April 2, 2024

Long before the 1948 Arab-Israeli war when 750,000 people fled or were forced out of Mandate Palestine, the stage was set for Palestinians to become—and to remain—refugees. From the late 19thcentury the Zionist movement had conceived a plan for a Jewish return to the Holy Land. The movement foresaw the creation of a Jewish state, which by definition could not accommodate –or tolerate–Arab Palestinians living on the territory designated for the Jewish ‘home’ at that time.

The ability of the Zionists to influence the ‘big’ powers in the first half of the 20thcentury was consolidated by the horrors of the Holocaust and the consequent attempt of those powers to make up for the events of World War II. Since the 1940s there have been few voices raised on behalf of Palestinians, particularly with regard to their right to an independent state or the right of those who remain refugees since 1948 to return home—the preferred solution for all refugees around the world.

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