Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert once again made clear his nation’s decision not to engage in any discussions regarding the return of refugees who left Palestine during the 1948 war. “I join in expressing sorrow for what happened to the Palestinians and also for what happened to the Jews who were expelled from Arab states. But, he emphasized, “under absolutely no circumstances will there be a right of return.” However, he agreed his nation would is “prepared to be part of an international mechanism that will work to solve the problem.” The refugee issue from the perspective of Palestinians, concerns what they allege were forced expulsion of people from Palestine during the Israel war for independence in 1948. The Israel government also charges over 700,000 Jews were forced to flee from Arab nations during the same time period.
There is no question it is impossible for any Israel government to agree to the return of millions of Palestinians to former lands. However, there might well be room for compromise. At present, over 200,000 Israelis are occupying homes and land on the West Bank which belongs to the state of Palestine. Perhaps, there could be an exchange of that land for peace. I suspect, Olmert would not agree to that exchange of land for peace.