When addressing the issue of Palestinian refugees, the Jewish Peace Lobby believes it is important to sharpen an awareness between two issues: the Palestinian “right of return” and the “actual return” of the Palestinians. The task of negotiations needs to be identified: finding a way to accommodate a Palestinian right of return, while avoiding any actual return that threatens Israel’s Jewish character.
The most convincing way to end the conflict over the issue of Palestinian refugees is some variant of a choice-based approach in which Palestinians have the right to return but instead choose compensation and resettlement elsewhere. Therefore, JPL supports a “Choice-Based” approach in dealing with the refugees. There are many tools – regulating the right of return, focusing on the 1948 refugees, using land swaps – that would operate within the larger context of compensation and resettlement alternatives outside Israel.
To end the conflict, it will be necessary for millions of Palestinians to actually feel that they themselves have made a decision about return, resettlement and compensation. Only then will the refugee issue be finally resolved, a necessary condition for truly ending the conflict.