Ameer Makhoul

1948 Internally Displaced Persons Palestinians are an Integral Part of the Palestinian People and must be Included Equally in all Future Solutions

One cannot help notice that the Palestinian demand for the ‘Right of Return’, whether by individuals or communities, has not been silenced since 1948. The quest for return lives on, despite the fact that the majority of Palestinians have remained refugees, both inside and outside Palestine. Forced displacement which created the refugee issue, has been yet another dimension of the Zionist project to establish the state of Israel as a racist colonial entity.

Israel did not acquire a colonial character after the 1967 war. Israel itself is the result of a colonialist project, or perhaps it is the colonialist project per se. It did not become more Zionist after 1967; neither were the methods of occupation more Zionist in practice after 1967 than before, including the period before Israel’s establishment in 1948.

Acquisition and control of Arab land in order to ‘Judaize’ the Galilee, and the establishment of Israeli towns in order to prevent geographic contiguity between Palestinian villages inside the ‘Green Line’, are no different in practice from the acquisition and control of Arab land and the establishment of Jewish colonies (settlements) in the West Bank. The only difference lies in the way we relate to the character of Israel. Our perception of Israel’s colonial project resembles our fragmented condition as a people. This perception is characterized by acceptance of the legitimacy of confiscation of Palestinian land and the establishment of Israeli towns inside the ‘Green Line’, while we challenge the legitimacy of these same acts on the other side of the ‘Green Line’. Thus, Karmiel is called a ‘town’ or a ‘city’, whereas we refer to Ariel in the West Bank as a ‘colony!’ We are confronted with a compartmentalized awareness that accepts colonialism inside the ‘Green Line’ and does not consider it as such, unless it occurs on the other side of the line, even though Israel employs the same practices in both cases.

Amir Makhoul, Itijah
(trans. from al-Sennara 6/8/99)

Two workshops held in July 1999, one hosted by Radio Bethlehem 2000 and the other by the Galilee Center for Social Research in Jaffa, focused on the political activities of the Palestinian minority inside Israel. These two national initiatives have contributed towards raising an important issue on our common agenda, the right of return and struggle against the privatization of absentee property. Our mission is to place this issue at the core of the final status negotiations.