In the past, there have been more hopeful moments, such as after
Oslo. However, one massive problem at the time was the insistence
on a right of return.
Another way to characterize the situation is that Israel's refusal to
allow the Arab Palestinian refugee population to return to their
former homes is a massive problem. Regardless of one's sympathy for
the Jewish Israeli desire to remain an electoral majority in Israel,
it is hard to see any circumstances under which the Palestinian side
would give up this right.
I hope you see my point. On to your question!
The position that all former residents and citizens of the British
Mandate of Palestine have a right to return was first formulated in
article 11 in UN General Assembly Resolution
- Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and
live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at
the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid
for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or
damage to property which, under principles of international law or
in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities
The Arab states initially rejected the resolution but have since
come to embrace it as a cornerstone of the peace process. The
resolution has enjoyed wide international support and has been
reaffirmed 135 times between 1948 and 2000 in the General Assembly.
As far as I know, nothing has fundamentally changed since 1948. The
refugee problem wasn't discussed during the 1994 Oslo Accords, but
that doesn't mean that the Palestinian side was willing to give up
the right of return -- only that the question was postponed.
The Arab peace
from 2002 called for a "just solution" to the Palestinian refugee
b. Achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem
to be agreed upon in accordance with U.N. General Assembly
The API was endorsed by both Yasser Arafat and his successor Mahmoud
Abbas, but rejected by Israel. In part, because of the above sentence.
The BDS Movement, calling for an
international boycott of Israel, writes in its
What does BDS aim to achieve? Does it call for a one state or a two
The BDS movement aims to pressure Israel to respect international
Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and
dismantling the Wall International law recognises the West Bank,
including East Jerusalem, Gaza and the Syrian Golan Heights as
occupied by Israel.
Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian
citizens of Israel to full equality.
Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian
refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in
UN resolution 194.
These are three basic rights without which the Palestinian people
cannot exercise its inalienable right to self-determination.
The BDS Movements position is, by Palestinian standards, moderate. I.e
it is safe to say that the mainstream Palestinian position on the
right of the return is the same as it has always been.
In fact, the Palestinian side has argued that the right of return is
Finally, in another important parallel to the Palestinian case, in
both the Bosnia and Kosovo repatriation schemes devised by the
international community, individual and collective rights were
jointly protected. In both Bosnia and Kosovo, “the collective rights
to an independent entity or statehood were preserved, along with a
mechanism for individual refugees to assert their claims to
repatriate and obtain restitution and/or compensation. Each of these
situations involved the establishment of claims commissions as part
of a negotiated settlement, but the right of the individual to
assert his/her claim was preserved independently of the outcome of
the self-determination issue.”
What that means, they argue, is that the Palestinian leadership cannot
use the right of return as a bargaining chip in negotiations with
Israel. The legal obligations on the state remain.