Israelis and Palestinians at Harvard: Part 5 of 9

The Right of Return
The right of return is a sore issue with Palestinians. Several Israelis have pointed out to me the historical right to their ancestral homeland. But at the same time, Palestinians have told me that it doesn't make sense that Jews should have a right of return from centuries ago, but Palestinians aren't afforded the same right from the last 100 years. Moreover, as one Palestinian put it, Israel has "been denying for years the Palestinian right for a homeland...[and] denying this right while it is very clear that the American foreign policy wasn't active to find a different solution." Palestinians question "why deny a homeland for Palestinians?"

Maurice from Lebanon said of the right of return that leaders on both sides lack courage in taking decisive decisions today about a comprehensive peace plan because of the refugee problems today. He questioned what is going to be done with the refugees; "400,000 of them in Lebanon who think their home is in proper Israel today, they still carry keys on their necks every day dreaming to go home and they are treated as tenth class citizens in Lebanon. You can't tackle the Israeli-Palestinian problem unless you address the refugee problem."

PAUL HEROUX is a state representative from Massachusetts who previously lived and worked in the Middle East, was a senior analyst at the Institute for Defense and Disarmament Studies, and is a frequent guest on TV and radio stations discussing the Middle East. Paul has a Master's in International Relations from the London School of Economics and a Master's from the Harvard School of Government. Paul can be reached at