Simon Reynolds

Other forms of resistance was the fourth most prefered pathway chosen by Palestinian refugees (41.8%); see p.5
Surely, few observers can claim to be surprised by the call from Palestinian refugees for a rethink as to the ways in which a permanent solution to the refugee crisis is to be achieved?
It is, of course, true that formal, legal frameworks exist which could adequately address the Israel-Palestine crisis, and its attendant mass, forced displacement of Palestinians; displacement evident both within the boundaries of  Historic Palestine and beyond. Indeed, the total combined population of Palestinian refugees and IDPs now stands at some 7.9 million, representing the single largest refugee population on the planet.[1] Such frameworks are constructed from assorted instruments of international law, including treaty, statute and UN resolutions.[2] The common characteristic of such instruments is their focus on the respect for and protection of human rights, and in adopting such a focus, these essential universal principles are elevated above the muddied and treacherous waters of political expediency. Yet, in the case of Palestinian displacement, these frameworks continue to be abused or, more commonly, neglected altogether by international power brokers.[3] 

Israel refers to itself as both ‘a Jewish state’ and ‘the Middle East’s only democracy’. This paper will ascertain what constitutes the former, why being deemed both a Jewish state and legitimate democracy is of great importance to Israel and finally, the extent to which these apparently conflicting identities can be reconciled.

The ultimate aim of the Zionist movement - pioneered in the late 1800s, and which gained significant traction throughout the 20th and current century – was to “…return the Jewish people to their homeland and the resumption of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel.”1 This movement culminated in the official formation of the Jewish state of Israel on May 14th, 1948. But what is meant by the term ‘Jewish state’ and why is it so important for Israel to be considered as such?