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On the purported “right of return”, by Arlene Kushner

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Sept. 22, 2016

“…I will take a minute here to address the purported “right of return,” which allegedly is founded in UN General Assembly Resolution 194, which was passed in December 1948.

In a nutshell, there is no such thing as “the right of return.”  The resolutions of the General Assembly are merely recommendations and carry no weight in international law.
What this resolution did was examine a variety of factors that had to be addressed in order achieve a truce as the War of Independence drew to a close.  In order to facilitate this, it established a Conciliation Commission. The resolution in its entirety deals with a number of relevant issues – demilitarization, road development, free access to holy places, etc. etc.
One of the issues to be dealt with was refugees.  And here, please note, it does not refer to “Arab” refugees, for there were Jewish refugees as well (although they were conveniently forgotten along the way).  This Commission was instructed to “facilitate the repatriation, resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation of the refugees…”  Please note the inclusion of the option of resettlement for refugees.  “Repatriation” was only one possibility.
What the Arabs have done is to cite Clause 11 in isolation: “the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date…”  Even this, taken by itself, is problematic.  “Wishing to return…and live at peace with their neighbors…”  At no point was Israel expected to take in Arabs who were hostile.  And what does “the earliest practicable date” mean?
The great irony here is that Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Yemen all voted against this resolution because it implicitly recognized the existence of Israel.  Only in retrospect did they go back and draw upon what suited them.
One final word: The number of Arab refugees is routinely cited as four million by the Arabs and their supporters.  This is a gross misrepresentation, a fraud promoted and nurtured by UNRWA, the refugee agency that attends to the Arab refugees.  Incredibly, UNRWA says that all refugees retain refugee status even if they have found citizenship elsewhere – only “return” to their original homes in Israel eliminates that status.  But people living in third countries who have citizenship are not refugees.  What is more, UNRWA confers refugee status down through the generations – now the fourth generation.  This applies to no other refugee population…”
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