Finally, an article in the NY Times that addresses what most people have long known: most Palestinians will not return to the region. So the insistence on the "right of return" is and has been an artificial obstacle to a peace settlement between the Israelis and Palestinians. It has been dangerous for many Palestinians to state this obvious truth, and of course no one else can speak for them.
--Wendy in Washington
March 26, 2007
For Many Palestinians, 'Return' Is Not a Goal
By HASSAN M. FATTAH
AMMAN, Jordan, March 22 — For nearly 60 years Nimr Abu Ghneim has waited, angrily but patiently, for the day he would return to the home he left in 1948.
A resident of a sprawling Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan, Mr. Abu Ghneim, like most Arabs, says there can be no peace with Israel until he and 700,000 other Palestinians are permitted back to the homes they left in the 1948 fighting that led to Israel's creation.
But with the Arab League expected to focus later this week on the Palestinian-Israeli dispute, there is another, albeit quieter, approach being voiced, especially by younger and wealthier Palestinians: it may be neither possible nor desirable to go back.
"Every time people talk peace, you hear discussion of this subject," said Hanin Abu Rub, 33, a Web content manager at a Jordanian Internet startup, Shoofeetv, who has been active in Palestinian politics. "But now it is a major part of the discussions we have. When people think, 'Is it possible for us to go back?' deep inside they now know they are not going back."
Even having such a debate — rethinking a sacred principle — was once impossible. Now the discussion is centering on how to define the right of return in a new way. Some have come to see the issue as two separate demands: the acceptance, by Israel, that its creation caused the displacement and plight of the Palestinians; and the ability to move back to the lands they or their families left.
Almost no Palestinian questions the demand for Israel's recognition of the right to return; many, however, now say returning is becoming less and less feasible.
Remainder of the article at: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/26/world/middleeast/26palestinians.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin