Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Palestinian Refugee Problem Resolved. By Shaul Bartal.

The Palestinian Refugee Problem Resolved. By Shaul Bartal. Middle East Quarterly, Vol. 20, No. 4 (Fall 2013).


During the 1948 war, some 600,000 Palestinian Arabs fled their homes to the neighboring Arab states or to parts of mandatory Palestine occupied by Arab states (the West Bank and Gaza). Likewise, within a few years after the establishment of the State of Israel, nearly all of the 850,000-strong Jewish population living in Arab states was either expelled or escaped with just their lives. Most made their way to Israel where they were resettled.
While these latter facts may not be that well known, neither are they completely unfamiliar to students of the Middle East. What is less acknowledged, however, is the de facto agreement of Arab states to resettle Palestinian refugees in their respective territories, expressed in closed-door discussions at cease-fire committee meetings and other gatherings with Israeli representatives. Whether the Arab states properly represented the refugees or treated them and their descendants fairly is a matter for the Palestinians and their Arab brothers to adjudicate on their own.