Coverage of the conference in Maariv NRG, Akko-Net, and News First Class [Hebrew only]

Opening remarks by Amaya Galili and by Norma Musih, "Challenges facing the Israeli public regarding the right of return," can be read in the original report [Hebrew only]

The Conference for the Right of Return and a Just Peace took place in Acre last week, June 29-30, 2007, organized by ADRID, the Emil Touma Institute, Ittija and Zochrot.

The conference opened with a declaration of support for the right of return of the Palestinian refugees as a basic foundation for peace in the region.

During the conference speakers addressed the challenges to attaining recognition for the right of return. Several speakers emphasized the need to develop detailed programs for refugee return in practice. Others gave attention to recent publications that call into question the continued existence of Israel as an exclusively Jewish state. Still others addressed the fears of Jews who live in Israel, which arise in part from the trauma of the Holocaust and from manipulations that are carried out in the name of the Holocaust. This led to a discussion of the need to think about possibilities for reconciliation in a manner that recognizes the rights of Jews but does not compromise on the right of return.

Some speakers criticized the Palestinian leadership that has forfeited the right of return out-of-hand, as in the Oslo accords and the Geneva and Ayalon-Nusseibeh agreements.

A coalition of organizations was founded at the conference to promote return in Israel. Next year, which marks 60 years since the Nakba, may see such activities as a conference on return in Tel Aviv that will address the Jewish public in Israel, a protest action to 'capture' a village abandoned in 1948, and the continued development of models for return.