Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has said that the return of Palestinian refugees to “the Palestinian state” would constitute “a security threat to Israel”. He rejected absolutely any right of return for refugees to go back to their land from which they were evicted by force in 1948, when the state of Israel was created in Palestine.
“Even if all the obstacles have been overcome with the Palestinians,” he said, “the biggest problem on the day following the agreement would be the refugees.” The extreme right-winger alluded to the need to take this into account from now.
“After the signing of a peace agreement, many of the countries in the region will want to transfer the Palestinian refugees to the territories subject to Palestinian control; another three million Palestinians will be added to those who exist in the [occupied] Palestinian areas now.”
This, he claimed, would turn the economic situation of the Palestinian refugees “to hell” and will return frustration to the region. “Violence will also return along with the deterioration of the security situation,” he added. Any agreement, he insisted, must lead to Israel’s security and a stable economy for the Palestinians.
The refugees’ right to return to their land inside what is now called Israel is enshrined in international law. It is an individual right, not a collective right, and cannot be negotiated away by anyone. Since 1948, Israel has wiped more than 500 Palestinian towns and villages off the map in an act of ethnic cleansing that continues to this day.