaders' calls to evacuate prior to an Arab conquest of the country. Instead, our emphasis is on new ideas and new ways of framing the problem. This shift in focus is especially noticeable in a corresponding redirection of attention from theoretical questions of right to practical questions about return — the requisites and implications of agreements on and implemented policies of actual migration to Israel/Palestine.

A number of factors lay behind this shift by scholars engaged both professionally and personally in the Palestinian-Israeli struggle. First, as noted above, almost two decades of scholarship based on gradually released Israeli government archives have allowed anyone who wants to do so to separate propaganda and myth from empirically sustainable claims regarding who did what to whom, why, and how, during the period Palestinians call al-Nakba (the catastrophe) and Israelis have traditionally called the War of Independence. Another reason for a shift away from this sort of debate is one particular crucial finding of this body of scholarship, viz., that the refugee problem, per se, was not caused by either mass expulsion or mass flight. Expulsion and/or mass flight would certainly have produced and did produce displacement. But the long-term mass refugee problem could only have been created by the Israeli government's decision to promulgate a draconian ban on return against all those deemed to have been displaced (including Arabs remaining within Israel, but displaced from their homes during the fighting). This ban was enforced immediately, systematically, and coercively. On this point there is no controversy. Regardless of whether Palestinian refugees were granted citizenship by their "host" countries (as in Jordan) or whether their lives were severely circumscribed (as in Lebanon) it is this initial, immediate, and continuing Israeli policy of exclusion from their country of origin and from their property which gives rise to the problem, not of an injustice felt to have occurred in 1948, and which can be contemplated but neither mitigated nor reversed, but of a continuing sense of enforced injustice that, if it cannot be wholly eliminated, might well be mitigated. It is this continuing source of distress and dissatisfaction that must be the primary object of discussion if progress on this problem is to be made, even as the events, rights, and wrongs, of the 1948 war itself, the displacement of refugees associated with it, and the opening of the gates to unfettered Jewish immigration, are neither forgotten nor ignored.

The impetus to search carefully in the experiences of the two peoples for useful techniques to mitigate the Palestinian sense of injustice and the Israeli Jewish sense of fear arises in part from a realization of how careful consideration of analogous elements in the relationship helps to remove one of the most intractable aspects of the problem — the demand by Palestinians that Israelis not only allow the return of Palestinian refugees but that Israel recognize and accept the Palestinian right of return. In this context it is crucial to understand how powerfully the claim to a "right" to do anything, or avoid doing something, can be heard by those to whom that claim is directed as a demand to accept discretion to exercise that right by those who claim it as a duty. For example, we may claim to have a right to exclusive use or disposition of a piece of property, and we are likely to advance that claim without believing we have the physical wherewithal to prevent others from using their strength to take the property we say is "ours". But our claim to a right is precisely our claim that others should experience an obligation or duty to not use their strength to take what we say is rightfully ours if we insist on exercising that right.

Early Zionist immigrants to Palestine and Zionist spokesmen explaining their program to various international investigating commissions and panels advanced a variety of formulas for justifying unlimited Jewish immigration into the country and the creation of a Jewish homeland there, or a state. These justifications were appeals to values that, if accepted by non-Jews either in or outside of Palestine, would produce in them a sense of duty not to try to prevent the building of a Jewish national home in Palestine. They ranged from appeals to Biblical or divine authority, the principle of first possession (Jews having preceded Arabs historically as inhabitants of the land), the labor of Jewish pioneers as generating rights to Jewish ownership and rule of the country, the extraordinary and even desperate need of the Jews for a refuge compared in their view to the less pressing political requirements of the local Arab population, the economic benefits for the Arabs of Palestine that were said would be associated with the success of Zionism, and legal arguments associated with European promulgation of the Balfour Declaration or the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine.

Despite these various appeals, however, the Zionist movement was well aware that it had virtually no prospect of convincing Arabs in the country that Jews had a right to return there and that, concomitantly, Palestine's Arabs had a duty to allow them to do so. Instead, the mainstream of the movement, including both the Revisionists led by Vladimir Jabotinsky and the Labor Zionists led by David Ben-Gurion, adopted the strategy made famous by Jabotinsky's theory of the Iron Wall. This approach accepted the fact that the Arabs of Palestine not only would not, but could not be expected to, accept the right of Jews to return to the Land of Israel. According to Jabotinsky, the country's Arab inhabitants "cling to Palestine, at least with the same instinctive love and natural jealousy displayed by the Aztecs to their Mexico or the Sioux to their prairies." For Palestinian Arabs, he argued, the Jews were naturally and even correctly regarded as "alien settlers." Zionist "colonization," he continued, "is self explanatory and what it implies is fully understood by every sensible Jew and Arab. There can only be one purpose in colonization. For the country's Arabs that purpose is essentially unacceptable. This is a natural reaction and nothing will change it."

Unable to hope for instilling a sense of the rightness of the Zionist cause in the minds of Palestinian Arabs, and with it a felt obligation to allow Zionism to succeed, both Jabotinsky and Ben-Gurion adopted a strategy of using force to establish the Jewish National Home and in the process erase Arab hopes for ending or reversing the project to the extent that they would, eventually, agree to accept a Jewish State's existence out of necessity, rather than out of obligation or right.

To a large extent this strategy has succeeded. Most Palestinians are ready to accept Israel within definite boundaries, not because they believe in the right to return of Jews to "their land," but because they have determined that continuing the struggle to eradicate Zionism is either unachievable or too costly. It is in this context that one can appreciate the asymmetry of demands by Palestinians that Israeli Jews accept the right of Palestinian return, why Israelis have difficulty distinguishing between acceptance of the right and the expectation that it will not be fully implemented, and why Israeli representatives may be much more willing to negotiate practical arrangements for solving the refugee problem that entail some partial return, than they are willing to accept the principle of the right of return. For such acceptance would mean, or is likely to seem to mean, acceptance of a Jewish duty to allow Palestinian refugees to move into the State of Israel. However just one may feel this demand to be, it does go further in what it requires at a psychological level than the Israeli demand that Arabs accommodate themselves to the practical reality of Jewish return to at least part of Palestine, rather than a demand that Palestinian Arabs accept as just and valid the Jewish right of return, i.e. the ideological principle at the basis of Zionism.

These considerations may help to explain what the chapters in this volume do not focus on-restatements of the elemental justice associated with one side's demands, or the irrationality, danger, or injustice associated with the other. Instead, they address topics connected directly to the practical, complex, and often messy realities associated with the actual "return" of Jews to contemporary Israel and with the prospective "return" of Palestinians to Israel or Palestine.

Organization of the Volume
The volume is divided into five dialogic clusters-dialogic because the essays in each cluster represent in part the outcome of actual dialogue within the group of scholars assembled for this project and because in the terms of their analyses the essays in each group problematize, build upon, or contend with one another.

Part I, entitled "Collective Memories and Actual Choices" includes three essays. Laleh Khalili focuses on the use of collective memory among Palestinian refugees in Lebanon to build national identity. She argues that the social and political marginalization of Palestinian refugees, and their exclusion from the decision-making process that will determine their fate, have led them to increasingly assert their right to return and reaffirm their historical roots in and memory of Palestine, largely through grassroots commemorative practices such as writing ethnographies of villages and creating memory museums. Asserting their membership in a village community that is part of the larger Palestinian nation underscores their demand to influence the nation's — as well as their own — fate. Khalili concludes that these commemorative practices indicate that refugees' desire to return remains strong, without determining absolutely what their choices would be if presented with actual options involving compensation, relocation, or return. Elie Podeh treats collective memory as well, but by examining how Israeli and Palestinian textbooks contribute to forging a collective memories integral to processes of nation building. Podeh observes that recent Israeli textbooks are less biased than earlier ones, in his view, but still extol the heroic Jewish pioneer and emphasize Jewish victimization while only partially conceding Israeli responsibility for creating the Palestinian refugee problem and staunchly negating any Palestinian right of return. Palestinian textbooks are also nationalistic, emphasizing Palestinian victimization and the right of return, and ignoring Jewish rights. Textbooks thereby reinforce dichotomized national positions rather than open up debate on issues of responsibility and mutual rights. Sari Hanafi contribution provides a counterpoint to these treatments of collective memory by focusing on the practical imperatives of life that, he argues, will actually determine choices about return if options of one kind or another are offered to the Palestinian refugees. He distinguishes between the "sociology of return" and the "right of return" in his assessment of the possibility that substantial numbers would return to the Palestinian territories or to Israel in the event of a peace accord. Formidable barriers to contact between Palestinians inside and outside have weakened the ability of Palestinians to maintain transnational family relations and economic ties. Thus, despite refugees' emotional commitment to return and despite the positive impact from returnees' investments in the 1990s, Hanafi finds a differentiated refugee community, holding varying preferences. Accordingly, individual decisions to return will be based on complex calculations concerning economic and political prospects in their host countries outside Palestine; the relative attractiveness of return from varying social, economic, and political perspectives; and the degree of ongoing ties they maintain with relatives at home.

The two essays in Part II, entitled "Truth and Political Consequences" engage practical political aspects of large moral questions attached to the refugee issue — questions of truth-telling and historical responsibility. Elazar Barkan examines the growing international demand that governments acknowledge the historical injustices that they have perpetuated against other peoples and provide some sort of restitution to those past victims. Despite the weakness of the international legal framework to support refugees' right to return and despite the few historical cases in which refugees were repatriated or compensated, he views it as important for victims to receive some form of acknowledgment and compensation for their refugeehood. Barkan seeks to shift the debate from the level of legal rights, which he views as unproductive and polarizing, to one of moral obligations and political pragmatism, enabling Israel to recognize its role in creating the refugee problem and its obligations to be a lead partner in its solution. Ian Lustick then asks how negotiators might formulate a mutually acceptable narrative statement in which a portion of responsibility for the refugee problem would be allocated to a portion of Israeli actions and policies in 1948 and in which Israel would not only express regret but also commit significant resources to resolving the problem. He examines the negotiations over such a text that took place between West Germany and Israel prior to the reparations agreement between those two countries. He notes that although the West German statement of responsibility for the Holocaust accepted neither responsibility or guilt, and although it characterized German behavior during World War II in terms exceedingly favorable to German national sentiments, it did contain "just enough truth" to make diplomatic relations and a generous program of financial assistance politically acceptable to the Israeli government. Lustick suggests that a comparable formula is possible in the Palestinian refugee case, one that would enable both parties to move toward closure on this divisive issue.

In Part III, "Practical Consequences of Exile and Return," Amal Jamal, Ann M. Lesch, and Vladimir (Ze'ev) Khanin analyze the predicaments and achievements of three groups moving, or seeking to move, between states of exile and states of return. Amal Jamal focuses on the Palestinians who are internally displaced persons (IDPs) inside Israel and who comprise a quarter of the Palestinian citizens of Israel. Most had fled their homes during the 1948 war but were not allowed to return; others became IDPs when Israel expropriated their land and/or, in the 1960s, categorized many villages as "illegal." When IDPs' efforts to use the Israeli courts and political system to solve their problem failed, they sought to globalize awareness of their situation by appeals to UN bodies. Moreover, they mobilized locally through educational programs and well-publicized visits to the sites of their original villages. Since allowing IDPs to go home would not endanger Israeli security or alter its demographic balance, Jamal concludes that the government's failure to resolve their problem challenges the idea that Israeli opposition to the Palestinian right of return is based essentially on security and on demographic fears. Ann M. Lesch examines the difficulties that face even those Palestinian refugees who formed prosperous and seemingly stable communities in the diaspora. Focusing on Kuwait, she demonstrates how Palestinians remained outsiders, facing discrimination in jobs, education, and legal status, and always at risk of expulsion. For Lesch, this lack of security in exile means that statehood, provisions for permanent residency in Arab states, and/or recognition of the legal right to return are essential for creating a moral and political balance in the region. Vladimir (Ze'ev) Khanin traces the complex trajectory of immigrants to Israel, including a majority of Jewish "returnees," from the former Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1990s. Now comprising fifteen percent of the Israeli population, these new Israelis differ among themselves on the role of religion in politics, the value of Hebrew vs. Russian culture, the importance of Israel's retaining its Jewish majority, and the modes of resolving Israel's conflicts with the Palestinians and the Arab world. Khanin concludes that these cleavages reflect perspectives they held before immigration, but are also affected by their encounter with the realities on the ground in Israel, a some times painful encounter given their previous romanticized views of the homeland.

Part IV, "Property Issues for Arab and Jewish Migrants and Refugees," features essays by Michael R. Fischbach, Yehouda Shenhav, and Salim Tamari. Michael R. Fischbach compares two sets of property losses: Palestinian refugees' claims to properties in Israel and Jewish immigrants' claims to property left behind and confiscated in Arab countries. Emphasizing that the origins of these claims are quite different, he yet shows how each displacement and each set of claims has shaped the discourse and political culture of the respective protagonists in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Though not linked in their origins, he argues that it is likely both sets of claims will need to be addressed in a final negotiated settlement.

A crucial element leading to the political connection between these problems is that Israel has linked the issues of compensating Palestinian refugees, or allowing some of them to return, to the issue of compensating the Mizrachim — a group Yehouda Shenhav sometimes describes as "Arab Jews." Shenhav rejects the assertion of a parallel between the two cases, viewing that as an effort by Israel to use the concept of "population exchange" in order to abdicate its moral and political responsibilities toward the Palestinian refugees. Similarly, Salim Tamari criticizes claims of a parallel between the two cases. He focuses on the mechanisms by which Palestinians might be compensated for their property, irrespective of whether they actually repatriate. He proposes a multi-pronged solution that would include payments to the Palestinian state; restitution of still-standing property to its owners without dispossessing current occupiers, who would gain long-term leases; and package deals for small property holders and landless refugees. Tamari argues that it is in the interest of Israel to achieve closure on the core refugee issue, as that is the only way for Israel to genuinely end the conflict and gain acceptance as a legitimate state in the region.

In Part V, entitled "The Refugee Issue in Context," Nadim Rouhana, Ilan Pappé, and Gershon Shafir each lay out broad reconceptualizations of the relationship between the refugee issue and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a whole. Rouhana addresses the failure of both sides to imagine the other's place in the identity space that it constructs in its homeland. He argues that resistance to resolution is inherent in the facts that the conflict is over both symbolic and territorial space and that there is a severe power imbalance between the two sides. Moreover, differences over the right of return reflect the two sides' sense of an irreconcilable past and their divergent visions of the future. Therefore, while a limited peace settlement is imaginable, based on the two-state formula, a process leading to a fundamental reconciliation can only end the existential conflict through addressing core issues of historical truth and responsibility and securing justice through restructuring their social and political relationship. Ilan Pappé similarly questions negotiators' focus on solving the post-1967 conflict without addressing its core, arising from the 1948 war and the refugee problem. He also seeks a reconciliation process focused on fairness and justice, not only a division of land along the 1967 lines. International truth commissions and educational programs, so that both communities can recognize each other as communities of suffering, might supplement material programs for compensation and repatriation. Ultimately, in Pappé's view, both parties need to overcome their nationalism and ethnocentrism in order to reach a true reconciliation. Gershon Shafir, however, maintains that it is possible — indeed, necessary — to address simultaneously the issues of post-1967 land and the refugees. Despite the rigid and narrow Palestinian and Israeli images of the Other, it is essential to move beyond a zero-sum perspective. Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 lines would end its colonialist approach of linking settlement and the establishing of sovereign borders and an Israeli apology for its part in creating the refugee problem would alleviate some of the Palestinian sense of grievance, particularly in the context of a truth commission, a program for partial repatriation, and compensation. Despite their differences, all three authors seek to formulate complementary moral epistemologies and mutually respectful historical narratives, viewing those steps as essential in resolving the core issues epitomized by the refugee problem and the issue of the right of return.

No claim is advanced in this volume that is accepted in detail by all of the authors except the implicit, but important claims, that the Palestinian refugee problem is of crucial importance, that understanding of it can be deepened by comparison with other cases, and that absent serious and systematic consideration, no amount of hand-waving or sloganeering, will make it disappear. Beyond these principles, the essays, in their detailed treatment of specific topics, combine in complex ways to suggest the following guidelines for subsequent scholarship and for policy-makers.

* Whatever practical arrangements are orchestrated and implemented to satisfy the material requirements of Palestinian refugees, these practical arrangements themselves will not be sufficient to achieve the kind of "end of conflict" status so desired in Israel unless attention is also paid to mitigating the pain of felt injustice and its relationship to peace-making.

* Both for Zionism and Palestinian nationalism, the ideological fires and formulas that created and sustained the movements through periods of their greatest struggles, including unlimited and eternal "rights of return," will have unintended, but powerful and negative implications if used unquestioningly to guide the shape of a final, peaceful, and stable peace between the two peoples.

* Once the problem is broken into its parts, at the level of real people, and removed from the domain of rhetoric and ideology, there are, in fact, practical and sensible solutions to specific challenges and injustices encountered by those who have suffered and still suffer from displacement and enforced exclusion.

It is our hope that this volume will make a significant contribution to the work of all those seeking to achieve a lasting, stable, and just peace between two peoples who, loving one land, have wrestled too long with one another.

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