Badil Response to Brookings Speech by Donna Arzt

Donna Arzt's proposal for a solution of the Palestinian refugee question based on regional resettlement has already been critized extensively. we would like therefore to add only two points for consideration by all those who have contributed to the massive circulation of her ideas: 

1. Arzt's call, directed equally to the Israeli government  and the Palestinian Leadership to " get real " is a call for abandoning international law and principles as the basis for the solution of the Palestinian refugee question. No Palestinian leadership, current or future, will be able to convince its constituency that, in their case, international law does not apply, while forceful interventions are carried out by the United Nations and NATO in order to "safeguard international law and principles" elsewhere. 

2. Arzt Brookings speech takes a cynical turn, when she proposes that some 75,000 Palestinian refugees should be selected (by Israel) for symbolic return based on three criteria:  
    a) prove of residence in Palestine before 1948. 
    b) availability of close relatives in Israel. 
    c) security clearance by Israel. 
"A population sub-group very likely to seek return, and which would be most likely to satisfy this third criterion is the OLDEST LIVING GENERATION of Palestinians, the ones with personal memories of life before 1948". 

  • The issue of Palestinian refugees is not the issue of bringing home our grandmothers and grandfather! The proposition that such an endeavor could be acceptable to Israel, because our grandparents will die soon, without children and grandchildren to claim their property right, lacks basic good taste.
  • At the same time, Artz seems to overlook another " population sub-group" which would satisfy her selection criteria, i. e. the 200-250 000 Internally Displaced Palestinians in Israel, who, although citizens of Israel, still demand the implementation of their right to return to their homes and properities. Are they too young? Too numerous? The most incredible games at Or are they simply expected to forfeit their right, because they are no longer part of the need for "regional balancing and face-saving" by the parties involved?

Badil Resource center appeals to the international community of researchers and policy makers to abstain from building scenarios for the solution of the Palestinian refugees question which are based on disrespect of international law and basic human right and regional demographic gerrymandering. 

For more information contact: BADIL Resource Center, PO Box 728, Bethlehem, Palestine; tel/fax 274-7346; email, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..