In response to the article written by Sarah McGregor, Senior Staff Writer, “Embassy”, Canada’s foreign policy weekly in Ottawa, and posted at: /bin/content.cgi?ID=2492&q=1 , the “Embassy” ran two letters in its May 24th issue:

“Musing on the “Right of Return” And a related letter”

Like many other Canadians, I generally sympathize with the Palestinians’ aspirations for self-determination on their own homeland (Re: “No Return For Palestinian Refugees” May 16). However, I have never fully understood is their insistence for a “right of return” to Israel. If the ultimate point is a two-state solution with the Israelis and the Palestinians living side by side each within their boundaries, how can the Palestinians claim both a Palestinian state and the right to return to live within Israel? This position seems fundamentally contradictory. Both peoples lay a claim to the totality of the land. As a compromise, they would purportedly agree to divide it up, with the Jews on one side and the Palestinians on the other. That is indeed the thrust of the Oslo accords and the Road Map. As such, the Palestinian claim to both a Palestinian homeland and a right of return within Israel is illogical.

Another contradiction with the Palestinian claim is that the Palestinians expect a total expunging of Jews from their territories. When Israel withdrew from Gaza, there was not a single Jewish person left. When the official voices for the Palestinians speak of their homeland, it is one for Muslim and Christian Arabs alone, it leaves no room for the Jews. Their media and school textbooks are fiercely anti-Semitic. So, while they want to vacate the Jews from Palestinian territory, they insist that they can live in Israeli territory. Thus, they apply a gross double standard, stating that it’s acceptable for them to exclude Jews, but it is not acceptable for the Israelis to exclude them.

Finally, an important issue that was ignored by the article was that of the Jewish refugees from Arab lands. Between 1948-1967, an estimated 700,000 Jews fled Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Iraq and Yemen due to persecution by the Arab majority. They left behind homes, possessions, and hundreds of years of history. While some left for Israel voluntarily, the majority fled against their will. Any talk of redressing the situation for Palestinian refugees must, therefore, be accompanied by the issue of the Jewish refugees from Arab lands.

For a “just” peace in the Middle East, it is vital to address every issue on its merits. This includes a more neutral look at the Palestinian claim for the right of return, one that takes into account the logical implications of a two-state solution and the plight of Jewish refugees.


Excellent research and coverage, thank you. Not so for David Bedein. How brilliant (and melodramatic) the spin of ‘heroics’ on the role he wishes to endow Canada. ‘Heroic’ that Canada turn its back on international law indicating the Inalienable Right of Return of Palestinian refugees? ‘Heroic’ that Canada address and even fund the ‘issue of limbo,’ a catastrophic disaster created by the State of Israel? ‘Heroic’ to deny the human factor of the Palestinian refugee crisis and distil it into an issue of “infrastructure”? Heroic is interchangeable with ‘courageous.’ In a day and age where the norm has become a denial of the international legal forum, ‘heroic’/’courage’ would be a Canadian role in seeing this Inalienable Right through to it’s end, not by making it easier for a Palestinian to take a shower, but by allowing them to execute their inalienable right to return to the homes from which they were forced to flee.