Rami Khouri, Lebanese editor, speaking on NPR, and Michael Steinhardt, the funder of several neoconservative outlets, writing in the Wall Street Journal, say that the big issue is not borders, it’s refugees. I can’t get the Steinhardt because it’s behind a fire wall, but it begins, “settlements are no longer the real issue that separates Israel and the Palestinians. The real issue is refugees.” And Khouri says:

The land issue is not the point. The land issue is one element of a comprehensive piece that should not be made the only element, as your Israeli guest said, because the crux of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is over the refugeehood of the Palestinians from our side, the exile, displacement and refugeehood, and from the Israeli side, it’s the acceptance by the Arabs of an Israeli state that is predominately Jewish.
That’s where the tradeoff is going to come and where the agreements have to satisfy the core needs of both sides. West Bank and Gaza is an important piece of land that will hopefully become the core of a Palestinian state or the territorial element of a Palestinian state, but the resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict needs much, much wider parameters, and the refugee issue has to be resolved in a manner that is negotiated by both sides and acceptable to both sides on the basis of international law.

I don’t know where these men come down on the full implementation of the right of return, which is addressed beautifully in this video Adam posted. But this core injustice has to be addressed at last. And Khouri seems to be suggesting, you can keep your Jewish state, if you just let the Palestinians who want to come home, come home.
Related posts:

  1. Kurtzer’s misleading parallel: refugees and colonists
  2. What does AIPAC mean when it calls for a ‘viable Palestinian state’? And does Obama agree?
  3. ‘Geneva Accord Is the Answer on Refugees: Compensation, and a Return to Palestine’

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