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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

 

Right of Return Not Negotiable, Say Palestinians

Angus Reid Global Monitor : Polls & ResearchRight of Return Not Negotiable, Say Palestinians
July 01, 2008

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) - The vast majority of people in the West Bank and Gaza would reject giving up the so-called right of return, according to a poll by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion. 89.8 per cent of respondents are not willing to compromise the right to re-occupy their land in Israel in exchange for the creation of a Palestinian state and a peace agreement.

The former British mandate of Palestine was instituted at the end of World War I, to oversee a territory in the Middle East that formerly belonged to the Ottoman Empire. After the end of World War II and the Nazi holocaust, the Zionist movement succeeded in establishing an internationally recognized homeland. In November 1947, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly passed a resolution calling for the formation of a Jewish state.

In 1948, the British government withdrew from the mandate and the state of Israel was created in roughly 15,000 square kilometres of the mandate’s land, with the remaining areas split under the control of Egypt and Transjordan. Since then, the region has seen constant disagreement between Israel and the Palestinians, represented for decades by the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). Wars broke out in the region in the second half of the 20th Century, involving Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt.

Around 750,000 Palestinians fled or were forced to leave their territory during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. The "right of return"—under which Palestinians aim to re-occupy their homes in Israel—has always been a questionable point in peace negotiations. Hundreds of thousands of refugees from the war and their descendants still live in shantytown camps run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), next to Gaza cities and towns.

On Jun. 24, French president Nicolas Sarkozy addressed Israeli lawmakers and urged them to consider the possibility of granting the right of return to the Palestinians, saying that there would be "no peace without a solution to the problem of the Palestinian refugees," and adding, "We must tell friends the truth, and the truth is that Israel’s security can never be assured unless an independent, modern, democratic and viable Palestinian state is established finally beside it."

Polling Data

Do you believe that the Palestinians should be obliged to waive their right of home return in exchange for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state and the conclusion of a peace agreement with Israel?

Yes
6.8%

No
89.8%

Don’t know
3.3%


Source: Palestinian Center for Public Opinion (PCPO)
Methodology: Face-to-face interviews with 1,220 Palestinian adults in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, conducted from May 25 to May 31, 2008. Margin of error is 2.8 per cent.

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