Return Of The Palestinian Refugees
Zochrot supports the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their country. Return is fundamental to resolving the conflict and implementation of return need not cause injustice to Jewish people who live in Israel. Return does not mean expelling Jews from their homes, but the very opposite: The mutual existence of Palestinians and Jews in the country.
Until today, most discussions on the return of Palestinian refugees have centered on the right of return as a legal principle. Zochrot seeks to advance this discussion from principle to practice. What might return actually look like on the ground? What needs will have to be met for the refugees to be reabsorbed? How would major social institutions be reorganized to prepare for return?
Planning return requires appreciating the diverse questions that might come up in different parts of the country. For example, return to a Palestinian village that is today the site of an Israeli city will be different from return to a Palestinian village whose lands are used for grazing cattle or public recreation. Return to a village that was afforested will present different challenges than return to a village whose buildings now house Jewish residents.
Thinking practically about these questions can help free Israeli society from the intense fear posed by the idea of return, and can foster true civic relations between Jews and Palestinians. For Palestinians, planning return can bring closer the actualization of their rights in their country. Return can release the two societies from the relationship of occupier-occupied, expeller-expelled.